“Get back to a better you.”
“Lead your best life.”
“Look and feel good from the inside out.”
These are the type of cliches that are often thrown around dieting. Maybe they’re true for some, though I highly doubt it, no one mentions that living your best life may include being stuck in your bed all day.
That was the reality from Brigid Delaney, journalist and author of Wellmania, when she paid thousands of dollars for a diet where she didn’t eat.
Living her best life, which included only drinking tea and water, meant not being able to socialise with friends.
Living her best life meant being too tired to even leave her house.
Living her best life meant being too self-conscious to speak to anyone.
That was the uncomfortable truth of dieting for Brigid that no one warned about. Extreme hunger: yes. Extreme weight loss: yes. Social reclusion and isolation: no.
Here is a snippet of Mia Freedman’s interview with Brigid. (Post continues after audio.)
Brigid: The hardest part isn’t the hunger, which is really hard, but it’s the lack of purpose. When you take away meals, you take away a whole part of life that is really essential, and that’s socialising around food.
Most of what I organised with friends was organised around meals. So, even though I was dieting for a couple of week, but I felt very lonely at that time. It was hard seeing my friends because it’s very uncomfortable when you’re not eating and everyone is ordering these big meals. People feel self-conscious so I didn’t really leave the house for a couple of weeks.
Mia: When you did leave the house, I read in your book, that you sometimes licked people’s food?
Brigid: I used to eat my house mates’ food when she wasn’t looking. I would quickly eat it and spit it in the bin, just so I could have that sensation in my mouth. I would lick the juices from pans. I remember emailing my mum about it and she said I shouldn’t like the juices from being because I’ll burn my tongue.