“You Bite It, You Write It:” Confession in Compulsory Diet Discourse
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When my aunt died last year, she left behind over one hundred diet books. This inheritance, which included not only diet books but also handwritten calorie counts, food journals, marginalia, and weight tracking documents, became an archive that provided important primary sources that aided my dissertation research on confession in weight loss memoir. It also complicated my position as a life writing researcher, bringing to the foreground my own complex, multi-generational history with compulsory diet discourse. In this presentation, I focus specifically on how Weight Watchers, a commercial weight loss program, offers specific instruction in using confession in life writing as self-discipline. I will also share some of my personal archive of food journaling and weight loss blogging to show how Weight Watchers taught me how to write my fat life.