(In the countless hours that I've logged swimming back and forth, I've had plenty of time to think. And I've been composing this post in my head for about a month now. I've worked through a lot, and it's gone from a bit of an angry tone to a much more calm, even-keeled, and accepting tone, and I'm finally ready to publish it...fair warning, it's a long one.)
I'm declaring myself done. Done with dieting. Done with always thinking I should be doing more. Eating less. Eating differently. I'm tired of constantly having the "lose weight" thoughts always swirling. I just want to be the me that I am now. Not the me that I might be if I lost more weight. Not the me that I was a year ago, when I was at my lowest weight of my adulthood. Me. Now.
I've been dieting for over 30 years now. I started my first diet when I was in high school. And looking back, no, I didn't need to lose any weight. I was fine. But let's not go there. The past can't be changed, and we can rage all we want about crap that happened, but the fact is, crap happens to just about everyone. And while it's OK to look back, it's easier if we can see our past with empathy to the likes of "it's a pity that happened" or "I'm sorry you had to go through that" - and then, release it and move on. Forward. Let that shit go, as much as you can. For me, some days (weeks/months/years) it's fairly easy, and some days (weeks/months/years) it's not. But I try to remind myself that I'm not the same person I was 30 years ago, or even last week. Every day, every encounter with someone, every experience I have - it all adds up to a constantly changing, constantly evolving me.
Getting back to dieting. Except for a few years when I was in my early 40s, I was ALWAYS either dieting, or feeling guilty about not dieting. Those few years that I wasn't? That was when I made a conscious choice to be overweight. To accept my size, buy an entire wardrobe of clothes that fit my body, and to enjoy, without guilt, food. Honestly, it was quite awesome! Except for the constant heartburn, lack of energy, massive food bill (those dollar menus at the fast food places DO add up), and hating to see pictures of myself - but other than that, eating without guilt was fun.
However, with the graduation of my youngest child from high school looming, something made me want to give this whole dieting thing one last try. And in May of 2008, I started my last diet, which, as you all know, I've documented on this blog. Along the way, my focus went from losing weight, to changing my eating habits, from starting to exercise, to liking to exercise, and then I hit a major goal of losing 100 pounds. But I never had an end in sight. I never really had a goal weight. I figured I'd just "know" when I was there.
And then this year happened. Two weeks in, I injured my ankle and lost my main source of exercise. Two week later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I stress ate and put on some weight. At one point, I remember looking back at that thinner person from the previous summer and wondering why on earth I wasn't done with dieting then. It's taken me some time, but this summer, as I worked at losing the weight I'd gained, I realized that I didn't want to be doing this for the rest of my life. I don't want to be that person who is always focusing on calories, on "good" foods and "bad" foods and treats and denying myself and spending so much time looking for a freaking number on a scale that I don't allow myself to enjoy life.
So that's where I am. Right here, right now. Living in the moment; appreciating my body for all that I can do (hello crow! hello swimming!), and letting go of a lot of years of negative thinking when it comes to food. No more dieting. That saga is done.