Friday, April 20, 2012

The Fear of Weight

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

A few weeks ago, I talked about how happiness is not just a new dress size. I think that we all want to transform ourselves, make ourselves feel better and just be happy with ourselves. But sometimes, a few of us become so focused on the weight loss and equate that with happiness, that we lose sight of the real transformation that should take place; the one within yourself. And that transformation cannot take place, unless you first know who you are and accept who you are. If you don’t accept who you are, no amount of weight loss will ever make you truly happy because your inner self is still the same. And if you don’t love who you are to the core, you are certainly not going to be completely happy with your outer shell at any size. Sure, you’ll be happy after losing some weight but then what happens if you gain some of it back? Are you going to fall out of love with yourself? And then kill yourself to lose the weight again to feel that happiness again? I just think that’s ridiculous. Like Robert Holden once said, “No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance.”

None of us are perfect. Once we accept our flaws and imperfections, then we can truly work on loving ourselves as much as we can. Some flaws and imperfections can be worked on, such as weight loss. And some are just things we have to accept. However, if we look at our flaws in a positive manner…that we are each unique and our flaws are what make us so, then we can alleviate some of that self-loathing that sabotages us from making a true transformation within ourselves. Whether you have a lazy eye, a gap between your two front teeth, freckles, whatever…these “imperfections” are what lend to your beauty. They are not negative flaws.

“It's not worth our while to let our imperfections disturb us always.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

For me, surprisingly, I was once scared to lose weight. I have never been thin and the thought of being thin terrified me. I wore my weight as a badge of honor. It made me stand out in the crowd. I always had a strong personality and I was proud of my weight. It was my way of giving the middle finger to society. How dare they tell me what size I should be? And while it sucked not being to share clothes with my friends or shop in a straight size store when I was younger, I reveled in the fact that I was different and courageous for daring to be different. I never made any apologies for my size.

So imagine my shock, many years later, when I heard about a story about a mutual friend of a friend, who was scared of gaining weight. Her life story was the same as mine. She had never been thin. One day, at the age of 34, she decided to lose weight for health reasons. She lost 226 pounds. She began to embrace her transformation and see life differently than she had ever imagined it could be. I think when you’ve never been thin and don’t know how life is as a thin person, your life as a big person becomes the norm so you can’t even imagine life as a thin person.

As she lost the weight, she became obsessed with losing more and more. She lost 226 pounds in eighteen months! But her transformation started to become intertwined with fear. Now that she knew what life was like as a thin person, she was scared of gaining any weight and going back to her former self. Her anxiety started to rule her life. She worked out excessively and began to fear food. Then came a point where she was going to have surgery to have her excess skin removed and a breast lift. The doctors told her that she would need 8-10 weeks to recuperate, which also meant no working out.

She was so fearful that she was going to gain weight during that time. She became really stressed out, to the point where it caused her to have a nervous breakdown. It made me think…how did she feel about herself when she started her weight loss journey? I think that is the key to finding out where things went wrong. Turns out she entered therapy and learned that she never truly loved herself. She got used to being overweight and accepted that as a way of life. She never even entertained the thought of losing weight until her doctor told her she had no choice but to lose weight. She lost the weight so fast and it became such an obsession, that she never took the time to really start to build her self-love for herself from within. She equated weight loss with gaining beauty and being normal.

The lesson in all of this for me, and what I want to share with all of you, is that weight should not be feared. Physically, we will never be at a steady weight. As we age, our body changes and weight fluctuates. We should never be scared to lose weight or gain it. Weight is what it is, just a number on a scale. There is no perfect weight to be at. Everyone has an opinion as to what is the perfect weight or perfect size…what you should be and what you shouldn’t be. However, at the end of the day, you have to be at the weight that you are most comfortable with. You have to be happy with you. But that happiness starts from within. It starts when you let go of the unrealistic restrictions that are imposed on us by society. It starts when you stop listening to what others tell you that you should be. It starts when you stop becoming obsessed with food pyramids, BMIs, scales, tape measures, etc. It starts when you really look at yourself and start to accept who you are as a person.

Once you accept yourself, you slowly build your self-love armor that will protect you from fear, anxiety, negativity and any other things thrown at you. Then you can truly transform yourself as how you see fit (no pun intended, lol). True beauty has nothing to do with a number of a scale. Society has us thinking that in order of us to be beautiful, we have to be thin. And that’s a crock of BS. If that’s the case, you will be seeking beauty like looking for the Holy Grail. Funny thing is, your beauty is always there. There’s no need to look for it on the scale. You just have to look within.

So instead of driving yourself crazy with diets and trying to get to a number on a scale, start to live your life healthy by eating right and in moderation, exercising and loving yourself along the way. Give yourself a break and start to live now and not 15 pounds from now. Now that is a lifestyle change and one that will make you feel better and look better.

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