Our author has never been heavily overweight, but has always been one of those with a bit more on their ribs. As a young man, he lost 16 kilograms within a month with a radical diet and excessive exercise. Today he deeply regrets it. As for why, he wrote it down for FITBOOK.
Note: This post is a personal experience report about losing weight with a radical diet. It should in no way be taken as a guide. Crash diets can be the beginning of an eating disorder. In the case of a particularly drastic change in diet and sudden strong physical stress, a doctor should be consulted. In this text is about learning to understand the thoughts and emotions that lead people to want to lose weight radically: Where does the fear of being fat come from?? And what can trigger an excessive preoccupation with food? FITBOOK has also presented this report to a psychotherapist. Read your assessment at the end of the text.
Author Julian Strobel (22) says today: "I learned that I can get recognition even without a slim body.“ Radical weight loss is no longer an option for him. Photo: Fitbook
By Julian Strobel
At 5.00 o’clock my alarm clock rings. 5.05 jogging. 6.05 o’clock ice-cold shower. 6.30 porridge for breakfast. Until 7.00 o’clock drink at least one liter of water. Every morning for 30 days. My goal: to finally be slim. Finally belong to the beautiful people. That was four years ago- I was 18 and had been bullied at school ("fat pig")!“) behind me.
The trigger why I wanted to lose weight
As long as I can remember, I belonged to those people who always had a little bit more on them. I wasn’t necessarily fat, but I wasn’t slim either: at 1.68 meters tall, I weighed 73 kilograms- so I was about ten kilos above my ideal weight. „That grows out of it!“ was a phrase I heard often. But when I stopped growing, it was clear to me that my belly was not just like that would disappear.
The trigger that made me want to lose as much weight as quickly as possible was an unrequited crush. I convinced myself that we could be a couple when I was finally thin. Suddenly I was motivated.
Extreme sports and discipline in eating were my best friends
Overnight, I put together an absurdly time-consuming diet and sports plan. Water, extreme exercise and discipline in eating were my new best friends. Early in the morning an hour of jogging, then weight training, after school again push-ups and co., then tennis or swimming. Not infrequently it was two hours. I drank up to 4.5 liters of water and was very careful not to eat more than 1000 calories: oatmeal for breakfast, fruit and steamed vegetables without spices for lunch and dinner, and chicken or fish once a week. I kept getting dizzy and throwing up, but still kept going. Everything for the feeling of recognition. I ignored the worries of my parents.
The author at 18: At this point, he had reached his supposed dream weight Photo: private Photo: private
The radical diet gave me the feeling of being beautiful
My radical diet worked. In just one month, I lost 16 kilograms of weight and, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had lost all my weight, beautiful to be. I was proud to be able to buy my pants in the children’s department. My crush still didn’t want to know anything about me, but now my classmates admired me: "Wow, you’ve lost weight!!“ The confirmation I had longed for came true through my radical diet- except for the thing with the unrequited crush.
Consequences of the radical diet: hair loss, skin rash, headaches
At the same time my body went on strike: my hair fell out, I got a skin rash that itched a lot, plus permanent headaches due to malnutrition. My short-term memory deteriorated extremely, sometimes I could no longer remember what I had done just before. I was well on my way to slipping into an eating disorder. But fortunately it turned out differently.
I owe it to new friends and not least to my parents, who managed to open my eyes in time. This is the nice part of the story. The other side was less beautiful: The radical weight loss landed me in the yo-yo trap (what exactly happens in the body, you can read here). I think that my body wanted to take revenge for the long period of deprivation.
Julian Strobel has since learned that he can get recognition even without a slim body Photo: Fitbook
The last time I weighed myself was three years ago. At that time it was 81.5 kilos, almost ten kilos more than my initial weight before the radical diet. So the hard work did me no good in the long run. I would even go so far as to say that crash dieting has permanently damaged my body: From losing and gaining weight so quickly, I got stretch marks on my stomach, my asthma got worse. I’m left with scars from the rash.
Today I am 22 and have learned that I can get recognition without a slim body. I and those around me accept me for who I am. I treat myself to a piece of cake when I feel like it, at the same time I’ve recently started going to the gym once a week. Relax, no pressure to succeed. It doesn’t make me unhappy anymore if the size L pants don’t fit.
But I know, how people feel who hate their bodies and cry in the locker room.
Expert: Radical diets can be the entry into an eating disorder
FITBOOK asked the Berlin psychotherapist Miki Kandale to evaluate the report. She says, "This crash diet could, of course, be a gateway to a corresponding eating disorder, which is often even more drastic in men than women. Because losing weight, conquering something, feels like winning- and winning is (unfortunately) cool.“ However, the behavior described does not exhibit the classic characteristics of an eating disorder- even if the fixation on the body-self and the excessive preoccupation with food resp. Not eating seems very conspicuous. Kandale: "As a therapist, I would ask myself what deficits (z. B. Self-worth) the client needs to compensate in this way.“