Today, I had a long, exhausting conversation with the Crazy Diet Lady in my brain. She is a real nuisance, sometimes. It's like having your annoying relative at the table who constantly talks in your ear about how you have "such a beautiful face," and how you'd be a real catch if you ever did something about your weight. Do you have relatives like that? I do, but that's another story. Anyway,the diet lady in my head is a conglomeration of all of the negative, intrusive, and brow-beating opinions and ideas I have absorbed throughout my life as a fat lady. Crazy Diet Lady is very annoying, and very persistent. She can also be very convincing, and loud.
She likes to show up when I have my guard down. Just when I think, "Wow, I might be OK. I think I like myself right now," she comes swooping in, hoping to get me back to the "dark side." Our conversations go like this:
Me: I like peanut butter. Isn't it nice that I can eat peanut butter without running 10 miles afterwards?
Crazy Diet Lady: No, you don't like peanut butter! It has alot of fat. You should feel guilty about liking peanut butter. You are fat. Remember how great you looked when you did Weight Watchers? Remember how you could buy clothes from anywhere? Remember....well I can't think of any other good things, but anyway, you should be skinny.
Me: I was completely deranged when I was on Weight Watchers.
Crazy Diet Lady: Who cares? You just got lazy. If you were still on Weight Watchers, maybe your life would be better, and you would be cooler. You could be a really good rock climber, or maybe a yoga teacher. You have to be skinny to be a yoga teacher, or to be cool.
Me: My life is better already without Weight Watchers. I have a full life. I don't have to be skinny to do yoga, or rock climb. Be quiet already.
Crazy Diet Lady: But you're fat.
Crazy Lady: Fat is bad! You are dumb and fat. You need weight watchers to make you skinny, and smart, and better.
Me: Weight Watchers isn't going to make me skinny, or smart, or better. In fact, it makes be crazier and fatter. It's called yo-yo dieting and weight cycling. Do your research, crazy lady.
Crazy Diet Lady: Whatever. You need some relief from the horrors of this fat body you live in. Oh, my God, look at your arms. Is your tummy poking out? You should just hide. Really! I'm signing you up for Weight Watchers. You should be skinny. Skinny is better.
Crazy Diet Lady went on and on like this for most of the day, and by the end of the day she almost had me. For one exhausted moment I forgot to answer her. I think I sortof fell asleep at the wheel, and let Crazy Diet Lady drive. I think of this as my own personal version of driving under the influence. When I let Crazy Diet Lady drive, I start to panic, which is exactly what happened today. I got on the scale. I freaked out. I skipped my yoga class ("You're too fat for yoga class!"), and I started to think about how I would have to shop for low-point food-like processed bars - more panic. I started to think I would start tomorrow, and eat a bunch of crap tonight. I signed up for a free week. Panic... Panic.... PANIC.
Luckily, my husband came home in the nick of time. Like any good addict, I initially thought maybe I just wouldn't tell him that I thought about joining Weight Watchers again. But, I came clean, and my husband, the saint, said, "What the hell are you thinking? Make sure you don't sign up for anything. It makes you crazy, and it's a waste of money."
The light bulb of sanity came on, and Crazy Diet Lady was banished in an instant. Thank God for reality checks.
So, instead of joining, I canceled my "free" (but totally costly to my self-esteem) week, and wrote Weight Watchers a note. Really, I was responding to the Crazy Diet Lady in my brain, but I think it sometimes helps to make an external, symbolic gesture in honor of my inner work. Also, I think somebody needs to tell Weight Watchers that their "lifestyle" is crazy-making bullshit. Here is what I wrote to them:
"I forgot that weight watchers makes me crazy. I want to live life fully, and this program makes me fixate on weight to the detriment of the rest of me and my life. I will not be joining again."
I know this isn't a big deal, really, and I imagine that noone will even read it, ever. But I needed to put it out there anyway, in writing. Even though I sometimes get confused, the real me knows that I do not, ever, have to go back to being run by the Crazy Diet Lady. She may get close sometimes, but she will never again get the best of me. I don't have to live in a constant state of panic about food, or my body, or my right to live in the world. I don't have to ruin my life, literally, for the sake of loosing a couple of pounds. I don't have to give anything up, or be somebody I'm not, or change myself just so that I can fit in to some social norm, or some diet industry-driven chart (follow the money, folks). I am no longer a willing participant in this game, and I will not be joining again.
So there, Crazy Diet Lady!