You know what every “successful” dieter says, if they’re honest?

I’m hanging on by a thread here.

That’s what I say, for heaven’s sake! – Because yes, I DID lose 50 pounds 23 years ago. Yes, I did manage to hold on to that weight-loss, which—many of you might know that well!—works only by introducing ever harsher measures. I was either really, really restricting, or really, really overexercising. Just to keep the fricking weight in check as well as I could.

Low-fat yoghurt, lettuce and broccoli was, apart from the occasional chicken breast, my diet for a reaaaaaally long time. (Save the binge episodes, but I made sure that I exercised even harder the next day, in a desperate attempt at some sort of “damage control”). So, from the outside, people see “a diet that has worked”. Yet it hasn’t, really. Let’s be honest.
I don’t look the way I do just by eating happily and exercising without an obsessed mind.
I don’t KNOW how I’d look if I ate what I wanted and exercised in a feel-good way.

For the longest time, I thought well, I just don’t GET to live as freely as others if I want to look more or less skinny. I just HAVE to watch my weight. I just HAVE to exercise to keep those pounds off. I just CAN’T have the foods I loved most.

Only since last year have I started to learn that MAYBE my body wasn’t wrong. That MAYBE my binges weren’t my fault. That MAYBE I wasn’t just a failure. There’s relief in that.

If it hurts, let that shit go.

 

So. Have I been able to—bam!—snap out of this old mindset?
Sorry to disappoint. With the initial relief has come a lot of fear. Fear to really let go of my insane controlling. Seeing how few people are out there who seem to question diet-culture and all that comes with it—the ever increasing fitness-craze, exponential rise in cosmetic surgeries, diet-plans, the unquestioned NEED for seemingly EVERYONE to lose weight.

I too believed that with lower weight (and didn’t it always have to be lower still??) would come the love of my life, finally a career that I loved getting up for in the morning, respect from other people, being ridiculously body-confident, feeling free to show my body to the world, not ever having to feel ugly and ashamed again, not ever wanting to hide again, having a spectacular sex life, and—overall—a hugely successful outlook on LIFE.

Hasn’t happened. Ever. Not at any level of skinny. In fact, I think I was enjoying life more when I ate what the fuck I wanted and didn’t kill myself at the gym every day. No one is happy living obsessed with weight, food and exercise. No one.

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I had “skinny”. And everything else was LOST.

Before I was so “successful” at dieting, I might not have had the body I wanted, but, let’s face it: At least, I had TIME to cuddle with cats, fool around with my friends, go dancing, to eat popcorn at the cinema, to spend afternoons painting or taking acting classes, to go out for luxurious Sunday brunches without a care in the world, to spend Sunday curled up on the sofa with my favorite book with ZERO guilt, and to generally have a non-obsessed mind.

Now, my best qualities seem to suffer when I’m constantly obsessing about “not re-gaining the weight”. I’m not as freely funny. I’m not—by any measure—as spontaneous. I don’t take enough time to read, write, play, explore the world, rest… to find my purpose! Doesn’t sound like that kiss-my-ass-attitude I thought I’d magically get when I was thin. So. I’m totally not out of this mess called diet-mentality, BUT there’s one thing I certainly DON’T believe anymore, and that’s the lie that “Happy” is X pounds from now.

Because, I had skinny. And everything else was LOST.