As I continue my lifelong struggle as as obese person, I now have the benefit of a retospective view. I have thought so often about the WHY: growing up in the height of the diet culture and developing a chronic sense of body dissatisfaction, a genetic predisposition with a long family history of overweight and Type 2 diabetes. I can list them all.
There are so many myths about body weight and size and so much shame, guilt, frustration and self loathing.
Myth 1: Big is Bad. You are bad because you are a failure. You fail at self control and you can't use resist your impulses despite all the explicit consequences.
Myth 2: Thin is Good. The emphasis is on appearance, but what if this is the wrong focus? Perhaps the our concern should be about feeling healthy in your body. Experiencing one's body as vital and filled with energy and a cherished gift to take care of. Maybe those are more valuable measures.
Myth 3: If you are Big you are not Lovable. I believe we need the opposite to be true. If we want improve our sense of well being we must replace self loathing with self love. Self love and compassion must be our well spring. Our goal should be self care and not just weight loss.
Myth 4: Quick Change! Instant Fixes! Magic Cures! Recovery from obesity is a total effort that encompasses both psychological and behaviorial change. Lifestyle and habit change occurs over time. It requires giving up what is comfortable. Many people resist change, don't know where to begin , have repeatedly failed or set the wrong goals.
Change must begin with inner commitment and connection to our power to change. It is staying motivated, developing flexibility (you are not perfect!) Eating a cookie is not a crime!!!
So, if you are looking to change to improve your health, where do you begin?
There are many places to start. I have learned that I like to start with nutrition. As diabetics we must understand that our bodies need special care. I have learned my body loves vegetables and small more frequent meals. I am very prone to fatigue and reaching for excessive sugar and carbs just make me feel worse. I try to forgive myself if I have eaten too many high sugar foods and carbs. I have learned what makes me feel better. It is not restricting nor eating mindlessly. I don't want to feel the sluggishnes and fuzzy thinking of high blood sugar or the irritability or depression I can feel or diabetes distress, my emotional pain for not doing what is best for myself.
So, to take back yourself: 1. What do you need to do first? 2. Make it a priority by planning. 3. Get support by educating those around you as how to help (Pizza for dinner is not good for me).
Root yourself in self compassion and stay connected to those who love you and want to help because change doesn't happen in a vacuum.
Happy Valentine's Day,