Fad Diets and Eating Disorders… Chew On This!

As the years have gone by, diets have changed, the need to improve ourselves has increased and the pressure to be the best version of ourselves has risen immensely. It used to be that if we ate healthily and exercised regularly that we’d stay in shape. But as social media got more and more popular and we all became so easily influenced by people on the internet, things changed. All of a sudden the healthy eating habit rule floated away and in came a bunch of fad diets;  Fasting, intermittent fasting, Keto, low-fat, Medetteranian, Paleo, and so on. People have profited from these diets which are nothing more than a scam.

It’s 2021. Most of us are aware that our phones can see what we like on social media or search for in our browsers. They can even tell when we stop scrolling and look at something.  So if you’re like me and you often “like” a bunch of workout photos or photos of beautiful women in their little bubble of perfection, your phone targets you and throws a bunch of ads in your face that pertain to what you’ve looked at. Why’s my phone telling me to lose weight? Rude. Even if you’ve not seen these weight-loss ads, I know you’ve looked at someone on Instagram and seen their way of dieting and wanted to try it. We all have. “What’s their secret?” “Man, I wanna look like that!” “I want my revenge body so everyone who’s hurt me can eat shit and be jealous!” (Don’t even attempt to lie to yourself, we’ve all thought that at some point in our lives). Everything we’ve known before gets thrown out of the window and suddenly everything we eat is WRONG. Every workout we do is WRONG! And these ads or posts work because most of us fall for them. We don’t feel good enough.

I used to have an unhealthy relationship with social media and a very toxic relationship with myself. I’ve been to the depths of depression and anxiety. As I said in my last post, my mental health hasn’t been the best lately. But I’ve been worse. I’ve been through the self-loathing phase of my life. I’ve compared myself to other women countless times. I’ve cried about it, disrespected my body over it, and lost all of my confidence over it. I’ve also never had a healthy relationship with food before. 

Time to spew the details 

Somewhere along the line, I decided the only way I would get instant results is if I started throwing my food up. Yes, puking. Eww. I tried it once and obviously, I didn’t enjoy it. It’s disgusting. I’d only do it whenever I felt super insecure. One day I decided I was going to throw up after every meal and see how I looked and felt the day after. Because I was throwing the food up anyway, I really went for it (I really reaaalllly went for it). I ate anything I wanted. It really didn’t matter because it wasn’t staying in my system. Burgers, fries, ice cream, pizza, chocolate, you name it. I gorged. I binged. I did the thing. I didn’t care.

The morning after my first binge eating session I stepped on the scale and to my delight I weighed less and I could see my stomach was less bloated. I was super happy and so I decided that at least for a little while, I would binge eat and throw my food up every day. In my head, it was a win-win. I’d get the food I wanted but not have to suffer the consequences of the types of food I was putting into my body. I took advantage of the sugary and carby foods, I drank as many energy drinks as I wanted because it didn’t matter. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about it. I knew it would probably not be good for my hair, skin, and my teeth to be doing all of this. Luckily I take care of my teeth so they haven’t suffered. I like my teeth, I want to keep them. But I knew what I was getting into would be so bad for me. At one point I stopped caring. The skinny body I wanted so badly was more important.

I became obsessed with the number on the scale and every morning I was 1-2lbs down in weight. I then took to Instagram to post about my weight-loss because what do we women do when we lose weight? We need approval. I don’t make the rules up, it’s just facts. I guess I just wanted to give off the illusion that I was doing good. I didn’t really stop to think about how I was fooling my friends. I didn’t stop to think maybe it could become a real problem. In my head, I was going to stop when I reached my target weight. I did eventually stop for a little bit. But what’s the most addictive food? Sugar! I became so addicted to sugar. I was also craving those carb-filled meals. I was secret eating and I was hiding things. Every time I left the house I’d treat myself. I’m also a car eater. I like to eat and drink in the car as I’m driving… and I’m always driving. So naturally, I gained all of the weight back. 

After I gained the weight I was so disgusted with myself that I went back to throwing my food up. It was beginning to become a real chore though. Sneaking off after every meal or snack, trying to drown out the sound of me hurling into the toilet bowl so my kids wouldn’t hear me. I’d run the tap and the shower at the same time so nobody could hear. It was also really hurting my throat and my immune system SUCKED! I feel like I caught a cold every other week. I was just so ridiculously unhealthy. I came up with new tricks. I knew exactly which foods would come back up easily so it didn’t make me choke or have a sore throat. I knew which foods to avoid and which ones to eat. I’m not going to list them all because I’d hate to be contributing to anyone’s eating disorder or give anyone ideas. But trust me, I knew all of the tricks. I figured them out over time.

I’d coconut oil my mouth, brush my teeth, and rinse with mouthwash every time. Scrubbed my hands clean so I was clean afterward. I’d clean the bathroom floor each time. I put my hair up and held a towel in front of me so I didn’t get anything on me. I knew those tricks. Typing this out, I’m so sad that I thought I ever needed to do that to myself. It sounds CRAZY! Honestly, I can’t believe that was a part of my life. You’d never think it either because I’ve never been stick thin. But it truly was a problem in my life.

You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with fad diets. Well, I think it stemmed from failing a bunch of times at water fasting. If you don’t know what water fasting is, it’s where you don’t eat food for anywhere from 24-72 hours and all you drink is water. In special circumstances I guess it’s helpful but it doesn’t serve my life any purpose and fasting has become a diet go-to over recent years. People have fasting apps on their phones. Honestly, fasting is a fancy way of fucking starving your body of the nutrients it needs. Carrying on; Sometimes I’d have fasting competitions with friends and I wanted to succeed, but in my head, I couldn’t so I cheated. I’d eat, feel satisfied and then puke it back up. It was the same as fasting (in my head). I convinced myself I was getting at least some nourishment (What a load of bollocks).

Again, I stopped. But when your body is starved of nutrients for a long time and then all of a sudden it gets fed again, what does it do? It stores what it can for survival, so it sored it as fat. I gained all the weight back again plus more. I gained extra because even though I had stopped puking my food up, I still felt that urge to binge eat. I became addicted to food and I gained 20lbs.

I also tried that diet where you do low-carb days and high-carb days. I saw an ad for a personal trainer’s weight-loss program and he was talking about tricking your body into losing weight fast by eating lots of carbs one day and then basically eating next to nothing the day after then repeat. Because he’s a certified trainer I thought he must be right, so I did that… I didn’t want to pay him any money though so I did my own version of itit. What I didn’t think at the time is he’s out here like many other trainers, giving unhealthy tips to women to get them to lose weight fast so that he can profit from it. It’s just another fad diet.

Do these diets work? Yes. In the short term, they do. The low-carb, high-carb then back to low-carb bullshit diet worked with me. I dropped the weight I wanted. One low-carb day, one high-carb day then fasting again, and so on… Yes, they fucking work AT THE TIME!!! But what happens when you go back to a normal diet is you gain ALL of that weight back and it doesn’t matter how much exercising you do, you’ll still be bigger. It’s your body’s way of survival and I can’t sit here explaining the science behind it because I’m not a professional but I know they don’t work. I’m living proof. Not only do they not work but I think they are dangerous for our physical and mental health. Why do we have to suffer in order to gain a nice body? We don’t. 

I’m a dietician. Anyone that has seen me in person will know I’m not in perfect shape. I yo-yo. One week I’ll look good and the next I’ll look bigger. I bloat easily and then I lose it easily. I’m never consistently the same size. That’s because I’ve abused my body on and off for years and I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food. In addition to that, my hormones are wrecked! I’ve never lost weight in a healthy way, it’s always been through cheating. I’ve never been consistently good to myself. 

And all of this I’ve only just figured out. I’m coming out of an abusive relationship with myself and I’m starting to learn how to take care of myself the way you should. I’m starting to love my body the healthy way.

A few weeks ago I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I had no energy and I just felt so low about myself and my life. My mental health hasn’t been the best. I wanted quick results and my instant thought was to start throwing my food back up again. But I was like I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t want my daughters to ever feel this way about themselves and I need to be a positive role model. I almost signed up for one of those stupid diet programs online but finally, it clicked. I was like NO, I can do this myself and I’m going to. I’ve always been so focused on getting instant results but something like this doesn’t just happen overnight. Get some patience for once in your life, Laura.

As I said in my last post, I joined a gym. I’m also eating super healthily and I’m seeing results. I’m not addicted to sugar and for the first time ever I enjoy eating healthily. When you’re addicted to junk food you think “Ugh, health food is so boring!” But that’s not how I feel anymore. I crave fruit and vegetables. Amazing!

Now, even months later I still feel the urge to throw up after I eat. Not so much with the smaller meals but if I go out to eat and I eat a heavier than usual meal, I wanna throw it up, but I’m not doing it because those unhealthy habits are a thing of the past. I have formed new habits where I want to take care of myself. I’m also really enjoying the process which is something I’ve never felt before either. I’m not weighing myself every day. I don’t care about the number. Obsessing over a number is SO unhealthy. I can’t believe we do that. It’s just a fucking number. I’m focusing on my relationship with myself and that is what’s more important.

Honestly, I’m proud of myself.

The fad diets need to be forgotten. Just go back to a normal healthy food and exercise routine. Don’t do a special diet. And please remember; eating disorders aren’t just for skinny people. Disorders come in all shapes and sizes….literally! Most importantly, at the end of the day, it isn’t worth it. Love yourself.