The Emotional Baggage Around Weight Loss

By Meg Benjamin

Emotional baggage
Weight loss is hard, but self-love doesn’t have to be!

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 –  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

40 Day Weight Loss – Day 23 – 25

Weight – Day 23 – 240+/-, Day 24 237 with the weight on, Day 25 237 with the cast on.

Calories – Day 23 355.5, Day 24 466, Day 25 578 – I was more hungry yesterday, so I ate a little more veggies.

I’m actually starting day 26 today but I’ll write about today later this evening or tomorrow.

The program is actually getting much easier for me. I’m used to eating twice a day and for the most part don’t feel hungry. I find that if I wait too long to eat lunch or too long between lunch and dinner then I am hungrier than normal.

The other thing I have figured out is that I need to drink much more water during the day than I ever did before. I’m maintaining about 80 oz of liquids (breakfast tea, herbal tea, water and bubbly water). I have cut diet coke, juices and Splenda (that was hard for me) completely. I don’t miss diet coke or the other sugary drinks that I used to drink at all. Now, when I’m thirsty, I grab water or an herbal tea to quench my thirst. It’s working and I am really loving the herbal tea. In fact, we are so low on herbal tea, that we are going to make a trip to Celestial Seasonings soon to stock up again. I love Celestial Seasonings tea. It makes me very happy!

I wanted to talk about why I decided to do this very strict 40 day program. Before I started this program I went to the doctor to get some blood work done and then I went to the NutriMost doctor and had a Body scan and NRF (NutriMost Resonant Frequency) hand scan done. I wasn’t surprised by what the two scans showed. But they did scare me enough to finally take my health seriously and do something about my weight once and for all. I know that by losing even 10% of my body fat is a huge help to my health over all.

Basically, the blood tests, the body scan and the hand scan all showed a similar but scary picture. The blood tests showed that my bad cholesterol was extremely high (377), my blood pressure was 140/90 – way too high. My general practitioner wanted to put me on blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. I talked him into giving me 3 months to try to lower both with diet and exercise. He agreed, but was concerned because I was also showed to be “pre-diabetic”. I think that was what really scared me the most. Especially if I could reverse that diagnosis by losing some weight and cutting sugar out of my diet.

Then the next week, I went to the NutriMost doctor after hearing a radio advertisement. I thought it was just another get thin fast gimmick, but when I went in and listened to the Dr. give his talk and got the scans done, I changed my mind quickly.

After having the body and hand scan done, these were my results:

  • My weight was 251. 6 pounds – about 15 pounds heavier than my scale at home said. That scale got thrown away the very same day!
  • My body fat was 50.2% – really high! My BMI (Body Mass Index) was 39.4 – bascially telling me what I already knew…I’m obese. Not quite at the end of the obese bar, but far enough.
  • My Body Water was 36.4% – basically telling me I’m dehydrated. Not just thirsty, but my cells were dehydrated.
  • My Visceral Fat (the fat that surrounds your organs) was 14 out of 15. That is not good, especially since I carry most of my weight in my stomach area. Meaning all of my important organs were surrounded by a large amount of fat. That means my liver was most likely “fatty”, my kidneys, my heart, my stomach, my spleen and my intestines were all surrounded by a large amount of fat. This was a wake-up call because having a large amount of visceral fat can lead to heart disease, kidney problems and many more health problems that I definitely don’t want now or ever!

The most shocking thing that came out of these scans was my Metabolic age. The scan only goes up to 90 years and that’s what I measured at. I could actually have a much older metabolic age since the scan only goes to 90. So that isn’t an accurate measurement. But it explains why I feel fatigued and “old” more than not. I haven’t been able to get scanned again with my cast on, but I am confident when I get scanned again, all of these numbers are going to be lower. By how much I don’t know, but even a small decrease will make me happy. I will post those numbers when I’m able to get scanned – hopefully next week or the following week once I get a walking boot.

Seeing the numbers and understanding what they really mean, are what pushed me to do something. The fact that I’m getting married in October was a motivator also, but really the health aspect of the reports was more motivating than just looking good in my wedding dress. I want to get married and then be healthy to live the best life I possibly can with my new husband. We have big plans and being fat and unhealthy doesn’t fit into those plans. So this is my opportunity to make huge changes for now and forever. I’m learning about portion sizes, that sugar is evil, and that meals can be tasty without a ton of fat or carbs in them. I also learned that I actually like to drink water. I used to say I don’t like to drink water and would grab a diet coke instead. I know I’m losing weight every day, but I’m super excited to see the difference on the scans. I think that is going to tell a whole new story of my improved health!

40 Day Weight Loss – Day 3

Pretty Water bottle to keep me motivated!
Pretty Water bottle to keep me motivated!

Weight – 247 (Yay! It’s going down!) Calories – 487 – 3 under what I should be at So today was a really tough day. I felt awful all day. I called in to my part time gig so that I could stay home and rest. I did my drops, sipped my water and ate lunch like I am supposed to. I had a date with an old friend who was in Denver on business, to meet her for dinner. I thought about cancelling, but after taking a hot Epsom salt bath (another way to help detox), drank a bunch of water and a cup of caffeinated tea, I felt well enough to venture out for a little bit. I was worried about eating dinner out, especially so early during my program. The restaurant that we went to was fantastic and so accommodating. We went to Mercantile and Provisions at Union Station. They had no problem preparing me a piece of grilled Sea Bass without any oil and steamed broccoli. My dinner was so delicious and satisfying. I was so happy with it that I can’t wait to go back. After venturing out, I was pretty tired and worn out when I got home. I am taking it very easy on myself and resting a lot right now. As a reward to myself and to make sure I drink enough water through out the day, I bought myself a pretty hot pink water bottle (sans BPA). It matches my lunch box and when I look at it, it reminds me to drink more water. I’ve never been a big water drinker, so drinking water all day is new to me. Today was better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today!


My 40 Day Weight Loss Program – here goes!

Day 1 Starting Weight: 249.4 pounds (Ouch!) I started my 40 day doctor supervised weight loss and metabolism reset program yesterday, Sunday. The first day was basically a load day. I don’t eat much on a regular basis (part of the reason I gain weight and don’t lose weight). So loading calories with healthy fat was hard for me. I did eat 3 meals with a couple of snacks(healthy nuts) and drank plenty of water, but it was hard to eat enough of what I was supposed to eat. So I’m jumping in feet first! I’m posting my before pictures for accountability. I don’t see myself as obese when I look in the mirror, but pictures, the scale and the report I got from my doctor last week don’t lie. The report scared me to do something, the scale (I finally bought one that works correctly) shocked me and the photos made me really want to make some serious changes. I’ll dig deeper into the why’s of my weight problem as I blog more, but for today, I’m just sharing with the world my starting weight and my starting pictures taken last night. I’ll post more photos as I blog this journey and of course post my “after” photos when I’m done with the 40 day program and what the next steps are. Thank you for following along and keeping me accountable!