Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weight of Mentality

Pinterest has been invaded by spammers preying on women who pin, and pin, and pin about tips and tricks for losing weight. Women keep pinning and re-pinning these spam-laced pins because they believe they'll read them, eventually, and live up to the toned woman in the photo doing whatever exercise the spammer knew would catch the female eye.

They know how to get to us, don't they?

Over the past three years, I've been fortunate to finally find some success in this realm of my life and I want to share with you the "secrets." Not secret diet or the perfect all-over exercise regimen, but the real secrets behind the eyes of a woman struggling with her weight: the real weight lies in your mentality.

This is not a new idea. However, I know when I was unhappy with my weight, I plagued Google for every tip, trick, or motivation some stranger would share. This list is written for women, men, the overweight, the underweight, and for those who never really had to think about their weight.

  • Fear - when I was overweight, there was a constant and overwhelming fear that someone was going to yell something rude at me about my weight. I also feared that everyone around me saw nothing but the fat girl. This mental elephant sat on my shoulders for years and even after I had lost enough weight to be out of the medical "overweight" category.
  • Faking it - Though I constantly complained to my family about my weight and made a few little jokes with my friends about my weight, I tried never to verbally self-identify as the fat girl in public. I might comment about how other girls were little or compliment others on being cute and small, but I tried not to make fat jokes about myself. I think that's a slippery slope.
  • What is "enough?" - Another fear I had was that any success I had with weight loss would be quickly eclipsed by a bad snacking day or a gradual let down of my guard. I also told myself that I was worried that the success would be so great that I might get too skinny and not be able to stop. Now I see that this is really a crutch, but it is something to keep in mind. It shouldn't get in our way and if we're losing weight the healthy way, it isn't much of a possibility.
  • Boy-friendly sized? - Typical, right? I ached for years believing that no boy would date me unless A) he was 400 lbs or B) I was 100 lbs. This is like the hunger growl that creeps from your stomach during a quiet moment in class (no pun intended); an empty pain based on the untruth that I'm only as valuable as someone's first impression of me. Yes, the way I treat my body (ie. the cookie binging nights) is a reflection of how I treat my insides. Now that I am in shape again and have found my value within, I feel more like myself than ever before. Still, the poison I fed myself regarding my undesirability was the real turn-off. BONUS: it's quality of the man, not quantity or ease of "capture" ;)
  • Helpless anxiety - I once heard someone say that being addicted to food was a much harder addiction to overcome than any narcotic addiction because we can't quit food cold turkey. We have to coexist with food for the rest of our life. For those who have never needed to lose significant weight or keep any kind of restraint on your diet beyond avoiding cake, try to understand this: imagine hating how you look and knowing that the dinner (even if it's healthy) you just cooked for yourself is just another version of the food that added to your frame. For me, being overweight felt like I was wearing a rubber suit that was superglued to my skin. I knew it wasn't part of who I was (deep down, I believe I knew this), but I didn't see how I could remove it. There was a grey cloud of guilt with every single bite I took, unless it was a vengeful bite taken among several on a day I said, "Forget this! It's been a week and I haven't seen an ounce of difference!"
True cliche: Both of the above ladies are beautiful and valued. God created both and used their life trials to lead them to their true identity.

My final note here is that this is not a commentary along the lines of "bigger is beautiful" just as much as it is not a commentary stating that all women should be size 4. I believe we have a duty to our bodies as temples to work to be healthy and mental health is foremost (IMHO). 

If you have ever struggled with this identity crisis, do these resonate with you? What would you add?

If you have not struggled with this, would you share with us something that surprises you? Or challenge me! Please!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...