You Don’t Have To Eat Your Spinach if You Don’t Want To

Thats right. You actually don’t have to eat anything you don’t like.

I don’t like green foods. You see, I spent so many years forcing myself to eat nothing but salads, brocoli, cabbage, spinach and green beans that I can’t stand the idea of tasting green food. Yes green has a taste.

I’m a fat woman. No I mean really fat. I weight somewhere around 325 lbs and I’m 5’5″ tall. According to the AMA that makes me not only OMGDEATHFAT, but it makes me diseased as well. My penance, since I was eleven, for the sin of fatness, was choking down good for me foods, anything with no flavor other than green. That was the only acceptable way to be fat. To be seen to suffer and eat things I hated, to prove I was trying hard enough to be thin.

In my 20’s it was no longer acceptable enough to only be eating things that were bland, tasteless, boring and green. It wasn’t good enough anymore. I wasn’t working out enough. Forget that I walked most places, kept my house spotless, was relatively active chasing after my three young children. Nope, if I wasn’t spending at least an hour a day busting my ass doing aerobics or running, I was no longer a good fatty.

Sure, I cheated. Take all the enjoyment and flavor totally out of your diet. Eat only the things you dislike. Let me know how long that lasts for you. Oh and don’t forget, don’t eat enough to sate your hunger, ever. Let me know how that works for you.  Now try to chase three kids AFTER you run your ass off exercising for an hour, on not enough food to feel satisfied. How long can you live like that?

Honestly, it doesn’t matter how long you can live that way. I did it. For a long time. When I failed, I got right back on track. I called it a diet until someone told me that must be why I failed at it. I had to call it a lifestyle change, THEN it will work. I had to fool myself into thinking it wasn’t a diet. Thats the ticket.

Only it wasn’t. Oddly enough my body was no more fooled than my bored tastebuds.

I went on like that for years. Struggling to stay on one restrictive diet after another while doing workouts I absolutely hated. I lost a little weight. 10 lbs here, 20 lbs there. Then I put it right back on. I didn’t even have to ‘cheat’ to put weight back on. When I regain weight, I’m really good at it. I not only regain what I lost, I put on about 20 extra pounds for good measure.

It was a really ugly cycle. I’d starve and bust my ass, lose a few pounds and within a few weeks I’d put it back on and then some and gain some shame and self hatred to top it off.

One day I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt like I had a really bad body flu. You know that feeling, its like you’ve been hit by a truck. Everything from the back of your head right down to your toes is achy and sore. Only, day after day, week after week, I got more sore, more tired and wasn’t healing from what I thought was a flu. After three months of crawling from the bed to the couch and back to the bed again, I finally went to see my doctor. I couldn’t understand what was going on. My doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. My ass bustin aerobics days ended.

I would love to say that this diagnoses was the catalyst for taking better care of myself. It wasn’t. I kept the cycle going, including the ass busting exercise. On top of the weight cycling and gaining extra weight I also wound up being so exhausted from working out while hungry that I would wind up bed ridden for days and weeks at a time.

I spent years doing this to myself. Never quite getting it. Trying to believe if I was good enough, if I could just have enough willpower, if I wanted to be thin badly enough, it would happen. One day, the next diet, the right exercise. If I were just good enough.

Then one day, my boyfriend said no. No more. He wasn’t going to let me diet anymore. For those of you who don’t know, I live in an authority transfer style relationship, thats why he gets to say that. Thats another post though.

I was actually really confused. I had no idea how not to diet. Wouldn’t I just keep blowing up like a balloon? What if I ate sticks of butter on accident? Surely I was going to lose all control and start eating and never stop, ever, until I exploded. Had to happen right? I was bad. I couldn’t trust myself with food. I clearly had no idea what was good for me. I was fat, that meant I was bad and wrong, and not to be trusted alone around food or my body.

It was in desperation that I reached out to the FA community. I needed to hear that it was going to be ok. I wasn’t going to keep shoveling it in until I went nuclear. Don’t laugh, I was really afraid of that. I found some wonderful people, Marilyn Wann was the first, Linda Bacon,PhD, Kate Harding, Ragen Chastain and hundreds of Fat Women blogging about being fat and not exploding. Living their lives, doing things, wearing clothes with color and pattern. These wonderful fat women were not hiding. They were living out loud.

It was meeting The Fat Nutritionist that woke me up finally. I don’t have to eat spinach if I don’t want to. She told me not only did I not have to eat spinach, but I could eat anything I wanted, as much as I wanted, until I was full and it didn’t make me a bad person or a good person. It made me a person who was satisfying her hunger.

The moral of my story is this. For a couple of years now I have been eating what I want, when I want, as much as I want, until I am done. I have been moving my body when my body feels like moving in ways my body likes to move. I haven’t lost any weight. But you know what? I haven’t gained any significant weight either. Actually my weight fluctuates a few lbs. I can tell by how my clothes feel and the occasional weighing in at the doctors office. I go between 2 sizes. I didn’t blow up. I didn’t just keep getting fatter. I didn’t go nuclear. Some days I’m in too much pain to do much of anything physical. Some of that is due to my fibro, much of that is due to beating the shit out of myself for years to be an acceptable fatty. Most importantly I don’t hate myself anymore. I’m not a bad fatty or a good fatty. I’m just fat.

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