My mother was the leader of my sister’s Girl Scout troop from the time the girls were 1st grade Brownies until she took them to Europe for six weeks as juniors and senior in high school. Though five years younger than the troop members, I was always along for the ride. I meet them when I was a toddler and know a few of them to this day. Yesterday, one of the Doty Bunch commented on my post. Rachel said, “…by sharing your failures and successes, you also share your authenticity and credibility! I love you!”
What a humbling thing! It’s humbling to me that: 1. Rachel (and you) choose to spend part of your day with me, and 2. That a woman who knew me when I was in diapers takes me seriously. Her comment raised something that has always bothered me – reality in the diet and health promotion industry.
I’m sure there are people who really do feel compelled to eat nothing artificial, nothing with added sugar, nothing processed. I’m sure there are people who, given the choice between an orange and a warm sticky bun will always choose the orange without even thinking that they’ve giving anything up. I’m sure there are people who deal with life’s challenges and outright sucker punches by going for a run without even considering eating their way through the freezer at Dairy Queen. I’m sure these people exist. After all, there actually are people who get their jollies by dressing up as giant stuffed animals. Surely the Stepford Health Nuts are no more unlikely than the Furries. Well, not much more unlikely.
Whether they actually exist or not, they appear to and they appear to write a great number of books. In the ones I’ve read, I haven’t really found any confessions of people dealing with emotional eating or cravings or sugar addiction. Maybe I’m just not reading the right books; but, it’s always been frustrating for me. I see these people with their 64 teeth, their beautiful bodies, their spotless kitchens, their organic pantries and I don’t see anything that looks like me. Their image is perfection. My life is messy. Emotionally, I see their image as reality, as an achievable ideal. And I see my inability to actually achieve that ideal as a constant failure on my part. Intellectually, I don’t think that most of us are wired to achieve their reality (if it even exists) any more than I think that most of us want to zip into a giant teddy bear suit. Intellectually, I might suspect that Jillian Michaels gagging over a gordita is at least some acting on her part; but, emotionally, I believe her wholesale rejection and think that I have been somehow a failure since I’d have eaten that in a second.
But that’s not right.
Her reactions are not mine. My reactions may not be the most healthful; but, they are my reality. I might choose the orange over the sticky bun today, but I’d give that sticky bun a good sniff and I might even shed a tear or two. I might do the right thing for my body this time; but, that doesn’t mean I always will.
I will fail. But that doesn’t make me a failure.