I started “dieting” and heavily exercising to control my weight when I was 11 years old. A few years before that point, I saw my mother and her friends rave and preach about the Atkins diet. “Wow, you look sooo great!” they’d all say.
So to my 11 year old mind, dieting was how you got thin and if you were thin, people like you. Simple enough! For my first round of this, I didn’t pick an official diet book but I made sure I slowed down my eating to a snail’s pace and that I had tiny portions on my plate. If I slowed down enough that my family didn’t notice, I would end my meal at the same time as they did and no one would comment on how little I ate. I also started working out 2-3 hours a day so that anything I did eat I’d burn off easily. It affected my sleep and my mood but I was proud of myself for being "so disciplined.”
Then as they say, with every restriction is an equal and opposite binge. A year after, a part of me realized food was pretty damn tasty again, and I began to gain weight pretty heavily.