I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start by introducing myself. Hi, my name is Ameni, and I’ve noticed that a lot of people are in Keto recently. Yes, I know, we’re still in early 2019, still in a mode where we’re trying to better ourselves, “new year, new me, new body”, that sort of thing. Gyms are still quite full, and everyone is talking about Keto. What is that?you ask. Well, in short, Keto is the diet some people do that requires you to cut off all carbs in order to get your body into ketosis mode, meaning that it burns just fat instead of burning the carbs, which means that you lose weight quicker. Sounds great, right? No.
I want to backtrack a little. I don’t want to judge the people who are trying to lose weight, but I want to talk about all these drastic weight loss processes that not only harm you physically, but also psychologically. Why do people want to lose weight? Who told them that they needed to lose the weight? Are they physically ill? Are they pre-diabetic, or diabetic? Do they have cholesterol? We’ve talked about this time and time again. When it comes to body image, the main offenders are social media, magazines, films and just constantly being fed the same pictures of skinny models and buff men, and that’s why everyone is so insecure about how they look. So apparently, subconsciously, after seeing all these pictures, we’re made to think that we’re supposed to look that way. I’ll give you an example: two weeks ago, I was shopping onFashionnova.com. If you don’t know the website, the models that display the clothes there are very curvy, yet have very thin waists, like Kim Kardashian’s body, which is known to be enhanced surgically. I wanted to buy a swimsuit, but I couldn’t because I kept on looking at these women’s bodies, and couldn’t help but think, how the hell am I going to look as good as that, I don’t have the body for it.
That’s the problem.
See, here’s my story: I hate Keto, but let me tell you, there were certain times in my life where I hated my body even more. After Freshman year, I gained 12 kilos, and at first I tried to be fine with it. I bought new clothes and tried to live like I was unbothered. But I was bothered. I hated myself. I hated seeing myself in the mirror, I hated going shopping and buying jeans, I hated even going out and seeing people. I wanted to wear an abaya all the time just because it hid my curves. I went to the gym, every single day of the week for an hour, and got anxiety when I missed a day. I was horribly anxious, horribly mad at myself. I hated myself so much that it even affected my relationship with my family, so much so that we would fight every time they wanted to go out and I didn’t want to wear something other than black, or when I didn’t want to go out because I didn’t want to show myself at all.
You see, all of this might sound ridiculous. Some people might say just go to the gym or you looked as pretty as you are now I don’t understand why you’re feeling this way. The truth is, when a lack of self-confidence hits you, nothing, I repeat, nothing is going to convince you otherwise. No one can argue with the little voice in your head that tells you that you are ugly, that you are too fat, that you are not enough for anything because you can’t lose those 12 kilos or 20 kilos or whatever kilos that made you feel this shitty in the first place. So you resort to these diets. You resort to over-working out. You resort to degrading yourself with horrible negative self-talk, treating yourself like your worst enemy. You, in fact, become your worst enemy. You fall asleep with a hand on your stomach that still won’t shrink, wondering why your thighs still don’t have a gap like those bloggers, or even your own friends that are skinny and beautiful.
What’s left from this battle between you and your dark mind are three options: the first is to stay where you are, and to fall to even lower levels and spiral into an even more difficult space that is self-harming. The second option is to do something about it, to lose the weight and hope that by the end, once you finally reach that number you aspire to reach, you are happier with yourself. The third option, the most magical but also the one that makes no sense whatsoever, is to love yourself the way you are, without even trying to lose the weight. Rare are those that choose the third path. Because, believe it or not, physical exercises are easier than mental ones. Self-harm is easier than self-love.
The question is, where does doing Keto, and aspiring to lose weight in general, fall?
Ameni is a Tunisian senior majoring in CULP. She doesn’t know what she’ll be doing after graduation, so please don’t ask. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, making art, and traveling. Her instagram is cool; you can go and check it out (but only if you want to) @amenitoomany.