When I made the decision to stop dieting two years ago, my biggest fear was that I would just keep getting fatter and fatter.
Left free, with my appetite unchecked by portion control, calorie counting, sugar free, no added fat or forced exercise, I felt like I could eat the world and still want more.
My life had been defined by diets since I was 9 years old. My weight was my excuse and my obsession.
It was the reason behind everything that was wrong in my life. The men who didn’t love me, the jobs I didn’t get, the good times I wasn’t out having because I didn’t want people to see my body, judge me and reject me because of how much I weighed.
No matter what went wrong it was because I was TOO FAT.
My body and my weight was the center around which my whole life revolved. Hours spent in front of the mirror, feeling disgust, failure and shame.
Hot tears of self hatred, wanting to be different, believing with all my heart and soul that “if only I was thinner, EVERYTHING would be different.
Diets were my Holy Grail, my promise of salvation, the gateway to the land of beauty, acceptance, confidence, love and success.
My body was the enemy. It was not acceptable, not lovable and certainly not sexy!
It bulged and wobbled and drooped and weighed me down.
It was out of control.
It was the bane of my existence and the reason people told me that it was such a shame as I had such a pretty face.
Twice in my life I have lost a significant amount of weight in the proximity of 55 or 60 lbs (25 – 27 kilos). The first time I lost the weight, I still remember the high of seeing that magic number on the scale, the thrill of victory, the strangeness of having hip bones and collar bones and the bumps of a spine down my back.
I spent hours looking at my body from all angles in a mirror in amazement that it was me. It felt strange and weird and a bit scary as well as wonderful.
It took a couple of weeks before I realised that it didn’t change anything at all. In fact, it made a lot of things worse.
People complimented me ALL the time. Others didn’t recognise me at all and made a huge fuss when they discovered it was me. I got LOTS of attention.
Men who previously didn’t even acknowledge me started hitting on me. Married men started flirting with me.
All anyone wanted to talk to me about was how much weight I had lost, how I had done it and how wonderful I was now.
So in my mind I asked myself;
“if I was so wonderful now, what was I BEFORE?
After all, I was still me, still the same Kerry, just in a smaller body.
What did they think of me before?”
It took me two years to put the weight back on, plus a few more kilo’s for good measure.
The second time I lost weight, I actively got therapy and began to explore my issues and enjoy to a certain extent, the attention I got.
But my life was still about how much I weighed and what I could eat.
My life was still defined by diets.
Relationships ended, people close to me died, shit happened and gradually, the weight went back on.
And one day, two years ago, I woke up and decided to just stop.
Stop weighing myself.
Just STOP. All. Of. It.
I didn’t eat the world.
I was terrified, riddled with anxiety, but I was also FREE.
On a diet, my world was so small and confined and oppressive, living for that unknown future where I would be acceptable.