Two years ago, I was half way through my weight loss journey. I had lost 60 lb. The way I did that was to count calories and exercise. It worked slowly, but steadily. I felt pleased with my success.
A big part of that success was a website called Fatsecret. Not only did I find the tools I needed to track my food intake, I also found a community of wonderful people on similar journeys who could relate to everything I was going through. I am still online friends with many of the people I “met” there. (Thanks buddies!)
But I also became painfully aware that for many people, this path was very different. Diet sites are full of supportive people and people trying very hard. But they’re also full of
obnoxious misguided people who believe in whatever diet they are following at the moment with religious fervor and like to tell you why Their Way is the Only Way. And this becomes a Diet War, with each dieter trying to prove his/her way is the best. Low carb, low fat, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Medifast, SlimFast, Paleo, etc, etc, etc.
I can’t say I’m particularly proud of the amount of “debating” I did on that site at one time, but it was really just me working through my own thoughts. What I came to realize is just how awful the Diet Industry is and I came to believe that the major problem with people and why there’s so little success in permanent weight loss is the Diet Mentality. I’d never really thought about it much, but there it was in black and white all over those forums: people berating themselves, going on and off different diets, gaining and losing the same weight over and over again, yet never quite understanding that the only path to permanent weight loss is permanent change.
I saw people doing the most horrid things to themselves in the name of weight loss. Starvation diets. Cleanses. Fasting. Consuming nothing but shakes. I came to see how extremely low calorie some of the most popular diet plans turned out to be when entered into the Fatsecret food diary. Diets I had seen commercials for many times, adding up to less than 1000 calories a day. How can this be legal? I wondered.
I got really angry.
I even left the site multiple times because I couldn’t take the insanity of it all. On one of those occasions, I decided to start my own blog and it would be about Not Dieting. In a world where everyone is trying to sell a weight loss miracle pill/plan/book… I would be something different. I would tell people they don’t need no stinkin’ diet. And I would let my own success and experience speak for itself.
By the time I finished losing weight, I realized that I had to disengage from diet forums. I tried to find one focused on weight maintenance and though I did find a few, none seemed to be what I was looking for.
You see, there was a moment in the process for me when it all clicked into place. The struggle ended. My life was different. My habits were different. I was disentangled. My weight didn’t define me and I knew what it took to be fit and healthy. I found out that there were more benefits than I ever dreamed to eating well and exercising, like sleeping better, less mood swings, just being generally in better health and happiness all the time. With a strong base, I felt that life had gotten easier in many aspects.
But among other weight maintainers, I rarely found this. It seemed like nobody was happy or satisfied. They were either still really struggling with food or just miserable about not having perfect bodies. This really bothered me. Here we were- people who had accomplished what so many dream of- the loss of 100s of pounds- and everyone was miserable! When would enough be enough!?
It was then that I found out you could create a Facebook page for a blog. So I did that, and I made my own weight maintenance and healthy living community. I’m so happy about how that has turned out. It’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people who are really interested in changing their lives. I couldn’t take all the negativity I found in some of those other places. It was just too heartbreaking.
I still visit Fatsecret once a month to weigh in and let everyone know I’m still maintaining, I’m still happy, I’m still me. I practice what I preach. And it IS possible. It doesn’t have to be torture. It can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life if you are open to change and learning.
When I stop by there, I browse the forums but quickly leave. This isn’t where I belong- where people are discussing whether sugar alcohols in gum are allowed on Atkins and if 800 calories a day is too little on Weight Watchers. It just gets me angry. So I leave and I create my own positive spaces. And I feel like I’m helping others, which is the most rewarding part of all.
That’s why I’m here. Nice of you to join me!