I have been on a diet since my teens. You’d think with the amount of time and effort I’ve put in, I’d weigh 50 pounds by now. But no such luck.

I trace it back to my mother, which is very convenient since she has crossed over into the hereafter and cannot object. Anyway, my mother was phobic about her own weight and, hence, was phobic about mine. I have perpetuated this little dance with my own grown daughters. The other day when I announced my latest and greatest diet plan, my daughter responded with, “For God’s sake, Mom, when do you get to stop and eat what you want?” (emphasis added.) I am 69 years old. She had a good point.

It’s the society we live in. Girls emulate fashion models who are literally walking racks for clothes to hang on as they strut down the runway. They look like Bangladesh babies, gaunt and emaciated. This is the standard that young girls try to emulate. Heroin chic. Some models even have their lives cut short by excessive dieting. There are high fashion ramp models who are literally dying for fashion.

Why is the standard of beauty so arduous and ridged? Why is it so thin? In poorer countries, models are bigger – thus showing that they have enough money to eat more. In richer countries, it is the opposite. It makes no sense. No one really looks like the fashion queens that set the bar. It is literally unattainable, and yet thinness is the cornerstone of the fashion industry. I have however, seen a few plus-sized models in magazines and on television. And do you know what I think every time I see one? Girl, how could you let yourself get so big? You see, it’s my conditioning.

I’m thinking of taking my daughter’s advice to heart and eating what I want from now on. It’s time to be enjoying the last years of my life, instead of counting every calorie I put in my mouth. There is no one I have to impress – not my husband – no one. If I can overcome my phobia, that is what I will do.