Welcome to a new Saturday series here in my kitchen, Soften Saturdays.
For those who don’t know, I started out as a food writer, writing about donuts of all things, because of a multi-year weight loss journey. (Donuts were the one sweet I allowed myself each week in an effort to reduce how many sweets I consumed.) At one point, I weighed over 300 pounds and found a way to eat myself thinner. But that came with health implications. And then I figured out I was never going to be thin enough. I don’t mean by your standards or by society’s standards, that’s for another Soften Saturday, I mean by MY standards. I kept pushing and pushing to lose more weight and in the process, lost more and more of my health. I was frustrated, displeased with myself, forcing myself through eating and fitness regimens that were less than healthy for me.
Then one day a very wise yogini said to me, “Maybe you should soften in your approach. And also, you are terrific just the way you are.”
Whoa. Know what? She was right! My approach was very harsh, nothing soft about it. I used harsh words and thoughts toward myself that I would have never used toward a friend or even a stranger. High on that list was the word CHEAT.
Anything that didn’t fit into my highly restrictive eating plans (severe calorie restriction, elimination of entire nutrient groups, prescription and OTC diet medications, you name it, I did it) was considered a CHEAT.
Maybe you’ve used that word, too? I see folks on diets that include a CHEAT DAY or a CHEAT MEAL. I hear people talk about CHEATING when they indulge in a piece of cake to celebrate a birthday, sometimes their very own birthday. It’s always got this ugly undertone about it, like a dirty little secret of how and what one is eating. It doesn’t have to be that way, it’s okay to be a bit softer in the words you use when speaking to yourself. It’s okay to be soft.
The word I use instead of CHEAT is exception. So I had an exception, big deal. I’m back on board with my healthy eating and the world isn’t going to end. I’m not calling myself a fraud or a swindler because I chose to have a slice of cake. I hope you won’t either. It’s okay to have an exception and then move on without beating yourself up. There’s power in words, just like there is power in you. Use them both for good, be soft to yourself.
About Soften Saturdays: In the upcoming weeks, Soften Saturdays will feature posts from me and others I admire on the topics of healthy body image, healthy living, being kind to ourselves and more. I hope you’ll join us. Saturday is an especially great day to think about being soft with ourselves!