Calorie-counting makes for a depressing Thanksgiving
While the leftovers are still in our fridge from an absolutely delicious Thanksgiving dinner that my spouse and I cooked and enjoyed together, I noticed the following postcard from this week’s PostSecret:
I lied on Thanksgiving…
4ox. 489 Cal (on the Turkey)
200 Cal (on the gravy) 375 Cal (on veggies?)
I wasn’t sick, but skipping the family dinner was the only way I could get out of eating all those calories.
I find this card incredibly depressing. How very sad, that on the one day a year that we set aside a time for gratitude, community, and enjoying good food, this person chose dishonesty, vanity, body-hatred, and isolation.
I have written before about how dieting leads to death, not life. Choosing isolation over community* is choosing death over life. Choosing body-hatred over gratitude is choosing death over life. Choosing to distrust our body and trying to control it in ways that are ultimately impossible is choosing a path that leads to physical, mental, and social ill-being; it is the path of death. Choosing gratitude, being in communtiy, trusting our body, eating the amount that feels right and good for us and truly enjoying it; this is the path to life.
Today my Facebook feed has been abuzz with talk of Weight Watchers’ new point system**. My initial comment to one of the communities I follow which posted it was: “I think ANY point system for food leads to an unhealthy distrust of the body and an impossible ideal of controlling our beautiful, precious, un-controllable bodies. In short: disordered eating.”
While my initial reaction was to fight against the fatphobic mentality of dieting/restriction in any form, the longer I thought about it the more deeply I began to feel gratitude and peace. I felt gratitude for my body, for its beauty and preciousness and all the amazing things it lets me do every day, welling up in me. I felt peace about the progress I am making in moving beyond the disordered mentality I have had for so long about my body. And I posted the following as my status message:
[Katie] is so grateful for her amazing body. It tells me what it needs when it needs it, it heals itself and helps me to heal from emotional injuries, and it provides me with a way to interact with the world around me. I am also immensely grateful that I am learning not to try to control what I cannot control about it.
There is no gratitude in calorie-counting. There is no peace in a point system. The only hope for making peace with our bodies is learning to love and trust them. That is the way to abundant and healthful life.
* note that here I am not talking about healthy solitude that we all need from time to time for things like reflection and rejuvination, but isolation as a byproduct of the dieting behavior.
** no I’m not going to link it. Feel free to Google!