(It's fairly widely accepted these days that the word "diet" is a bad word and should be replaced with "healthy living" or some other such term synonymous with the intention to reduce food intake and increase exercise. For the purposes of being understood, I'm using the D word in today's post.)
I want to know, why is it that in my skinniest days I was able to say that I was losing weight for competitions, but now that I have gained a few pounds I am not allowed to even mention an intention to cut back?!
The difference seems to be that when I was trying to lose weight for TKD, I felt I had a legitimate reason, one that was not based in a shallow desire to fit into a smaller size of clothing (that was just an unbelievable bonus!). So I felt I was given permission, in social situations, to decline all forms of treat food, acting as though excess calories were kryptonite to my system. None of my friends had a problem with my lunacy of 3 small meals and up to 3 training sessions a day. Even my starvation periods pre-competition were either accepted or went unnoticed as I cut back to close to between 100-500 cals a day to lose last-minute water weight. All of this was allowed because I was an athlete and this had to be done to make weight.
I was an athlete. One who would be nearly fainting as she got on to the weighing scales. One who would be barely able to finish a couple of rounds in the ring and would need hours/days of recovery time before eating or feeling normal. An athlete, a sparrer, who was lean and fit, but mentally unprepared for the fight.
Now I eat normally. I have learned from my mistakes of the past. I know now that in order to train hard and be strong I need to give my body fuel. Over the summer I ate more than normally. I took a break. I gained more holiday weight than I'd intended. I want to lose it. Without resorting to my old "tricks of the trade", I want to go on a proper, healthy, diet. But I can't say that. I can't go on a diet just because I want to be skinnier, it's just not allowed. I could lie and say that I have a competition coming up that I need to prepare for, but I'm too honest for that. Even if I could keep a straight face, my blushing cheeks would give me away. So I give in to the perceived social pressure and I eat normally, and then I feel guilty because I know I shouldn't be eating so much.
I know how to lose weight, I've done it so many times I could nearly write a book on it. In fact, I have written lengthy notes and diet/training plans for other competitors. So how do I give myself permission to diet, ignoring public perception, without slipping back into extreme mistakes of the past?