Looking back from age 50 Rachel Zimmerman reflects on her life of dieting and food rules wondering if it was worth it. She looks good she says, but a peek inside her brain will reveal alarm:
I spend an inordinate, and frankly embarrassing amount of time thinking about food, planning meals and strategizing about how to control my weight. It’s on my mind pretty much every waking hour of every day and the details are painfully banal: how many pumpkin seeds in my nonfat yogurt; will a green smoothie pack on an extra ounce or two; can I eat dinner early so my weight the next morning will be optimally low?
Rachel recalls doing the grapefruit diet with her mother, and that even now her mother at age 70 asks if her scale is showing the right weight. But now she hopes for a different future for herself:
For me now, approaching 50, I’m trying to imagine a softer-edged life; less brittle rigidity and more juiciness. Recently, I’ve been troubled by my self-imposed food prison — an existence that I’d never, ever wish upon my daughters. I’ve sought help to change. But weaning myself off my daily scale addiction hasn’t been easy, nor has introducing new types of foods into my day: yogurt with fat and plump avocados, a fresh, warm blueberry scone now and then, and maybe a few walnuts.
The article also references a body image study showing that body image satisfaction is rare and fragile among women with only 12% reporting satisfaction while many of those also reported that they would become unsatisfied by a weight gain of as little as five pounds.