Escape From The Diet

I’ve never been a fan of diets. Breathless discussion of the latest fad by shiny-eyed converts over dinner makes me want to stab my ear drums.

Admittedly, I’ve never really needed to purposely diet, having been born with suitable genes to keep me reasonably thin. Not that I can eat what I want and never put on weight but a moderate approach to food and exercise seems to work.

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I work on the dieting theory that if my clothes start to feel a bit tight, I cut back on the naughty foods and exercise more until my clothes fit properly again. Then I go back to what I was doing.

I do occasionally undergo what I call the Stress Diet. Whenever life gets really challenging I tend to stop eating. The worse things are, the more weight I lose. After the deaths of my sister and niece my weight dropped to 52kg (115lb). I’m 173cm (5’8″) tall. Not healthy.

I think my main objection to diets, particularly those that target a particular food type such as carbs or sugar, is that they tend to demonise food. If you eat the ‘wrong’ food, it’s supposed to make you feel bad. Food is there for nutrition, yes, but it’s also there for enjoyment. And oddly enough, diets that are highly restrictive are shown to be ineffective in the long term. Hardly surprising. I mean, who wants to live without beautiful bread or delicious chocolate for the rest of their lives?

So then, how was it that I found myself recently counting and recording calories and obsessing about whether I could afford to eat that slice of freshly baked sourdough bread? Why was there an app on my phone adding up every little thing I ate and sending me messages if I forgot to input what I ate for lunch?

I told myself it was a motivation tool for exercise. After all, if I exercise, I burn calories and thus I earn extra ‘credit’. Maybe I could have that piece of chocolate?

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Making those 2km on the rowing machine worth it

I told myself, why not lose a little weight now that I didn’t have to keep my weight over a certain value so I could donate more plasma at the Blood Bank since I can’t donate for a year because of my pulmonary embolism?

To be honest, my original intention was to lose a lot of weight. I was hurting. Not physically but mentally and emotionally. But mental injuries don’t show and it’s hard to convince people that you’re in pain. I thought if I could suddenly lose a lot of weight maybe it would be a physical signal to people that I was not okay.

So I signed up to an app and I set a strict weight goal and I started counting calories.

Of course, as part of this I started exercising more regularly and I started to feel better within myself. But by then, the Diet Cult had me in its grip.

I cut out breakfast and lunch and tried to minimise what I ate in the afternoon when I got home from work. I switched from my favoured flat white coffee to an espresso. I went to the gym and worked hard despite pain in my left foot. I started researching low calorie meals I could cook for dinner to help keep my calorie count low despite the fact that the men in my family all actually need extra calories in their diets.

But it was when I found myself drinking black tea – which I loathe – and going to bed hungry and sad that I realised that I had in fact fallen into exactly the traps I don’t like about diets. I was paranoid about what I ate. I felt guilty about every extra little treat I recorded in the app. I got depressed when my weight didn’t go down as fast as I wanted.

I deleted the app from my phone and I broke the diet. Oh boy, did IΒ break it!

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And in the weird way the internet has of tapping into your psyche, just as I was coming to the realisation, on a YouTube session on the TV I stumbled across this hilarious piece from Michael McIntyre. It was like a sign. I laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks and I knew it was time to ditch the diet and go back to my usual plan – Everything In Moderation. Or, Run Marathons So I Can Eat As Much Chocolate As I Want.

 

Have you tried any diets? Did they work for you?

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “Escape From The Diet

    • I kind of knew, rationally, what I was doing was not good for me but sometimes you find yourself in the grip of the irrational you and it can be hard to fight against it. Eventually, I think I just really missed sourdough toast and chocolate and that set me free.

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  1. Unreal ! – I’ve been watching him ALL WEEK, including this routine; MM makes me cry, too: sometimes I laugh so much I start coughing. He’s the best.
    You’re an idiot,
    XO
    So – lunch is at 1. Meetcha there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How weird is that? On top of the Dieting one being in my YouTube feed just when I needed it. Weirdness abounds.
      To be honest, I’ve only watched one other of his that another teacher at worked showed. I don’t know why I didn’t go and watch a truckload because he’s hysterically funny.

      Excellent. Would it not, perhaps, be more useful to collect you before 1pm and travel there together?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Elly. Don’t ever do that again. NOT HEALTHY. (Love, mom)

    I never say “diet.” It can be a chore to eat healthy and not be obsessive about it. My body has made it easier of late with not being able to eat dairy or some of the foods that cause indigestion. I started years ago with cutting out gluten too, but it never kills me to treat myself to a piece of bread or a donut once in a while. I just have to pay attention to the amount of carbs and sugar I eat because that is truly my downfall. It really is eating in moderation and getting some exercise. And making sure the pants fit! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wait, did you say “not have freshly baked sourdough bread?” I have to let that sit a little, because, I’ll give up tomorrow’s bowl of Special-K for that piece of bread. I’ve never had to diet, but I’ve wanted to lose weight. I try to stay under 200lb (90kg). I ease off on the bad stuff when I get between 195 and 200. I don’t like fad diets, and I get tired of some people who are on them (the ones where it becomes a religion). Whatever works for you (general, not you) is fine. Whatever diet, whatever food, whatever weight.

    The part of the post that caught my attention is when you said it’s hard to convince people you’re in pain with mental injuries. That’s so true, and it’s often the last thing people will consider (if they ever do) and it’s real. It’s not always diet and exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Er, yes. I’ve just returned to sourdough baking. It’s been so exciting to make it again I’ve been giving it away to friends, family and work colleagues. But it was torture to make it and not be able to eat it.

      I’ve normally (when I frequented the Blood Bank) kept my weight between 60-65 kg (132-143lb) because they adjust the amount of plasma you can donate in 5kg weight steps but I used to regularly sit around 58kg (pre-children). I wanted to drop to 55kg. Stupid but, as I said, I was hurting and I needed a way to show it. Of course, 60-65kg is totally acceptable for someone of my height so I need to just let that sit and exercise not to lose weight but to stay fit and healthy which makes me feel better.

      (I actually wrote this hours ago but for some reason I did it as a comment instead of a reply.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my goodness that video is hilarious. I so agree with all that he says. I think you nailed the problem with all formal *healthy* diets in that: “I was paranoid about what I ate.” I know that mental state and I know how it can turn you into a crazy person. Been there, done that. Eat to be healthy and enjoy life, not for some numbers on a scale. My philosophy, for what it’s worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hilarious video! Thanks for the morning chuckle. Never been a fan of diets, don’t even own a set of scales. My philosophy is everything in moderation & totally agree with, when the clothing starts to feel a little tight, it’s time to give a little more thought as to what is going into my mouth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn, I’ve watched that video multiple times and it still makes me cry with laughter. I think the growling stomach and the impersonation of people in health stores are my favourite bits.
      My philosophy in the past (and to which I shall now return) is much the same as yours. Plus, I tend to argue why deny yourself that glass of wine or extra piece of chocolate cake just to spend two more years in the nursing home. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  6. MM is just the best! I like the one about the ‘man drawer’.
    When I need to lose some weight, I don’t really diet. I cut down on treats and between meal snacks. But like you, I don’t want to spend my life denying some things with the hope it will add a couple years onto my life!

    Liked by 1 person

        • That’s interesting because it was his Fast 800 book that was doing the rounds at work that contributed to my situation. I’d been on 1200 calories a day but I thought I should cut to 800. But I was burning about 600-700 calories in exercise so when I tried to finalise my food diary for the day, the app wouldn’t give me a report because it said I wasn’t eating enough. That was kind of when I knew I was in trouble…
          I think it’s doubly hard not to feel you’re doing something wrong when there’s a buzz about a diet book written by a medical professional.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness Heather Dave and I just watched the video and laughed hysterically. So glad to hear that you are off the diet fad and on to everything in moderation and exercise. I struggled for a couple of decades with eating and body image. It can be a slippery and perilous slope. Take good care of yourself and as always thinking of you and sending love across the miles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you’ve had your struggles. You’re right about the slippery slope. It shocked me how quickly the dieting got hold of me. I really think the technology side is a trap. It’s hard to resist when it’s right there on your phone giving you numbers that feel like they may make or break you. Best first step was getting rid of the app. Thanks for your support as always. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I definitely have to stay away from measurement tools. From pedometers to apps to FitBits to watches. I know they can be helpful to people when used appropriately. That you recognized it quickly shows how wise you are. Xo

        Liked by 1 person

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