Discover more from Lou O'Reilly takes out the trash.
Would you read this book?
Yeah... or nah.
Last year I was hell bent on writing a book. I still want to, if I’m honest. But after hitting a wall of confidence, of creativity, of constructing a sentence even, I put it all on the back burner. I look at the pages I have written occasionally and wonder if I have the chops for it. Should I finish what I started?
Here's the original preface of The Lie in Weight. Should I keep going?
I’d love your opinion.
Please take care reading this. Toxic diet culture features heavily.
“Are you on a crash diet, Lou? I heard you were dieting to get skinny!”
English class, 1996 and I was sixteen years old. One of the popular, cool girls in my class who I was surprised even knew my name, hurled these words at the top of her lungs in my direction. She laughed, and then so did everyone else. I was mortified.
“Well, are ya?” She called over again.
“No” my voice squeaked.
No, I’m not on a crash diet, because I’ve been dieting since I was ten. I’m actually an expert on dieting..
That’s what I wanted to say to her. As if me being proud of that fact would help me suddenly become cool or respected or even at the very least, not bullied like I had been for most of my senior high school years.
You couldn’t really say I was especially fat back then. Just bigger than most. Heavier than most. While other girls, with their long tanned legs and short uniform dresses were lithe and slender, I was pasty white with a roundish tummy and dull brown hair. Genetics had made me a sort of plump individual and I hated it.
The acceptance I was searching for, wasn’t really from others. I’d made my peace with never attaining a cool status at school. My friends and I were all losers and had reputations for being the bad kids, and so by the time I left high school, I didn’t really care about what people thought of me. The only acceptance I was looking for was from the scale.
As I walked through the school gates for the last time, I made a promise to myself to transform into the slimmest and lightest version of me I could be, and when I did, that’s when I’d be happy.
Spoiler alert.. I got there, and I wasn’t and I don’t think I’m alone.
People often said to me when I reached my 40’s I would care a lot less about things that I was unable to change. And for me that’s turned out to be true. But also, why did I wait till now? I’m 43, and if when I started being really concerned about my body and my weight some 30 years ago, I’d have been able to make the choice to enjoy my childhood instead of worrying about my body. Who knows what sort of things I could have done in that timeframe instead.
By my very guesstimate calculations the time I spent tugging at ill-fitting clothes, standing on the scales wishing for a different number, tapping at my chin as an exercise to tone up, and even punching myself in the stomach – yes I did that for a long time because I thought the reflex would help me have a flatter torso. Even the amount of money I’ve spent on diet books, programmes, and apps. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
But my loss can be your gain. Even if you are my age or older and reading this book willing and wishing back a lifetime of body hangup stress, it’s actually never too late to take a breath and just let go of all of it.
You know we’ve been flooded with diet messages forever. And now the industry has seen some of us fighting back, the’ve switched it to wellness initiatives. Don’t be fooled. They don’t care about your health. They care about selling you the same toxic crap we’ve had rammed down our throats, but rolled in wellness glitter.
It is my aim for this book to help you see clearly. To help you not only learn, but actively believe that size does not equal health. I want you to feel strong in your resolve against this toxic culture of weighing less.
If it’s health you want, I’ll show you how to improve yours with ideas and behaviours that will push the needle in the right direction. I’ll help you discover the joy in exercise, in eating, and in feeling good about yourself again.
We’re just here with this one life and I hope by reading this book, you’ll regain the purpose of yours and share what you learn with others. Let that be your legacy, and not this pursuit of thinness we’ve inherited along the way.
You can do this. And I believe in you.
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