Giving Up Dieting in a Diet-Obsessed World
Becoming comfortable in my own skin started with learning to love myself as I am
Losing weight used to be the most important thing in my life. Year after year, it was my resolution each January. And, year after year, despite my weight, I never felt like I had succeeded. If I gained weight, I felt I had failed. If I maintained my weight, I felt I had not done enough. If I lost weight, I felt I still had so much further to go.
My highest weight was 300 pounds. I panicked. I felt out of control. I changed my diet and exercise habits and started to lose weight.
My lowest weight was 201 pounds. Still, I panicked. Still, I felt unsafe. No matter the number on the scale, the way I felt about my body remained the same. The weight started to come back, and I changed my diet and exercise habits again. More restriction. More control. More punishment
If I gained weight, I felt I had failed. If I maintained my weight, I felt I had not done enough.
I used to collect and share all sorts of fitness inspiration (“fitspo”) graphics and memes in online weight loss groups. Slogans like, “Eat like you love your body,” and, “Don’t let food be the boss of you,” and, “Strive for progress, not perfection,” and, “In three months, you will thank yourself,” were my absolute bread and butter.
I strived to achieve those things.
I ate salads and raw veggies and drank “superfood” shakes because I wanted to eat like I loved my body.
I avoided sugar entirely, even eschewing condiments, because I wanted to eat like I loved my body.
I did clean eating cleanses and sugar fasts and Whole30 so that I could be the boss of food, instead of letting food be the boss of me.
When I slipped up and ate something off-plan, I tried to remind myself that it was still progress as long as I didn’t gain weight — that a couple of bad days on a diet didn’t mean I was an utter failure destined to a life in this fat body.
I knew that after three grueling months of breaking my “bad” food habits, I would be on my way to a toned, lean, fit…