You are not an option, a choice, or a soft place to land after a long battle. You were meant to be the one. If you can wrap yourself around the idea that you are something incredible, then you will stop excusing behavior that rapes your very soul. You were never meant to teach someone to love you. You were meant to be loved.
- Shannon L Alder
With so much pressure put on food and diets this holiday season, I've decided to share my experience. The fear of being fat has been deeply ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. Women in my life would constantly diet, and criticize their appearance in front of me. Men in my life would point at anything that jiggled and remind me it was unattractive. Kids in my life would call me 'Fatison'. As I matured out of childhood there were times that I starved myself, had bulimia, and took on other self-sabotaging behaviors.
When I was thirteen I began working out and finally lost weight. I noticed people accepted me and treated me very differently. I really enjoyed the attention for a while. This validation was a double-edged sword; I felt proud of myself but afraid to gain back the weight. When I achieved something meaningful my work would be discounted to versions of "It's because you're attractive". I would get access to these great privileges, but the people granting that access weren't truly interested in me, just the status my body represented.
The fear of losing admiration, mixed with the struggle of not being valued for my inner world caused a deep rift in my psyche. I still notice when my life goes off the rails, the voice in my head will say 'you're gaining weight' 'people don't love you' and 'you're fat'. I then would start to control my diet and get hyperfocused on exercise. My body and brain would get more stressed and I'd end up feeling terrible. This self-sabotaging behavior is something I would never want to pass on to my nieces.
This belief pattern only really shifted when I started motivating myself from a place of love. I ask myself daily what would feel best? I eat foods that are highly nutritious and make me feel good afterward. I do the movement that makes my body feel great. When my body wants to move, I move and when it wants to rest, I trust it and skip movement that day. There is no guilt in indulgences as long as I don't use them as an escape. When I look at the people I love and admire the most, their physical shape is rarely ever considered.
Today, I don't know my weight, and I rarely look at my body in the mirror but I've never felt more beautiful. This feeling comes from knowing that when I love myself, and when I feel healthy, I can love the people in my life fully. My body will change, and regardless I deserve to be treated with love and respect. So, when that controlling voice comes into my head of self-sabotage I just ask myself - who benefits from me feeling weak and not liking myself?
Food for thought:
We all have areas of belief where we feel less than.
Take some time to reflect on one of yours and ask:
Who benefits from my weakness?
Who benefits from my insecurity?
Who benefits from my exhaustion?
Who benefits from my self-sabotage?
Who benefits from my strength?
Who benefits from my security?
Who benefits from my energy?
Who benefits from my love?