Lauren Aitchison

Diets suck

Lauren Aitchison
Diets suck

Now I'm in my (very) late 20s, I've cut almost every unhealthy relationship from my life. All the friendships that were dead weight, or a one-way street when it came to staying in touch, are gone. Caring what people think of me isn't a burden I've ever really carried; I think I'm generally pretty great. The only unhealthy relationship I have left in my life is with my body.

I've always thought of my body as a separate entity. During the really bad spells of low self esteem, it is as though I'm wearing it like a fat suit from a bad sitcom. The padded flesh on my arms, stomach and legs feels as though it doesn't belong to me, though I've carried it since puberty. I see everything I do in third person; walking to the kettle at work, sitting on the toilet, having sex (if I can bring myself to undress). There is Lauren, the person, and Lauren, the body she exists in.


As my most recent period of self-loathing began, work colleagues coincidentally began commenting on what I was eating. "Are you sure you need that?" when I had a KitKat from the vending machine. "How many of those have you had today?" as I put a spoonful of jam on an oatcake. "Life's too short to be vegetarian!" when I tried a new salad recipe for my packed lunch. I could feel everyone else's dysfunctional relationships with food stacking on top of my own, and I could hear myself justifying every decision by listing all the exercise I was going to do to "balance out" the evil oatcakes and chocolate biscuits. 

I regularly have two dreadful opposing thoughts, which are these:

1. I have wasted my 20s being chubby, when society is telling me this is when I'm supposed to be hot and skinny. It's all downhill from here.

2. I have wasted my 20s worrying about what I look like, when I probably look amazing and I'll look back at old photos and want to give myself a shake.


I appreciate everything my body does for me. It's in general good health, apart from a couple of polycystic ovaries and a touch of pre-diabetes. It bounces back from hangovers pretty well, can run a mile or two and has lovely big eyes and curly hair. Compared to a lot of people, it's given me almost no grief whatsoever down to nothing more than luck of the draw. I'm mentally beating my body with a stick because it doesn't look the way I want it to in sleeveless tshirts while it consistently looks after me. And nobody gives a fuck what it looks like but me. If I gave myself half the compliments I give to women I don't know online, I'd be feeling pretty content right now. If I'm going to pick a way to "waste my 20s", it's not going to be worrying about what my body looks like any more.