Warning: contains swears.
I struggle with compliance and obedience in a certain context.
I’m good at taking medicine – pills, supplements and insulin injections. And blood-glucose readings. But sometimes my hackles rise when I’m told what to eat – and sometimes they don’t.
Here’s the kicker: dietary change has to not feel punitive.
It’s the same with exercise of course – do it on your terms, or not at all.
This is completely non-negotiable for me.
Pills and supplements are easy, because they don’t feel like a judgement, they don’t appear – to me – to come morally loaded.
Maybe you feel like you want to be eating ‘better’ – this raises some issues – are there already judgements at hand – moral or otherwise – that you’ve internalised? Are they serving you, or merely getting in the way? Why do you feel that change is necessary – and how do you want to change? Do you want to be healthier or happier? Or do you want to be recognised for the hard work you apply to bettering yourself? If the theme is for you as it was for me: restriction or deprivation = increased worth, prepare yourself for a struggle.
In short – if you feel like dietary change is necessary – is it because of a value judgement or not?
What helps, of course, is also not using food as a reward. It’s food – everyone needs to eat. It’s not a right you can earn or lose. The fact that you deserve to eat is non-negotiable. What does this mean about treats? It’s fun to treat ourselves. But if you already believe in your right to eat whatever you damn well please – what becomes of the role of treats?
Do you still need to ‘treat’ yourself when your default belief is that you’re totally fucking awesome? Celebrate yourself in any way you like. But don’t celebrate and ‘treat’ as a temporary reprieve from the hardship of deprivation and worthlessness. You don’t need to play that game. Celebration is not compensation. It’s not an escape. It’s celebration.
Training can fill you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride – but it’s all about context. Are you training to build yourself, or diminish yourself? To celebrate joy and freedom, or to qualify and compensate?
There’s a reason I bold-ed it. I’ll say it again, because even though the theme has been kicking around for ages, it was still a personal break-through:
Dietary change has to not feel punitive.
If it does, you’ll always resist. If it’s about diminishing yourself, you’ll always resist. If it’s about serving your interests – this perspective can free you to pursue what’s right for you – and keeping your own true interests in mind helps to protect you from other people’s propaganda.
You can’t eat to please someone else –only yourself. Not only is it impossible, trying to do so only messes with your ability to feed yourself.
So – fuck compliance. Does what you’ve been told actually gel with what works for you? If so, the perceived obedience is purely circumstantial. That’s not the issue. You’re eating on your terms.
As a society we have to get over this idea that our training and dietary choices are morally loaded. It hurts everyone, and helps nobody. Punishment, purification, atonement, validation – it doesn’t work that way. Not if you really care about public health. Or fun.
If the things that are supposed to improve you – make you healthier – if they’re punitive, how are we ever going to succeed? How can we ever embrace them with a positive spirit?
If they’re used as compensatory measures – we don’t feel sexy enough or whatever – where is that really going to lead us? To validation when we’re good, and judgement when we fall off the rails? So when we’re struggling with life, when we can’t train, eat or behave like we used to – the solution is to judge ourselves more harshly? To cast blame upon others – to accuse them of not being the person they used to be? No. Bullshit. Love yourself, even when life isn’t going to plan. Especially then. Love yourself when you feel the ugliest. It’s when you need it. Forgive yourself for struggling. And if other people only love and respect you when you’re ‘beautiful’ – fuck them. It reflects more on them than it does on you.