Tag Archives: diet

Why I don’t want to go on your diet

raspberries


This post will probably annoy/upset/offend some people. I should note that this is not directed at anyone in particular, but just at people as a collective whole. I’m shouting into the void, not directly in your face. Promise.

All right, sports fans, it’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week here in the States (or maybe everywhere; I don’t actually know) and I thought I’d post a little something. But instead of telling you a detailed and grueling story of weight loss and heartache or posting inspiring before and after photos or whatever, I’m just going to whine. Okay? Okay.

Full disclosure: I have slogged through the putrid swamp that is EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, technically now known as OSFED [Otherwise Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder] in the DMS V but no one, including dieticians and therapists, likes that title, so we’ll stick with EDNOS for now) since 2008 and have only actually begun to work all of my issues out in the past year. EDNOS can take a ton of different forms, but for me it meant that I underate and overexercised with the intent of losing an unrealistic and unhealthy amount of weight as a coping mechanism for dealing with some garbage that was going on in my life at the time, and since that period of time have experienced a lot of anxiety regarding my weight, shape, and food. I have never been underweight, so I have never qualified as anorexic, but EDNOS is just as serious as the token eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa), and involves just as many health risks and just as much emotional anguish.

Now that that’s out of the way…

I do not want to go on your diet. It does not matter what your diet is, if it masquerades as a lifestyle, if it allows you to eat chocolate every day, if it causes significant life changes, etc. Barring me finding out that I have a medical need to cut a certain food out (like, I know I can’t eat gluten, but that’s not a diet; it’s a survival tactic to keep me healthy, employable, and not nauseous/vomiting/other uncomfortable things 24/7), I do not want to go on your diet.

I am fully aware that you love your diet. I know that you have lost x number of pounds on your diet. You have reiterated time and again how much better you feel on your diet. I still do not want to go on your diet.

Why? Because I hate restricting food categories.

Actually, that’s not true. I love restricting food categories. Or, at least, the eating disorder that I’ve battled does. It makes me feel strong and in control and like I’m accomplishing something. So, when I start to restrict any category of food, I just want to do it more and more and more.

If I cut out simple carbs, why not all carbs? If I can’t eat beef, let’s add chicken and fish to that list. If I’m not supposed to eat butter, how about severely decreasing my fat intake? No milk? No problem! I’ll cut cheese and yogurt out, too.

I assume you can see the issue here.

I currently eat an immensely healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and all three of the macronutrients necessary for life. I, generally speaking, don’t eat too much or too little. I have the energy I need to go for a run and go to the store and go about life. I’m not losing weight or combining my meals in a specific way or avoiding an entire macronutrient group. And, shockingly, I somehow manage to live a pretty good life without doing any of those things.

I want to eat foods I enjoy (bell peppers, apples, cupcakes, tofu, broccoli, vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries, grilled cheese sandwiches, clementines, and so many others). I want to avoid foods I hate (stevia-sweetened anything, mushrooms, stevia, red velvet cake, stevia, calamari, stevia, rice pudding, stevia, cauliflower pizza crusts, and did I mention stevia?). I want to be able to eat soup and sandwiches and waffles and bananas without feeling guilt because I didn’t stick to some arbitrary rules set forth as the only way to maintain health. I want to eat dinner at a friend’s house without the heavy oppression of a set of instructions that must be followed or else.

Because the fact of the matter is that abandoning all of my food rules has resulted in me having energy and hair that grows at a normal rate and nails that don’t chip every time the wind blows. I’m not cold all of the time any more, I’m not growing increasingly weaker, and I no longer feel like I’m going to pass out on a near-daily basis. My dress size may not be what I want, but at least I’m a functioning human being.

So, no, I don’t want to go on your diet. I don’t want to go on anyone’s diet. I want to live my life for once without being worried about what food I eat or don’t eat. And, to quote one of the great philosophers of our time, “That’s all I have to say about that.”


Approximately one million (or maybe fifteen) statements about food I’m tired of hearing (and my mental responses)

1. “Did you see how many calories are in that?”

No, I didn’t. Because I chose not to look. For many reasons. Please stop telling me.

2. “There are no such things as healthy carbs.”

Please take a nutrition class. Any nutrition class. Here, I have a catalog for our local community college for you.

3. “Ohmygosh you can’t eat gluten?! That must be so hard!”

The hardest part for me personally is trying to convince others that life without bread is still worth living and that I rarely have to think about how horribly deprived I am of all the apparent gluten-filled wonders that the culinary arts have to offer.  Well, that, and not being able to eat Lebanese food.

4. “Eat this thing it’s really good. No, really, have some. No, really, you have to try some. My personal worth is apparently attached to whether or not you decide to eat this thing. Have some.”

I have said “no, thank you” like three times at this point. This could be for a variety of reasons including: I’m not hungry, I am allergic to it, I am trying to cut back on sweets, I already know I don’t like it, or I just plan don’t want to.  Please stop harassing me about this.

5. “Yeah, I ate a whole pizza, but I’ll run it off later.”

This is not healthy. Food is fuel. Exercising in order to eat is not okay.

6. “But the calories!”

Like, do you even know what calories are?

7. “I’ve been really good all day, so I can totally eat _____________.”

Food choices are not moral choices nor should food be a reward; it’s fuel for your body. Sometimes we put in premium, sometimes we put in questionable low-grade fuel from that weird gas station down the street. But it is all just fuel.

8. “This has zero calories, so I’m good!”

You do realize the absence of calories means that your body does not recognize this thing as a food source, right?

9. “Juice detox!”

STAWP.

10. “You have to be on the exact diet that I’m on in order to live life to the fullest.”

What. No. Just, no.

11. “CALORIES.”

Just…go read something about calories that didn’t come from SELF magazine. Please.

12. “There are toxins that stay in your body for thousands of years and to get rid of them you just have not eat food for a month, drink only a mixture of water, cayenne pepper, powdered inulin, and take this new wonder herb from the Amazonian rainforest that absorbs all of the toxins in your small and large intestines and–“

I honestly do not understand where we got the idea that our bodies cannot take care of themselves if we give them proper fuel. What is happening.

13. “This is a healthy fudge brownie because it’s sugar-free and fat-free!”

For something to be healthy it must contain actual nutrients from actual food sources that are actually benefitting your body in some form or fashion. Being sugar-free and fat-free does not magically pack a recipe full of nutrients. Technically, using this logic, I could just eat spoonful after spoonful of Splenda and call it healthy.

14. “Ugh, fat!”

Fat is actually good for you in proper amounts and is entirely necessary for many functions of your body.

15. “BUT CALORIES.”

Aaaaaand we’re done.


Dear People Who Want to Know How I Lose Weight

Dear People Who Want to Know How I Lose Weight,

I have a secret: the weight you’ve noticed me losing over and over again for the past year is, in fact, the same five pounds.

Yes, that’s right.  I simply lose and gain the same five pounds repeatedly, and yet, every time you notice that I’ve lost weight, you think I’m getting skinnier. Today, when one of you asked me what my secret was, I played it off like I didn’t know what you were talking about, but I did know.  I waffled on disclosing my secret to losing and gaining the same five pounds over and over again because it is incredibly complex and took years for me to master.  However, I have decided that I will reveal the time-tested methods I have developed that will ensure that you, too, can have people tell you that you look skinnier every four months or so without actually dipping below whatever weight plateau you are currently on.

First, there a few simple rules to my plan:

1. Drink a smoothie containing at least three different varieties of vegetation every morning for breakfast.

2. Never weigh yourself, except for maybe when you’re at the gym (and you’ll see how often that happens later).

3. Make sure that your wardrobe contains no less than two but no more than six different sizes of clothing.  You’ll see why this is important later.

4. Make baking your hobby so that, no matter what part of the plan you’re on, you’ll always have a steady supply of cookies and cupcakes.

5. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables.  Eat a lot of those, but don’t let your consumption of them get in the way of the rest of the plan.

All right, now that those rules are out of the way, here is my life plan:

Month One

For at least a week, eat chips, with or without dip, for four to seven meals.  For your other meals, eat large quantities of the same vegetable, i.e. an entire head of cauliflower, an entire bunch of kale or a large sweet potato.  Supplement any missing calories with baby carrots, peanut butter on apple slices, molten lava cakes eaten at midnight and/or spoonfuls of ice cream.  Watch a movie that contains ballet and briefly dream about a life as a dancer.  Decide that potatoes and bread are evil for some reason and stop eating them.  Give up the dancer dream when your realize how much more work and how much less cookie eating you would have to do.

Pizza is your friend.

Month Two

Eat so much meat in a three day period that you feel queasy at the mere thought of eating beef ever again.  Become increasingly fixated on a particular spice or condiment (my latest obsession was sriracha) and find ways to eat it with everything.  Mix it into mayonnaise and fabricate reasons to dip vegetables in the concoction, sprinkle it on your baked sweet potatoes for some reason, douse chicken in it.  Whatever gets that goodness in you.

Stand and walk throughout your six-foot work space at your job.

Pizza is your friend.

Month Three

Start to feel like you’re on the upper end of your weight fluctuation.  Wear slightly baggier clothing because it’s more comfortable or because you like the look this month.  Whatever the reason, just be sure your clothing is baggier than usual.

Join the gym/pick up some sort of activity.  Go to the gym multiple times a week for two to three weeks.  Forget you have membership.  Lose membership card.  Lose track of whether the gym is still charging you for your membership.

In the meantime, eat lots of vegetables and fruit throughout the day, with random comfort foods dispersed throughout the week.  A sample day might contain your obligatory breakfast smoothie, a salad and a heaping serving of baked or sauteed veggies for lunch and chicken nuggets and fries for dinner.  Potatoes and bread are now akin to manna from Heaven.  Realize that your previous condiment fixation was kind of weird.  Go back to using normal spices.

Pizza is your friend.

Month Four

As a result of stress or busyness or just life happenings, change your eating patterns drastically.  It doesn’t really matter if you’re eating less or more; just shake things up for a week or so in one direction and then switch to the other direction the next week! This confuses your metabolism and tells your body that it should probably take over from here because you don’t know what you’re doing!

Take vitamins for the first time in three months.

Pizza is still your friend, but doesn’t play as large of a part in your life as it once did.  Start craving soup inexplicably instead, but only eat it from Panera, in a bread bowl.

Instead of all of that drab standing and walking at work, begin getting around by shoving yourself across the room on your wheelie office chair.

Start wearing clothing that is less baggy.  Have someone at work comment on weight loss that you’re pretty sure is imaginary.  With their friendly comment in mind, go home and eat cookies or ice cream for dinner.

And that’s it! If you repeat this entire process, you can literally gain and lose the same five pounds repeatedly (which is, arguably, a part of normal weight fluctuation), but reap the constant rewards of people from work who you barely know commenting on your appearance!  It’s grand! Plus, you get to eat cookies for dinner at least three times a year!  What is there to lose?

I hope this letter has been enlightening to you about how I manage to do what I do.

I’m going to go eat cookies for dinner now.

Sincerely,

Chelsea