Why I started dieting
What a question. Why I started dieting. I feel like I have been on a diet all my life. My first memory of noting anything to do with weight started when I was at school, and the school nurse would weigh you at the start and the end of term. Then I was always underweight and told that I needed to add a few pounds. I didn’t understand what she meant and just carried on with my school life.
My next memory is watching my mother getting dressed for a party and putting on a red dress and complaining that she was getting fat since she had stopped smoking, and my father had made a few comments about it. She was a size 12. She said she would join a weight-loss club and wanted me to go with her for company and support.
The price of coffee!
I joined her and listened to other women complain about the cost of diet food and the limited selection of diet foods available. These discussions would last for 40 minutes once a week for months. We would have the same debate, but from different people as the membership constantly change. I refer to this kind of discussion as jokingly ‘The price of coffee today is’.
Alternatively, they would moan about having to eat different food from the family and the constant moans of how hard done by they were. The final straw for me came when the instructor turned to the group and told each dieter that they should look at eating food as a treat and make it a performance. Lay the table and make it look beautiful. Turn off the TV and radio and don’t answer the phone and give themselves the gift of 20 minutes to enjoy their meal. I agreed with what she said, but the complaints from the women. Oh no, I can’t answer the phone; it might be my child needing me. My husband works overseas, and if the phone goes, I will answer. The short-sightedness of what the instructor was trying to say was missed.
The instructor was trying to say that they should look at their food, their meal as something to enjoy. Think about The instructor tried to say that they should look at their food, their meal, as something to enjoy. Think about what they are eating and be conscious about the food they are putting in their mouths. I was about 14 years old, and the group closed not long after from memory.
What did I learn about dieting?
What this taught me was that all women should watch their weight. This is part of being a woman, one of the most important aspects of adulthood. A rite of passage. So, I started dieting because at 14, when I was a size 10, five foot three and told I should be a size 8. Moving on several years and dieting successfully and unsuccessfully since then, I managed to get myself to a size 24 and dream of being a size 14 as my ultimate goal. How things change!
It is true to say I started dieting because I wanted to lose weight. It seemed like the logical thing to do; after all, I had been told how to lose weight this way since I was 14. The logic was I was overweight. I should diet to lose weight. But it’s not that simple. Weight loss can be complicated, both physically and mentally. It requires a lot of willpower and self-control, which I often lack. And even when you do everything “right”, there’s no guarantee that you will lose weight.
Dieting is such a deeply ingrained part of our culture, and it’s hard to imagine a different eating method. I’ve learnt that one style of dieting is not the only answer. For me, it leads to obsessing over food, feeling deprived and unhappy, and eventually giving up and overeating. So why do I keep doing it? Good question. Partly because I hope that this time will be different, partly because I don’t know what else to do. The Slimming World Food Optimising option works for me and my lifestyle, but I also check the food I eat and count the calories. I have set myself 1500 calories a day within the philosophy of Slimming World Food Optimising. The main issue I have with any diet is that I am a celiac so anything with gluten is out.
Is there a new way to diet?
I am trying to find a unique way that works for me. A method that doesn’t involve just dieting but also focuses on listening to my body and eating in a way that makes me feel good – physically, mentally and emotionally. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Because at the end of the day, food nourishes us, not punishes us. And our bodies are meant to be loved and respected, not constantly dieted and criticised.
If you’re struggling with dieting, I encourage you to explore other options that includes a reduction in the foods you put in your mouth. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating, and what works for me might not work for you. If you’re tired of feeling a failure every time you diet, know that you are not alone. And know that there is another way. Dieting doesn’t have to be your only option – there is hope for something better. Something that feels good instead of bad. Something that leads to self-love instead of self-loathing. You deserve it, as do I. As mentioned above, I have found that Slimming World is working for me. Previously, it was weight watchers and Rosemary Colney. No matter which I have selected, each diet is about numbers. The number of calories you put in your body and the ones you expel through exercise and just living.
In conclusion why I started dieting
If my mother had never started on her weight loss program or taken me to her slimming club, I don’t think I would have ever put on so much weight. I’m not blaming her for my adult decisions, but it started a cascade of Yo-Yo dieting and focused on weight, weight loss, and physical appearance. Before then, I did not know the minefield of weight loss and the psychological difficulties of control over your own body. Even so, I still want to lose weight, and I still have the image in my head of how I want to look and how I look now. The image that I see may differ from the image you see, but ultimately it’s all about me in my head.
Why did you start dieting? Was it for similar reasons?