Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A More Joyful Way

[Intro Note: Here's me kicking off what will probably be my next 'phase' of writing topics for the blog. I go through these phases of writing about art and dieting and running and and and, and, so I guess, as I change, my blog content changes, too, so, uh, here we go, I guess!]

I've spent the better part of a year sitting with myself,

asking myself bigger questions.

Maybe not bigger questions,
more accurate questions.

I've taken the fullness of my activities
that keep me so busy,
and I've been asking myself "Why, though?"
to most of them.

What's the point?
What's your goal?

Why are you hanging onto this?

And the things that don't have clear answers,

or good enough answers,
or just don't make sense
started falling away.

Something that kept being a recurring part of my identity and energy
was either filling the role of "dieter" or "failure."

And I hit a breaking point,

just yelling "WHY THOUGGGHHHH" into the void.


This past year, something finally clicked.

It has clicked so loudly that I'm going to sound like
one of those people who has found religion
or atheism
or veganism
or keto
or paleo
or improv
or or or

and needs to share. this. with. the. world.

It finally dawned on me that dieting is a terrible way to spend my life.
Hating my body is a terrible way to spend my mental energy.
Desperately trying to change one very arbitrary part of my existence
is the most damaging thing I've ever done to myself.

I know I've talked about this in passing before,
but I'm to the point where I'm ready to YELL about it.

And it's gonna sound a lot like I'm going to try to make you join my cult.


I finally donated my scale
after not standing on it for a year.

While I'm very aware my body has gotten bigger,
I'm still living a very full life
and I still have people that love me.

All the things that I was afraid this fat body would lose.

The last piece of this puzzle (this very work-in-progress puzzle)

is finally accepting that it's OK
that I'm not meant to be a small person.
Mentally, emotionally, OR physically!

And that being 'skinny' is not actually...better.
It body.
Just like my body is a body.

A body that is still loving me anyway,

despite the terrible things I've done to it.

And I need to fix this relationship so I can save it.


I've done a lot of reading this year that has pointed me to bigger research into what our bodies do for us, and how GREAT our bodies are at keeping us alive. That our attempts to manually force diets (food restriction) and over-exertion cause our bodies to panic. The same panic that helped us survive famines and other environmental crises in the past.

This is where our binging and weight gain and subsequent damaging psychological responses kick in. This is how we can still manage to be fat even when we're trying not to be. Our bodies know what is best for us. Our bodies will find our most safe, neutral state for us. But we have to just LET IT DO ITS JOB. And it's probably going to be a little fatter than you want it to be. And that is FINE.

Along the way, we have lost this trust in our own body, but we have trusted diet culture and marketing?

We listen to people who think they know what's 'best' for us, when really they are just being judgmental and dumping their own biases on us?

We feel like a failure because we feel hunger?


The more I read, and the more I really think about this stuff,
the angrier I am at myself.
For not accepting my body's function to keep me alive
at the weight that is SAFEST for my particular genetic makeup.

No wonder I'm binging and gaining weight back every chance I get.
My body is trying to save me.

The trick is figuring out how to really listen to its cries.


As we keep reading and studying and opening our minds,
and actually slowing down and listening,

we see that once we let our bodies just run the show,
once we tune in more to what our BODY might actually be asking of us,
rather than what DIET INDUSTRY is asking of us,
the more beautiful our existence can be.
The less we will obsess about food
because our body will finally understand we aren't in a famine.
Our body will understand that it is safe and OK.

So far,
the more I just exist and just do what I want to do
and eat what I want to eat
and rest when I want to rest,

the more joyful I am.

I can still be productive and loved.

In fact, I may even be MORE productive and loved
when I shift my focus from restriction and stress
to joy and creativity.


So, I think this writing today is just a warning.

A notification that I'm no longer interested in diets.
Ways we're restricting our lives to shrink our bodies.
Ways we're trying to overcompensate and abuse and shame ourselves by not letting our bodies be truly nourished,
and forcing ourselves to over-exercise to make up for our 'cheat days.'

A lot of resistence to non-dieting usually comes from assuming

we'll balloon into oblivion
if we just leave it up to our bodies to decide for us.

But again, that's not how bodies work.
We just have to stop, breathe, listen, and let our bodies do its job.


As we listen, we may realize sometimes 'hunger' is actually a response to trauma or other psychological circumstances where we feel like we can't fully express our emotions and find healing that way, so we turn to food for comfort and temporary problem-solving. Knowing this can also mean we may end up finding a coach/therapist, too! Huzzah! Tools to help us move forward with our lives!

Our body is always talking to us.

We need to listen.

Anyway, more specific ramblings to come...


PS. My main resources that you can join me in reading are: 'Health at Every Size' and 'Body Respect' by Linda Bacon, 'The Fuck It Diet' by Caroline Dooner, and I'm listening to Body Psych podcast with Christy Harrison (she has just published a new book, 'Anti-Diet', that I'm looking forward to meeting soon!).


  1. Thank you for sharing so honestly, Jill. As a woman who's been dealing with an inappropriate relationship to food most of my life, I do relate and appreciate the anger, the feelings of failure, and on and on. Keep writing, sweet soul. I, no doubt one among very many, will be reading. Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year, dear Lana! I'm glad you are in the world, and gosh it seems like it takes SO much time to de-program from this mentality. Just know that you are loved, just as you are, and the more we practice and build up that trust again and love for ourselves, the better we'll get at it. <3 I mean, we have to, right???