I am not a heavy set woman. Granted, I am nowhere near a size 2 either. I am a solid in-between, healthy, and yet social media tells me I am plus sized. By no means am I obliged to lose any weight. Yet, time and again, I opt for the occasional diet, whether by means of a detox or regulating my meals. The reason? Simple–I care what I look like, and I am allowed to.
Most my relatives are diet skeptics. “It’s dangerous.” “It’ll make you sick.” I’ve heard every possible concern. But just as my weight shouldn’t be anyone’s problem, neither should be my decision to lose it.
I have often been told that dieting will not make me feel better about myself–perhaps it is the case for some. Dieting is not all about weight, or rather the loss of it. Over the years, it has given me a sense of control. As a person who struggles with anxiety, being in control of something is empowering.
Calorie counters are notoriously pegged obsessive-compulsive. But working with the mathematics of food can be liberating. I am inarguably right-brained, so numbers come as a challenge. Being able to grasp something that is naturally foreign to me is nothing short of a success. Plus, I get to see food in an entirely different light–as something that is also calculated. After all, a lot of thought goes into preparing a meal.
When I am not dieting, I fall victim to overeating. There’s nothing like a hand-tossed pizza drowning in pepperoni and mozzarella, and unfortunately, it’s a trendy household meal. With the current accessibility of deliveries, people no longer turn to their kitchens for dinner. They simply don’t have the time. Being in shape demands effort, and with it, I’ve learned commitment. This isn’t to say I don’t reward myself with a cheat day at the end of every week.
Dieting doesn’t so much revolve around restraint, but also allowing yourself to enjoy when you know you’ve earned it. Knowing I’ve lasted six days without giving in to a single cookie brings just as much a sense of accomplishment as I do in my working and personal life.
I also realize much is lost when you diet–not just weight. I lose my toxicity, not only from grease and oil. I feel internally cleansed. I am ridding myself of parts of me I no longer want to hold on to. I am not always satisfied with how I look, and I think that’s okay.
I have heard whispers: “She could shed a few pounds.” “Her thighs are gigantic.” “She used to be so skinny.” I won’t say it doesn’t affect me. But it isn’t from where my motivation to eat healthy stems.
I am inspired by the fact that I am perfectly content with change. It will come around either way. I don’t diet out of shame, nor for anyone else, but out of love for myself and who I want to become.