Opinion: I wanted to change my body when I was 10 | tracey folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Whenever I hear the words “weight loss,” my ears perk up. I want to hear exactly how the speaker dropped the extra pounds.

So I can do it, too.

This is how I’ve lived my life since I was a pre-teen, chasing the next big weight loss scheme.

Exactly how old was I when I began worrying about my weight? I was ten years old. It was a hot summer day, and I was sitting on the front steps of my parents’ house. I remember feeling fat and pledging that I would be skinny by the time I turned thirteen.

That seemed like the perfect age for a fresh start.

Ever since that day, every waking moment has been a struggle between what I eat and what I shouldn’t eat, and no, I was not skinny by the time I turned thirteen.

Whenever I hear people talking about the latest fad diet, I question them on how to do it correctly.

For example, there was the grapefruit diet, where I had to eat half a grapefruit at every meal. Then there was the “lucky seven” diet. I ate seven hot dogs on the first day. I ate seven bananas on the second day. On the third day,… you get the picture.

Then I tried chewing every bite of food forty times before swallowing, followed by eating tuna and string beans for every meal for a month.

It might sound silly, but I’ve tried it all. I’ve tried every diet program you can name, and many that you can’t.

For me, the only thing that’s effective is staying away from eating any food I actually enjoy. If I’m happy with my diet, then I’m unhappy with my weight; if I’m happy with my weight, then I’m unhappy with my diet.

I’ve tried intermittent fasting, and it worked for a while until I gave up like I always do.

Diets are boring. Portion control is a bummer. How can I stop at just one? One bite of dessert. A single cookie. One solitary French fry.

It can’t be done, not by me.

Maybe I should just be happy the way I am, but I know I won’t be. A lifetime of unhealthy thoughts and even unhealthier eating habits have ruined my mindset forever.

I’ve been on a diet since I was ten years old, and I’ve been miserable ever since.

My mother was miserable before me. I probably learned obsessive behaviors toward food and abstinence from food from her. I don’t blame her. Society and the messages about women and weight loss are to blame.

It’s about time we normalized women having bodies of different sizes. Just when I think it’s happening in the pages of a swimsuit magazine or on the runway or on the red carpet, I hear about another fad diet.

How many more diets can I try in my lifetime? Quite frankly, I think I’m done.

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