I kissed dieting goodbye...so please stop sweetly suggesting diets to me.
I know you mean well, but I'm asking really nicely.
I know what I’m doing. Trust me.
In my last newsletter for 2021, I talked about several things I’d done over that sucky year that didn’t actually suck. The last on the list was quitting Noom, which I’d been on for nearly two years, losing the same 11 pounds over and over, and quitting dieting in general. I like my body at 50, I appear to be healthy and life’s too short to worry about whether I’d cut this avocado in a perfect half and get the calorie count right. I am tired of living my life obsessed with what I eat, with what I weigh, with what that’s supposed to say about who I am. I am tired of telling my kid I can’t eat, like, the one chip he’s trying to share with me, because I’m saving the calories. I think it might give him a complex. He already talks about calories. He’s 8. This is nuts.
The response from social media, and my friends and family, has been overwhelmingly positive, both from people who’d jumped off the diet train before me and those who took my post as a nudge to consider parting ways with that crazy. (Again, there are people who have been helped by that program, but it wasn’t right for me, and for others who believe it triggered their eating disorders.) I appreciate that. I’ve gotten great suggestions for podcasts , newsletters and books about the misinformation about dieting and food, some of which I already knew about and spurred me towards this decision.
Not one person has said “Hey, you need to stay on a diet cause you fat.” They may be thinking it. But so far they’ve not put that evil on me. (I will never not quote “Talladega Nights.” RIP Michael Clark Duncan.)
But there are some, who, ever supportive, did not seem to understand what I meant when I said I was done with dieting, because I’ve had a few suggestions of sensible eating plans or books or supplements and shakes, that are “totally not diets.” But they are. Merriam-Webster defines a diet, as, among other things, “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.”
The suggestions I got were not presented as straight-up diets, but then again neither is Noom. But they are. They’re all plans, and regimens, and things that give you strict rules about what you can and can’t eat. They might replace a meal with a shake. They might give you a list of foods you can’t eat, and put them in categories with fun names or colors. They may tell you they are about a healthy lifestyle. But they are restrictive, often push products that are full of chemicals while they tell you that you can’t eat more than half of the banana God made in one sitting. They might help you lose weight but they are not sustainable in real life for the rest of your life. At least not for me.
I know that weight loss requires restriction and reduction, and when I say I am going to eat what I want, I mean that. That is to say, I don’t really want to eat cheese fries for every meal. I made a salad yesterday because I wanted it, not because I was saving calories for something else. I like healthy food. I also like mini Reese’s cups, and I had three of them before I went to bed, too. Because I wanted them. For a week before I quit Noom for good, I let myself eat what I felt like, and just wrote it down at the end of the day without a running tally hanging over my head. Surprise! I pretty much ate the same amount of calories I did when I was freaking out and running to the bathroom to log my food or literally staying up another hour to walk enough steps in my room to justify another cup of soup.
That mess is crazy. And I don’t want to do it anymore. It would be nice to lose like 5 pounds and maintain it. But I’m OK if I don’t lose anymore significant weight in my life, barring orders from a doctor who considers my actual health and knows that absolutes like BMI don’t tell you what you might think they do. I’m 50. I’m menopausal. My body is not the same it was even when I started Noom! And I’m not gonna beat it, or me, up about it. I’m training for a 10K. I do yoga. I’m started drinking ginger kombucha, because I actually like it. I’m what my friend calls pescavegan. I love me some veggies. They go great with fried rice.
So please don’t suggest any more diets or plans to me, or any more books or whatever that are undercover diets. I know you mean well, and you might even think this is a wrong move, and I appreciate it that. But the best way to support me or anyone who announces, with reasons, that they are stepping away from something they think is bad for them, is to wish them well. If I want to diet again, I know how to. I hope I don’t though.
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