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How to Adult While Dieting

Body confidence is something that we all struggle with in life at some time or another. Many try and find different ways to diet and boost their confidence in their daily lives. Tommy Tomlinson, author of THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM explains how “adulting” and keeping busy helped his journey with dieting. 

The loosest life I wanted was with food, because food has given me more pleasure than anything else. That doesn’t mean I like food more than sex. It just means I haven’t had sex three (or four or five) times a day for fifty-one years. That’s Hugh Hefner. I’ve eaten too much of too many bad things for the cheap thrill of it, trying to stay one step ahead of paying the price, like a grifter kiting checks. I knew how much it would cost me later. But I craved that moment of joy now.

That’s the way a child thinks.

Alix and I have started using the word adulting. When we wash the supper dishes right away instead of waiting until midnight, we’re adulting. When we file away papers instead of letting them pile up in a stack, we’re adulting. I’ve come to realize that adulting is the only way I can beat my addiction to food. 

The other day I wrote up a little guide to my adulthood:

  • I have to lose weight to have a longer, healthier, more meaningful life.
  • I have to do it in a way I can live with tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
  • I have to find other sources of joy and solace, especially in hard times.
  • I have to accept delayed gratification.
  • I have to mute the self-hating voice in my head.
  • I have to believe that I’m worth saving.
  • I have to do all this not just for myself, but for the people who love me. 

All this means work. It means following the Three-Step Diet every day, measuring what I’m eating and what I’m burning. It means quitting fast food and convenience-store crap. It means not just turning off USUCK-FM, but taking the boom box outside and smashing that fucker with a sledgehammer. It means being more professional in my job and more structured in my life so I’m less stressed and less likely to binge. It means being honest with the people I love, and honest with myself.

I’ve resisted those things all these years because it felt like so much work. It is work. But the loose life—the life that looked like so much fun—turned out to be a fraud. It got me to 460 pounds. It made me an actuarial disaster. It threatens my life. It limits me more than a disciplined life ever could. 

My childhood didn’t give me a great start. I was a sedentary child who grew up on the normal Southern diet for people who stayed on their feet all day. I learned to love all those calories as friends when I didn’t have many. As I got older, my choices made things a whole lot worse. I gravitated to salt, sugar, and fat (and the fourth element: alcohol). I never cared enough about myself to think it mattered. My approach to life sent me off in the wrong direction, and it took me forever to turn around and head back. I don’t know how close I got to falling off the cliff. It’s foggy out there. I could slip and fall. All I know is that I’m finally walking away from the edge.

I’m still stumbling around trying to answer that question those assholes asked me at that party twenty-five years ago: Tommy, why are you so fat? But here’s something I’ve come to believe: The answer doesn’t matter as much as the action. You can’t wait until you’re ready. Nobody’s ever ready. I wish I had more time to loll around in my loose life. But it’s time to tighten up.

Read more about building your own body confidence in THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM by Tommy Tomlinson!


For more on Tips on Life & Love: 11 Ways to Boost Your Confidence


Excerpted from The Elephant in the Room by Tommy TomlinsonCopyright © 2019 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash.


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