Two decades of dieting (and feeling like sh*t)

stop dieting

I was 11 when I first started dieting. My body suddenly got curvy and I was like: Excuse me? Where did my ribs go?

I was a skinny child. I was so thin that I needed to eat extra portions to maintain my weight. With the start of my period my body changed. Hello booty, belly and boobs. I still feel like it happened overnight. I woke up looking like a grown up with the face of a teen. I was clueless and didn’t know what to do with my sudden femininity. All the other girls still looked like stick figures so I felt pretty awkward. I thought weight loss was all I needed.

‘When life was shitty, I turned to food’

There was just one problem: I really liked food. And because of that I sucked at dieting. I tried to starve myself but would end up so hungry that I’d eat about everything I could find. Food became my best friend and my worst enemy. When life was shitty, I turned to food. It was like a never ending relationship. We tried to split up but would always end up together again. For a couple of years I was stable at a size 14 (44 EU) and stayed that way until I was 17 and had to use medication because of my asthma. I gained almost 40 pounds in 3 months and felt miserable.

Dieting

‘Stress made me fall off the wagon into a big pile of chocolate again’

About two years later I started modeling. My agent told me that my size –a large 18 (48 EU)- wasn’t very popular. It would be a good thing if I would try to lose one or two dress sizes. My struggle continued. Every six months I would start with a new diet. I entered Weight Watchers and gave South Beach Diet a try. I always managed to lose some weight but after two, three or four weeks something would happen that caused stress and I would fall off the wagon into a big pile of chocolate again. When I look at old diaries it breaks my heart. All I wrote about were my failing attempts to lose weight. And how I hated myself for not being strong enough to make it happen.

‘I knew it was time to deal with my demons’

It wasn’t until my last relationship ended –about three years ago- that I was finally able to make a change. Not immediatly. I had to sit on a couch, cry and eat crap for almost half a year first. But after that I knew it was time to deal with my demons. During my relationship I’d gained 50 pounds. I was at my highest weight ever. I had a size 20. Exactly when I needed it most one of the magazines I wrote for asked me to try hypnose as a weightloss tool. I decided to go for it. During the sessions I put everything on the table. From the negative way I looked at myself, to never managing to eat healthy for a longer period of time and to turning to food when I felt like I couldn’t deal with life.

Dieting

‘Food played the leading role in my life instead of me’

I don’t think the hypnose therapy is what made the difference. But being vulnerable and honest about the way I self sabotaged my attempts to a healthier lifestyle was. I was dieting almost every day but also eating secretly when I felt shitty. Food played the leading role in my life instead of me. Acknowledging that, changed everything. I finally managed to break out of the dieting versus binging circle. I started working out and threw all my diet books into the trash. I made healthy food choices but wouldn’t cut out anything. And when I ate junk food or candy I didn’t feel shitty about it anymore. In the year that followed I lost 40 pounds. Dieting covered up what was really going on for years. When I finally stopped being so hard on myself, things fell into place. I lost weight but gained an immense dose of self-love. And I’ll never be unhappy carrying a load of that.

Image: Pinterest (birds)

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