We all have a lot of stories, don’t we? I have a few that have really played a large part in defining the person that I am today.
One of my stories is that I was raised by very loving parents in a pretty dysfunctional home. My dad seemed to think it was a great and helpful thing to share with me at an early age that he thought I was overweight and that no one in their right mind would love me unless I lost weight. It was a conversation that we had in our kitchen when I was a freshman in high school and I’ll never forget it as long as I live.
Probably not surprisingly, weight has been an issue of mine on and off for a lot of my life. I’m happy to say that over the last three years I’ve lost almost 50 pounds using all of the normal methods approved by healthy people everywhere; diet, exercise, I hired a personal trainer and visited him three times a week for a year, I eat a lot of organic food and am a green smoothie junkie, yadda, yadda, yadda. And some not-so-healthy ones too, like diet pills and the intense grief that came from the loss of my dog. I went whole days without eating then – not good.
But I have a secret to tell you and here it is. When you’re done needing the weight to do for you what’s it’s doing – you’ll let it go. Profound, right? Yes, it is. And so very true.
When I started life coach training, that’s when something really clicked. Once I started getting to the root of the reasons WHY I was eating too much and cleaning up those issues, then I didn’t NEED to eat too much any more. This was so profound to me and I can’t stress enough that no amount of dieting and exercise will work or be sustainable until you’ve figured out and put to rest the why of the weight. For me weight was a way of keeping people away and not being seen. If, according to my dad, no one would love me if I had weight on, then I could hide behind weight. That felt safe. Being seen didn’t feel safe and hiding behind weight did.
My parents sent me to a fat farm as my high school graduation present. It was one of the best things they could have done for me. There I learned how to eat whatever I wanted – even junk food – as long as it added up to 1,200 calories per day, and how to move for 5 hours each and every day. That’s sustainable, right? Truly. Awful. But the takeaway was good – don’t deny yourself anything. We all have cravings and so, if you want a bite of something, have it. It’s when you find yourself NEEDING to eat a half a pie that you may want to examine the why of it. Because your body probably doesn’t ever need a half a pie.
Over Christmas we had family here and there were desserts with dinner every day, cookies and candy from Santa, etc. in the house all the time, and I managed to lose weight. Why? How? Because some days I said, “No” to dessert because I was satisfied from dinner, or some days I had a very small scoop of ice cream with strawberries, or a bite of chocolate. I no longer HAVE to have a whole dessert or eat too much, because now I live in a world where I eat to nourish my body and not to feed my wounds.
Does eating to feed your wounds sound familiar to you?