NO, I'm NOT dieting
Friday, May 27, 2016
Something happened yesterday.
I saw my ex's mom for the first time in months. I saw her briefly at an art show in town about three weeks ago, but other than that I hadn't seen her since maybe February, maybe even before. I used to work for her and I helped her build her website for her band and photography. Since I'm moving away in a week, she wanted me to show her how to do some basic stuff on there to add content, so I went there yesterday evening after dinner.
We chatted a bit when I came in and at one point this conversation happened:
Her: you look great! You've lost weight... surely you must have been dieting...? (Asked in a semi-affirmative, semi-questioning tone)
Me: (quite rudely because I was taken aback) no, I don't diet.
Her: well, you look radiant.
That kind of comment used to make me BEAM. It was the validation I was running after in my first years of losing weight. I LOVED when people commented on it, told me I looked great, and I loved it even more when they asked me how I did it, because I could go on lengths about my exercising program and whatever diet I was doing.
But not this time. Just like when my mom, whom I hadn't seen in almost a year last December, commented on my weight loss asking me if I was "eating enough". Yes, mom. I know you're concerned, but I'm extremely far from anorexia right now. I eat three meals a day and trust me, I have a cookie regularly and I enjoy it.
Anyway, for a bit of context, she (my ex's mom) owns a "wellness centre". There's a room with "exercising" machines (there's one elliptical but also some weird vibration machines that you just step on and it vibrates for 10-15 minutes in weird ways and apparently makes you lose weight - hm hm, sure). Then there's her other room stocked with Ideal Protein products and other "health" foods. I remember when I first moved here she tried to get me unto this Ideal Protein diet. My excuse to refuse was that most of their products were not vegan (most use whey protein and some type of dairy powder) but the truth is that I didn't believe in that kind of diet - and I do even less right now.
Now she's closing down the place after five years in business. The official reason is that she "wants to move on" but everybody in town knows that she just ran out of clients, since every single one of her clients gained back the weight they'd lost, plus more. I guess in a city you have a lot of potential clients, but this is a town of 1200 people. If someone tries a diet, boasts about the miraculous results, and then gains all the weight back, everyone knows right away, and you lose all your clients. Even if you blame the clients' "lack of self-control" instead of the diet.
So I think her comment rubbed me the wrong way because of that reason. It was also kind of a reality check - people still believe diets work and are the only way of losing weight. I kind of forgot about that because I haven't been on any type of diet for a couple years now, and I quit tracking almost a year ago. Whenever I hear the word "diet" I flee. I don't wanna hear about it or argue. It just drives me crazy. So being told that "surely I must have been dieting" in order to lose weight... just made me cringe so, so hard.
We didn't talk about it any further, I guess my tone must have been enough. But it just stayed on my mind. I don't like to talk about my food habits with people - I only do it here and with the Lean Habits Facebook group, and with my boyfriend since he shares my meals, but that's it. Even though I'm always very excited about Lean Habits because it's changed my life, I don't go around boasting about it. Because I don't want people to think it's just another diet that's gonna fail. So I keep to myself. It's the same with being vegan - people end up knowing one way or another (since it's usually my excuse to refuse food) but I don't tell people if it's not necessary. It's my business.
I really hope that someday the dieting industry will just wilt and die. Sometimes I feel like it's getting stronger every year, but maybe that's just an impression. Still, it's a huge industry with millions of dollars involved. People spend so much freaking money into diets. They try a new one every year. Or three. And they always fail, because DIETS DON'T WORK. Yet instead of realizing that DIETS DON'T WORK, they blame themselves, or the diet itself, and they try another one, and another one, and another one...
It's a vicious circle. I'm so, so glad to be out of it. I'm so glad to be back to sanity when it comes to food. I'm glad the only money I "had" to spend was about twenty bucks (shipping included!) for the Lean Habits book. Now I buy whatever food I want at the grocery store. No specialty products I can only get through a certain store or a certain reseller. I don't have to bring my own food everywhere I go. I don't have to follow rules. I don't stress for two days when I know I'll be going out to eat or going to a place where there's food. I don't panic when I don't have control over what food I'll eat, or when, or how. I don't panic when I go on vacation. I'm sane again.
Yesterday one of her clients came in to buy some Ideal Protein stuff, she's doing a clearance sale right now. I could hear them talking from the office, and she was talking about one product and said "it's great, and it's not even restricted". Then I remembered when she told me about this diet - certain products are RESTRICTED to like one a day or one every other day or whatnot. Ugh. I cringed again hearing that. Restriction? No thanks. The second you tell me something is restricted, I want it. If you give me a box of donuts and tell me I'm only allowed one on my diet, I'll eat three. But if there's no restriction I might have none because I don't feel like having a donut or I'm not hungry.
Overall it makes me sad. But what can I do? I just keep doing my own thing. Hopefully one day people will wake up and stop buying into the craziness of diets.
I remember when my ex visited me in Quebec City for ten days before we started dating. He was staying at my place and he was on this diet to try and lose weight (he's pretty overweight) and about one third of his suitcase was Ideal Protein stuff. He stuffed my pantry with it. Bags of chips/crackers and some powder to make soy patties and whatnot... it felt weird to me but whatever, he's allowed to do what he wants. Well, as he progressively ran out of products, he started making excuses for "cheating on his diet", where cheese wasn't allowed (and Quebec has a nice reputation for artisan cheeses), and he just ate SO MUCH CHEESE like he hadn't had it in ten years. He also justified having seconds and thirds of the meals I made because "they're vegan, they must be healthy" (trust me, they were not all "healthy"). When he went back home he had to weigh in with his mom and he'd gained six pounds and she scolded him for not following the diet while he was in Quebec City "or else you wouldn't have gained anything". He just had an excuse for everything. Eventually he quit the diet and gained back some more weight, but his habits of having chips, ice cream and candy every evening while watching TV surely didn't help, Ideal Protein or not. I know he went back on the diet again when I broke up with him in September, and he was on it until the holidays - and then quit and gained back all the weight... plus more. Does that sound like sane behavior to you? It surely doesn't sound sane to me - but I used to do the exact same thing.