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diet diary

so a couple of weeks ago, i put myself on a diet. i often say that i'm watching what i eat, but it's been years since i've tried an actual, enforced diet, mostly because i lack willpower. why did i decide to give one a try now? i don't know. i haven't put on any weight in the last few months. i'd like to lose weight, of course, but i'm not nearly as neurotic about my size as i used to be. (ironically, i weigh more now than i did when i was insecure about my size.)

food, weight and our relationships with them are almost obsessive for the cast majority of adult women. statistically, up to 98% of north american women claim to be dieting or watching their weight on a regular basis, making dieting the most common non-essential activity on the continent. by adding myself to that number, at least for the time being, i'm hoping to discover what it is that drives this mania about size.

most women i know are trying, at least sporadically, to lose weight. i don't know any women who i would classify as truly overweight, so we can assume that they are not doing this for health reasons. so this is an aesthetic issue. most of them are able to specify the number of pounds they want to lose, or at least give a range, but it seems like a guess at best. no one seems to know how many pounds lost will result in the body they want. that's the tricky part. what does five pounds look like? or ten? thirty? for my part, i've told myself that i'll stop the diet when i can see a difference that makes me happy. (i don't weigh myself, the one little weight-related neurosis i have not been able to expunge. if i start stepping on the scale, i'll never get off it.)

i actually think that what i'm doing is a little trickier than a regular diet. it's easy to say that you've lost your target ten pounds, or fifteen pounds, or whatever the number in your head is. it's somewhat harder to overcome the natural body dysmorphism that's reinforced by pop culture images to find a look that makes you happy. because it involves having to say that you're happy with the way you look, something which is not encouraged.

until that happens, i'm taking the easiest diet route possible: i am limiting myself to health foods as much as possible an i am restricting my food intake. (if you want to figure out why obesity is, pardon the pun, a growing problem, have a look at the portion sizes that are offered in most restaurants. they often contain as many calories as the average person needs to consume in a day.) while i had initially planned on not counting calories, having a rough idea of how many i'm consuming is provign useful, as has finding information on my basal metabolic rate (you can enter both your current and your target weight to see how little the difference in calories needed is between them) and my body mass index (i'm within the normal range). these last two are about the only reliable pieces of information on healthy weight and diet that i've managed to track down.

and, as i mentioned at the outset, i'll also be using the opportunity to look into what it is about weight, food and appearance that drives us all so crazy. because if i'm going to be depriving myself of food, i at least want it to be a learning experience.

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