Saving My Mental Health From Fad Diets

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I come from a long line of thick women. And when I say thick, I mean thiccc. Whenever we went shopping, we never stayed around the store’s front sections, where sizes 0 to 12 were located. Instead, we would go straight to the back where the plus-size section was. Even in middle school, I was already a size 14, while my mother and sisters ranged from sizes 16 to 18.

Given that my family members had always been thick, you would think that I was already used to it. However, I was not always at home – ever since I started going to school, I had been surrounded by average-sized kids who called me everything from “fatty” to “porky” to “beluga.” Some would go as far as yelling, “Hey, Jane! How many of our clothes do you think you would need to make one shirt?” Others would sit down and cover their heads in the hallways when I was passing – just like you would do during a drill – and someone would say, “The earth shaker is walking!” 

If you have never been the subject of much ridicule, I could tell you now how hurtful that was. Of course, I would not give those kids the satisfaction of seeing how much they affected me, so I would always act like I did not see or hear anything. But once I closed the door of a bathroom stall, the waterworks would start. Throughout middle school, I could only count the number of times when I did not cry once a day. 

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The turning point in my life was when I became a junior in high school, and it was time for the prom. Many girls in my class had already been asked out by senior guys on the first week of its announcement, but I still hoped that someone – anyone – would take a glimpse of me and think, “Hmm, I should ask Jane to go to the prom with me.” And so I waited. And waited.

On the prom day, the teachers gave us half the day off to prepare for the event. I thought of sticking around the school a little bit, still hoping to get asked out. When I went into the bathroom to pee, I heard a couple of girls from another class talking about me. 

One of them said, “Poor Jane. No one wanted to take her to prom.”

Her friend replied, “Who would want to bring a bus to the prom?”

As both of them laughed, I cried in the cubicle silently. 

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Paying Attention To Fad Diets

I went home that day, unable to hide my tears from my mother. When she found out what happened, she wanted to go to school and hunt all the bullied. I tried to tell her not to bother because everyone was a suspect, but I just uttered, “Please help me lose weight instead, Mom.”

Out of pity for her youngest daughter, Mom let me look for a diet program and promised to cook whatever it asked for.

The first thing I tried was the four-phased Dukan diet, which became popular in 2013. According to a book about it, it was “in” among the French people. So, I followed the rule of eating only protein in the first week, protein and vegetables in the second week, fruits and bread in the third week, and anything except for too many carbohydrates in the fourth week. But this diet did not work because of the high level of imbalance among the food groups.

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I also tried a gluten-free diet, even though I did not have Celiac disease or any condition that required me to get rid of gluten in my life. Mom began baking bread and pastries using different flour types to support my weight-loss goal, but my efforts were still futile as it made me crave other junk foods.

During the summer, I jumped into the liquid diet. I genuinely thought it would work better than the others because I would not eat solid foods for an entire week. Unfortunately, two days into the program, and my body could not take it anymore. My mother had to bring me to the doctor, who scolded us for letting me follow a fad diet.

Saving Myself From Fad Diets

I fell asleep as soon as we got home from the doctor that day. When I woke up the next day, I was surprised to see my entire family around the breakfast table, waiting for me. It turned out that they wanted to stage an intervention for me.

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No one blamed me for wanting to lose weight, but they said that it was time for me to embrace my plus-size body. My eyes got misty when Dad said, “So what if those guys cannot appreciate you now? Those are mere boys – you will find a real man when you are older, and he will love everything about you.”

Ever since then, I stopped looking for fad diets to try. I eventually hit the gym and lost ten pounds of fat, but I was still and forever will have a thick, curvy body. And I am more than okay with it.

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