Seattle Public Library

Beyond Dietgirl

This is an Instagram post that sprouted forth today – I wanted to share here too.

I posted an Instagram Story earlier about finding my book in the Seattle Public Library today. I was dorking out with joy. It came out in the US way back in 2009, so never thought it would be there. Yet I posted a photo of the book with a flippant comment, because I didn’t feel like I should celebrate.

I have a lot of muddled feelings about Dietgirl. On one hand it means the bloody world. Not just the dorky dream of writing a book, but because of the conversations and connections I’ve made with people who kindly read it. Some have become great friends and beloved Instabuddies.

What I struggle with is contradictory. First there are the feelings of failure for not remaining the After photo, like that invalidates any value of the book entirely. I wrote about the After photo struggles on my blog for awhile, then slinked away from the topic. I avoided people and places. There’s been so much shame and fraudy feels.

Then there is the part of me that has come to understand and accept that diets work for so very few people. And the realisation that I bought into the myth for about 30 years. At times I worry the book could be part of the problem.

Then there is the part of me that is so bloody done hiding and ready to make peace with it all. That is excited to finally be in the early stages of recovery from a very old eating disorder. That is happy in my skin and is getting better each day at eating and moving and living with kindness. That is also proud of this little book and so bloody grateful to the people who read it and for everyone who reached out.

So to conclude the ramblefest, I’m really chuffed the (well-thumbed!) book was in the library, but pretty excited about the next chapter.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for February 2023.

36 thoughts on “Beyond Dietgirl

  1. Life is short, but also, life is sometimes bloody long. As you know, none of us stay in the moment of any of our achievements, but that doesn’t diminish their value. I read your book when it first came out and loved it, as so many others did. One of the things I loved most was that it didn’t come across as a diet book (so, no, it was never part of the problem), but rather a story of part of your life including some of your struggles with eating. Yes, time moves on and I’m so happy to hear that you’re happier now on that topic and that you’ve had further insights and growth since you wrote it, but I think the book still stands as a worthwhile read for anyone struggling with food issues, or anyone else, like me, who just wants to read a funny, moving and insightful story about a very cool chick xox

  2. I’ve got news for you lassie. Dietgirl isn’t about dieting at all. It’s about a brave red head who decided to follow her dreams, turn her life around and change EVERYTHING. Country, company, body and mind. I think you ought to be proud. Most people lack the balls to do what you did. I for one am in awe. Big smooch!

    1. Yes exactly this. The ‘diet’ is the jumping off point. The Shauna that you found while doing it is both the Book and the Real Actual Thing that happened.

      I managed to make my weight loss stick, because after about three months it wasn’t about the food any more. It was about recognising the things that make me happy, and confident, and wanting to leave the house. And none of that is ‘diet’.

      My copy of Dietgirl is nine years old, and the first entry is sixteen years ago. That’s a long time to be holding on to a Shauna only exists in that moment in time. This Shauna, who rambles on Instagram but neglects her blog, can keep kicking ass. Be nice to her because she rawks πŸ™‚

  3. I loved the book because it was so much fun to read – lots of humour and adventure. If you want a great anti-dieting book, I can highly recommend Dietland by Sarai Walker – and coincidentally there was an interesting discussion on weight loss on my fave radio show today – – and I guess you are part of that whole conversation with your book being in odd corners of the world – but it is not the only conversation and I am sure there are lots of interesting chapters to come.

    1. Johanna! I finished it a couple of weeks ago! It really rocked my world view. I think I’ve been percolating a crazy mix of anger and sadness and joy ever since.

  4. I loved the blog and the book. I don’ t care one bit that you did not freeze forever in the “after”. It does not strip your book of its value as a well written piece. Life goes on and so have you! You have a genuine talent for writing, and your example gave me the courage to start running!

  5. I love your open – hearted, funny and insightful writing and wouldn’t have found your voice if it wasn’t for ‘dietgirl’. Memoir and any kind of personal writing can only reflect how you are making sense of your life at the time you’re living through it – that’s what makes it so enjoyable (and often comforting) to read.

    1. You are so right about memoir – I had not thought of that way – I feel so silly! πŸ™‚ thank you so much for your kind words πŸ™‚

  6. Agreeing with ladies above, the book was not only about a diet. The way I read it, it was a transformation, above all mentally and emotionally… then for the last part the physical. Do you still feel the exact same way did when you started writing? Hope not!

    There are so many that are still sitting in their easy chair thinking of chances that have gone by. The Coulda Woulda Shoulda syndrome. You took a chance, stepped out of your comfort zone, and it paid off.

    Looking forward to your next chapter, in whatever form it takes.

    1. Thank you gazillions Melanie! You are so bloody right! It is so weird this past week since this post, realising I’ve been hiding because I’ve changed – not just the weight stuff. If anyone else I know hasn’t changed after nine years I’d be worried about them! So it is kinda hilarious/ridiculous that I’ve been so tied up in knots for not staying exactly the same.

  7. This might sound weird and slightly stalker-ish but I read your book every year. Each year it gets me something new and not just because of the weight loss stuff. I just get so excited for you every time we decide to wander off to Scotland with your sister and find such amazing adventures there and then travel. I absolutely adore the moment that you were in the red square and living your absolute best life after being so miserable for so long. I read it each year because each year as I grow up I get something new and exciting from it. Diet girl might be the name of the book but it’s the story about Shauna that is the real deal.

  8. Yes to the idea of a “Beyond Dietgirl” book!
    Yes to living to kindness!
    When you mentioned “living with a very old eating disorder” that really stood out for me. I have recently come to the conclusion that I have an eating disorder – previously I framed it as I need to lose weight and need to eat less/more healthy/exercise more and that will improve my body image. But now I think for MANY years I have been stuck in an underrating/overeating cycle, obsessed with disliking my body and myself. Dieting and “healthy eating” were part of the disorder. This realization is scary, and I mourn lost time, but also comforting as it makes sense.
    kindness kindness kindness
    Best wishes, P

    1. Oh Phoebe I am right there with you, comrade. Such a weird mix of mourning and comfort! Here’s to moving forward and thank you gazillions for commenting πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Shauna, reading Diet Girl was inspiring to me because it was so human. You were so generous in how you shared your journey, your ups and downs and you reassured me that ups and downs are normal and human. Your story seems to me a story of healing that isn’t all about weight. I see healing is a life long practice for all of us.
    So rock on!
    Thanks for the love you generate to and from lots of us. x

    ps) black molasses and Greek yogurt on porridge is the best

  10. The reason I write is with the hope that my stories will make other people happy. However you may feel about your book, know that your writing most definitely brings other people happiness and that’s an incredible thing to be proud of.

  11. What I am most happy about re: your book & blogging is your WRITING. You have such a gift for expression, sharing, so that other people are right there with you, and with such delightful, natural humor. I’m just happy any time you write, so I am glad to see that you are Writer-Woman (above & beyond Diet Girl). Hooray!!!

  12. I’m a long time reader…and knee assvice giver ;). I loved you then, I love you now, and every iteration in between. Life is not linear, life is not easy, and self love is the hardest thing to find, but such a jewel when we catch fleeting moments of it between our hands and tuck it in our hearts. From a fellow ginger, who will be forty in a few short months πŸ™‚

  13. Shauna, I’m sure I’ve told you this before but I fell in love with your writing when you lived in Canberra and I only knew the pussycat. Dietgirl was a chance to see what you could do with long form and it’s funny and moving and inspiring all at the same time whether you look like the before or the after photo. You are an amazing writer and a decent human, who could ask for more? Keep writing!

    1. Thank you Amanda! This means so much coming from someone whose writing I’ve loved for so bloody long! πŸ™‚

  14. I’m re-reading Dietgirl right now and came to your site to see what you’d been up to. My favorite part of the book is your love story! Even though I had read it before, I’ve been so absorbed in reading it again – I can hardly put it down. It’s so charming and so very real – makes me remember when I fell in love with my husband. He also did the thing where he’d hold my hand and gently move his thumb over my hand and it was absolutely electric! Reading that part really took me back. As for the weight loss – I think the true transformation is the one that happened to you on the inside – your confidence and zest for life, the way you stopped apologizing, the way you started recognizing negative self-talk and changing it up. When I hopped onto the computer to look you up, I gave a little cheer inside when I saw that you still seem to be passionate and following your dreams, because that’s the real “after,” isn’t it?

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for your fab comment, Rebekah! You are so right about the transformation inside, I need to remember that. Also, your husband sounds ace πŸ™‚

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