Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: The “Water-Only” Diet.


In a time where being bone thin was considered beautiful, I read something online that pretty much said if you replace meals with water every once in a while, you would lose weight.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I tried the “Water-Only” diet when I was 12-years-old.

Sixth grade was a rough year for me. Being in the same class with boys hitting puberty and girls who became boy-crazy was a lot for me to take in. Needless to say, every day was an adventure in that class, whether that adventure was about someone else’s drama, or if it was me being bullied on my weight. Sometimes it would hurt me, sometimes I would fight back, and occasionally, I diverted the name calling back to them by pointing out a flaw of their own. One boy in particular constantly teased me for being fat. So, one day, I said he had girl lips. He was then known as “Girl Lips” for the rest of the year.

Towards the end of that school year, my self-confidence was at an all-time low. I really did hate the body I was in, and I wished that what I had was just “baby fat” and that it would go away as time went on. But the constant bullying, man the constant fights I had to battle, was tiresome at that point.

One night, I researched on the internet how to quickly lose weight. Thus, the “water-only” diet came to be. That following week, I came to school with a giant Polish Spring water bottle in my backpack.

Being an immature 12-year-old girl, I bragged about being on this water-only diet. I was determined that no one would make fun of me for my weight anymore and that I’d be just as pretty as the girls that the boys liked in our class. While everyone ate their school lunches, I was drinking water. The first couple of days I stood by the plan, hell, I even lost some water weight while doing it, but I was now beginning to feel weak. Being around all the good smelling food during lunch, my stubbornness didn’t allow me to listen to the cues my body were giving me to eat actual food. Instead, I drank my life away in water, until I literally couldn’t do it anymore.

My mother was concerned that I’d drink myself into water poisoning if I didn’t stop doing what I was doing. So, a couple of days later, I stopped.

I came to school the following week and began my routine of eating just bits and pieces of my school lunch, pretty much having all my friends laugh at me and saying “I told you that you couldn’t do it” throughout that day. Of course, like anything in middle school, people tend to move on and forget what was happening, and it was never really brought up again that at 12-years-old, I tried to get on a diet that consisted of replacing meals with water.

Maybe in hindsight, you could do that. Maybe you can control snack-bingeing by drinking water instead but in the mind of a 12-year-old, that method of “losing weight” was extremely unhealthy.

Maybe my body knew all along that it wasn’t going to last and maybe that’s why it only lasted a week. Who knows what would’ve happened if I continued to do that; maybe things would’ve gotten worse. Things would’ve gotten worse. 

I remember the water-only diet mainly for how ridiculous it was, yet how serious I was for losing weight by solely drinking water. To even put out there that you should be skipping meals is absolute bullshit. In 2019, you wouldn’t find anything like that on the internet, and if there is, nobody is even trying to go that far to lose some weight. In 2006, when the Paris Hilton’s and the Lindsay Lohan’s were icons for being extremely skinny and beautiful, things like the “water-only” diet were put out there for people to try it. Thirteen years ago, it was a joke to be fat. Fat, in some fuckin’ universe, meant you were dirty, ugly, stupid, and not classy. Skinny, on the other hand, was the polar opposite. So, imagine being a 12-year-old girl in 2006, being teased for her weight for the majority of the school year, hating her body?

Was 12-year-old Liz wrong for doing what she did? Of course. But, nobody would’ve stopped her.

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