I was a habitual dieter from 1995-2009. If you do
the math, that's 14 years that went like this: Dieting.
Restriction. Success. Lose 5. Gain 7. Failure.
Soon after I graduated college in 1995, I became fixated
on dieting, exercising and losing weight. I started with Weight
Watchers and graduated to Phen-Phen until it was taken off the
market. People started identifying me as a dieter.
Worst of all, whatever I lost came back - and then
In 2000, due to a prescription medication, my weight
skyrocketed. I literally gained 30 pounds in three months. For
someone who has dealt with anxiety, especially anxiety about
weight, this was my worst nightmare come true. I thought I was
"heavy" when I really wasn't-and then I really, really
I tried working with dietitians. I tried weight-loss
prescription medication and Weight Watchers again. In 2003, at my
highest weight, I got pregnant. After my first child was born, I
lost all the baby weight and then some. But losing the weight was a
challenge after my second baby.
I was on Weight Watchers at five weeks postpartum. Five
weeks. I wasn't sleeping more than two hours at a time, but I was
back on the diet train.
While on maternity leave, I visited a Chinese medicine
doctor in Chinatown. Then I met with an alternative medicine doctor
several months later. Her advice: Go wheat free, dairy free, gluten
free, corn free and sugar free. Clean eating. I "did" that for
Then the weight loss came to a halt. Again I got
I visited a dietitian, Kim Shapira, in Los Angeles while
visiting my parents. I was upset. Lost. Trapped.
Shapira helped me get on the right path. We talked almost
every week. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't on an
official diet. We peeled back the layers of how and why I ended up
with diet and food issues.
Somehow, I regressed. Back to Weight Watchers, then Jenny
Craig for a six-week body makeover, and back to Shapira, who
recommended I read When Food is Love by Geneen Roth.
It was life changing.
It was my story.
It made me think about these things: Was I eating to live
or living to eat? Why was food and dieting defining me? How would
my dieting affect my children? Why was I constantly disappointed
with the way I looked even when I looked good? Because of that
disappointment, did my weight gain become a self-fulfilling
In the book, Roth suggests a life of healthy eating but
non-dieting. As I was reading this book, I thought to myself, "How
can I not diet?"
But I did it. I quit dieting in November 2009. Not only
did I do it for me, I did it for my family.
I don't want my children to grow up in a home where
dieting and food deprivation is a focal point of our conversations.
I have a daughter, and the last thing I want is for her to have
food issues. I want her to see value in healthy choices while
enjoying a once-in-a-while family outing to the ice cream parlor.
It is my responsibility as a parent to lead her on a good
I am learning that there are so many things to worry about
as a parent and as a woman. But I won't be worrying about the
latest and greatest diet any time soon.
Kimberly Kutnick is the mom of two living in Lincolnshire.
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