Two separate blogs from two extraordinary women have led me to write this post today. Normally I link to blogs I’m referring to but in this case I wanted to ask for permission first; unfortunately, I didn’t give myself enough time to do that, so no links; sorry.
The first woman very bravely posted her first vlog this week. I’ve been reading her for a while now and this is the first time I saw the woman behind the words. She wrote an entry earlier in the week where she shared her excitement about an upcoming concert. My heart ached for her as I read, ‘…all I can think about is ‘fat girl at a concert.’ How she sees herself is so contradictory to how I saw her on that vlog. She is a beautiful, honest, lovely person and that comes through in her writing. Watching as she shared her struggles with her weight brought back so many memories of my own food-related issues.
The second beauty recently finished a 10K marathon. This week she posted about how she’d set a clear goal for herself of losing 60 pounds by a certain date this year. Fifty of those pounds are gone but she’s ten pounds shy of meeting her goal. I see a woman who’s made great achievements, but I felt a sudden sadness when I saw the words, ‘I still failed.’
An acquaintance recently asked me why I’m putting so much effort into blogging about weight-loss when I’ve already lost the weight. She said, “You’re not going through it anymore; I don’t see how relatable you’ll be to the people who are still losing.”
Have you ever heard a person in Alcoholics Anonymous discussing years of sobriety by saying, ‘I used to be an alcoholic’? No. A recovering alcoholic knows he’ll always be an alcoholic. The same holds true for a food addict, and that’s really what I am.
I have lived through this struggle that many of you are going through right now, but being in maintenance doesn’t mean that I don’t have the same feelings of hopelessness when the scale doesn’t say what I want it to, or feelings of discouragement when I ‘go off plan’ and eat things that I know I shouldn’t. For some, maintenance has a whole different set of negative thoughts like, ‘I should have known better’ or, ‘Will this be the day I start gaining it all back?’. And there are many others. I’ve won the battle as they say, but the war rages on.
That’s why I run this blog. I am living, breathing proof that just because I’m someone who’s gone from a size 22 to a size 10, doesn’t mean I’m fixed. This is why I’ve been posting about my irrational fears with comfort zone challenges lately. All of the insecurities I feel today stems from how I felt about myself when I was obese. If I had it to do all over again and had worked on my self-esteem half as much as I worked on my weight, I’d be one hell of a well-rounded individual today.
Have you ever noticed that the tools needed to repair ourselves on the outside are plentiful and readily available? They come in the form of diets, exercise equipment, menu plans, gyms, diet aids, gadgets, specialized shoes and clothing – you name it. We can’t hide our weight from others and that too becomes a motivator. But feelings of regret, hopelessness, fear, humiliation, anger, self ridicule and belittlement are so much easier to hide; to pretend they don’t exist. The tools we need to fix those areas of our lives aren’t so readily available. So, we put on happy faces and pretend that we don’t mentally and emotionally attack ourselves with words we’d never dream of uttering to someone else.
On occasion I notice bloggers participating in weight loss challenges created by their peers. Well, I’m going to present for your consideration a different kind of challenge: I propose that starting today, we begin looking at ourselves differently. We accept the fact that our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
Rules: There is only one rule: You must at least once a day use one or more of these words in your vocabulary about yourself – and mean it: strong, courageous, beautiful/handsome, better, unique, remarkable, confident, conditioned, fascinating, pleasing. Extra credit: mindblowing, wicked-hot, awe-inspiring, sexy, sensational.
Off Limits: Words you can not use: failure, undeserving, incompetent, lazy, no-good, fat, unattractive, sloppy, defeated, unworthy.
One Final Thought: It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK to have off-days; (lord knows I’ve aired my dirty laundry plenty on this blog already). Just don’t let those feelings consume you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and never, ever let your weight define you.
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