Diets make me rebellious. Admittedly, most diets I tried were when I was a teenager; rebellion and questioning authority went with the territory. But even as an adult, I’ve maintained a high degree of skepticism for someone telling me what to do or eat.

Diets, being nothing but a list of rules and restrictions, rubbed me the wrong way. Even if they offered some rationale for their program, my heels set stubbornly. I still wonder how they can claim anything so categorically, that what they offer will work for everyone, all the time.

It wasn’t just diets. If anyone, no matter how well-meaning, tried to give me advice on losing weight, I feigned listening, all the while anger boiling up inside me. Who were they to tell me how my body should be, what I should eat?

The end result? I would go off at some point to eat the exact opposite of what they said. I knew it wasn’t good for me - after all, I don’t think anyone can claim that pre-packaged snack cakes are health foods - but I didn’t care. No one was going to control me, thank you very much.

While on the surface this seemed straightforward (I wanted what was forbidden), it went a bit deeper than that. It wasn’t just about wanting the food. It was about the judgement that went with it.

I was rebelling against the idea that I wasn’t good enough.

Every time someone told me that I shouldn’t eat certain foods, I felt it as judgment, that because I did eat them, something was wrong with me. Only if I kept the faith, stayed on the right path, could I be saved from myself and considered acceptable.

I wasn’t having any of that. I ate the candy and cookies and ice cream and cakes to prove that nothing was wrong with me. Unfortunately, since no one else understood this, I went into a downward (or in a way upward) spiral. The heavier I got, the more people tried to get me to lose weight, and the more I felt like rebelling, which meant I gained more.

I was only able to move out of this cycle when I stopped letting other people’s judgments influence me. Even then, I had my own self-judgment to get past (and sometimes rebel against), but eventually I was able to do that, too.

And while it can sometimes feel fun to be defiant, I have plenty of other options for that. I’m just as glad to no longer have the need to rebel based on my food choices.

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