Cycles of Dieting

I don’t like my body.

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I’ve always been overweight, and I don’t expect myself to ever reach the hot, buff levels society expects me to be at if I’m to be considered an “attractive” person, but I would like to lose my gut. Over the past year or two, I can really start to feel it weighing me down. It’s getting harder for me to bend over. It’s getting harder for me to move around at work. Hell, it’s getting harder for me to just breathe. I already have enough weighing me down in my own head; the added weight of my stomach isn’t needed.

Dieting is something I feel like I’m continuously on and off with. I always start off the same way. I make a conscious decision that I’m going to start exercising more, eat less, and eat healthy.

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I start using the elliptical machine every day or two.

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I start shopping for healthy foods.

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I avoid junk food.

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And I can feel myself losing a little weight. I don’t know if it’s some kind of placebo effect, but just a few days of doing this and I feel less tired. I can do more at work. I can concentrate better at home. I can sleep better. I breathe better. I start gaining more confidence. I feel happier. My life starts to feel like it’s improving when I diet.

Then one of two things happen. First, I’ll get sick.

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People say I get sick a lot. I don’t know if I agree with that. I’d say I get sick after I make a solid attempt at losing weight a lot. Maybe I push myself too hard too early. Maybe the sudden change in diet does something to my body. Maybe it’s shitty luck. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But I get sick.

And then I get lazy.

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I tell myself to rest as much as possible so I can get better, and then I’ll be back on my new exercise routine. It’s okay. I can take a break from working out. I’m sick. I shouldn’t even be exercising when I’m sick. Besides, I can still eat healthy.

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Right?

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RIGHT?

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It always starts with the fucking ice cream, too. I swear, if I really, really put my mind to it, I could resist a lot of junk food. Half the time I don’t even want it. But ice cream is my one food weakness. I will always, always be up for ice cream. And no amount of dieting will ever change that.

When I’m sick, I reason that I have a sore throat, and ice cream is good for that, and that having ice cream for breakfast is not only okay, but the right thing to do. I don’t even know if ice cream is good for sore throats. I’m sure I saw some cartoon as a kid, probably Hey Arnold!, and some kid (it was Gerald; don’t even pretend you’ve forgotten anyone from that show) got his tonsils taken out and was told he could have all the ice cream he could eat, and I made some connection that ice cream cured sore throats. I truly am from a generation raised on television.

It all goes downhill from there. I start reaching for Cheez-Its instead of apples. I convince myself to avoid the bananas I bought if they show even the slightest sign of spotting. Grapes start growing fuzz as I put my hand in the cookie jar for the third time in a half hour.

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I’ll eventually get better, but now my stomach feels like shit. My gut is literally weighing me down, and sometimes it feels like it’s preventing me from exercising.

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The second thing that might happen is I’ll become depressed. Depression is something I deal with on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes it’s about something. Other times there is no reason. It doesn’t really matter; it gets in the way of dieting.

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I stay in bed longer, dwelling in negative thoughts. I’ll openly criticize my weight in between attacks on other parts of my life.

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Dealing with depression is like an exercise routine in and of itself. To be blunt, I’m too worn out dealing with my thoughts to even begin gathering strength to exercise.

I’ll get over being sick, or I’ll move past the depression, and then I’ll be in a sort of limbo. I might try exercising one or two random days a week. I might go out to eat and spontaneously decide to order something healthier. I’ll try out a new snack, like raisins, in lieu of chips. I’ll stop being a lazy glutton, but I won’t do anything that will realistically help me lose weight.

And then one day I’ll have a revelation, one that’s I’ve had many times before and will probably continue having. I’ll become aware of how tired I am after a single shift at work. I’ll become aware of how it’s getting harder to breathe. I’ll become aware that I’m 26 and I shouldn’t be so tired all the time, and while I may struggle with depression all my life, I can at least do something about my weight.

And the cycle begins anew.

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673 thoughts on “Cycles of Dieting

  1. I love this post, it’s especially relatable to me. I managed to lose 30kg in 2 years and have been keeping it off for 6 years now. I’d say one of the simplest things you can do is to weigh yourself every morning to keep track of your progress and to always be positive. Every gram that is lost counts 🙂 And every gram gained is a form of motivation to push yourself further!

  2. Learn about the concept of blood sugar stabilization and how great it works on weight management. It’s not a diet but a new way to eat. Let me know if you want to learn more.

  3. Ice cream is totally my downfall, especially when I’m sick. I simply cannot have it in the house. If I do buy it for my kids, I make sure it’s a flavor I don’t care for, ha!

  4. Best of luck with overcoming this cycle. I’ve personally struggled with binge-eating for years now but it’s gotten a lot better over the last year because I stopped putting so much pressure on myself. What matters is progress, even little progress. If you manage to change one thing a week, that’s progress. Whether it is cooking one healthy meal a week, or going once a week to the gym. And every week, you change one more thing. Eventually, you’ll progress slower but better and it will last on the long term. Any too dramatic change will cause that cycle to survive.
    I wish you an excellent day and hope you’ll find some healthy solace this week 🙂

  5. I used to get sick when I starting working out too and eating healthier but eventually it dissipated. It’s just your body adjusting. Now I get sick when I eat unhealthy foods. Just ease your way into it. Have a cheat day once a week. It gets better in the long run. Keep trying and Good luck, you awesome bunny you. xx

  6. Seriously laughed reading this. It is so true. However this time I haven’t let getting sick give me an excuse. Plus I have also made myself understand that one meal isn’t going to break me in my quest to lose weight. I am dedicated this time around. I have a goal and I know I won’t reach it over night. Weight lose in itself is a journey to me. One that I am willing to see it all the way through. Btw, awesome illustrations!!!

  7. You’re 26???! Oh well my. I was thinking “Oh (aside from the obvious gender difference) this guy is writing about ME (because it’s all about me) …but I’m 55 son. Been doing your story line my whole freakin life (well after 20 anyway…had a mother and a life to push me around before that). I still can’t breathe, I can’t walk around, and yeah if I start eating ‘right’ and exercising, I inevitably get sick. But hell. I’m 55. You’re YOUNG. You can still escape my fate, so ‘just do it’. (apologies to Nike). Your 55 year old self will thank you too.

  8. Reading this, I could easily have been the author. I’m currently towards the end of the cycle, reading myself to start anew. I’m the same age, and know that if I don’t do something about my weight now, it will only be harder to lose in the future. Good luck on your journey. I look forward to reading. x

  9. This is so true, and the pictures made it funny. I can completely relate. I have to lose 88 pounds in total, and every time I use the excuse “I’ll do it tomorrow” but then tomorrow becomes the next day and then the next day and so on. It’s quite difficult for me, and I’m guessing for a lot of others too. I wish there was an easy way, but hey can’t always take the easy way out (which, apparently, I’m really good at), thanks for the great piece! Loved reading this x

  10. I love how you worded and associated a picture with each of the feelings. Anyone conscious about their weight can relate with this. I have been literally forcing myself for 2 months to go to the gym and live a healthier life. Guess there’s been lack of motivation, but it’s never too late I guess 😀

  11. I loved your post! Your cartoons are cute too. I’m on a mission of losing weight as well. I really wish you luck in whatever you choose to do. I’m going to follow your blog to see how you’re doing. Take care of yourself!

  12. I feel ya with this, man. I was never that overweight, until I graduated from university and stopped working on my feet all day and got a cushy desk job that allows me to travel. Change from standing on my feet for 10+ hours a day to sitting on my butt, and dining out every meal every day, travelling all around. Sounds awesome, but I put on sixty pounds in 4 years. Looks like we both need a change of lifestyle.

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  14. I can relate to this! Holy cow. I always start dieting and exercising, get sick, eat like crap, then the cycle begins again. I talk about this on my blog as well and ways to cope with it.

  15. Hey there! Really enjoyed this article you have. I can really relate to the diet cycles you are going through, as I was there myself. Trying so hard, lost 80 pounds, only to gain half of it back. I am by no means a nutritionist/fitness specialist, but I can offer one piece of advice from my experience: Don’t just go by pounds and weight. Trust me, it is not enough to keep you motivated. Plus and most importantly, it can make you participate in some nasty health habits just to see results on the scale. But trying to make better, healthier choices is a good way to start. I’m still trying to figure it out myself, to be honest. But I wish you the best of luck on your journey!

  16. You need to join Forever Living- a huge range of products to help with weight loss and the whole business just gives you an uplift and boosts your general health and well being!

  17. I swear you have a camera in my room! Ice cream fits in around other foods I always say.
    But I did get some wisdom lately from a Dr who said eat for the weight you wanna be. Don’t say you wanna be size zero. Start with 20 lbs down which means take your goal weight, as a zero and eat that many calories. Easy – Ice cream allowed.

  18. i kinda have a complex about my weight nd its the other way around i think im too skinny nd im never comfortable in my own skin i hate it i cry about it everyday . idk if its the same feeling as being over weight but its hard on me.

    • I feel like weight is something many people are self conscious about, whether they think they’re overweight or underweight. I think a good balance is to try aiming towards your ideal weight goals while learning to accept and appreciate your body (and through that, yourself). It’s easier said than done, but I think it’s worth it. Hope that helps a little.

  19. I didn’t realise that so many people feel the same as me! For years I’ve had the ‘battle’ in my head regarding food, alcohol and smoking! Giving up one and replacing with another. I’m in my late 50’s now and have decided that I can have a small chocolate bar or a glass of wine occasionally without feeling I’ve ruined everything. It seems to be working and giving up smoking is the best thing I’ve done. I can run up stairs and have so much more energy. If I fail at anything now I don’t beat myself up. We just have to keep on trying.

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