By Meg Benjamin
I have written about my personal journey with my own weight loss before, but I have never written or spoken of the emotional side of my personal weight gain/loss journey. I have struggled with my weight and have been “trying” to lose weight since I became an adult. I probably started struggling with my weight at about the age of 20. I moved away to go to college, which was a three-hour drive from my parent’s house. At that time, I wasn’t overweight or obese yet. My eating habits changed (for the worse) and quickly, my exercise habits were forgotten about. So, therein, my journey with my food addiction, binging, yo-yo dieting and trying to lose weight began. All of this has been my nemesis ever since. I have been struggling with gaining and losing weight ever since. Gaining weight is much easier than losing it. Full disclosure, it’s been 27 years or more since this emotional roller coaster started for me. I thought I was overweight and “fat” when I was younger than 20, even though I really wasn’t. I was “normal” and healthy looking up until my college years. Pictures don’t lie and as I look back at photographs of me during high school or younger, I wasn’t overweight or obese at all. I just thought I was. It turns out it was all in my head. I since have learned this was the beginning of the start of my limiting beliefs and self-sabotage to keep myself feeling “safe”. More on that later.
As a young child, I was told, mostly by my close family that, “You’d be so pretty if you just lost some weight”, “do you really want to eat that”, “haven’t you had enough”, and “are you really going to eat that”, just to mention a few statements that I can remember. Many others I have blocked from my memory. These phrases said to me by anyone, family or so-called friends, just made me want to eat an entire cake or a whole package of cookies. Usually, I’d get so upset that I would eat an entire cake, bag of cookies, or multiple bags of candy. I ate to quell my emotions more than eating because I was truly hungry. I usually wasn’t hungry at all. Eating sweets raised my serotonin levels and made me feel happier. For a short time, anyway. I would get very depressed, cry (in private, of course) and wonder how someone that supposedly loved me so much, could say something like that. It didn’t help me, in fact, it made me bloom to be (at my highest) 257 pounds. I never said anything about the emotional side of being overweight to anyone. It was my hidden secret. It was my super personal secret that no-one else had access to. It was my private thing. On the outside, I looked happy, and most of the time, I was. I appeared to be happy and the life of the party. Inside, I had negative thoughts and told myself what a loser I was if I couldn’t control how much food I ate and how much I weighed. I carried so much emotional weight and baggage around with me. It got way to heavy and recently, I decided I couldn’t carry all of these negative thoughts and emotions around anymore.
I’ve been doing some internal soul-searching over the past few months. During this time, I have discovered some truths that I didn’t believe until I started my personal soul-searching exercise. I have been a big fan and believer that you should always work on yourself to become the best version of you that you can be. I have read a ton of self-help books. I follow Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dwyer, Mike Dooley and others who I feel “get it” and share their wisdom daily on websites, blogs and in writing. When I took a deeper dive, and started meditating and treating my soul and body with respect, love and gave myself a break & more compassion and self-love, I discovered that I haven’t faced the emotional side of the years I spent miserable, as an overweight woman. I started meditating on my feelings around weight and amazing things started happening.
After a few sessions of meditating, eating better than I ever have before and moving more, I started losing weight and not just a pound here and there. Since the beginning of November, even with the holidays smack dab in the middle, I have managed to lose 18 pounds. That is the most I’ve ever lost in approximately two months…ever. Not only have I lost 18 pounds but I’m working on losing the past 27 years of emotional baggage about food, yo-yo dieting, letting other people criticize me, put me down, different relationships with loved ones around this topic that have hurt my sense of self and let all of this dim my light and affect my personality and spirit. These situations and thoughts have worked against me. They have fueled the negative thoughts and talks I have had with myself for years. The thoughts left me feeling worthless, not worth love, and caused me to NOT treat myself the way I should have treated myself, with compassion, understanding, and love.
Now since I’ve started doing the work, I feel lighter in my body and spirit. I have forgiven myself (really forgiven), along with those close to me who wouldn’t let the fact that I was “fat” go. I have let those people who threw the “fat” word in my face more than needed, off the hook of blame and shame. Easier said than done!
I felt like I needed to have someone to blame. Blaming myself was easy and felt justified. It isn’t true and justifiable anymore. No matter what weight I am, I’m beautiful inside and out. I have a large group of friends and family who adore and cherish me and all I give in those relationships. I don’t have to hide behind my weight ever again. As I look back, I’m shocked at some of my behavior and habits around food and exercise. I treated it like it was a game that I could win any time. I now realize my triggers. Boy oh boy, do I have triggers!
I have figured out a way to move on from all that was said casually and without much thought or empathy. One of the ways I have moved on…is by telling myself, “They (or he/she and I) would have done better if they knew better”. That makes it easier for me to forgive myself and others, then move on. I have also figured out that it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. It’s really not my business to care about what anyone thinks of me. The most important person to care about their thoughts about me is ME.
I am 18 pounds lighter. My clothes are loose. I’m moving better and feel like I CAN exercise, do yoga, walk, and hopefully soon, start taking Zumba classes again. I have also figured out that to continue a good exercise routine and schedule, I have to like the exercise class or program I participate in. It turns out that I love yoga, bike riding, walking and taking Zumba classes. Those are the exercise programs that I’m going to focus on.
Yoga and meditation have played a huge role in my new weight loss success. They both have allowed me to figure out my “weight baggage” and have helped me figure out how to tackle all the baggage and live a truly healthy, happy and abundant life from now on. I’ve wasted so much time, beating myself up and being depressed over this one thing. It turns out that this isn’t all that important after all. Being healthy, having good relationships, and truly loving my life is so much more rewarding.
So, my plan for the rest of this year and beyond is to stop comparing myself to others. Stop caring or worrying about what others think or say to or about me. Remember…it’s not my business. I won’t talk about anyone else’s weight struggles EVER. I don’t know what their demons are. I have understanding and compassion for anyone else who struggles the same way I do. I will continue to put more love in the world and let my light shine as bright as it can.
If you have any comments or questions, please post them in the comments section. Let’s try to keep the comments clean and nice. I hope to hear from you sometime.
*Update…since posting this, I have become pregnant and am starting a new blog about that journey – www.50isthenewmommy.com. I also lost all of my images on Little Miss Idea recently – a silly mistake on my part. I am working on adding any images that I still have back to the blog, but I may not be able to recover them all. The content is still good, it just may not have the original image with it. As I post new posts, I will have images with each post. Thank you for continuing to follow along. I will be publishing more DIY and other relevant topics to Little Miss Idea in the very near future. With love and gratitude, Meg