This post isn’t about weight.

Last October, I radically changed my diet. I won’t get too into the details – the synopsis is that I was often very tired, I’d gained a bit of weight, and I was having a hard time getting back to the weight I’d been for years.
But I’m a skinny girl, and no one really likes to hear a skinny girl talk about her weight.
Anyway, I cut out flour and most refined sugar, all dairy except yogurt and eggs, all meat except fish. I cut back on oil. I started eating way more vegetables and more fruit. Pasta and ice cream and cheese and cake were all replaced with salads and soups and tofu and beans and fruit smoothies.
And maybe this sounds draconian to some of you, but it was surprisingly a very easy transition for me. Once I cut out fried chicken and pasta and cheese, I no longer craved them. My palate quickly adjusted to the taste of salad, the sweetness of fruit.
And within a week, I noticed a huge change: I felt really good. I slept soundly. My energy, which I had thought had gotten low in my 30s because of a thyroid condition, drastically improved. I was able to think more clearly (probably because I was getting better sleep). I had never really thought about how heavy foods were dragging me down. Once I cut them out, I was surprised by how little I missed them.
At the same time, I’ve also been streamlining my life. Gone are the late nights, the afternoons out where I think “I’d much rather be at home.” I’ve stopped going to movies because I’d much rather be in my studio than in a dark theater.  I guard my schedule to make sure that I have enough creative time – and enough time to relax. 
As a result, I’ve been far more productive in the past six months than in the past three years. I feel like I’m creating some of my best work. It can sometimes be hard to explain to friends that I don’t want to go shopping or to the movies with them.  And I’m occasionally embarrassed to be the woman at dinner who orders the huge salad while everyone else orders burgers or pasta.
But I do still eat chocolate. I’ll have a slice of cake at a celebration. My friend smoked some pork shoulder on the Fourth of July and I had two servings. I still spend a lot time with my friends (though I refuse to go shopping with them). What I have done is cut out a lot of the unnecessary stuff, the things that weighed me down. I am so much the happier – and healthier – for it.
What unnecessary things keep you from doing the things you want to do, feeling the way you want to feel? What can you cut out for your mental and physical health?

Image mine, taken from a parking lot somewhere in LA.

2 thoughts on “This post isn’t about weight.”

  1. I’ve been thinking about how unnecessary socializing can weigh me down. Maybe like what you’ve experienced? All these extra luxuries crowd out the simple pleasures in our lives. As a mom, I’m consciously trying to say ‘No’ to all these extras… the extra playdates, extra activities, extra mom-commitments. Maybe we are overly fortunate to live near endless options for food, events, nightlife, etc. But why is it so difficult to say No? Do you need to come to terms with a sense of guilt for passing up so many amazing opportunities?

  2. Hillary – Exactly. I used to struggle with saying “no,” but would just feel overscheduled. I’ve started trying to channel my inner two-year-old and say it really, really often. I need play time!

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