What failing at a diet program taught me about body image, pleasure and health

I'm writing this while eating a chunk of fondant with a side of pink moscato. Earlier today, I had General Tso's chicken with California rolls and sweet potato tempura.

I've been dieting. Poorly.

My side job in fashion has contributed to me adding to my wardrobe and thinking more about my personal style and how things fit. So I've been shopping. And I've found myself needing to shop — for bigger pants. When waistbands cut through you like fishing line, it's not comfortable, and it's not a good look, and I've been finding high-waisted super-stretch jeans to be a gift from God.

So I wasn't loving how I looked in clothes, or how I looked out of clothes, and I decided to try NutriSystem. None of my failure is because of NutriSystem — I didn't do the program right, and the food is fine, doable as far as taste goes, but the tiny portions left me feeling so deprived, and even for someone used to frozen food, I was still feeling very bad about all my food coming in plastic packages. Again, part of that is on me, because I should have been adding fresh vegetables to my meals.

I failed because I'm not good at structure. I failed because I enjoy being spontaneous and splitting a bottle of wine and having pad Thai with a girlfriend. I failed because, as much as I get bummed when I'm in a Target fitting room and the mirrors make it really easy to check out my bra fat, I don't want to be thin bad enough to give up things that bring me pleasure. I don't really think about my size or weight much or intensely, except when I get in these phases when I just don't like what I see in the mirror.

There's nothing wrong with my body. My curves are bangin', and while the weight has slowly crept up over the years, I've only really gone up a pant size or so. Which happens. What I really need to worry about is my health, because I know I'm out of shape and would feel so much better — and look better in my tight pants — if I exercised. I used to be super into yoga and it really centered me and made me feel strong and in my body, and it calmed my anxiety. And at the time, I ate whatever I wanted. Clearly, what my body needs is movement, not a restrictive diet of packaged foods.

I may never be the girl who wears a crop top on Instagram. I may never have a "bikini body" or be a size 2 like I was in college ever again. But who cares? I'm a girl who bakes and eats cakes, who enjoys ordering pizza at the end of a long day and whose body is whole and free of illness. I'm also a girl who is whip smart, gives great advice, can tear through craft projects like a boss bitch and who tries to make everyone around her feel great about themselves. So what if I have cellulite and a bit of tummy pudge? There's so much more to me than my weight.

And fuck beauty standards that say you have to be a walking hanger and that's the only option for being beautiful. We're all beautiful, and all can get it.

I think I'm done dieting. I'm not done with trying to improve my habits, but when I want a milkshake and fries, I will damn well have a milkshake and fries, and the extra shake that comes with that? I'm OK with being a little bootylicious.

I think you're ready for this jelly.

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