It's been a while... I decided to stop doing my little weight loss group in May because my psyche was not in the right place. In fact, I gave up trying to lose weight all together. The result? I'm still riding the same 5-pound bracket that I was when I was stressing out twice a week over what the scale said. I quit both Join Our Journey and TOPS because I needed a break... a break from letting the scale determine my self worth, a break from constant praise over weight-loss and constant "encouragement" after a weight-gain, a break from self-pity, a break from hearing and saying the same thing every time I got together with others that were having similar struggles as myself.
Funny enough, I took so much of a break that I never have resolved any of my psychological issues regarding my health... I've just pushed them under the carpet. However, I've been doing a lot of free-writing the last few weeks to clear my head and I'm beginning to learn about the horrible thoughts that constantly fill it. Thoughts that, up until now, I've chosen to ignore or mask. In fact, I don't think people realize the extent of my struggle with myself because I've become pretty good at hiding it. With that being said, it's time for the gloves to come off. It's time for me to confess to many things that are going through my head. This is not going to be easy for me because I don't like negativity, or letting people know that I feel negative. However, I'm doing this to be honest with myself and with others, so that I might make some logical sense out of the emotional turmoil in my head. Also, I always hope that what I'm going through may one day help somebody (if not, my future self) along the way.
Caution: The following may offend some people. Heck, it offends me... I apologize for the things that I'm about to write that make NO sense logically, but make ABSOLUTE sense to me emotionally. I also apologize for the extreme negativity of this post. Every once in a while we have to face the demons that are set before us. Feel free to close your browser now.
Horrible Emotional Truths
- I've learned that I am the weak person I vowed never to become. My whole life, I've considered myself a strong, independent person... until now. I don't know when it happened, but I feel like I no longer have control over anything in my life.
- I've stopped being honest with myself. Because of this, I never believe that I will follow through with anything I set out to do. Why make goals and promises, if you know you're not going to keep them?
- I've become very bitter... and I HATE this about myself! I find myself upset with others' successes (which is so unlike me). I get angry when people offer me help or advice (especially if that person has never been 130+ lbs overweight). I get angry that I have a husband who can eat anything and not gain weight, and as a result never gets "talked to" by doctors about his health, or made fun of, or grouped into an "unhealthy population". I get angry that other people take for granted their energy and lack of constant desire for food. And I especially hate when people use the phrase, "IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT!" Please, for the love, do not use this phrase! Nobody's journey is the same, and if I COULD do it, I would be in the same successful place you are right now. We are all in different stages of our journey and it's like a slap in the face when people use that phrase. If you believe I can do it, say, "You are a strong person and have the ability to make good decisions... I believe in you!" Don't compare anyone else's journey to your own. Comparison is the root of all evil! (Okay, that was a little dramatic.)
- I've become accustomed to playing the role of the victim. I'm "left out" when I see family and friends eating the foods I so desire, but "can't" have because I'm fat. I "was dealt the fat genes", which makes it that much harder to lose weight. I've had more trials in the last few years than I feel I can handle. I'm "bullied" every single day of my life by strangers, by media, by those intending to help, but who say unintentional hurtful things in the process. I feel hurt when others talk about the "obesity epidemic or trend", as if we are a bunch of cattle being herded into this big mass of worthless crap...not individuals with individual struggles and individual stories. Why do people give a crap if I'm fat or not? It's not because they care about me as an individual... They're just there to wipe away the "obesity epidemic" and be the hero for getting rid of all the "fatties".
- I'm not happy. At one other point in my life I was at this point. Sad, miserable, hating myself and others and I was able to get myself out of it. Sadly, the very things that made me feel great and motivated to lose weight before are the very things haunting my self-esteem now. People's wonderful compliments as I was losing weight on "how great I looked" or "how strong I'd become" or "what an inspiration I was" started reversing as I started gaining weight back. In my messed up brain, all of a sudden those comments turned into "you sure are letting yourself slide" or "you've lost your mental strength and focus" or "you're a complete failure" or "I knew she'd gain it all back". I know it sounds irrational... It does even to me! But these are the horrible thoughts that have filled both my conscious and sub-conscious thoughts for 3 years now. Even if those thoughts were crossing people's minds, why should I care? Self-esteem should come from within, not from others.
Sadly, the list could go on, but these 5 things have been the most present in my mind. Now that I'm facing these issues that have overtaken my life, I fully intend to start dealing with them. It's going to take time, but because of previous experience, I know it's possible to re-train my brain. Here's my plan of attack on each of my 5 issues:
- I may be weak now, but it's only because I've allowed myself to be. I AM a strong person... Always have been, always will be. I've just hit 3 years of massive trials and it has taken time to adapt, but I will not let anything get the better of me. I am strong!
- I will set small, very achievable goals, that I absolutely have to achieve. I HAVE to start being honest with myself and learn to trust myself and believe in my abilities. The only way to do that is to get a fresh start on my relationship with myself. Build my trust.
- Keep a gratitude list. It's easy to become bitter when you refuse to see the good in everything. For every negative thing I think, I have to think of two positive things concerning that same issue. (This is what I did years ago to help me out of my funk.)
- Reverse roles. Whenever I begin to feel like a victim, I will remind myself that we all have trials of varying degrees and that my trials are simply here to make me stronger. God will not give me anything I can't handle. If I feel I've got too much, I'll remind myself that He must think I'm a pretty strong person :).
- Remind myself what life is really about. I find myself unhappy when I focus on the wrong things, when I compare myself to others, when I refuse to live in the present, rather than the past or the future. Of coarse we'll be unhappy if all of our focus is on the things that we continually struggle with. So, why do I always put so much focus on losing weight? It doesn't help, it makes me feel like a failure, and I have so many great qualities that SHOULD overshadow my struggle. Regardless of my weight, I care deeply about others and always try to lend a helping hand, I've worked long and hard to be a good voice teacher and accompanist and feel that I am successful, I am a good wife and mother, I fulfill my church callings, I'm a good friend, and I'm intelligent. I'm not listing these things to brag, but rather to see my successes and realize that it's ridiculous to let one area of my life detract from all of the good in my life.
I know that as I retrain my brain to focus on the positive, rather than the negative, that I will succeed in being healthier. Even these last few weeks, as I've come to the realization that my brain has been poisoned with negativity, I have felt the desire to treat my body better. Writing this has been very therapeutic for me and I thank you for listening and caring. Love you all!