Friday, January 11, 2013

When A Diet Becomes An Obsession

Is it really 'just a diet'?

It was a brand new me. I was wearing sizes I’d never dreamed possible and everything was going to be better than ever - once I lost five more pounds. 

Losing weight had become the key to solving all of life’s problems. If a romantic prospect lost interest in me, it was no big deal because once I had the perfect body, he would come around. If I was underappreciated at work, I assumed they thought I was lazy and I needed to lose weight in order to prove I was disciplined.  

I was wrong.  

With each pound lost, aside from meaningless superficial compliments, I saw no real improvement in problem areas of my life. Rather than realize that my logic was completely faulty, I became convinced that I just wasn’t thin enough yet. I started chasing the numbers and would constantly go back and reduce my target weight. 

Priyanka at a healthy weight now
This cycle soon pervaded every aspect of my life and led to social isolation. In a bid to avoid food, my days were spent coming up with excuses not to see my friends and family. I much preferred the solace of my condo since I had meticulously stripped it of all potential temptations. On occasions when I did show up to socialize (having “already eaten” of course), my loved ones would question me about my health. I brushed off their concern because in my mind, I was “just on a diet”.  

The line between diet and disorder can seem blurry at first but a distinction is made at the point when your diet starts to diminish the quality of your life. When I broke a dieting rule, I would feel like a failure and my self-esteem would plummet to all-time lows. When my weight-loss didn’t translate into personal happiness, unbearable disappointment would follow. After all, when you’re fit, aren’t you also supposed to feel fabulous? We are trained by the media to associate our self-esteem with our weight but when you use weight-loss as a tool to improve anything other than your physical health – you are treading dangerous waters.  

Diets are the breeding ground for eating disorders and easily mask disturbing symptoms under the guise of “healthy lifestyle changes”. Question your weight-loss motivations and seek more information on the signs of an eating disorder so you can stop a diet from someday devastating your life. 

Priyanka Parshad (@PriyankaParshad) is a writer who volunteers at the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (@NEDIC85) as their Social Media Editor.  Visit her website,, to read her insights on body image and self-esteem.


  1. Let us all remember that to be physically desirable is not everything that will answer every problem. And being thin is not always sexy. What still matters most in life is how good you are as a person and how well you relate with others.

  2. Hi Sarah, thank you for your insightful comment. You're right - as a society we need to shift to focus away from physical appearances and value qualities of greater substance.