I have a bone to pick with the dieting industry, but really- the person I’m really mad at is myself. Like pretty much every other American woman, I spent years viewing myself through the looking glass of commercialized expectations. The idea that you can wash away the marketing telling you to eat, indulge, live a little with the marketing that a little pill can make it all go away effortlessly is literally a stupid pill to swallow.
Dieting products are seriously the dumbest thing ever created, yet I spent plenty of my former years and former income devoted to imbibing their proclaimed magic. As stated in some of my former confessions- I used to hate exercising of any kind. There was some kind of mystical appeal of going to Target or the vitamin shop to pick up a bottle of diet pills during an errand. It was cheap, and hot damn, it was convenient.
I must have tried every over the counter product they made- everything from diet shakes you got in a can, to ones you mixed yourself. I had pills, drink mixes, snack bars & of course there were the herbal supplements (that of course are not tested or regulated by the FDA!) I experienced everything from absolute irrelevant placebos to the horrible jitters (that almost felt like motivation to get active but totally wasn’t) but the best result of all was losing absolutely NO WEIGHT, not once, not ever.
For me, buying into diet products was a way to relinquish power over my health & my body image. For many women who feel out of control about their self-image, worthiness & health find it easier to hand over the reins to someone else’s marketing than to take care of it themselves- I was one of those women. Getting healthy, and mainly, getting thin with pills was a veiled attempt to conform to mainstream ideas of beauty. Buying pills was more like paying a tithing to the church of fools to which I was a cardholding member. For years I bought my obligatory bottle or jar simply because I felt I had to- not necessarily because I wanted to.
So, what changed? Last year, I realized that there is a strong connection between health and wealth. As a finance blogger, I started to examine my choices and where I put my money- I decided to not put my dollars towards diet pills. When I started to blog about fashion, I had to get really comfortable in my own skin, and thus, in front of a camera and the online community.
I really hope that made sense- but to say it another way, your money and your “self,” are tied and they reflect one another. Additionally, when you try to take short cuts with one, like spending your money on diet pills or getting a regular quick fix with junk food, you pay for it in other ways- your health. Your money is making the statement that your self-worth can be bought, sold and comes in a fancy bottle. Of course, this goes the other way too- when you skimp out on your health, consistently putting others first, running yourself ragged, delaying your yearly checkups or procrastinating on making changes, you pay to regain your health with your money.
So why write about this now? I’m turning 26 on Sunday. Hooray! I think it’s time to be honest about my guilty spending and eating habits of the past, not only to demonstrate that if I can change, anyone can, but to also illuminate the idea that if you’re struggling with your weight or secretly buy weight loss crap, you aren’t alone.
I’ve been running several times a week for over a month now. Am I skinny? HELL NO. Do I feel better about myself both physically and emotionally by dodging the pills and instead getting down to the nitty gritty (and sweaty) part of myself that I thought could be bought and sold in the supplements aisle? Yep.
I’m never, ever going to be skinny. I’m not built that way, but beyond accepting that fact as a somber truth nugget of heredity, I own it. What I would like to be is healthy, not skinny. I want to be ready and active for any opportunity that comes my way.
Also, as an update about my running- I don’t think I’ve lost any weight yet, and I don’t care. My curvature hasn’t really changed, but what changes about me is the reaction in the mirror….before I would look in the mirror and say “The pills aren’t working,” and slink back into self-loathing stupidity. Now, I look in the mirror and go “HELL YES.”
(please tell me I’m not the only one who wasted paychecks on this crap!)