In this episode, we meet 53-year old Lydia, who has been dieting for 40 years. As an adolescent, Lydia developed anxiety about how her body was developing, as is often common for girls and boys at that age. Aerobics was becoming hugely popular at that time in the 1980s, diet culture was booming, and Lydia embraced it all with the hopes that she could shapeshift into the lean, long-legged body type she hoped for.
Fast forward all these years later, Lydia is fed up with dieting. But she doesn’t know a life without it. She can’t imagine who she would be, or what her relationship with food would feel like.
All Lydia knows are the “boom and bust” cycles of dieting that define her life. When she loses weight, she feels confident in her clothes, but there’s also a constant fear lurking in the back of her mind that she’s going to regain the weight. And when she does gain it back, Lydia feels like a total failure.
As Lydia shares with Marc, she believes she’d be happy if she could only learn to eat and live like a thin person. But is there really such a thing as thinking like a thin person? And if there is, does it make them happier?
As this episode demonstrates, chronic dieting is not only a way of life – it’s a mindset. And while it usually doesn’t give us the results we’re looking for, it can become so hard to know what to do – and who to be – instead. Because dieting and body image challenges nearly always reflect our own self rejection, part of the solution is learning to accept ourselves and our bodies as they are right now, something that many of us worry means giving up our weight loss goals.
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