This past fall was an extremely difficult time in my life. It was the start of what would ultimately end in divorce, and it was rough.
The fighting, the anger, and the chaos triggered my emotional eating, and it came back full force. I hate to say it, but I binge ate, binge drank, and hardly worked out. Over the course of four months, I gained 15 pounds.
Of course I wasn’t happy about it. I felt awful, and I didn’t look like my typical healthy self. But instead of hating my body and feeling ashamed of the way I looked, I decided to embrace it.
It wasn’t easy, but I made a conscious decision to not feel bad about falling off the wagon so completely. I realized that the weight got there because of the trauma I went through, and the way I coped with it was to eat emotionally — something I trained myself to do from a very early age.
Although it’s true that I have a business teaching women how to stop eating emotionally and lose weight without dieting, I’m not immune to having to fight my tendency to eat to make myself feel better. Especially when life gets completely out of control.
So, even though I wasn’t happy about the weight, I decided to carry it proudly and embrace it. I decided that, rather than being a badge of shame, it was actually a symbol of strength. Because it represented the fact that I went through the worst time in my entire life, and I came out of it on the other side — stronger, better. And that’s beautiful.
And now that I’m feeling more confident than ever because of everything I went through and learned about myself, I’ve already shed most of the weight. (And it’s only excess weight, not the end of the world.)
It’s so important to remember that weight appears because of what you do, not because of who you are. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not “fat” or “disgusting.” You just have behaviors that you need to replace with better behaviors.
But when you see weight as a sign of your worthlessness, you can’t get to what’s really going on and then fix it. So you don’t feel in control of the situation, which makes you feel desperate, so you go on another diet.
It’s hard to face yourself head on, acknowledge the weight, and then do something about it — but that’s the only way you can change anything. All change begins with awareness.
Part of facing it means owning where you are and accepting responsibility for it, and this is really hard to do. When you feel powerless though, blaming something other than yourself is all you can do.
So you say it’s your genes, it’s your hectic lifestyle, it’s your age. And it’s not that those things don’t factor into you carrying more weight around than you’d like — but if you don’t take full responsibility, you’ll stay stuck. You don’t have to fall back on genetics and do nothing. You don’t have to give up just because you’re really busy. And you for sure shouldn’t accept a downhill slide into mediocrity just because you’re turning 50 this fall (like I am!).
So instead of judging and shaming yourself, face the situation. Get on the scale and weigh yourself — with the confidence that you’re taking control and assessing where you are so you can make a plan. Stand in front of the mirror in your underwear, don’t suck it in, and say to yourself, “This isn’t disgusting, I’m not disgusting, the weight is here for a reason, and I’m right where I need to be.”
Two very important things happen when you accept responsibility. First, owning it means you’re no longer fighting it. When all you do is resist the weight, it stays right where it is. When you’re constantly obsessing about it, hating it, and trying to get rid of it, you never see that it’s just a symptom of the real problem, which is emotional eating. And that’s something you can fix.
Second, when you accept responsibility, you stop shaming yourself. When you feel ashamed of the weight, you keep yourself in a place of powerlessness and drain your confidence. You have to feel confident and capable if you want to make changes. It’s in the facing of it that you start the process of change. It’s there, I accept it, and I will change it.
So now that you’ve faced it . . . you have to embrace it.
Embracing your whole self, extra weight and all, helps you fully inhabit your body. When this happens, you change how you walk and how you carry yourself, which makes you feel more confident and powerful. And when you feel this way, you’re far less likely to judge yourself so harshly and fall prey to your inner critic.
You’re also less susceptible to the judgment placed on all women as a society, which is hugely important. You start to care less about what others may think of you and how you look, and you start to pay more attention to the things that really bring you joy and setting real goals for yourself — ones that have nothing to do with losing weight.
All of these things that result from embracing who you are and focusing less on what you look like help you lose weight naturally. Feeling good eliminates the resistance that comes from fighting against your body, which keeps you in the shame/dieting cycle. It helps you commit to developing healthy habits rather than desperately trying “not to” in order to get rid of the weight.
Your body is just the container for what’s inside, and whatever you think and feel causes you to do what you do — and your body will adapt to whatever it is that you’re doing.
If you feel bad about yourself, your body will become less than it should be, not just weight-wise but energy-wise. You’ll not only gain weight, you’ll also feel sluggish and tired. But if you feel good about yourself, your body will become what it was meant to be: lean, toned, energized, and vibrant.
Plus, it feels so good to love yourself like this. You already are beautiful and can be so radiant and live such an amazing life if you just give yourself the chance.
So choose right now to face it and embrace it. And then . . . you’ll replace it.