Part of improving or getting better is to look at what I’ve done in the past and recognizing that what once may have worked, does no longer. To give up dieting, I need to recognize and release my dieting mentality. That is to identify why I diet, how I diet, the rules I use to diet, and so on. I thought writing out my history might help me understand and remove them from my life.
I first learned about nutrition on a very basic level at seven in a 4-H cooking/nutrition club. It was more about having a balanced plate and eating variety than anything else. This has always applied to my life as my mother, then I, prepared dinners with fruits or vegetables, salad, side, and main dish. When the kids left home and I was the only one sitting down to dinner guilt struck as I moved to only fixing a main and vegetable or fruit or salad, but not all the rest. If a main had vegetable in it, it would be all I ate. But when thinking about how healthy a meal was, I’d judge it unhealthy. I still ate a variety and usually had lots of produce in my days, but it wasn’t the balance I was taught.
My first introduction to nutrition for weight loss came in 6th grade. I was skinny; I knew I was. People teased me about blowing away in the wind and hiding behind a flag pole. Weight wasn’t’ the reason for my introduction. Well, at least not my weight. I was asked to join a nutrition group at school among normal weight and overweight students to be an example or motivation of sorts. Only that is not what I took away from the program. Instead, I learned how to eat and make choices to control my weight. I learned to judge my eating. The quantity and choices I made weren’t favorable to being thin – though that is what I was. I started collecting diet papers and books and clipping healthy recipes and desserts. My mind was at war with what I was learning.
Then we were taught that we needed to walk or run for exercise and were given permission to stay in the gym at lunch instead of playing and jumping rope as we always had. I began to associate the type of physical activity as whether it was for weight management or play, and play didn’t count for weight management. I still played and ran for fun, but I didn’t’ give myself credit for just moving or even acknowledge that being active having fun as a healthy activity.
The struggled continued as I aged.