In chronological order, in honor of International No Diet Day:
I remember being in third grade, and telling my friends that I was only going to drink water for three days.
I remember feeling targeted and alone, because I couldn’t run the mile for the President’s Physical Fitness Test. Year after year after year.
I remember driving up to Boston, so that I could be evaluated at Children’s Hospital. I saw the nutritionist. I remember that she told me the proper serving sizes of meat and protein, likening them to inanimate objects.
I remember being in sixth grade, and working out at the gym with my mother. I remember what the salads tasted like, and how it felt to walk into school thirty pounds thinner. I remember the jeans we bought as a present for losing all that weight.
I remember going to a holistic doctor, who prescribed me pills, and said that I would get fatter and fatter for the rest of my life if I didn’t take them. When it came to order the second round of them, they had gone out of business. I remember exactly how they tasted. I waited by the mailbox for months, with the words fatter and fatter for the rest of her life echoing in my head.
I remember taking those diet pills that made me run forever, and never want to stop. I remember how expensive they were, and how badly I wanted them.
I remember being called Flubber and Free Willy. I remember each any every face that old me I was fat.
I remember being in high-school, and eating nothing but rice cakes. I remember the boy who said I would be pretty, if I lost a 100 pounds. Then he’d go out with me.
I remember stealing diet pills from BJ’s, because I was too embarrassed to buy them.
I remember being in college, and being on Atkins. I remember thinking that I wasn’t losing weight fast enough. I remember going on the Fat Fast. I remember being too weak to walk up the four flights of stairs to my dorm room.
I remember all of the friends that I colluded with. I remember the strategy sessions. The multitude of ways that we would rid ourselves of our bodies.
I remember being chased out of the fraternity, with boys yelling about how fat I was down the street after me. I remember how my friends cried, and how confused I was, because I was used to it.
I remember all of the boys I let kiss me, because I thought I didn’t deserve anyone better. I remember knowing that no one would ever love me for who I was.
I remember knowing that there was no other way.
I remember the realization that I was an adult, and I could choose to eat whatever I wanted. I remember knowing that I could buy myself meals, and that I was in control.
I remember how all that stubborn weight started sliding off.
I remember laughing, dancing, hula-hooping, and walking around town.
I remember preforming on stage in front of a crowd.
I remember when the girls told me I was their hero, a curvy girl with the guts to perform.
I remember what eating fish and chips without feeling guilty tasted like.
I remember falling madly, truly, deeply in love. Again and again.
I remember falling in love with someone who loves me exactly the way I am, thick or thin, and I remember how it felt to be loved so completely.
I remember when she asked me to marry her.
I remember loving myself completely. Without apology.
I remember when I started trying my best not to compare myself to others.
I remember starting this blog, with the secret dream that I could inspire others, with the secret dream that together we could work though the tangle of media, diets, societal, and family pressures.
Thank you, all, for being on this journey with me. The decision to stop dieting and start living dramatically changed my life. I’m not saying that it isn’t sometimes scary, or that everything is always perfect. But now I am living. Now I am breathing. Now I am taking risks.
And in many ways, I have all of you to thank for that.