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How I finally learned that diets don’t work

Posted in health, and personal

Watching the weight come back

It didn’t take long until whatever tolerance I’d built up to overeating gave way. Everything that had seemed okay for such a long time, suddenly wasn’t. The weight gain started out slowly, but quickly increased to a steady clip over the next weeks and months. It wasn’t long until I needed to dig out the few fat clothes that I’d kept. After I grew out of those clothes, I went back to the Big-N-Tall store. Six months later, I was once again ordering from the plus-size sections of specialty websites with such edifying names as Chubstr.

I stopped riding my bike because I was embarrassed not to be able to fit into my cycling clothes anymore, nor could I bear the image of a great big fat guy balanced precariously on those two narrow wheels. I stopped running and walking because my knees had started to give me grief again. After an epic Nova Scotia winter with several flash freezes and floods, I developed bursitis in both elbows as a result of pick-axe overuse. Then plantar fasciitis appeared in both of my heels; a painful condition exacerbated by excess body weight, which also makes it difficult to stand or walk for long periods (let alone exercise).

By that point, I took the path of least resistance, which was abject self-pity. Every time I passed a mirror or squeezed myself into our dining-room chairs with the narrow armrests, I was reminded of just how badly I’d failed. Less than two years earlier, I had been a minor hero in my social circle for all the weight that I had lost, and now I was embarrassed to see anybody outside of my family because of how fat I looked. Without meaning to, and without any apparent willful effort, I let myself slide deeply into a shame spiral.

I thought I’d come by this honestly, however. There was no end to the bad memories I could dredge up about why I needed to eat this way. I could always think of a justification for why I was so unhappy and why my life was out of control. But eventually, it became obvious to me that something was wrong with me over which I truly had no willful control. I finally started to research topics related to food addiction and to eating disorders, and then I made some surprising discoveries.

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