I had an epiphany.
It was the kind of moment where you felt both totally unnerved and totally liberated at the same time. Like, you knew you had just stumbled upon the truth but it somehow made less sense than the lie you’d been living with. It was the woman’s equivalent to a child finding out that Santa is more “state a mind” than an actual being.
What I’m about to say is going to shock you, so I want you to take a deep breath and make sure you’re sitting down. This revelation is going to conflict with everything you’ve been taught about how to be a woman of the world.
Are you ready?
Can you handle it?
As I was reaching for a bunch of bananas, the other day while grocery shopping, and silently figuring out when I could eat them in correspondence with the variety of items that had already made their way to my cart, it hit me: I CAN EAT A BANANA WHENEVER I WANT.
No, seriously. I can peel an entire banana, knowing that one whole nanner is actually two whole servings of fruit, and eat it all at once. The whole banana. And not feel guilty.
Not. Feel. Guilty.
Because here’s the real remarkable and life giving truth that I have buried for my entire life: I don’t have to be on a diet! I don’t have to want to lose weight! I don’t have to wish I was skinnier, toner, fitter, stronger, or able to run 10 miles at a time!
I am allowed to be happy with who I am, with how I look, and with what I eat!
This is not the messy girl anthem to just “let yourself go”…and this is not a protest against health or fitness. Heck, I don’t know what it is beyond liberation from my own personal demon. I only know that the idea was at once absurd and truthful. It was as crazy as it was obvious.
A week ago, my therapist told me I view my body the way an anorexic would view her body. That what I see is not what the world sees. That when I look at the mirror, my image is morphed to the perceptions of others that I have been fed my entire life. Some women easily (or not) side step this particular trap. I bought right in. And while I never went so far as to be anorexic, can I tell you–and I say this with a mix of shame and pity–that there have times in my life when I wished I could be anorexic? That I have literally beat myself up because I couldn’t be anorexic, because I gave in to eating.
That is insane! I write that out and I’m like “you are out of your mind, Noel!”
But that’s the messy truth of it. I have lived my life as a size 2-6 and commonly use words like “huge” to describe myself on a bad day.
And yesterday, throughout the entire shopping experience, I mentally judged and bashed myself. My worth would go up and down based upon what I was putting into my cart. Mac and cheese? I am such a bad mom. And also a little hefty. Greek yogurt? If I eat that for every meal for the week, maybe I’ll lose a couple pounds. Frozen pizza? Forget it…#hopeless
Until, finally, I reached the produce– exhausted, weary, and confused about why I always had to try to lose weight when I am always at a healthy weight. It was a lightening bolt from heaven, straight to my heart.
Girlfriend, you do not have to want to change anything about yourself. Be healthy, be joyful, and be hungry for the word of God.
Sisterfriend, let us march into battle, however out of breath that may leave us, banana swords poised and ready.
Woman of my heart, let us declare deliverance from the diet demon and stand firm in our knowledge of who God says we are.
And let us eat the whole dang banana.
What is your experience with diets?