I lost five pounds in one week and I regret it. It was a little before spring break and I was going to Mexico. It was my first time going on a trip with friends and I wanted to feel good about myself for once in a swimsuit so I decided to go on a little diet Sunday to Sunday the week before. I decided to go Paleo.
The Paleo diet is only eating items our ancestors would eat, way back in the day. If you couldn’t hunt or gather it, you can’t eat it on Paleo. What this means is fruit, veggies, and meat. That’s it.
You can imagine with the complaints regarding options at the cafeteria and on-campus dining, being Paleo with Sodexo, Chapman’s catering company, was not a thrilling idea, but I kept the image of me on a beach sharp in my mind to keep myself motivated.
Sunday was easy, I picked up the cilantro lime chicken for lunch and a salad without dressing for dinner. This wasn’t hard, and doing it for the next seven days didn’t seem like that big of a deal.
Monday was a little bit tougher. The idea of walking up the looming stairs of the Caf seemed a little sadder than usual. For dinner, cilantro lime chicken.
The days continued on similarly and each proceeding day made the lone piece of cilantro lime chicken on that stark white plate look a little more defeating. By the end of the week, I had come to a conclusion.
It wasn’t the lack of options or surpassing the amount of honeydew one person should ever have, that made the diet so hard and lonely. It was dieting itself.
Social media and online platforms can be used for spreading love and progress. However, those same platforms are also used for shaming ideas and bodies that don’t fit a perfect mold, for shaming bodies that don’t look like they belong on the cover of a magazine.
The idea to me that people restrict themselves from daily content to look like these models horrifies me. And I’m a hypocrite, because I succumbed to that pressure willingly. I told myself that going on the Paleo diet would be good for me. I would lose some weight and look a little bit better on vacation to impress my friends and strangers that I have never met nor will meet again.
Each day was harder and harder and each day I went back to that picture in my mind of me laying somewhere on a beach, feeling happy with how I looked in my new bikini. I truly hate that I did that to myself. I am healthy and young, and for some reason, the body ideals that circle the internet warped my mind into believing that I was disgusting, that in order to feel good about myself and look good for others, I had to lose weight.
But in reality, my friends love me for who I am, not the five less pounds on my body. And those strangers, they stared at my incredible sunburn and my giant smile, not my stomach. Holding myself accountable to an ideal and furthermore a diet did nothing but make me morbid and tired the week before an amazing vacation that I should have been excited for, not worried about the way I would look.
I think that eating healthy is a great thing, but for perfectly healthy and beautiful people to feel as though they are something less because they happened to be born with a different body type is an idea that has come from fad diets, social media, and the negativity surrounding the love of something that isn’t perfect.
Yes, I lost five pounds. And yes, I can’t wait to gain it back.