A (Very) Honest Discussion About Dieting

Victoria Hoff
PHOTO:

Jesse Koska

When I first set out to assemble a group of editors to discuss the truths of dieting, I knew it would be fairly easy to find volunteers. Through all my friendships, acquaintances, and even passing interactions with women over the years, I’ve learned that most of us—if not all—carry some kind of baggage with our bodies. Even the most confident among us have certain things they might change if they could. We’ve all used a range of methods to shape ourselves into some kind of idealized state, even if we swear it’s for health and not vanity.

But after recruiting three of my very bright, very talented, very beautiful co-workers and delving into our own stories, I realized that what we had in common was far more salient than failed juice cleanses, the freshman 15, and a general distaste for cellulite. Every single one of us has a history with eating disorders, and although those wounds still twinge from time to time (and are, for some of us, still raw), they’ve shaped our lives and how we see our bodies, for worse and then, thankfully, for better.

This reality is simultaneously enlightening and heartbreaking. We’re a small sample group, to be sure, but if 100% of us have this kind of tortured history with food and its relation to our physical appearance, then isn’t it safe to assume that many women—a majority, even—harbor these same stories to varying degrees? If that’s the case, then why aren’t we talking about it? How have we collectively become so vulnerable to this pressure? Moreover, is it ever possible for health, vanity, and acceptance to coexist—especially after recovery?

There are no easy answers. We like to point a vague finger at society as a whole, but it’s more nuanced and complicated than that. It’s impossible to get real answers—and, in turn, progress—from such generalizations. To better understand, we have to share our stories and see where they intersect, and that’s exactly what we’re aiming to do here.

Read ahead as we cover everything from the double standard of being the “chill hot girl” to our first memories of dieting and how we’ve learned to accept and treat our bodies with respect. But first, get to know our panel:

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