My Body Story: Ch. 4 – Fearless Friday Edition

When recovering from disordered eating behavior, we often feel ashamed and alone. In hope of fighting shame for myself and others, I’ve decided to slowly start sharing My Body Story. This is another chapter in that story.

It’s a My Body Story meets Fearless Friday combo! Am I the only one excited by the prospects of this?! Believe me, when I tell you that I am using excitement to overcompensate for what I am about to share because I consider it one of the lowest lows, but hell, shame shall hath no power over me, I shall move forward fearlessly!!!!

So I fearlessly confess, I reverted to using weight loss/fat burning pills once in my life…hi mom, sorry! I promise I’m taking way better care of myself now.

The weird thing is this embarrasses me for two reason:

  1. I know weight loss pills are physically harmful to my body (and seriously, do not even think of convincing me otherwise, I may not do the scientific research to back this, but anything that makes my pee biohazard yellow is just not something my body wants) and just plain stupid.
  2. I am embarrassed that I tried to take the easy way to weight loss (that’s right people, on equal par with being ashamed that I was quite probably harming my body, I am ashamed that I was lazy about losing my weight. Touché, society. Touché).

Something I didn’t share in Ch. 2 of my story, is what diet (I’m sorry…”lifestyle change”) I was following that summer after freshman year when I was quite probably anorexic.

I had heard at some point upon returning home (and finding double down wrappers mysteriously hidden in the trash…I will do a whole additional chapter on dieting as a family pass down), of this new diet book that sounded super science-y. It was all about the role that hormones play in weight gain/weight loss and how to use food to control those hormones to lose weight.

It was the first time I ever went out and picked a diet book for myself. We had had diet books around the house for as long as I could remember, but this was the first one I bought for myself, read cover to cover, and followed.

I will admit I still feel a lot of anger towards this book, this program, and its author. She is one of the many people who took her own weight loss journey and decided to profit from it. While I’m sure that at least some of her intentions were good and  that she hoped she was helping others who had faced the same struggle, it’s hard, where I am now, to not be angry at people that promote weight loss as opposed to health goals.

Her book, if I remember correctly (and keep in mind I read it nine years ago…I feel old), was actually very detailed. She spoke both scientifically and from personal experience and shared some of her own daily habits. The problem at the time was, the end of the book also provided mini meal plans. And by the end of that summer I realized those meal plans weren’t entirely in line with what the book was saying. But obviously, a few pages that outline in handy charts what to eat at every meal are much easier to reference in a pinch than a 250 page book. So suffice it to say, I followed those meal plans to a t. Never understanding where the author had managed to fit in a square of chocolate every day. That wasn’t anywhere in the charts! So I forewent it…I mean fewer calories would mean more weight loss right?!

So how does this relate to diet pills? Well a few years later, when following some kind of binge-laden episode I decided I had to lose weight fast for something, I went in search of some pills to do the trick and came upon a product by this author.

At the time, I picked it up, paid for it, took it maybe a handful of times, got freaked out (by a racing heart-rate and the aforementioned radioactive colored pee), and stopped taking them.

But something about those pills, promoted by the same woman who wrote this book, irked me then. And the further removed I am from that incident, the more it bothers me.

So many of these people that sell us various diet plans, including this woman, do it under the guise of health. They are helping us become healthier people. This is good.

The creation, marketing, and selling of these pills bothered me, because to me these pills are clearly not health related.

Where the dieting industry managed to fool me for over a decade with the message of losing weight for health, these pills never did. And to be honest, they didn’t really try. Diet pills have always been advertised as “take these and look hotter sooner.”

So when someone tries to sell me both well-earned health and diet pills, some warning goes off in my head that something is just not right. I think that’s why in all my years as a user of BeachBody I’ve never bought any of their supplements. There is something that just plain old freaks me out about the stuff.

Anyway, that’s my deal with diet pills. It was short and sweet and maybe not the most informative, but deal. I do think this is an appropriate time to share a story I read earlier this summer that nearly moved me to tears. It really made me rethink dieting and putting so much value on a thinner body.

Two months ago, NPR aired an episode of This American Life titled “Tell Me I’m Fat.” While a few people spoke in it, including Lindy West, author of Shrill, the second act is the one that really stuck in my mind. I’m not going to summarize it for you, I urge you to go and listen to it here or read the transcript here.







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