But reading my old journal entries, I noticed something. I'm really closed-minded about one particular topic: dieting. It's perhaps the issue on which I am most opinionated. But, you know, this is my journal, and so I write what I think, even if it isn't prettied up to make it optimally palatable for the general public. And the fact is that I am extremely opinionated about the issue of dieting.
I know that many people who read this journal do not agree with me on this issue. And while I completely respect other folks' right to their own opinions, if we were to actually discuss the issue together, I would most likely find myself firmly believing that those other folks are wrong. There's a level on which I freely acknowledge that just because I think someone is wrong doesn't mean they are wrong. But there's also a level on which no amount of discussion or argument or debate is going to convince me that dieting (for anything other than serious health reasons) is ever a good thing. On this one topic more than any other, I find myself unable to appreciate the diversity of opinions.
I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm just saying it's a thing. It's there. It's part of who I am.
I think most people probably have issues like this, on which their opinions are so strong that they aren't affected by debate or disagreement. I don't know. But I know that I'm stubborn and closed-minded about this. I recognize that about myself. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I acknowledge it.
"Diet", as a noun, is not a problem for me. I have a diet. Everyone has a diet. It consists of everything we eat. It does not imply judgment or a goal. It is simply a fact. My diet may be healthy or unhealthy, but it is. It's a fact.
It's "diet" as a verb that gives me trouble. Some people make changes in their diet for health reasons. For example, one of my friends has made major changes to her diet since being diagnosed as diabetic. I have nothing but respect for that. But I don't consider this to be "dieting", as a verb.
I define "dieting", as a verb, as making diet decisions with the goal of managing one's weight for aesthetic reasons (even if those aesthetic reasons wear the cloak of health reasons). I consider it to be similar to what the Brits call "slimming". I consider "dieting" to refer to either (a) efforts to lose weight or (b) efforts to maintain a lower-than-natural weight. I define dieting as the process which leads one to think, "Wow. That such-and-such looks really good. But it would make me fat ... so I won't eat it (or won't eat as much of it as I would like)." I define dieting as the process which leads one to identify the feeling of hunger as a state to be sought and maintained, rather than satisfied. I define dieting as the process which leads one to make drastic changes to one's diet -- nearly eliminating entire classes of food, for example -- in an effort to be "more attractive" by current societal definitions.
Research has shown over and over again that dieting (as a verb) is far more dangerous to one's health than any weight problem short of morbid obesity. The only "research" I am aware of that disputes this conclusion has been performed by people trying to sell diet books, diet pills, diet club memberships, etc. Not exactly unbiased sources of information.
I've spent most of my life having an intimate relationship with Diet-As-A-Verb. We've lived together every day since I was probably 9 or 10 years old. Even before that, Diet-As-A-Verb was in my life as a constant companion to the adult women who surrounded me, including my mother, who spoke frequently about her efforts to lose weight.
As far as I'm concerned, Diet-As-A-Verb is like an abusive boyfriend most women seem unable to kick out of the house. Because he's so charming. He makes you believe that you deserve what he dishes out. And he's always insisting that this time will be different! It'll work this time, really! He won't let you down again!
Diet-As-A-Verb is like an abusive boyfriend who I refuse to allow free run of my house anymore. And I find it damaging to my own sense of self-worth to associate too much with women (and men) who still love and trust and believe in him.
I know a lot of people -- in fact, most of the people in our culture -- probably vehemently disagree with me. But this is an issue on which I can't be dissuaded (except by trustworthy, unbiased, scientific research results reported by a reputable source with no profit-related agenda). It's an issue on which I do not have an open mind.
And so I will write about it here in my journal, and I won't try to couch my opinions in polite terms. I've already proven this repeatedly in the past here. And while I acknowledge that my vehemence on this topic may make many people uncomfortable, I'm not going to apologize, and I'm not going to refrain from writing about it.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat whatever I damned well feel like eating.