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Admyering the View: Weighing in

A lifetime of dieting taught me it's not about pleasing others

 by Amanda L. Myers  published on Thursday, February 17, 2005

Myers/issues/arts/692033
Myers
 

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I have been on a diet all my life.

With overweight parents who never ate right and living the first decade of my life in the Midwest -- the potbelly of the United States -- I never really had a good example of what healthy eating is.

Whether it was eating only cabbage soup for a week at a time or cutting out all dairy products, I tried all the gimmicks.

But what's perhaps more disturbing than a never-ending diet was the reason I was dieting.

It wasn't to be healthy, get fit or live longer.

I was on a constant quest to blend in.

As an overweight kid, I stood out in school. While I experienced surprisingly few taunts, I felt like an outsider among my group of gorgeous friends.

Unlike them, I didn't relish swimsuit season when I could sway my hips in a tiny bikini and drive the boys wild. Hell, I didn't even go out in a one-piece.

The peak of my shame was senior year of high school, when I opted out of going to the prom, even though a group of single friends were going together.

I was more afraid of what I would look like in a clingy dress than not having a date.

So I can really relate to the students SPM writer Kristi Eaton talks to in "More than a number" on page 6.

Her article is about what it is like to be obese on a campus brimming with beautiful, thin students.

Journalism freshman Julie Wagoner says, "The guys definitely treat the girls who are heavier differently. I find that most of them seem to be after the ideal image of a stick-thin blond."

That's just the image I was going for all those years: a stick-thin blond.

But in the past year, I discovered that it's not about fitting in, but rather about feeling good about myself.

Last year, I started a rigid low-carb diet, and for once, it worked.

Not because cutting out carbs is the magic formula. As nutritionist Nadine Campbell says, it's about what works for each individual person.

I didn't find restricting myself to eggs, meat, cheese and green vegetables difficult; I love all those foods and on a low-carb, low-fat diet, I feel so much more healthy and energized.

In the past year, I've gone down four sizes and lost about 40 pounds. I'm certainly not stick-thin, but I don't feel like an outsider anymore.

And better yet, I am not busting my ass trying to be something I'm not and likely could never be.

I just hope after reading this story, you think twice when you see a heavy person walking by. Remember, they're not overweight because they're lazy or lack self-control; they just haven't found what works for them yet.



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