My Mom died suddenly and unexpectedly of a massive stroke 12 years ago. I was devastated. And I was totally pissed and devastated a second time because I was fat.
I still remember it like it was yesterday. One of my best friends Sue who I grew up with came right away to help me. I told her we had to go shopping because I had nothing to wear to the wake and funeral. We go to the shitty mall and I hunt for a couple of black outfits that don’t make me look like hell.
I remember saying to Sue, “Of course I have to be fat right now when I’m going to see all these people I haven’t seen in years.” Nice perspective. I was devastated, sad…and fat. As they used to sing on Sesame Street, which one of these is not like the other ones?
But I felt that way. Amidst being a wreck about the fact that I would never see my mother again, sad beyond belief about losing her, terrified about the thought of my ailing father living alone 3 hours away, I also felt so embarrassed to see old friends.
I was bigger than I had ever been. When I lived in my home town of Pittsfield MA I was pretty consistently thin. Don’t get me wrong—I was well into my dieting roller coaster by the time I left but at that time I was more often in a thin cycle than a fat one, and I hadn’t yet dieted myself up to the weight I currently was.
How awful. At this time when I needed to be grieving my mother and soaking in the warmth and love of old friends who came to support me I was instead consumed with what they will think of me. How they may judge me for gaining so much weight. And that maybe I would have a boyfriend or husband to stand with me in the surreal receiving line if I wasn’t fat.
I tell you this story for a couple of reasons.
Point number one—as Mike Dooley tells us “Thoughts become things”. Did you hear the way I was talking and thinking about myself? It wasn’t just because of this extraordinary circumstance—that was the way I talked about myself all the time.
No one wants to be overweight! And when we are a good majority of us think beating ourselves up about it is the way to go. I will shame myself into losing weight. And I will let everyone else know that I know I’m fat—I know I have to get myself back on a diet. Say it out loud to others because I know they are thinking it.
What a hideous place to live. Then when I stack on the truth of thoughts become things I can see why none of my weight loss efforts were ever successful. Nearly all I thought and talked about was how fat I was and what diet I was on or about to go on.
The second reason I tell you this story is because ever since I started struggling with weight and diet I had a deep longing to find a solution and to help others who are in a constant battle against their bodies, because I knew how consistently heartbreaking it was.
Thank God I finally found the solution. And it began with stopping dieting and changing my beliefs, therefore my thoughts, about food, diet and body image.
I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again one million times—if you don’t change the way you think about food and yourself your efforts at weight loss will be thwarted at one point or another.
You will continue to attract solutions that don’t work for you, or even if you find a solution that seems to be working and makes you feel better you will talk yourself out of continuing with it.
So if you are struggling and miserable about the way you look and feel, before looking for yet another diet solution stop and really pay attention to your thoughts and words around food, diet, and your body. What are your beliefs around why you gained the weight? What are your beliefs about having to be on a diet or being out of control around food? Where is that out of control feeling coming from? Maybe from how strict the diet is?
It’s an endless cycle all created by our thoughts. It’s time to stop—stop torturing and start nourishing ourselves.
PS That’s my awesome friend Deb with me in the after photo when we were in Mexico!
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