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nobody likes a quitter

June 28, 2012 by maggie

title taken from miss peanut butter jenny.

so — for those of you who have been following me for a while, it may seem like i am constantly starting and stopping various challenges (whole30, yoga every day, etc…), diets (raw food, macrobiotics, vegetarian, paleo, etc…), and the like. i don’t want to seem like a quitter. in all honesty i’m not a quitter in most areas of life – i have been doing yoga regularly for years, i’ve been in choirs since i was 7, i’m pretty good at keeping a stable job (especially compared to most people in my generation!).

unfortunately, i seem to be flaky when it comes to eating habits.

i know – i said i was going to do the whole30.

but – i can’t. i just can’t. i won’t get into it here, but my past is littered with food issues. suffice it to say, my body is still recovering from the hell i once put it through (still putting it through, some might say).

i do have a new “plan”, if you can call it that. it goes something like this:

  1. eat 2500+ calories a day. every day.
  2. don’t weigh yourself. (i threw out the scale – literally.)
  3. give away the clothes that do not fit you anymore.
  4. eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack – every day.
  5. eat whatever the fuck you want to eat. nothing is off limits.
  6. mantra: “I will have good days and bad days but my value is not determined by my weight and I intend to nourish myself at the start of each day.”

for more on why i’m doing this, read do i need 2500 calories?

now guess what? YOU can do this too. women need nourishment. women need curves. we need to stop taking pride in eating like birds. a 5’10″ woman should not be living on 1500 calories a day, even if that’s what she thinks she needs to eat to maintain her weight. for that matter, a 5’0″ woman should not be living on 1500 calories a day either! if you are eating less than 2000 calories a day, please, do your body a favor and bump it up a notch. eat what you want to eat. eat when you are hungry. give your body what it needs.

(and if you are in the “trying to lose weight” camp, i have read that if you’re not making progress, try increasing your calories for a while, and your metabolism will get fired up. it might be that you’re having trouble losing weight because you are actually not eating enough. i know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but it works. i promise.)

have you ever “quit” a diet?


9 Comments

  1. Maeve says:

    I have always carried a little extra weight, from when I was a kid and had to pick “husky” clothes, but I was active and didn’t eat that differently from my siblings who were both ‘normal’ so I kind of resented the idea that there was anything wrong with how I was. I developed a devil may care, I eat what I want to eat when I want to eat it and nobody can tell me what to do attitude and would say things like “beauty comes in all sizes” and “real women have curves”. And while all of that is true… my weight kept creeping up and soon my cholesterol too. It got to the point where it was inhibiting my enjoyment of activities I used to love because I’d get winded and tired, and then I hit a number that made me technically obese (but now America is so overweight we have three levels of obesity…). I had always shunned the idea of dieting, and I still do, because so often the focus is on what you look like or some arbitrary number on the scale or some pant size. It also disproportionally targets women and their body images in a negative way. But how I ate needed to change because overeating can be just as detrimental to one’s health as undereating. It wasn’t about society telling me what I should look like, but me realizing what I wanted to feel like. I went with weight watchers on and off 3 times. I liked it because it focused on “lifestyle changes” instead of fads or quick fixes. When I worked the program (actually focussing on eating the fruits and veggies, getting water, exercising and doing the right stuff) it worked, but I would end up quitting, each time for a variety of reasons. Mainly it’s just so much easier not to think about what I ate, and when I don’t think about it the American society in which I live takes over, and it’s really a food pusher that encourages over consumption.

    I finally found something that worked for me this year, and that was eating a plant-based whole foods diet (aka veganism). While some people view it as restrictive, I view it as liberating because it helps me to focus on the healthy things I want to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes) and cut out the noise. I have to cook more which was a goal I often had but failed at, relying on eating out way to much. I still eat whatever I want, I just want to eat this way, and now I am at a healthy weight (no longer obese! yay!) but still have my curves. Eating this way has helped me to eat a bunch but to eat less junk and therefore maintain a healthy weight without counting calories or becoming obsessed. I realize this is sort of the other spectrum of what you are talking about, and I know that eating the way I do could be a trigger for those who struggle with over restriction, but for me it’s all about crowding out the bad (empty calories, refined over processed foods) and celebrating the nutritious (a rainbow of color on my plate!). It also has helped me connect spiritually to how I ate, which I never really did with weight watchers. I get to practice compassion with every bite which is a real joy.

    • maggie says:

      @maeve: this is such a wonderful response! i am really happy for you. i have dabbled in veganism, and while i would love to be vegan myself, it’s not really right for me at the moment. but maybe someday in the future! i do tend towards vegetarianism naturally but i will have meat on occasion. i love that it’s working out for you. i know i did say above that i will eat whatever i want, and i hope it didn’t come off as “eat crap all day” – i don’t crave crap/junk and i don’t think i ever will. for me “eating whatever” means not cutting out food groups (grains, legumes, dairy, etc…) just because a specific diet plan tells me to. i think it’s amazing that you have found a kind of peace with food and that you have the spiritual connection now too. yoga has actually been really helpful for me in that sense. i completely agree with you that american society pushes awful food. i think most people that end up overweight or obese are that way through (almost) no fault of their own. processed foods are addicting, they screw with your hormones, and are generally just… well, awful! it pushes consumption in all things, not just food.

      anyway, thank you so much for writing… it was really good to read. again, i’m SO glad that you have found what works for you :) if you are ever in NYC i would love to go out to a vegan restaurant together. i have lots of favorites!

      • Maeve says:

        Food is such a personal thing and what works for one person doesn’t work always work for another and that is something I have really been learning. While there are some things people agree on (veggies are good!) there are just so many different ways to eat and so many people advocating eating plans. That’s why experimenting is good. People need to find something that is sustainable for them and that they thrive with. And something that is sustainable today may not be in the future or something you quit today may be the right choice in the future. I think that there is so much anxiety surrounding food in America, so much judgement and fear, that it’s made eating almost a battlefield with guilt or pride lurking around every bite. And when people find something that works for them, sometimes it’s hard not to shout it from the rooftops and then accidentally (or worse yet intentionally) pressure others to conform to it. No wonder there are disorders of all kinds! Basically this is a long round about way of saying “Don’t feel bad about quitting!” and that I really appreciate your candidness regarding your food struggles because it’s something so many of us go through but are not as brave to talk about :)

        Also, I will *definitely* take you up on that offer if/when I’m ever in NYC!

  2. glidingcalm says:

    wowowow! Love this post and can totally relate!! I stopped weighing myself, and I am in the process of getting rid of all of my clothes that are too small. just not worth feeling shitty aobut not fitting into something! such an easy fix too! Go buy bigger clothes! (Well sorta easy.. kinda hard for me because I didn’t have the funds to buy a whole new wardrobe, but I’ve been swapping things slowly!) I love number 5 and number 6 too! I have tried so many different “ways” of eating. Raw for a while, low carb for a while, paleo/primal……..and ehh. I don’t like spending so much time worrying about what I can and cannot eat! Now I eat dessert everyday, and I love it. :)

    I also agree with Maeve…….everyone has a different style of eating that works best for them…so we just need to experiment and figure out what feels best for each of us.

    Man, there is so much I could say..but I think I’ve written enough!

    Wishing you all the best!!

  3. You don’t seem like a quitter to me, rather like a person who is determined to find out what works for her to live a happy and healthy life, and it’s normal that this involves try and error. Quitting is thus just stopping what doesn’t work for you, or adjusting it (so that you may not fulfill the criteria of a certain diet label anymore). I think the fact that everything is labeled creates the impression of being unsteady with what you do. For example, if you eat Paleo and then include some non-Paleo foods every now and then, then you don’t eat Paleo anymore, by label. But this doesn’t mean everything has changed. It’s an illusion due to all-or-nothing thinking suggested by labeling.

  4. [...] light of all the serious talk, i wanted to post something more [...]

  5. hey maggie :)
    LOVE this post…so many of your words resonate with me, and exactly how i’ve felt at times. I have changed my way of eating many times, trying new things, setting up “eating plans” and giving up to try something else. I’ve recently just decided that I love coffee and i’m ok with it—no more saying no! xoxo

  6. N says:

    I instantly felt relief after reading this. I think it’s toattly normal to try new things and find out what makes you feel the best and give you energy. I am tall to so I know what your saying Maggie!! I just go on how my jeans fit too. And cut back on things that I can cut back on like drinking or sweets but I don’t ever restrict anything. My coworker Alan has been on a health kick with me and I was telling him on Monday morning that I didn’t work out or eat right all weekend. He told me your body will go back to it’s normal weight eventually. We are human, I work out and eat right most of the time but yea there are days when I want to be able to try my freinds award winning barbeque and lay around in the park all weekend with my freinds and enjoy myself. Then the next time I work out I actually run better and have more energy for the day. So I just eat healthy about 70 percent. And I am a size 8 and I am fine with it. I just realized that this month!I am happy with that I have tried for years to diet now I am more focused on my freinds and family and just not putting so much effort into what I eaty. I am not saying I don’t eat healthy I do! However I don’t worry about it as much. And I feel better.

  7. kim says:

    Hi Maggie,

    Your post really resonates with me. While I’m still vegan, I do contemplate of going back to a pescetarian (the last piece of fish I ate was salmon) and my mom and relatives have been encouraging me to put back some meat into my diet. Still a struggling decision because I don’t know how my body would react. I did get a taste of yogurt awhile ago and I felt ‘ok’. I don’t think you’re a quitter, you are just trying to find a common ground that works for your health.

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