“You were not born to “control your weight”. You were born to grow and expand your mind, soften into your heart, create ideas and share them, be seen and heard, have fun, connect with other walking souls and be generous in your vulnerability.”
Up until recently, I believed my appetite could not be trusted. It was wild, unruly and unpredictable. It was Godzilla. Left to its own devices my appetite would gobble everything in sight. Certain foods couldn’t be kept in the house. If I made a cake, I’d surely eat the whole thing. My appetite was bottomless. If you’d told me about appetite suppressant lollipops a few years ago, I would have bought them.
But here’s the truth about appetite – like most bodily instincts and functions – your appetite is telling you something. What you’re supposed to do is listen. Not scream at it to shut up. When I finally decided to surrender dieting and the muzzle I’d been putting on my appetite I learned a lot.
For starters, I learned how scared I was. Terrified of becoming fat, terrified of retiring the goal of thinness. I wanted thin privilege and to be considered “in control”. I learned that I am hungrier when I am bored (and feeling guilty that I am not productive) and more ravenous when I am tired and need to sleep, (but think I should stay up and be productive). I learned that food gives me comfort and I am hungrier when I’m avoiding confrontation or think I deserve better treatment. I learned that my natural body weight, without dieting, is higher than I would like and what it is like to be in a bigger body. I learned that my appetite doesn’t devour the entire pantry and that cake is just cake. I learned how I had come to resent and mistrust my body and how much I’d come to judge fat bodies. I learned how much that had led me and those in fat bodies to suffer. I learned that I am both unique and incredibly ordinary. I realised that I had believed controlling my appetite would control my world and my health and would be an entryway to success in every other realm of life. I learned that there is so much I cannot control and that the things I can control or contribute to I had been ignoring – so that I could focus on managing my body. I learned that my appetite aims to serve me and wants me to be fuelled, nourished, cherished and happy. By allowing my appetite, I learned, deeply, about me.
When I see those ads for appetite suppressant lollipops with celebrities posing, lips plumped and pursed around the sticks, I know that my former self would have rushed to click “Add to Cart”. Suppress the beast? Yes, please! I know she would have leapt at the chance without knowing she was imprisoning a dear friend. And in doing so, she would have muzzled the opportunity to learn more about herself than she couldn’t possibly imagine. I know because I did this for years without those lollipops. I wasted an awful lot of time. I wish I could whisper to that former me, and all the young girls are currently seeing those ads – “You are not broken, and you do not need to be suppressed.”
Guest Blogger: Hannah Tunnicliffe
|Born in New Zealand, Hannah Tunnicliffe is a self-confessed nomad. She previously lived in Canada, Australia, England, Macau and, while travelling Europe, a campervan named Fred. She currently lives in New Zealand with her husband and three daughters, having ditched a career in Human Resources to become an author.When she is not writing or reading she can usually be found baking or eating and sometimes all four at the same time (which is probably somewhat hazardous). She is founder and co-author of the blog Fork and Fiction, which, unsurprisingly,explores her twin loves – books and food.
When she is not writing or reading she can