Written by Jenny Morrill

Voices

Stop with the bollocks: diets are not fun

While Jenny Morrill has come to terms with the ‘eat less, move more’ philosophy, she reserves the right to be miserable when putting it into practice.

Illustrations by Harriet Carmichael.

Illustrations by Harriet Carmichael.

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight. Dieting is punishment for being fat. (In the interest of fairness, other punishments™ are available.)

In my experience, diets usually take the following form: you are at risk of killing small children by pulling them into your gravitational orbit. Therefore, you must now spend the next big chunk of your life in a state of semi-starvation and being knackered – otherwise known as ‘eat less and move more’.

I accept this. I also accept dieting is difficult and not (normal) people’s preferred state of being. But it has to be done if you (I) want to avoid shopping at Millets for my underwear. What I don’t accept is people trying to convince me that dieting is a fun thing to do.

Let’s have a look at some things that are fun, shall we? Going on rollercoasters is quite fun, unless you go on that one I once dreamed about where you’re fastened in by your hair. Parties are quite fun, providing you like breathing other people’s air and listening to had-to-be-there anecdotes. Playing on the Mega Drive is definitely fun.

A pattern is emerging here – none of these fun things include eating less food than you want to eat.

But I’m a grown-up, and I realise that, for me, limiting what I eat in order to lose weight is sometimes a necessary part of life. Like tax returns. And ridding the plughole of shower sludge.

What I can’t get on board with are the people who feel compelled to preach about how dieting is the best thing in the world, and how they wish they were 17 stone heavier so they could diet some more. These people are bad at being people.

These diet evangelists frequent internet forums daily in order to make sure everyone else in the world knows how much they love being on a diet. According to these people, if you are unhappy in any way with your lettuce and water, there is something wrong with you.

Dieting evangelists say the following things:

“I can’t believe I ever ate that stuff! Who wants horrible greasy food when you can have yummy, healthy salad!”

“You shouldn’t have to reward yourself for losing weight! Eating healthfully is its own reward!”

“You don’t have to deprive yourself on a diet! I like to have a treat, so I have a square of chocolate!”

“Everyone can learn to love boiled vegetables! Just add spices to taste!”

“Simply eat less and move more! I can’t believe it’s so easy!”

“What do you mean ‘healthful’ is a stupid word? I just like to eat yummy, tasty, healthful food that’s full of wholesome goodness! No, you piss off!”

They use exclamation marks because they think it makes people agree with them.

“The people who try to make me love eating vegetables aren’t helping. They make me want to get rickets and scurvy on purpose, just to spite them.”

They also have stupid fake ‘achievements’, like, “I’m so happy I didn’t eat food for three months because now I can mindlessly flail my limbs for 90 minutes without stopping!” In what universe is aerobics a useful life skill? I can do a bang-on impression of the Queen, as long as she’s doing swears. Now that’s a life skill.

Dieting has made the following words and phrases cause me to curl into a ball on the floor and wish I was dead: ‘yummy’, ‘healthful’ (should not even be a word), ‘flavourful’, ‘tasty’, ‘reasonable portions’, ‘eat to live, don’t live to eat’. (The part of me that isn’t curled into a ball feels sorry for the people who genuinely say these things.)

Here’s the thing – I love food, and lots of it. Considering humans are kind of programmed to like food so they don’t die, I’d say that’s a reasonable way to be. I have about three vegetables that I can tolerate, but none of them are among my favourite foods. Other vegetables make me feel like a cat has done a sick in my mouth.

eating peasNow, I know I have to eat this stuff at least some of the time if I want to lose weight. So I do. The people who try to make me love eating vegetables aren’t helping. They make me want to get rickets and scurvy on purpose, just to spite them.

“Who wants to eat until they’re stuffed?!” cry the dieting evangelists. Well me, actually. But apparently it’s better to eat until you’re “80 per cent full” which really means not full at all. I get the logic, but would rather we just all agreed that it’s a bit shit.

I miss being able to drink until I’m bouncing off things like a pinball. I miss eating the contents of my fridge while watching Spender. I miss laughing when people bet that I can’t eat 36 Trios in a row (that was only once, but still).

The fact that I can’t do this stuff makes me miserable, but that doesn’t mean I want cheering up. Maybe I quite like sitting on the floor crying and sniffing a packet of bacon.

When I have root canal work, people don’t crowd round the dentist’s chair yelling, “Isn’t having root canal work so much better than playing Monopoly?” They do not. I think I’ve made my point.

@theworldofcrap

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Written by Jenny Morrill

Jenny writes for Den of Geek and anywhere else that will listen. To date, the most Trios she has eaten in a row is 20. Her blog is the place to be if you like Bungle and expired food. worldofcrap.co.uk