Never mind the obesity crisis, we have a crisis of agency

Week 2 Recap・Weight Loss with Intuitive Dieting・The Reluctant Cook

Day 15・Sunday Scales: -2.2 lbs・Total Loss: 8.8 lbs

For me the first two weeks on a diet are crucial. Week 1 is all about adjusting my head, body and kitchen to the program, shopping the right foods, cooking more and resisting any big cravings, temptations or all-or-nothing thinking that might pop up. Week 2 is about keeping my intentions focussed, finetuning some of the details and mostly just staying consistent with my tracking and my food choices.

So far so good. I am very happy with the total loss of 8.8 lbs, it means I am on track to losing my first 10 lbs and also to my first milestone, which is my 2015 starting weight. You can actually see a few of my previous starting weights in my milestones list and they could easily be taken as ‘proof’ that diets don’t work because I clearly kept on gaining more weight over the years. But I no longer buy into the ‘diets don’t work’ message because frankly, diets DO work. If we stick to them. And that is where the crux of the matter is really buried, in that muddy zone between the highly effective mechanics of a diet and our very personal diet demons that will do anything to keep us in our comfort zone where we are not challenged to face some hard truths and asked to do even harder work.

People often talk about the obesity crisis in our society but I actually think that we have a Crisis of Agency.

For whatever reason we no longer trust in our ability to make good choices for ourselves and instead are told to blame everyone and everything else for our diet failures and weight gains: the additives in our foods, the diet industry, the government, the carbs, the fats, the sugar, our metabolism, our childhood traumas and family histories, and god knows what else. Sure, we are also good at blaming ourselves and feeling like losers when we fail at yet another diet, and then we use that as an excuse to go back into the arms of Ben & Jerry because ultimately we feel utterly powerless and defeated.

That is not agency.

When I talk about agency I mean taking responsibility for our choices and actions. We are the ones who put the food into our mouths, no one is forcing us, no one is pushing that pint of ice cream down our throats. Of course, there are many dynamics that influence our choices - like our environment, history and the habits we’ve formed over a lifetime - these cannot be underestimated and they have the power to repeatedly trip us up. However, ultimately WE are the boss here. We CAN make choices for ourselves and one of those choices can be to ignore any or all of these dynamics and do it anyway.

We have so much more power than we think.

For me it has always been very easy to forget this. I’d rather numb out and stay in my safe bubble than do something that I think will require a lot of energy and a level of attention that is potentially hard for me to sustain. However, one thing I am learning is that the more I stand in my power the more energized I feel. This is not a feeling I am used to, it does not come natural to me. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth pursuing and practicing.

Your degree of resistance around something will be proportional to the amount of power waiting for you on the other side of that resistance.
— Barbara Stanny

Well, I think that’s enough philosophizing for today, don’t you? Here is a little slideshow from this week to conclude this post. You can see more pics on my Instagram. By the way, we don’t have a dog, this is just a friend’s very sweet girl that you see in one of the photos, we are looking after her for three weeks. Despite my dodgy joints I’ve been really enjoying getting out for some walks!

Have a great week!