(And why I am choosing to declare 2023 the year (the first one ever) of not obsessing about my weight)
I know, duh, you can’t just read about it, you have to take some action to lose weight. Or do you?
Just a few days ago I was reviewing the books I read in 2022 (which I diligently log in to my Goodreads account – if you are interested, please read my article: 10 Reasons to Use Goodreads (for Readers)) and was
surprised shocked to find out that 17 out of 47 books I read this year were on losing weight or eating better/healthier (but really about being slim).
It is time for a new year – a new beginning, and I feel compelled to download some of those pesky weigh loss books again. Thanks to Kindle Unlimited frequently offering me three months for the price of one, there is no lack of catch bait titles being thrown at me on Amazon.
Not only did I not lose any weight in 2022, I actually gained some. I was pretty good over the years keeping within 5 kgs of my ideal weight (I am now more in the 10 kg radius).
As a disclaimer, I am neither overweight nor obese (according to my BMI), but I still feel victimized by the body-shaming culture most of us live with. I can’t even imagine what it is like for people who are overweight or obese and who, statistically, often feel judged and negatively evaluated even by their own healthcare practitioners.
What can we do about it?
Can we resolve not to be a part of the culture of shame and stop comparing ourselves to others?
This year, I am planning to.
I am planning to stop talking about my own weight and what I am eating (or not) and how I am planning to lose those extra kilograms and how this dress fits or doesn’t and how I am disgusted with myself when I eat too much or how happy I am when I lose a few kilograms. In fact, I am going to treat food as just food, not good or bad or something I have to beat myself over.
I am not yet sure how, but I know I have to.
Every now and then I meet someone, not at their (magazine) perfect weight but completely comfortable in their body and I know I want to be them. I want to be ok with my body whichever weight I am and whether I want to lose weight or not – in other words, I want “self-acceptance” and appreciation.
So to stop myself from reading even more (free) books on Kindle and to stop frequenting that section of my local library, here I am going to recap all the books I read and (evidently) wasted my precious time with. There are so many other things I want to do with my life!
I solemnly pledge not to read another book about losing weight or healthy eating in 2023, my year of Self-Acceptance.
In fact, I have been so obsessed with my weight for as long as I remember (and I will probably write more about that in another post), always wanting/needing to be thinner that I can’t remember the time when I wasn’t watching what I ate.
Watching what I eat in my case, however, doesn’t mean that I am making ‘healthy’ or ‘better’ choices, it just means constantly berating myself for my food choices or my overall appearance.
I am tired. I want not to care. I can sit here and tell you that I am doing this for my six-year-old daughter, who just the other day stood in front of the mirror and with her little hands on her hips and a big sigh said: “I am so fat” and I clearly saw myself. I should, of course, but no. I am doing it for me.
I want to just eat when I am hungry (as opposed to when I am watching TV or when tasty food is available whether I am hungry or not). I just want not to want to eat when I am not hungry. They call it intuitive eating. Our children do it before we ruin them by making them (cajoling them) into eating everything on their plates.
Hereby I am declaring my 2023 the year (the first one ever) of not obsessing over my weight.
I think more about my weight than about any other topic, and it is pathetic. I am sick of it. Interestingly, my mental obsession is not enough to make me physically do things – like diet or exercise. It just leaves me as being really mean to myself.
No more. I am 45 years old. I am (supposed to be) more self-aware.
The books on weight loss/healthy eating I read in 2022, and that didn’t help me lose any weight
The author’s personal story is really compelling (she was bingeing on sugar and dough when she couldn’t afford to spend any more money on food – something I can’t personally relate to but I can so empathize with). She is a registered psychologist now and runs a (severely restrictive) program to keep the weight off.
I am not sure how sustainable it would be to maintain this weight loss (but I have no doubt you would lose a lot of weight on it). I thought I’d give some of it a go, but I never got around to it. I did spend some time listening to her podcast, though.
I got so inspired by this book that I ordered a paper copy (I think I originally picked it up in the library). Then I ordered the other two books (it’s a trilogy) and now they are sitting on my bookshelves looking pretty.
I Quit Sugar, as I learned, is a program developed (and since sold (or donated?) to another organization) by a popular influencer in Australia and New Zealand called Sarah Wilson. She looks amazing in all her pictures (and she is around my age or older) which got me to buy her book and have what she is having. She has since moved onto minimalism and climate engagement but her books are really inspiring.
She makes everything from scratch and wastes nothing, and I am good at imagining myself doing/being all that.
This way of eating is probably not sustainable in the long run (it is really restrictive, esp. if you are not much of a cook or if you have a family to feed), but I almost gave it a go. Instead, it raised my awareness, but apart from dreaming about it, I didn’t do anything else, so I am going to count this as one book only – although there are three.
Having said all that, I am sure that if we followed this (restrictive) way of eating and if you were a keen cook with a lot of time on your hands to create all the amazing recipes – it would be great.
So I am going to go ahead and say, if I had my own personal chef dedicated to me 24/7, I would choose to eat this way.
He almost had me. I went as far as to recommend it to my mother and start looking up gluten-free and read my next book called Gluten Free: Facts and Truths About: Gluten, Eating Paleo, Celiac Disease and Related Conditions by Arianna Brooks.
But, of course, restricting whole food groups for no reason, was a no-go for me in the long run. Again, if I had someone to cook for me this way, then yes. Why not, really.
From my Goodreads review:
Allen Zadoff is Allen Carr of overeating. Even though I am probably a problematic eater rather than an overeater, boy do I relate so much in this book. More of a manifesto, this autobiographical story is not trying to be a diet book. I did wait, as he predicted, for a permanent loss secret, but there isn’t one. There is only control and discipline and self-awareness. Eye-opening and well-written, composed of short, interesting chapters and a really likeable narrator. Highly recommended for everyone on a diet rollercoaster and eating disorders.
- Weight Loss Journey: Changing My Life, One Pound and Story at a Time: Six Months to Wellness by Jory Ames
Another honest account, this time in the form of a diary. It is realistic as well as entertaining and inspired me to log my food for a while and write my own diary about weight loss, but it only made me more obsessive, so I stopped.
However, it is well worth a read. This is the blurb:
“I’ve read some 500 diet books in my lifetime. I’m not telling you that to say I’m some kind of expert, but instead to explain why I wrote this, am sharing it with you, and what my approach is. My frustration in reading all those books is that I wanted to know exactly what the successful dieters ate and exactly how much they exercised to lose weight. I wanted a manual that I could follow or not, agree with or not, but at least know. I didn’t want just “I lost 50 pounds and so can you” stories … I wanted the specific, truthful, day-to-day how.”
I can relate to reading many diet books.
I also read her second book to see if she managed to keep it off. So far, it seems she has.
- How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michel Greger
Admittedly, I skimmed the first part (mainly because as a lapsed vegan, I was more or less familiar with the benefits of the WFPB diet) and went straight to Part 2 Daily Dozen where I underlined many parts and got inspired to go WFPB again.
Usually, diet books are all about eating organic meats, green veggies, berries and no other fruit. And no potatoes (good old potatoes), but avocados in heaps and all sorts of oils.
How Not to Die is all about fruits (all), veggies (all) and grains (all) – to pick and choose from. Nuts and seeds. And no oils. I’ve been there and lapsed when I left the Middle East (where such food is abundant) and came back to my home country (which is all about meat), and I am not an enthusiastic cook.
I have no doubt that this is the most sustainable way of eating for me and I will be (eventually) working towards it.
I also read his How Not to Diet but didn’t really need to. I was just procrastinating.
Then I tried to get the Law of Attraction to do the work for me with:
- Delicious Alignment: How 25 Women Learned to Love and Transform Their Bodies Using Abraham-Hicks and the Law of Attraction by Rhonda Ryder
The books I don’t remember much (or at all)
And then I went with the following books that I, honestly, don’t remember much, probably because I didn’t follow up with a Goodreads review or any recap after reading.
- The New Rules of Aging Well: A Simple Program for Immune Resilience, Strength, and Vitality by Frank Lipman
I gave this book five stars and heavily underlined it on my Kindle, but the only thing that I remember is that intermittent fasting is beneficial for older people and yes, it’s ok to skip breakfast.
And then there were:
- Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Stop Pain, and Reverse the Path to Diabetes by Richard P. Jacoby, Raquel Baldelomar
- Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
- Hungry: Trust Your Body and Free Your Mind around Food by Tara Whitney
“One of the more relatable weight loss books” is what I wrote in my Goodreads review, I assume this is something in the intuitive eating direction, but I can’t remember it at all now (I probably have Kindle highlights to prove that I read it)
- Memoirs of a Former Fatty: How one girl went from fat to fit by Gemma Reucroft
- No More Dieting!: Permanent Weight Loss Without Dieting and Freedom From Compulsive Eating by Shauna Collins
- The Boring Diet: Weight Loss Without Hunger, A Path to Healthy Food and Clean Eating by Tom Armstrong
- The Click: How I Lost 90 Pounds & Finally Found Fitness … After 60 by Sharon Odom
How about you? How accepting are you of yourself as you are, right now?