'Can I have a vodka diet coke, please?'
'Vodka and coke, yep!'
'Nah, DIET coke.'
'OK. Are you on a diet? Oh, you know a really good way to lose weight...?'
'Yeah, I probably do. Hundreds. I'm recovering from an eating disorder, there's nowt you could teach me. I've done things that would make your balls shrivel.'
'Oh... Well, um, here you go.'
Very definitely no need for me to be quite so blunt to the poor bartender and his bollocks, but I find it dead annoying that everyone has a weight loss trick to pass on. Especially since they're almost always bullshit to say the least and, otherwise, downright dangerous. I know that most people are genuinely only trying to help, and I know I've been guilty of passing on the odd tip. You know, like... oh, one of my aunties was talking about trying to lose weight and I advised her off wine and on to vodka, hahaha. And I will always and forever lecture anybody who is trying to diet by eating fewer than 1200-1550 calories (depending on height and all that, I'm scientific as owt, me), that they won't be able to keep that up, nor be able to consistently as well with so few as they would with a few MORE calories. There is though, yanno, a difference between a tip to get healthier and some sort of bullshit secret, dangerous trick. But anyway, the bartender. I felt guilty, later, for being harsh to his testicles, so I ended up asking him what his trick was. And it was summat stupid about lemons, I don't even really remember- I was drunk and it was stupid.
Everyone is after a tip or trick for losing weight, everyone wants to think there's an easy way. Whether it's giving up carbs or fat, thinking it'll fall off quickly with minimal effort. Or whether people who are overweight or obese just don't want to be any longer, want to lose it healthily. I respect losing weight for health; although I find it difficult to congratulate someone for weight loss, I understand that some people need to, to be healthier, and some people are happy losing a few kilo and then going about their lives. It's only the same as me learning to eat properly, so I can be healthy. It's all good. So fair play to you, if that's you. Eat healthily and exercise and you'll do it, that's all. No tricks, just a few tips- don't drink things with added sugar, eat something like porridge for breakfast, get your five-a-day and don't deprive yourself of anything in moderation, and off you go. Best of British to you.
Now, don't google this, just take my word for it, but there are a whole host of pro-Ana websites out there that want to offer girls with low self-esteem, tips and tricks. Some for losing weight, breeding your very own eating disorder (or, at least, emulating one) and some for hiding the eating disorder that you're attempting to breed, or breeding. They're laughable, when you read them with the knowledge of what comes after... if you work on it, if you reach whatever the ideal is they're after and you acquire the diagnosis, there are only a few places to go. There are no secrets, when you're dying. In fact, the end result is pretty much written in the stars. If you stop eating, your weight drops, at some point you'll have to gain it. There is always a feeding tube waiting. And even if you don't... at some point, your eating disorder will become a battle that is fought by everybody who comes into contact with you. Your family will try and fight when the disorder becomes you, trying to kill it before it can kill you. Your friends will have to leave or take on the battle of their lives. Even the people who don't know, who think they are meeting you, are actually meeting the disorder and have to deal with the demands, the black-and-white, the monster within. You'll lose more than weight and electrolytes. You'll lose friends. I lost my dad. My dad is very much alive, but he couldn't be, and now isn't, next to me on the front line... and that's what you risk.
I said it sounds laughable, but it also terrifies me. All the crap, all the pro-Ana bullshit, is so accessible. Right now, there are girls reading that crap, absorbing that crap, learning how to fight life. It makes me feel physically sick that people are producing the lies, the lies about how glorious the disorder is and the worth of that eating disordered 'life'. I can understand why girls drink that shit up, 'cause I did. I was young and impressionable and had been through a lot. The internet is incredible and terrible, all at once. But I sure as hell don't want my step-sister nor my cousin losing their lives, their freedoms, their family, or their friends to this. Eating disorders aren't a consequence of the internet, but the eternal cultural search for a weight loss trick is horrific, draining and incredibly dangerous. Let's stop killing our children, yeah?