“I need to go on a diet” I thought to myself last Sunday night as I got off the scales having just found out I had put on a stone since February.
You don’t need to diet!! I imagine you to be screaming through the screen, because girls are great and that’s what we scream when one of our own starts talking such bullshit. Thank you for that, by the way, but I’ll say to you what I say to my IRL friends when they screamed similar things at me:
I know I don’t NEED to diet, but I want to. I’m not loving what’s going on right now, I want to make a change, love you, love me, but would be happier to love me if there was a little less of me to love etc. etc.
So I did as I have done so many times before, I re-downloaded My Fitness Pal, stocked up on vegetables and vowed, once again, that I wouldn’t eat carbs because carbs are devil foods. I leapt into Monday morning with all the enthusiasm of Carrie Bradshaw entering a shoe shop.
Well it’s been ten days now and I’m dismayed but not surprised to announce that I have eaten more potatoes than I thought possible and enough Haribo to keep a gaggle of eight year olds (and one 23 year old) going for four nights without sleep. I don’t even really like Haribo that much, but here I am, three share bags deep.
It seems this was another diet, abandoned.
A diet that was always destined to fail, now smouldering in the corner having crashed and burned before it even finished the first lap.
It was revealed in 2016 that two thirds of Britains are on diets ‘most of the time’. When you couple this information with the fact that we are now more overweight than we ever have been before, you’re well on your way to identifying a pattern.
Feeling overweight and unhappy with your body? Go on a diet to lose weight. Overwhelmed by the diet, bored and hungry? Why, you must give up in the most dramatic and terrible way you know how to. Personally I recommend trying to work out how many chocolate buttons you can fit in your mouth in one go – just to really show the diet how done with it you are.
I’ve put on four pounds since this madness began. I really showed that diet didn’t I?
I’m angry with myself for dieting, not least of all because it goes against everything I have ever stood for. I am vehemently against them, I hate, DESPISE, watching my friends embarking on them, I spend most my life proclaiming body positivity and fantasising about pizza and all the joy it brings me.
I hate that even after everything I have put my body through before, all the diets I have tried, all the loathing I have channeled at my beautiful stomach, and then all the work I did to recognise that and rectify it (four years of blogging and a book talking about alllll things positive) I’m still falling into this bullshit trap. Fool.
I am loathed to even write about this at all. At a size 10 it is downright irresponsible of me to talk about diets to be honest. I don’t need to go on one, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my perfect body and I’m an idiot for even contemplating caring about calories.
But I want to talk about it, because a) I’m not the only one that starts one of these things (against their better judgement) only to crash and burn and end up heavier and more unhappy than they were when they started, b) it has given me a new appreciation for my body and how I ought to be treating it and c) because this will, with any luck, be the last diet I ever attempt again and so it seems fitting to at least give it a parting gift.
A big old ‘get fucked’ blog post.
You see my body has yo-yod all over the shop over the last ten years or so. I was a chubby teenager, boarder line fat by the age of 18, and then lost a lot of weight aged 20 due to an IBS diagnosis and subsequent food allergies, by 21 I was physically fit and probably the thinnest I’ve ever been.
I levelled out over the next few years, put on a bit of weight, looked fantastic for a while and then got really ill with my stomach, finding out I had an auto-immune disease, I lost even more weight before getting a bit better and putting a LOT back on again. That leads me to where I am today, feeling pretty good health wise but conscious of the fact that I am about two stone heavier than I was three years ago.
Again, it doesn’t matter – none of it matters, I’m just filling ya in.
The thing that forced me to a diet this time, I think, is the fact that I am currently ‘off games’. I hurt my hip (because yes I am 104) a few weeks ago and have been unable to exercise, hell, I’ve been unable really to walk and that is starting to take it’s toll on me both mentally and physically.
I didn’t realise how reliant I was becoming on exercise, even if it was just walking a few miles a day, and how much my mental health is affected by my inability to do it. I had become quite attached to toned legs and impressive lung capacity (why yes, I have given up smoking, read about that HERE) and I was aware of that slipping away.
I realise now that I was a bloody idiot to think that eating a lot of spinach and bidding farewell to chocolate brownies was going to make me happy.
Diets are based on shame. They remove the fun out of food, out of life.
Being on a diet controls everything that you do. You need to eat to survive, it is a crucial part of the whole process, and being on a diet means you have to fixate on every little thing that you eat. By even allowing the ‘d’ word into your house, into your life, you are basically deliberately making your life shit.
Think about it.
Chips bring joy right? Right. Yes. Of course. Chips are delicious, little beige slices of heaven ready to be dunked in mayonnaise and sprinkled in salt and ingested greedily. I adore chips and when I eat them they make my heart happy.
A diet changes everything. Although the chips remain as delicious as ever, my mindset is altered totally. Rather than taking joy from them, as nature and Mr. McDonald intended, I hate myself for consuming them, I feel bad about it, I stress about it, I make a ridiculous connection with the burning hot chip making it’s way down my throat to the feeling of my stomach pressed against the waistband of my jeans.
As if THAT ONE CHIP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING.
I can eat them on Sunday and they can make my heart happy but then again on Monday and I have nothing there but shame and frustration. What bullshit to deliberately bring into my life.
It’s as cliched as they come but generally speaking, the body that I see in the mirror doesn’t matter, it’s the eyes with which I look at it that are so often the problem.
If I scamper out of bed in the morning, buzzing for the day ahead because I have something really exciting planned or had a great idea for my career or whatever, I look at the mirror and think ‘oh you beautiful creature let’s go get it‘, no matter if I have coconut oil in my hair and sudacream on my spots and rolls a plenty in my stomach.
If I need to drag myself out of bed on a desperate quest for coffee with minimal enthusiasm for the day, or indeed life, stretched out in front of me, you can be sure that when I look in the mirror I won’t love what I see, whatever that may be.
On the days when I am happy and busy and content I eat and I laugh and I work and I think and I love and I DO.
On the days when I am not, because we all have those days, I do the same things but amongst all of that I find time to hate and to question and to stress and to worry.
This diet that I embarked on last Monday had very little to do with my body. My brilliant, brilliant body.
The diet that I embarked on last Monday had everything to do with the fact that there was something else going on in my life; frustration at my pensioner-hip, money struggles, anxiety, an IBS flare up, work stress, whatever it may be.
I channelled, as I have done so many times before, every ounce of negativity in my life and I put all of it directly onto my body.
So I have abandoned the diet (and my chocolate button related achievements are mounting by the day), I realised that whatever mental stress I was under could not manifest itself in this way. My body was not going to suffer at the hands of my flailing brain.
That would be like punishing my sister for my shop-lifting spree (I’ve never so much as stolen a sample but y’know what I mean), she not only wouldn’t deserve it, she certainly wouldn’t thank you for it.
I’m back in the gym because my body was in dire need of something physical (I’m weight lifting and currently writing a piece about being a woman in the weight section so stay tuned for that one) and I’m eating. I’m dedicating a bit more time to cooking because whilst Love Island is on I have sweet FA else to do, but for the most part my life is back to normal.
When I am happy I look great. And since diets don’t make me happy, it is impossible for me to look great.
So rather than try to alter the wonderful home that I must live in for the rest of my life, I have decided instead to focus on ensuring happiness in whatever way I can find it.
When you’re happy, everything else just falls into place, so here’s to happiness and never restricting my chocolate-cookie intake again,