There are a lot of things in my life — past and present — that I do not talk about. I wear scars inside that I am reticent to expose. However, I realised recently that the aspect of my life that I find the hardest to talk about is one of the most noticeable things about me: my weight.
I have lost a significant amount of weight. I have more to lose to reach a healthy weight and I may never quite get there. My goal is higher than what various sources say it should be, but I do not mind being above the ideal BMI and I would like to think that a good portion of it will be muscle.
Actually, my true goal is to feel free in my body. I want to feel strong, to not think twice about starting dance lessons or MMA, to not worry about covering up so much. My progress in that vein is quite good, honestly.
I know there are a lot of you out there that can feel commonality in what I am sharing, and many who do not understand how anyone could let their weight get so out of control. This post is for both of you and everyone in between because what I am really talking about right now is not weight loss and food and exercise: it is about feeling compassion for yourself. This is something we all need to do.
What I have found in my struggle with my weight and what was essentially a food addiction as a way of self-soothing is not just a place of peace in how I have treated my body, but a real gratitude. The truth is, a lot of people who grow up similarly to me end up with much more damaging addictions. Thanks to my lack of control around food, I avoided financial ruin and greater health issues that could have come about with other addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, or gambling.
So, although you might find it strange for anyone to be grateful that they overate to such a large degree, I am absolutely relieved that food was my biggest vice.
I still feel a terrible amount of shame and cringe when I remember my eating habits during my worst periods. Today I struggle to regulate the kind of food I eat and the times of day that I eat, but I do not have that horrible feeling of losing control or being overwhelmed in a fight against myself for something that I know can resolve a lot of my anxiety issues and sadness. And I am so privileged to be living the life that I do, to have the resources I need to get healthy.
I do not want to preach or be all “la di da” about gratitude (truly no offense meant to those who are) because I am generally a very cynical person, but I do have what I consider to be an important message:
Stop beating yourself up for your struggles and bad choices. Dig in to find out why they exist, because they are there for a reason. Once you find that reason, you can address it or even accept it for what it is.
I consider it to be a worthwhile venture.