It’s difficult having friends who still diet.
It’s difficult because I wish I could convince them of the toxicity and futility of the pursuit — like the scientifically-proven futility — but, in my experience, people will deny the science until they are ready to accept it. Extremely smart people, who believe in science when it comes to climate change and COVID, still have trouble facing the facts about intentional weight suppression (and the limited impact weight has on the incredibly complex and dynamic thing that we call “health”). It may be impossible to part anyone from their beliefs, even their false ones, maybe most especially their false ones, until they’ve already loosened their grip. Maybe an opening must precede your intervention.
It’s difficult having friends who still diet because I struggle not to take it personally — it’s hard to watch people you love go to extreme lengths to not be like you.
I remember a period in my healing when I could see other fat women’s beauty, sexiness, wholeness, vibrant livingness and inherent worthiness but could not see my own. They were like mirages in the desert — obviously real, but somehow not for me. Obviously gorgeous, obviously happy — but I could not apply the possibility of simultaneous beauty and fatness or happiness and fatness to myself. I would say, “She looks great, but I look awful.” (And I do believe that, despite how people dress their anti-fatness in the costume of health, it is really about perceptions of beauty and acceptability; few dieters I know would agree to gain 20 pounds to improve some metric of metabolic health.)
So, I understand that it’s possible to appreciate (or not hate) fatness in other people while still finding it unacceptable in yourself. I understand that there is a space where we can accept and admire the liberated lives of others while not yet having the will, daring, desire, or skill to liberate ourselves. That there is a space where freedom is seductive but also, seemingly, impossible, and perhaps frightening. Where we can hold tight to a rule for ourselves that we wouldn’t impose on others. I have great sympathy for anyone in that place.
Still, it is difficult to witness anyone work so hard to avoid a fundamental element of your youness. It’s not exactly fun to be someone you love’s…