Dieting at a Women’s College (Day 87)

“That looks like a healthy lunch.”

The associate dean of my college (whom I greatly admire) was looking down at my heaping plate filled with salad, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and beans. Without thinking who I was addressing, I responded, “Thanks, Dean D——-! This is my 87th day on my diet!”

I wish my professors all looked like this.

He looked away awkwardly and said, “Oh. That’s great.” He resumed attending to his own dish and quickly hustled out of the cafeteria.

Yesterday, I had a similar (but perhaps less awkward) encounter with one of my favorite professors. We ate dinner in our (very late) seminar and my friend caught a glimpse of me taking a picture and asked if it was for the blog. After saying that it was, my professor cheerfully asked what I blogged about.

After raising her eyebrows when I told her I had gained 15 lbs last semester and have now lost that weight, I explained that I was continuing the diet for health reasons, but if I lost more weight I wouldn’t be disappointed (in reality, I will be disappointed if I don’t lose a little bit more, but not devastated). She listened to my four sentence summary, said that it sounded interesting, and then quickly resumed class. Four minutes early.

I understand that talking about diets, especially at a women’s college, must be very difficult for faculty. I mean, it’s no secret that eating disorders hit college women hard and that our body image is distorted, distorted, distorted. I think that it’s easy for professors, superiors, and even fellow students to try to change the conversation instead of engaging the topic head on. Think about it: if I had an eating disorder (which I don’t perceive I do), they could accidentally encourage it or make me/themselves feel uncomfortable. Given stereotypes and statistics, it’s just easier to not talk about diets and lifestyles with women who are 18-22.

That said, I don’t think that avoiding the topic is healthy for people on the diet. If the dieter is honestly changing his/her lifestyle and not doing a juice fast, it’s a big change. Diets are a mild version of getting divorced (from the food you grew up with), a gateway to addressing emotions (tied with food), and can be physically taxing (because their body chemistry is fundamentally changing). Yeah, dieters can be grumpy people because diets are hard! That is why so many diets fail.

That’s why programs like Weight Watchers and Sparkpeople work so well; both websites encourage community among dieters. But I don’t think it’s enough to leave it on the web.


I don’t want my diet to make people feel uncomfortable, and I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable talking to me about the Four Hour Body, why I chose to do a lifestyle change, or dieting in general. I don’t really like it when people ask how much I’ve lost because then I feel pressure to lose more, but other than that I’m very happy and open to discussing.

Note that I’m ranting for myself, and not necessarily for every dieter. I just think that if you can encourage a smoker to stop smoking and a sexaholic to stop accessing porn, then it should be acceptable to encourage people to eat healthier if they are addicted to unhealthy habits.




Scrambled eggs with bacon and salsa (Breakfast).
Giant lunch salad (Lunch).
Carrot sticks (Snack).
Stir fry and lentils (Dinner).
Lime sugarless jello (Snack).
Totals Day 87

Until tomorrow,


3 responses

  1. Lol, I don’t think I’ve never walked up to a friend and said, “Wow, dude, you really got to lay off the porn.” However, quitting smoking can be comparable to dieting. Honestly, nobody really wants to hear about how difficult it is. That quickly becomes an uncomfortable subject.

    That said, everyone has issues with food, except for a few genetically gifted individuals, but not everyone wants to talk about it. I was surprised to find you were writing a blog about your diet, but I’m always still careful to let you bring up your diet in front of people because with other people this kind of stuff is such a touchy subject!

  2. Nice post on an important topic, Suzie.

    When it comes to encouraging others to eat better, I generally don’t say much. I will answer questions people have when they see me do things like pass up the birthday cake or turn down the cookies, but I rarely go out of my way to impose advice on people.

    I think setting a good example and changing your life, looks, and health for the better works more effecitvely (if much more slowly) than proselytizing. YMMV.

    As for the community aspect of things, I fully agree. That’s why I like the 4HB group over on DailyBurn ( so much. There are great people there offering advice, support, encouragement, and just general camaraderie to anyone who wants to join.

    Good luck and work strong!

    New John


    We will either find a way, or make one. — Hannibal — New John for a New Year, my 4HB blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s