The ugly side of dieting

If you think dieting is all about happiness, joy and beauty you don’t know dieting. It’s not all that pleasant. There are things about dieting that can only be described as ugly. Here they are:

Tears of frustration

Few people can cry beautifully. Most people are ugly when they cry. Add a scale that refuses to display the magic number and a dieter who’s been hungry for months and aching from intense workouts and the crying face twists up uglier than normal.

Hungry, angry – “hangry” – people deprived of food

Life is all about balance. We instinctively seek to balance anguish with joy and pain with pleasure, but what happens when a diet throws off that delicate balance? What happens is ugly. Life throws us all kinds of unpleasant moments and before the diet we had an easy, reliable way to balance them. We did it with something that tastes good. The diet has changed all of that. Now when things go wrong, we have voluntarily sacrificed what would make everything all right again.

To make matters worse, when we do eat our planned diet meals and snacks they are skimpy in volume and flavor. We finish a meal without experiencing the supreme satisfaction of feeling full and satiated. We get grumpy, crabby, and less kinds to those around us. In short, we get hangry.


I’ve discussed constipation and diets in several blogs. Constipated people are ugly and no wonder. They’re full of solid waste matter and it’s painful. Try as they might, they can’t get it out and all that straining isn’t making them any prettier.


If it isn’t constipation from dieting, it’s often the opposite and it’s just as ugly, maybe even uglier. Running for the bathroom every few minutes is unattractive. Searching for one when in dire need and there is none to be found is, indeed, very ugly. The consequences of failing to find a facility are too ugly to even think about.

Overactive bladder

As long as I’m pointing out the “evacuation” ugly side of dieting I might as well add frequent urination to the list. Dieters are made to believe that drinking lots and lots of water aids the weight loss process. Like anything else, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Water is good and too much water is ugly.

Too much water can bring on an urgent need for the bathroom. When there’s no bathroom handy you better hope you’ll find one soon and before you laugh or sneeze.

Wearing clothes that are too small

Wearing clothes that are too small is often ugly. Stretched fabric, strained seams, gaps, and buttons that look like they’re about to pop off is, well, ugly. If you think that too small clothes is a reason to lose weight, you’re right, but it can also be a manifestation of losing weight.

It’s common to lose some weight and get excited about the possibility of wearing some clothes that haven’t fit for a long time. Sometimes, we get so excited we wear them because we can finally get them on again, but fail to see that just because we can get into them doesn’t mean they fit again. It’s perfectly understandable that it makes dieters happy to get back into clothes they outgrew and unfortunately ugly when they start wearing them a little too soon.

Wearing clothes that are too big

Some dieters don’t notice how baggy their clothes are becoming. Some do notice it and they think it’s okay or even more than okay. They think their baggy clothes show off their weight loss progress to its best advantage. It doesn’t; it’s ugly.

I don’t mean to be blunt or unkind, just truthful. Big baggy clothes does nothing for enhancing your lost weight appearance. I realize that budgets are part of the consideration for wearing clothes that no longer fit. Sometimes you have to do the best you can. Belts and taking in seams can be a economical way to make big clothes less ugly.

The “I’m in pain” face

Lots of diets are not just eating less, they’re frequent and intensive workouts too. There is nothing wrong with physical activity or going to the gym. There is something wrong with hurting yourself to try to lose weight fast.

Using muscles that haven’t been used in a while or using them harder than you have been using them is one thing. Torturing yourself by doing too much for too long, or using exercise machines you aren’t physical ready to use or don’t know how to use properly is something altogether different.

It’s expected to be sore, but it’s ugly when you push yourself until you’re literally in excruciating pain.

The feeding frenzy that occurs when a “diet is blown”

As mentioned earlier in this blog, diets are all about eating too little of the foods you may not even like. It can also be total avoidance of some of your favorite foods. Just thinking about what one eats on some diets makes me make ugly.

Often after a period of diet meals and snacks the dieter breaks down to indulge on a food that’s forbidden on the diet. That act of defiance opens a flood gate that can be hard to shut. That’s when the ugly, “I’ve already blown my diet so it doesn’t matter anymore” feeding frenzy ensues.

The dieter is eating everything in sight as fast as possible because the driving thought is, “when I go back on my diet, I won’t be able to eat this so I got to do it now.” Manners are forgotten, food is flying, chewing with mouth wide open is unavoidable with bits of the forbidden food falling down onto the chest and lap of the dieter. Yes, it’s ugliness.

It’s true, there are some ugly things that must be considered when dieting.

That’s why it’s best to lose weight without dieting. Losing weight without going on a diet is taking a more holistic approach to your weight loss. It’s cutting back on calories by eating smaller servings, eating more produce, reducing the frequency of eating highly processed foods with a lot of added fat and sugar. It’s getting more active by engaging in activities that are fun and make you feel good. It’s enhancing your life, not restricting it.

A holistic approach to weight management is a beautiful thing.



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.