I’m reading a lovely book called The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size. It’s by Julia Cameron (author of my favorite creativity book, The Artist’s Way), who noticed in her 25 years of teaching that people often lost weight when using her tools for “creative recovery.” In addition to her standard creativity tools, Writing Diet presents a number of new tools aimed at weight loss. Really, they are all mindfulness practices: journaling, checking in with one’s emotions before eating something, that kind of thing. It all seems like good solid advice for both losing weight and finding more time to be creative and present with my life (that’s why this entry is going into this blog instead of the other one!).
I’ve been making my way steadily through this book today, doing all the exercises, getting out for a super-quick walk between bouts of rain, cooking, and so on. But now I’ve hit a snag. Julia Cameron says I have to find a “Body Buddy,” someone with whom I check in daily about how things are going. The Body Buddy is a combination cheerleader, accountability partner, and compassionate friend. The exercise for this chapter was to write down what I’m looking for in my buddy, and I almost skipped this step because I’m so reluctant to do this. I really, really don’t want a Body Buddy.
First, I don’t like asking for help. I went through years of school hardly ever raising my hand, and I’d always rather do things on my own than team up with someone else. Partly I think my parents raised me this way, and probably I’m just kind of that way naturally. It just always seems like I ought to do things on my own. So it goes totally against the grain for me to find a partner for this project, and for me to post publicly about wanting one is already pretty scary.
Second — I hate to be so completely cliché — I don’t want to admit that I have a problem. Yes, I eat a lot more than I should, and depending what reference you consult, I’m somewhere between 20 and 50 pounds overweight, but so what? I can quit anytime if I really want to… it’s not a really serious problem, not like some people… blah, blah, blah, insert any timeworn addict’s dodge you like. Seriously, 20-50 pounds overweight? That is a problem. I do believe I’ve made big strides toward a healthier lifestyle in the last few years, and I really do love myself and think I’m beautiful, but the fact remains: I’m carrying around a lot of extra weight that I would be better off without, and it shows no signs of going away on its own. I can’t get away from that.
Third, in spite of all my open-and-upfront entries about eating, I’m actually kind of defensive about my eating habits if you really put me on the spot. Certain members of my family take a total food-police attitude toward eating, so whenever anyone questions what I’m eating or how much I’m eating, it makes me feel like a cornered cat (or teenager). If I’m going to have a Body Buddy, I need this to be someone who (a) isn’t in my family, (b) doesn’t remind me of anyone in my family, and (c) treats me like a grown-up the entire time. This is what I’m terrified will happen: a friend will become my Body Buddy, the friend will say something I interpret as critical, I will hold a grudge against that person for the rest of our lives, and I will lose a friend.
Fourth, I can’t think who to ask to be my Buddy. At this point Erik has seen so much of my habits that he hardly qualifies as a fresh pair of eyes. Nearly all my female friends are also looking to lose weight, and I’m not sure if I feel like being someone else’s Body Buddy at the moment (selfish, but there you have it). Also, everyone is so busy, I don’t want to put any more pressure on anyone by asking them to do this for me.
So… I’m putting Julia Cameron’s philosophy to the test: if you really want something, put your request out there and the universe will provide. This is my missive to the listening universe. Universe, I am officially looking for a Body Buddy. Have you got one for me?
Who would my ideal Buddy be?
- Someone whose judgment I trust and who feels the way I do about natural, sustainable foods (or who at least understands that perspective).
- Someone with great caring and compassion. Someone who will treat me like a grown-up, and never make me feel like my eating choices are a reflection of my intellect or my maturity.
- Someone who has time and is willing to check in with me every day about what I’ve been eating. This might not take more than a few minutes, I don’t know. I’d prefer to do this via email, but I’d also like my buddy to be reachable by phone if I need to talk. I’m guessing I will do Cameron’s writing diet for at least three months, but frankly, I really haven’t thought about time frame.
- Someone I don’t currently eat with, because having my accountability partner be present at the table would really mess with my “I don’t like to be put on the spot about my eating choices” button.
- Not a family member, not a colleague. Maybe a friend, maybe an acquaintance, maybe a total stranger.
- Maybe not someone who’s currently trying to lose weight too. I’m not 100% sure on this one.
- Someone who’s willing to help me out with something I’ve struggled with for many years, who’s prepared to watch me launch a really fresh start for the first time in years, and who will gracefully accept my eternal gratitude if this works!!!
As I say, I’m at a total loss as to who this Body Buddy might be, but I’m hoping it might be you. 🙂 I know I haven’t made this sound like an easy task, and I’m guessing that’s accurate… I don’t expect losing weight to be easy for me, and it might not be easy for my Buddy either. But then again, it might, and how wonderful would that be? Please let me know if you’re at all interested in taking this journey with me. And if you’re not, I understand, and welcome you as a spectator. 🙂 As they say on Bravo, watch what happens!