I’ve been wanting to write about my weight for a while now but I have been afraid. I have lost friends over my weight before and I don’t want to lose you! Today I am writing for me and I hope you might learn something helpful.
I wasn’t always fat but I think I have always seen myself as BIG! Even as a youngster, I compared myself to my girl cousins and they were mostly teeny tiny, as was my sister. Looking back now, they were SHORT but not always SMALL. I always felt like I was the biggest at home and at school. Looking back at photos now, I wasn’t – certainly not at school. I was athletic and fit and strong but once I became a teenager, I looked at myself in a very negative light. I was still athletic and fit and strong but with no help from anyone in particular, somehow this became big and fat and unacceptable. Never do I remember my mother saying anything negative about my body or hers. She was (and is) always encouraging and positive about me. But somewhere an internal voice started to be the voice I listened to the most.
Outwardly, I was a happy, out going, flirty, teenager. I appeared to have everything I needed to those around me looking in. I had confidence to sing and play the guitar out the front of church, to lead meetings, to speak and pray aloud, and to eventually start my career as a teacher. But inwardly, I was often second guessing myself – wondering if I fitted in or whether I was the biggest in the room. I over compensated by often being the loudest and certainly drinking way too much! I also stopped a lot of my physical activities, as I felt self conscious of my body and how it looked doing things. Oh how I would love to be the size I was then – now! I would be so active and busy.
Well, life moves on. I fell in love, married, had three gorgeous boys and went back to teaching. I had a full and eventful life with many ups and downs but not for my weight! It only went up and up and up! Yes, I had some success with diets and healthy eating programmes but it wasn’t long before self sabotage, stress and anxiety came to the fore and the weight returned. The little voice inside me continued to privately verbalise and I became my own self fulfilled prophecy.
And here I am today – still overweight. Still unhappy about it. Still not in control of the voice in my head that tells me I’m big, only now when I look back at photos of days gone by I can see I wasn’t. But now I really am!!! Now it has become a medical issue, with exercising painful for my knees and back and respiratory problems and I’m scared! I can hear you all yelling at me, that all exercise hurts and that I just have to push through the pain to get the benefit. I know that! Telling me doesn’t help me. So what will help me? The truth, gently given, is helpful. Especially, if it is a positive truth about how I look and what I am doing. I love clothes and colour but often (wrongly) question my ability to choose suitable outfits. If you think I look nice – tell me! This is one area that Fev can’t help me! Do physical things with me and I don’t mean dragging me to the gym. I do mean, encouraging me to join you in outdoor outings and healthy food choices BUT please don’t judge me when I falter. Be assured that I am already judging myself enough for us all.
At the moment I am going to see a therapist to help me change the little voice inside me. While in these sessions, I have found that that little voice inside me, tells me lots of unhelpful things in lots of areas of my life. So, whereas I thought that solving my weight issues would solve my anxiety, I now know that the weight is just one of the manifestations of the negative story I tell myself internally. I am a work in progress. I am writing a new chapter for my internal book. It’s going to take awhile because the old chapter that I have been listening to, has been being reread for 55 years. I have to believe in my new story as I write it. I have to have courage to say it out loud and to believe I am enough – now! Not days, months, years down the track – when I am thin. But NOW. As I am! At the moment! I am enough!
Wow, this has been heavy but I don’t apologise for it. I do promise to write something lighter next post. You may even smile or laugh when you read it!