I've been on an on-again-off-again diet since I was 11. I first noticed that I wasn't happy with my body around the time adolescence kicked in: being in a body flooding with hormones, I was naturally looking for something to feel bad about, and life had not yet slapped me across the face with real issues, so I settled.
("You're gay! Also, your brother does drugs.")
I started my first diet back then, which basically consisted of skipping breakfast and meals at school, cutting back on chocolate bars and snacks and being overcome with guilt whenever I had any food that I had heard somewhere was full of calories.
Over time, I developed a system: I would feel fat, start a diet, lose some weight, be happy that I'm doing well, indulge a bit to reward myself, forget I was on a diet, gain back all the weight I'd lost (which, during our short break from each other, would always make some new kilogram friends it would decide to bring along when it returned) and start over.
Let's be clear: I'm not a fat person. My jeans size, at any given time, falls somewhere within the 29 to 32 range. In fact, 90% of the people around me think I could stand to gain some weight. (Wankers.) Like everything in life, however, how one feels about their body has nothing to do with common sense, or objectivity.
(If life dealt in common sense, these books would never have been published.)
I'm almost 24 years old now. If you do the math, you'll see that I've had nearly 13 years of experience in trying to lose weight. As you can imagine, what those 13 years have taught me is that trying to lose weight sucks. Here's why:
#1: You have to go to the gym.
No, a diet is not enough on its own. If you want to see results, you have to go to that dreaded place.
("Cut down on food and exercise?!? I'm bored already!")
I actually don't mind going to the gym. I love running, I feel productive when I'm there and one of my favourite activities is people-watching. If those people happen to be in shorts and t-shirts that show off their bodies, even better. (I'm not too keen on the sweat factor, but I can work around it.) Also, if you find it boring, you can always go for the alternative options like yoga, pilates or swimming.
Nevertheless, the gym can often make you feel like crap... mostly because it's full of people who've been going there for a while. There's nothing that can point out how flabby you are as well as a room full of non-flabby people.
("My abs are mocking your effort as we speak.")
Even if you've been going for a while, there are always going to be people one or two or twenty steps ahead of you, people who make exercising look so natural that you wonder what you're doing wrong. And while those guys may be too busy stocking their dumbbells with 100kg' worth of plates to look at you, you will look at them, and feel jealous, and wonder when you're going to get there.
And that's the other thing...
#2: It takes time.
I'm an impatient person. I like to see results quickly, and I want my efforts to be acknowledged. If I do something right, I want people to come to me and say, "Bravo, Noel! This was really good!"
(For example, I anticipate the comments section to be
full of compliments about this comic I drew by tomorrow.)
Which is why it's so frustrating that you don't start to lose weight from Day One. How can you feel accomplished after a day of staying away from Cadbury when your scale insists that you're still the same weight? And how can you hope to continue when after a whole week, all you've lost is 1/23rd of a pound, along with your will to live?
Like all the good things in life, losing weight requires strength of character, perseverance and determination. Like all the good people in life, however, I find it difficult to possess all three at the same time, especially for an extended period.
And even if you do start seeing progress, you have to admit to yourself that...
#3: You'll never look like a model.
You see these guys?
Did you look at them well? Good. Now, repeat after me: "I will never look like them."
Now, let's all say: "Fuck you, Hollywood."
Let's move on.
#4: There are temptations everywhere.
If you're waiting for the bus, you'll stumble upon a McDonald's ad. I don't eat McDonald's, so that doesn't phase me. If you do, though... well, tough luck.
If you walk on the street, you'll happen by a shop, where all the tasty, fattening goods are in display. All it takes is one look, and you'll be able to hear them beckoning you. Sometimes it feels like they're actually jumping at you, begging you to eat them.
You don't even have to look that far: it's been scientifically proven that 90% of diets begin one day before your mother/sister/flatmate decides to bake your favourite cake or cook your favourite food, or order pizza. (By "statistically", I mean I decided upon the number and expect 90% of the people who read this to agree that it's happened to them, thereby validating it.)
And the worst part?
#5: The mind is perfect at excuses when the stomach is hungry.
"Well, I'll start the diet tomorrow."
"This will be my last burger."
"I've been doing so well, I deserve a bit of chocolate."
"I give myself until the end of this week to eat everything I love for one last time."
"I can take a break today. It's Saturday!"
"Well, it's no cinema experience without a bucket of popcorn and pick&mix."
(In the words of Garfield: "I'm not overweight, I'm just undertall!")
So, yeah. Unless you're really, really, really determined or were born with effortless iron will (in which case we collectively wish you an effortless death from an iron stick through the heart), trying to lose weight has and always will suck.
DISCLAIMER: Skinny people are forbidden from complaining that they can't gain weight on this post. There will be repercussions for offenders.