Are we ready for the changes that we make? My opinion and story as a TheraPatient-
I want to start with one of my favorite quotes, “If you deny your story, it defines you- if you own your story you get to write your own ending” For many of us we feel that our weight defines us. We feel that we lose the right to ask for what we need or want because… how could we ask?… we are fat right?. We feel at times that we shouldn’t do different activities, have certain feelings, have nice things, have the partner we want because somehow because we are fat we are not entitled to these things. We associate being overweight with failure and weakness. Our internal psychology cannot discriminate at times how we feel because we actively engage in behaviors that support our beliefs. For example we may withdraw from going places, we don’t try for the partner that we want for fear that we will be rejected, we don’t ask for help in a department store because we fear they will not want to help us in our imperfect state. We self-protect with our behaviors and then with food. It is a perfect cycle to be stuck in.
Look I know that this sounds harsh and truthfully it is not only being overweight that can trigger these thoughts and behaviors- it could be anything that makes us feel “less than ideal- as defined by whoever and whatever- or should I say our own critical expectations of how things should be”
So if we have these feelings when we are overweight or whatever our “thing” is, then when we lose the weight or fix our issue, things should improve right?. So I am going to venture to say that YES it absolutely “FEELS” better and it “FEELS” that we are free from those restricted feelings that we once had. But often what feels best is not always what is best. Case in point- it feels best to not have restriction especially when we feel comfort in freedom but- that but that comfort is not necessarily what we need to be healthy and happy right?
For anyone that has experienced change the change (even when it is good) does not feel comfortable in the beginning and in fact it can cause anxiety and depressed feelings. That is often the reason we run away from change. So calling a spade a spade just because something feels like it is better, doesn’t mean that it is. It may be a temporary feeling that masks all the other things that really needed to be worked on. This is not to burst the bubbles of the high that you get from weight loss it is rather an invitation to explore keeping that weight loss but simultaneously working with it on the internal stuff that contributed to it in the first place.
For me I am sharing this because hindsight is always 20/20. I hid from my story when it started to take a turn for the worse feeling all the shame and failure I could critically spit out. I didn’t understand how weight gain could happen when I was the happiest I thought I could ever be.
I really thought that I was happy but secretly I also felt like an imposter. I heard people share their thoughts about obesity because I looked like I was never overweight in my life-hard to hear. I got attention from strangers and I was rejected by people who felt less than- next to me now. I felt like a master manipulator because somehow I was getting what I always believed I could not have. The best way I could describe this was that it was like I owned a new high end race car and I could not wait to see what it could do. So much in fact, I began to test it. I pushed buttons, I took it on and off the road, through curves on adventures pressing all the buttons and testing every feature. It was like a dream.
So then…how did I and many others with the same experience again end up on the side of the road needing repairs? Why couldn’t I keep going at the same speed, why didn’t it feel as great as it seemed how could this happen when I got what I always dreamed would be my answer?
Truth….I did not give up the knowledge of how to eat, how to exercise, how to plan, how to be mindful. No actually, quite the opposite, I keep progressing further and further with that aspect. I could also say that every person in this world with an issue has an answer and is proficient in what needs to be done.
So what changed? For me- I did not realize that my weight was all encompassing of all my old beliefs that kept me stuck but it was not the reason I was stuck, it was the reason I stayed comfortable. I used to believe that thin people had it easier. I used to believe that my weight made me more real and down to earth. I used to think that my weight was my character and made me more likeable. I used to believe that there was something wrong with me and by gaining some weight back I believed I validated my unconscious truth. I was a fat person in a thin body and I felt like an imposter. What did everyone want from me? Why were they asking me questions, why did they help me in stores, why did guys notice me?
I did not know that I was worthy. I did not know that if I just looked up (no matter what my size) people would respond. I did not know that power is internal, self-worth is internal and happiness is internal. I did not know that if I re-write my story I could have everything that I want no matter what my shell. My biggest aha moment was when my therapist pointed out to me that my biggest accomplishments have occurred within a body is less than what I desired.
So now my work has shifted. The work is internal, the body stuff remains mechanical. I will match the inside with the outside again but this time I will trust that the sports car that I ride in is powerful but I do not need to push every limit to know that. Emotional maturity is the ending that I write for my story. Balance, acceptance, self-compassion are the chapters that fill my book. As hard it has been for me and I am sure many alike. I own my perfectly imperfect story that I continue to write. I am very grateful to have a forum to share this stuff because the shame cave can be such a horrible place to live. Own your story- write your ending- even if you need to edit it along the way.