Guest Writer Wednesday: Karli heals her relationship with spaghetti

Guest writer (and also my sister), Karli, shares her story about her relationship with spaghetti. She hits diet culture right on the head in this piece that’ll for sure make you nod your head along in understanding of where she’s coming from. Karli sparkles in real life…and Karli sparkles in her writing too. In fact, Karli will soon be starting her own blog all about recovering from disordered eating/exercise, anti-diet culture, and healing her relationship with her body. I hope you enjoy her honest and revealing story of her struggle with spaghetti and diet culture throughout her lifetime.

“Hi, I’m Karli! Thanks for reading my story."

“Hi, I’m Karli! Thanks for reading my story."


Oh the insanity how one single word became the bane of my existence when it was in my presence. Let me backup a few dozen years.

Spaghetti was the shit growing up. Both of my parents were able to make it real special and they both served it with Home Pride sliced bread and spreadable margarine on top. Back then, that was like the Cheesecake Factory’s sourdough to me. Still gets my adult taste buds salivating at the thought of it.

When I was a kid, I ate as much spaghetti as I wanted. Seconds? Not even a question. When I left the table after spaghetti night, I left stuffed. No ifs ands or buts. That’s how it was. Spaghetti was my friend and I loved spaghetti.

At the beginning of my love affair with spaghetti. When I ate freely, nonjudgmentally, exactly how the hell I wanted.

At the beginning of my love affair with spaghetti. When I ate freely, nonjudgmentally, exactly how the hell I wanted.

Once diet culture set in, however, spaghetti became another arch nemesis. My worst nightmare. Some of the worst food that was definitely going to make me fat. It was banned for life. No more spaghetti for this girl, no sir-ey bob. Not if I wanted to feel valued by our stupid society and make sure I was in tip-top shape for whomever I thought I was impressing (gross.).

When I was in the thick of my trance (read: highly restrictive diet), spaghetti was NEVER in the rounds for dinner or lunch. If my husband wanted spaghetti for dinner, it was spaghetti squash for me (oh and don’t forget that salad on the side, girl). The very little pasta I ate was when I tested the spaghetti for its tenderness and even that didn’t get away without a vengeance. I made sure to guesstimate the calories from the 5-10 strands of spaghetti I inhaled down (~35-50).

This was when spaghetti was my friend (and so were overalls, apparently).

This was when spaghetti was my friend (and so were overalls, apparently).

And every time I sat down with someone who had a full plate of spaghetti, my mind would behave like it had just snorted the fattest line of coke. There wasn’t enough money in the world to stop me obsessing about that spaghetti;

“Just one bite.”
“That looks so good.”
“I can’t.”
“Babe, can I have a small bite?”
“But look at watery and absolutely not as delicious as actual spaghetti noodles.”
“This is gross.”
“Just fill up on salad.”
“I’ll take one more noodle from the stove as I’m cleaning up.”
“I want more.”

Ya dude. That shit was rough.

I lived this way for years. And even though I was the lowest I had ever weighed, I still had plenty more to lose and even further away from eating spaghetti.

Then came the next phase of my relationship with spaghetti; the era of the “lifestyle change.” (For those of you who don’t know, this is still a diet masked by diet-culture convincing people that restricting for the sake of a “well-rounded lifestyle” is ok. It’s not. And it’s just as damaging because the main focus is still primarily on what you look like.)

During the beginning of “getting my life back,” I decided to make my new year resolution to “eat more pasta!” This was radical for me. I was beyond excited! I got to eat spaghetti again! (Except I didn’t know I was still in the trance and would still be obsessing about this fucking dish soon to come.)

At this time, I re-introduced my beloved spaghetti back in my life. I was very cautious, though, and decided to eat about a third of what I actually wanted (because, duh, lifestyle change!). When the spaghetti hit my mouth, I was beyond thrilled! It was delicious and I couldn’t believe I was eating it again. What a treat. Except, my brain went off the deep end:

“Oh it’s so good!”
“It’s not enough!”
“This is like five bites and then I’ll be done!”
“Have seconds, it’s ok, just put a single bite on your plate.”
**puts single bite on plate*
“Ugh YUM! I want more.”
**Eats almost another 4-5 bites. Feels guilty. Looks in mirror. Sees bloated stomach. Promises to run 6 miles in the morning**

UGH THE INSANITY!!! (and we’re back to the beginning of this post)

This is what diet culture has done to my brain, your brain, and everyone else’s brain who gets sucked into this insidious and brain-washing culture. Spaghetti, people. Fucking. Spaghetti.

My giant plate of spaghetti tonight.

My giant plate of spaghetti tonight.

And as I looked at my giant plate of spaghetti tonight, I was reminded of all the times I told myself no. No, you can’t have it. No, you’ll get fat. No, this is bad for you.


Spaghetti has given me way more than diet culture ever has. I’ve felt alive with spaghetti, I’ve felt joy with spaghetti, I’ve loved spaghetti in a way I’ve never loved before.

(Watch the video below to see how I’ve started to heal my relationship with food. Alive. Joy. Love!)

Diet culture never made me feel any of those things. In fact, diet culture made me feel like my life wasn’t worth living until I weighed fill in number, made me feel miserable and ugly, made me feel like a heathen if I ever touched spaghetti (what?!).

The time for this nonsense is no longer. I will never eat spaghetti squash in substitute for a pasta dish and I will never eat just a third of what I actually want ever again.

Life is way too fucking short to not have spaghetti in it, people. That shit is good. And if you can pair it with your basic sliced sandwich bread with spreadable butter, then you’ve just about got it figured out.

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Bio: Hi, I’m Karli, Kristen’s younger sister. I like cats, baking, and making people laugh. I feel safest around people who swear and feel most threatened around people who like eggplant. My job is to help people and that’s pretty cool too. But mostly, I like cats.