Listen To Your Body, Not the Fads

Listen to your body food images
May 30, 2023


Keto is the cure. Keto gives you longevity. Keto will keep diseases away from you.

Keto will get you slim with a flat belly — MECCA for women, right?
And don’t forget intermittent fasting. You CAN learn to ignore hunger; it’s just trying to trick you.
And bacon is God.


Black and white photo of weight watchers woman


Something with that kind of hype was guaranteed to get the attention of someone like me — sixty-something, believing she was fat since she was 11, when her mother force-marched her into a Weight Watchers meeting (which had just been invented) because her mother was ashamed that her daughter wasn’t as Twiggy-like as her classmates.

Diets have come a long way since 1966, but they are all about structure, and forcing you away from what you want, and telling you that you can’t listen to your own body about food.


Fish and chip biscuits snacks


I have been on every weight loss diet known to humanity, eaten the weirdest food combinations, taught myself to take two bites of something I crave and then deliberately throw the rest away — whether it was a small packet of goldfish crackers or a three pound box of expensive imported cookies mattered not at all.

Nor did it matter if anyone else in the house might have enjoyed it in a more sane manner.

I just had to get rid of the food the way an addict gets rid of his poison.

So I embraced Keto. All the dead thing and fat I wanted. Carbs were evil. Well, if that meant I couldn’t eat them at all maybe I wouldn’t be tempted.

For two or three years, I was militantly Keto, felt horribly guilty if I ate so much as a grape or a cracker, but had the satisfaction of losing 19 pounds.


woman with stomach pains


Then, as has happened so often in my life, my gut rebelled. Every few years it gets to the point where eating anything at all gives me nausea. And so I go on drugs (Prilosec, Prevacid, Pepcid) to calm it down. I go off the diet of the moment when I do that. I eat whatever I can stomach. And then I try to go back to what was making me miserable, because thin is more important than sensible.

But eventually, the gut pain and nausea was the worst I’d ever had. And this time, NOTHING was curing it. Plus, the Prilosec that had saved me before gave me other, more serious problems (which shall remain behind the curtain for this chat).



Add to that my cholesterol numbers were absolutely through the roof, and the specter of heart attacks and strokes began to whisper in my brain.

So reluctantly, I had to ditch the Keto.

I ate. Carbs soothed my gut.

And I gained back the weight — back to my adult set-point of about 172–175. (The lowest I had gotten was 161.4).

So now what, I asked myself? What’s most important?

Feeling better. And getting a chance to cook, frankly; there’s only so much you can do with exclusively dead thing and fat.

So I squared my shoulders and looked at Mediterranean.


vegetables and pulses


Oh, glory be…SALAD. And fruit. And pita. And zucchini and tomatoes and farro and lots and lots of fish and legumes…

And I didn’t have to deal with bacon.

The dead thing and butterfat were out the door, and the produce marched in with glee.

Now? I’ve been on the Mediterranean train for a couple of years, and there has been much and varied joy about it:

The kitchen, always my kingdom, has become a place of light, discovery and olive oil.


meal on table


I eat three meals a day without a bit of guilt.

I find I don’t crave a damn thing, because if I want it, I have it. it’s no longer contraband.

No pain. No nausea. Not one *bleeping* gut drug.

And amazingly, all those cholesterol numbers that were threatening me with cardiac horrors?



Completely back to normal. NORMAL. And without drugs. Who’d have believed it? (And fascinatingly, my fasting glucose is the lowest it’s been in a decade, so no diabetes worries, either.)

Now, if you’re waiting to hear that I have also lost weight — well, no, I’m afraid this isn’t that kind of a faery tale. I still have a grandmother’s figure.

But I no longer beat myself up about that, either.

We women have always been taught not to listen to our bodies — that it will never be what we want it to be until and unless we beat it into submission.

Thanks, but no. I’ve decided that I want it to be a partner, not an adversary.

And we’re both a lot happier that way.

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