The first diet I was ever on was when I was 11 years old. I didn’t need to be, my new step mother had joined this fairly new weight reduction program called Weight Watchers and decided that she would put me on it too. My own mother used to call me skinny minnie, or bean pole or Olive Oyl due to the fact that I was so lean and gangly.
But my step mother had other ideas (her own issues coupled with body image, low self esteem and body dysmorphic disorder, she passed those on to me) and that is when my obsession with my weight started.
I remember my step mother bringing her scale to the table and weighing the peas, she would take one out at a time until her scale revealed its magical number. I had to drink powdered skim milk and back then, it was just white water. And for desert, I had to make my own pudding using Weight Watchers pudding that had to be cooked and was highly sweetened with aspartame, it was gross but I got used to it because there was no other sweets allowed in the house. That lead to my secret binge eating of sweets.
Over the next several years, I would binge on sweets in secret. I wouldn’t share my treats with anyone and gorged on anything I could get my hands on. By that time, I was living with my mom and her new boyfriend. They managed a convenience store and I would steal a package of my favourite sweets, mini coffee crisps. Each was the size of a single Kit Kat bar, and there were 24 in a package and I ate them all myself, my tummy would hurt, but I would feel victorious.
Fast forward to the six months before my wedding in 1984. I lived on coffee and cigarettes, and the occasional doughnut. I am 5’10” (then and now) and I weighed 124 lbs. I was so happy then. I look back at my wedding pictures and I feel sorry for that young woman who used her weight to validate herself.
Despite all the dangerous eating I subjected myself to, I actually never gained significant weight until I got pregnant. I gained 80 lbs and I was devastated that I couldn’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes the week after the birth. That set off my crazy diet chasing. Sure, nursing my baby helped with weight loss, but I had undiagnosed post-partum depression and I ate to console myself. My marriage fell apart 1 year later and then a string of co-dependent relationships began with men who constantly pointed out my flaws, so the roller coaster dieting began.
Fast forward to 1998. I discovered the book Fit For Life. The catalyst for that diet was my turning 33. My mother had her first heart attack at 34 and I didn’t want to go through what she did, so I began eating fruits and just fruits. For 9 months I did really well, I lost a lot of weight and felt good for the most part. Then Christmas that year derailed me. I bought my son a box of chocolates and I ended up gorging on them and it was 5 years until I tried another diet.
I joined Weight Watchers and I did well on their new Points system. But, I found ways to cheat within the points system. I lost 40 pounds and then I gained them all back over the next few years. I went back a couple of times over the subsequent years but it no longer worked.
I tried Slim Fast, that didn’t last long.
I tried the Zone, that was too complicated.
I tried Atkins, but all that meat was disgusting and that is when I went vegan.
Then there was the Lemonade diet. FAIL!
Then there was the raw diet #1. Lasted about 3 months, and I ate algae (not kidding).
The all milk diet. Gross.
I gave up for a while and comfort ate cakes, cookies, and anything that was sweet and full of fat.
I tried eating fake food products advertised as healthy and low fat, highly advertised bullshit, aka skinny cow and other foods like Smart Ones, Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine. I wanted nothing to so with food any more as it seemed to be the source of my misery.
Last year I tried a modified Atkins again, except for meat, I ate eggs and I called it Eggkins. Didn’t lose anything. I even created a blog called Eggkinsdiet on WordPress, it is still there (I think).
Then I went raw vegan (raw diet #2). Ate fruits and vegetables only, and started juicing, no cooking. Managed it for 6 months. I didn’t lose anything and felt like a failure that I wasn’t successful like the banana girl on youtube. And I missed warm cooked food.
I gave up again and decided that I wasn’t going to diet any more and that I wouldn’t deprive myself of foods. If I wanted it, then I would have it, but within reason. Which turned into cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes with thick frosting every other week, if not weekly. I was right back where I started, miserable.
Then, one day, I was Googling for a new weight-loss cure and came across a podcast of a woman who talked about healing the inner child and then we would be able to eat healthy and lose weight. She then mentioned a book called Wheat Belly and it changed everything for me. I also read Grain Brain and I started eating meat again.
I’m not dieting (calories in, calories out principle), but I have removed grain, sugar as well as processed food from my diet, but I do eat many calories and fat as well as protein.