Sunday, June 9, 2013

The 'Life’s Too Short' Diet

Perhaps a little something with that coffee?
Do you fear you’ll be dealing with eating issues in your next decade—when you’re in your 30s, or 40s, 50s or beyond? Yearning to just be normal again? (Again—because at some point in time, perhaps way back when you were a child, you lived free of all these food concerns, never counting calories or giving a thought to when and how much you consumed).  Wrestling to release your self from the hold of anorexia, binge eating or bulimia, and the preoccupation with your weight and the diet du jour? Ready to be free of carb and fat phobia?

Scared? No surprise. You don’t yet trust the next step, but know it’s time to change. Seemingly damned if you do, damned if you don’t change your relationship with food.

There comes a point, a tipping point, when you realize that the cost-benefit of staying stuck is not in your favor. Don’t be fooled into believing that you’ll be happier if only you weighed a few pounds less, because it’s simply a moving target. And the toll that restrictive eating and disordered behaviors takes on your body and your mind is a steep price to pay—even if you thought you’d be happy. It’s not worth the ruminating, the fatigue, the loss of social activities, the isolation, or simply the risk. It’s not worth living with your secrets.

While I no longer struggle with an eating disorder (although my past history of restriction and binge eating was shared in Food to Eat), my tipping point crystalized soon after my diagnosis with MS. It hit me that I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring. (Brilliant, huh? Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring! We could be hit by a car or by lightning, heaven forbid.) The awareness that I could lose my ability to walk, or bike or go up the stairs in my home at absolutely any time highlighted for me that the time was now. I needed to start acting like life is short—because it is. I needed to carve out time for me and for my needs and to seize the moment. Putting off travel was no longer an option. Taking care of my body—including minimizing my stress level—was essential. Continuing to eat well and stay healthy—to take charge of the variables I can control—was essential.

So to my readers who want to challenge their status quo, consider the following—life’s too short.

Life’s too short:
  • To count your calories, fearing you’ll run short while still hungry for more food;
  • To jump on the gluten or milk free, low carb, or fill-in-the-blank-free diet when you have neither celiac, gluten intolerance nor milk tolerance issues;
  • To live in your head, ruled by diet rules about when and how much you’re allowed to consume, disconnected from your body and its signals;
  • To view foods solely as nutrients, versus the tasty, pleasurable part of your intake they are;
Do you believe this?

  • To eliminate categories of foods—yes, even cupcakes and desserts—even if they have little nutritional value;
  • To spend the majority of your waking hours consumed by your weight, or size of your hips/thighs/butt/stomach or muscle mass;
  • To deny your hunger for the sake of dropping some weight;
  • To omit those foods necessary to support your health and any diseases you may live with;
Yes, another one of my weekend breakfasts...
  • To fail to attend to your body’s needs for fuel, for moderate activity (if you’re healthy enough to do so) and for kindness;
  • To ignore the needs of your soul, denying yourself time for you and embracing your needs for fulfillment;
  • To consistently override your fullness because you feel you’ve blown it and you don’t deserve to feel better;
  • To abuse your body through unhealthy behaviors, including food restriction, binging, purging, and excessive exercise.
  • To wait until you feel deserving to enjoy the food you eat with all your senses.
  • To wait until Monday, or January first for change, or until you’re taken through the emergency entrance.

The only thing missing is Enjoy.
So assess your thoughts and your actions. And ask yourself “What do I need to change to improve the quality of my life?” Truly something is in your hands to change.

Because life’s too short.

Thanks for reading—and for sharing your thoughts.


  1. I have those thoughts all of the time. Why do I do this to myself? Why can't I be more grateful for my health and my body? I hate that I can't appreciate what I have and that I treat my body the way I do. After 20 years of restricting and over excersing, I can't remember not giving thought to eat and not give thought to what I'm putting in my mouth, or what my weight is. I can't remember what it's like to be normal.

  2. I would like to choose the "life is too short" diet. I have such regret at living my life in this disorder. It scares me to death how much time I have wasted and how different my life could have been had I not had anorexia. When I was a kid, no one knew, and I didn't get help until I was an adult. Now, with so many years of this I worry that it will never get better, despite how hard I work. I feel like I have to choose between the work of being in the disorder and the consequences of that and the work that goes into recovery and the (seemingly) consequences of that. I don't like the weight gain. I know no one does. I don't want to go back to my "sick" weight. But I want there to be a middle. A few less pounds than this, but not as few as before. I want so much to feel good about my body and appreciate it for more than how it looks or what size it is...I am just not there yet. And to be honest I feel like so many people judge bodies and it is distressing to me how I may now be negatively judged due to the weight I have gained - despite being in a 'normal' weight range.

  3. Right that's it, this has really hit a chord with me as life truly is too short not be living the life we all deserve. I'm making the first step today, and as the old saying goes 'a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step' :)