Ditching the diet – how I learned to accept the body I have

A lifetime of hating my body has got me nowhere. If I can’t love it, can I at least respect it?

Every January, the same old battle cry: this will be the year that I get thin. Last January, I did a week-long juice cleanse, and the year before that, I fasted for three days. It wasn’t quite nil by mouth, but almost. At the time, I told myself the science interested me (the fervour with which fasting evangelists assure you that a few days without food can reset your microbiome or stave off cellular ageing is compelling enough to make you ignore the health warnings). Really, though, what I wanted was rapid weight loss, minimum one dress size.

I made it to 81 hours. Practically levitating with hunger, I ignored the advice to reintroduce food slowly (soups and juices before solids) by bingeing on a cheese sandwich, which I promptly threw up. Happy new year to me.

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