Lately, since I’ve publicly renounced dieting, I’ve gotten a handful of concerned questions from friends who aren’t sure they’re understanding me correctly. Or they aren’t sure I’m understanding me correctly. The conversation usually goes something like,
Friend: So what are you saying – you’re not even going to try to lose weight anymore? Because [lots of sciencey things about how terribly unhealthy it is to be fat].
Friend: Well, sure, the ridiculous magazine diets are all bunk. What you really need is a lifestyle change that involves eating less and exercising more — have you thought of that?
Friend: I get that the human body isn’t designed to respond to caloric deficit by reducing weight long-term. But what if you just reduced your food intake and lost weight really really slowly so your metabolism had time to adjust to having less food?
Friend: If you just sorted out all the psychological reasons that made you fat in the first place, and all the negative emotions you have about food, I bet then you’d be able to lose weight.
Friend: [any other condescending suggestion that tries to find a loophole in the decision I’ve made, after a lot of thought and research, to stop trying to lose weight in favor of adopting behaviors – like intuitive/body-conscious eating and regular enjoyable exercise – that are proven to have a positive impact on my health]
I’m going to be as clear as I can: I am no longer trying to lose weight. Click the links above and you’ll see why I’m convinced that continued efforts at weight-loss are a losing (har!) proposition for me, based on loads of evidence that bodies are wired to want to stay the same size, that the process of losing and then regaining weight (which is the near-inevitable result of dieting) taxes the body more than maintaining an “overweight” size, and — most importantly — my own experience has taught me that trying to lose weight is detrimental to my mental and emotional well-being.
I’m choosing to be content with my weight instead of pitting myself against my body in attempt to somehow circumvent its genetically predisposed size. If science is able to come up with a proven method for permanent weight loss in a way that does not otherwise compromise my physical, mental, or emotional health, I’m sure I’ll revisit this choice. But until then, I know I’m a healthier person for living in a way that values and nurtures my body in the size and shape that it is.
I’m choosing to stop dieting. And before you ask, no, I’m not going to be doing [insert any other term that means “trying to lose weight”] either.