How do you use your creative energy?
I used to squander mine.
I have always been perpetually on a diet. And if I wasn’t actually on a diet, I was planning which diet was going to be next. Because, as every good dieter knows, the next diet will be the one that works. The next diet will always be the last one. Except, of course, that it isn’t.
It’s exhausting constantly going through this cycle.
So exhausting that, with work and relationships and money problems and everything else thrown in, there isn’t much energy left for anything else. Especially new and scary creative ventures.
About a year ago I started exploring dieting alternatives, without realising that was what I was doing. Actually at the time I thought I was looking for the next diet – although of course I didn’t think of it as a diet, because everyone knows that diets don’t work; I was looking for my next ‘lifestyle change’ (read: diet). The two things that really spoke to me and slowly started to make more and more sense were this woman and this group.
After a while I started to realise that what I had been doing all along was never going to work. I’m not going to list all the diets I tried, or thought about trying, or researched, or contemplated last thing at night before falling asleep and first thing in the morning after waking. Suffice it to say, I was very busy using a lot of my energy on this whole weight-loss venture, as I pretty much had been, on and off since about the age of 10.
So when I eventually made the conscious decision to quit dieting at the start of this year, I freed up a lot of my creative energy without realising it. It wasn’t until I started journaling daily and creating regularly that I realised what had happened.
I had harnessed all of the energy I used to spend obsessing about my weight, diet and exercise for my creativity!
Now I find that the more I create, the more I want to create. The way I’m using my creative energy now is so productive – it fills me with joy and inspiration, leading to more creative energy. When I was using my energy to obsess about dieting, it got me nothing (not even weight-loss, or at least not for very long).
As someone who has spent their whole life worrying about their weight, there is something so liberating about channelling that energy to something that fills me up.
The irony is that expressing my creativity does fill me up in a way that food can’t.
So in the end, it’s really more productive for my health, anyway.
I will say this: I’m not totally happy with my body. I still look in the mirror and sometimes feel unhappy, or disappointed, or even disgusted (FYI, I still felt that way when I was much slimmer, so there you go). But I’m actively practising self-love, self-acceptance and trying to make peace with my body. Dieting never helped me to lose weight – long term I’ve ended up bigger than before I started (a total cliche, but of course it’s spot on) so it’s not the solution. Maybe loving myself and nourishing myself creatively, eating what I feel like in moderation and doing exercise I actually like will make me happier, whether I’m thinner or not.
So that’s my plan from here on out.