Trying again

Before covid lockdown I had lost 40lbs. I was close to my goal weight and I felt good. Then covid hit, food in my area got scarce in the groceries, and we had to eat what we could get our hands on. We were doing a low-carb diet which was doing wonders, but because of quarantine we had to break that.

I’m not grossly overweight, and I might be lucky in how my body fills in, I got the pear shape, with big thighs and slightly narrower waist.

Now that things have more or less normalized, all of my progress is gone. A hard backslide. It’s been so hard to get back on the diet since I’m still in the 2020 headspace of “fuck it, whatever.” Eating has always been a method of finding comfort for me, and I know that’s bad. I know there are other methods to self-soothe and I do use them. It’s just that “fuckit” that hits whenever I start my diet again. How many times have I said I’d go back on it? I’ve been faking it since the New Year.

“Okay, today I start being good again.”

“Ahhh maybe tomorrow…”

“How about next week? It doesn’t matter anyway.”

I’m so afraid of stepping on my digital scale to see the damage that I’ve not replaced the batteries that died back in June.

I’ve been battling weight issues and body image since I was a little kid. It’s a source of so much vile self-hate and self-inflicted mental-emotional abuse. I’ve never felt thin. I’ve never felt pretty. Body positivity promotion makes me cry and want to disappear. I’ve never felt good about myself. 31 years old and I still get childishly insecure around others. It’s been a dream since I was a kid to get cosmetic surgery. Lypo, tummy tuck, chin tuck, doctor please do something about these thunder thighs too. I could never afford it, and I’d never have my family’s support.

“You should just diet and exercise.”
I’m so tired of this being the answer to everything. The knee-jerk reaction everyone gets, telling me what I already know as if it were a brand new fact.

Thanks. I know.

I had a friend (not friends anymore) tell me “You need to get out more” when I couldn’t keep up at a theme park. She had an agenda for the day, a schedule to keep to, and we had to go go go when all I wanted was to enjoy the ambience and people-watch. I had to push myself so hard to keep up with her that I went home with a two-inch blister on my foot and then some. Couldn’t walk without pain for two weeks. I never forgave her for that. How fucking insensitive can you be?

Weight is the root of all of pretty much all my issues. I don’t feel like I can find the perfect Significant Other. I hate going outside and feel gross when I exercise in front of people, so I can’t go to the gym without wanting to break down. Clothes shopping gives me anxiety. Hell, even sitting makes me feel fat. Like…sitting anywhere. I take up too much space. I overflow. I’m disgusting.

I can’t eat anything without someone remarking about how it’s going to impact the body. Charting food and counting calories, looking at fat content and reading long lists of ingredients. I can’t enjoy even a small snack without thinking “this is bad for me because of x and y.” I don’t eat horribly usually, but having no real escape from this mentality circles back to a wild scream of “fuck it, I don’t care.” And then I eat horribly.

I have lowkey resented my friends for being thin. I’m always the heaviest friend in the group. And they…don’t even have to try? God, I wonder what that feels like. Free of this burden.

Today me and my family are supposedly going back on our diet. Again. We’ve been starting and stopping since after Christmas of 2020. I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel good about me. This has been a lifelong struggle and the older I get the more I ask myself if there’s a point? Is there an end to all this?


Damn, this is so relatable.

The feeling of having tried so many times but failed. To face the – what feels like constant – social pressure of that failure. To face it in the mirror. To face it in your thoughts. To face it every time you eat. To face it every time you think about yourself. To face it every time you sit down. To face it every time you get dressed. It is literally like you’ve been haunted for your whole life.

You dream of a day where you can just give up giving a fuck. It feels like the “Caring” about getting better is what haunts you. You long for the relief of just saying I DON’T FUCKING CARE ANYMORE.

But something inside you won’t give that up. So pile some more shame on me, why don’t you. I’m drowning in an avalanche of it anyways.

So then you muster the courage – God bless you – to try again. For the millionth time. To somehow summon and cling to this fledgling of hope. And try, and recommit, and try again. And progress! PRAISE 'EM. Then failure. Backslide.

How many times can your hope re-inflate before it is so broken it can’t hold any air?

IDK, but it shocks you that you’re trying again. It feels like going through the motions of hope. Like, yeah, I guess my family’s going on a diet…but you’re almost future-casting failure at this point to brace for the crash landing.

It’s hard to have relationships with people because you envy how easy their life is. Could they ever know this depth of struggle?

In the meantime, you feel so trapped in this cycle it makes you want to throw up for how nauseating the same loop is.

I can relate so deeply. For me, it is not food-related; it is my addiction to porn. I’ve been in active recovery for over a decade. To feel like I live two lives – the life that I hope is true about me and the life that I feel I always crash back into. The dissonance of daily life, the constant reminders of failure, the lack of understanding of people, the loss of hope in myself, the summoning of courage and strength but then the returning to what I hate. It is more difficult than one can described, especially when taking the pain and magnifying it across a lifetime of struggle.

I love the title of your post, because it is what I have to cling to as well. There is something in me that just refuses to die. I have to try again. Even if it is doomed to be a failure. There is this defiance of quitting, of giving up on myself…that even though it causes a lot of pain to care, I still do. I get back up and try again.

You have that same defiance in you. That same fire to not quit. I don’t even know if it’s a good thing :joy: but it’s what we have that is the greater theme of our story. While you and I may easily gravitate to viewing our failures as the overarching narrative, I see an incredible amount of courage in you, and in me. We like the beachball that cannot be sunk. We rise, and we rise, and we rise, and we rise, and we rise, and we rise, and we rise. We try, and fail, but we always try again. I am proud of that in you. To face what feels like insurmountable odds and hopelessness, but to refuse to sink. You are powerful. You are defiant.

What I have been discovering that is at least helpful, and pointing me in a more helpful direction than behavior-management (though it always comes back down to making different choices) is understanding the root. WHY do you struggle with eating?

For me, I struggle with porn because underneath it, I struggle with anxiety with believing that I am adequate. I believe that other people determine if what I have done is enough, and at the end of the day I believe that what I give, no matter what I give, is never enough. And porn feels like the one place in life where I don’t give a fuck about that. It is a little island of non-caring. Of not drowning in the self-hating thoughts. The anxiety of judgment. And so while I can put accountability programs on my computer and practice a lot of good techniques of recovery, if I am not dealing with the heart of the issue, I find ways around or back out of those tactics. I am currently focusing on tracking my anxieties and retraining the way I think about myself. I believe that if I feel I am enough, I will not need porn to escape from the suffocating thoughts of inadequacy.

I wonder what is underneath over-eating for you. The truth is that eating is the solution to your pain, as porn is the “solution” to mine. The hope of recovery is that we can heal the pain and not need to cope. But we have to first identify where that pain is. What thoughts underneath your eating are you trying to soothe?

Anyways, I think the major points are this:

  • Damn, I get it.
  • Bravo, try again.
  • Get curious, what’s the real pain?

I bless you and your courageous heart.



Thanks so much for this response, Nate. I really appreciate you sharing and understanding, it’s really encouraging to know that I’m not the only one in this fight. Different battles, same war. I’ve had to sit back and chew on it for a while to try and get you an answer, and I’ve come to the conclusion that you and I are rather alike.

I’ve always struggled with the feeling of inadequacy. That uphill rainy climb where you try and try but it never really seems enough. I’ve been convinced since I was in the fourth grade that I’m just a disappointment. I excel at a lot of things, but none of them seem to matter in the grand scope of things. I put off a lot of real self-care because who cares? It only matters to me and I don’t really matter as much as anything else. My stress relief comes from snacks, shopping, and crafts, and only one of those are productive. I try to focus on the latter but I go at it hard and then get burnout. Then it devolves down. Snacking is a supplement to feeling calm and confident, but it’s only a brief high. A bad cycle that repeats itself, one that I have to hide from my family.

I know we can find a way out of our addictions. It’s possible, and I know we both have our own weird little chains of support to lean on and keep us grounded. Even if the hope seems empty, it’s got more merit than just giving up and letting our vices swallow us whole.

A friend of mine once told me that relapsing does not mean losing progress, even if it sure feels like it. I’m very much trying to believe that. It’s incredibly discouraging to have to keep starting over. Gonna fake it until I make it, I guess.


If you believe this about yourself, would it make sense that:

I think you nailed it. I wonder what it would be like if you felt that you mattered, that your LIFE mattered, that your HEALTH mattered, that your HEART mattered…it seems that maybe the wall that you hit when you diet (because it doesn’t seem that “starting” or getting “hope” is a wall that you can’t overcome) is when things get hard, you don’t feel like you’re worth it. And ultimately, if you are a disappointment, doesn’t it make sense that you fail? Because you’ll be disappointing everyone, and that is who you know yourself to be. It’s hard to live beyond our identity. Succeeding at health long-term means you’d have to change the way you believe about yourself – you’d have to BELIEVE that you aren’t a disappointment. Or else, you’ll gain success, feel like a success, and then your life won’t feel congruent with how you feel inside, and your actions always betray your beliefs. So then you backslide. You give up. You disappoint. Because that’s who you know yourself to be.

I wonder what your efforts could look like if at the same time as dealing with your external problem, you began to exercise a belief that you matter, that you aren’t a disappointment, but that you are incredibly valuable, and the people in your life want and need you.

Easier said than done. I’m in the middle of that battle myself. And I’ll tell you what – it’s the right battle.

In it alongside you, friend.



I’ve been told to “be kind” to myself, and to treat myself like I would treat a friend, since I prioritize their well-being over my own. It’s so hard. How do you train yourself to believe? Rewiring your brain isn’t easy and finding a way to be internally positive is really difficult when it all sounds like you’re lying to yourself. Once again, that ‘fake it until you make it’ mantra hits and I’ve yet to see the ‘make it’ part.

It’s a good battle, one worth fighting.

There’s one method my friends use to separate the bad thoughts from the good. I was reminded of it last night. It often helps, not always effective, but it’s another weapon to the arsenal, so I offer this to you, Nate: Personify the little voice in your head that tells you you’re inadequate.

Give it a name. Visualize it as the little devil that sits on your shoulder feeding you bad ideas. Me and my friends call our bad thoughts Jeff. This way, it’s forcing us to acknowledge that these thoughts are not good to have. If Jeff fills you with anxiety and places that heavy weight on your chest, it’s so much easier to yell at him to gtfo of your head than to yell at yourself.

A kinder way of correcting yourself, I guess.

I hope this little nugget helps as much as you’ve been helping me. Keep fighting the good fight.


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