The Emotions Around Weight Loss

By Meg Benjamin

I have written about my personal journey with my own weight loss before, but I have never written or even spoken of the emotional side of my personal weight loss journey. I have struggled with my weight and have been “trying” to lose weight since I became an adult. I probably started struggling with my weight at about the age of 20. I moved away to go to college, which was a three-hour drive from my parent’s house. At that time, I wasn’t overweight or obese yet. My eating habits changed (for the worse) and quickly, my exercise habits were forgotten about. So, therein, my journey with my food addiction, binging, yo-yo dieting and trying to lose weight began. All of this has been my nemesis ever since. I have been struggling with gaining and losing weight ever since. Gaining weight is much easier than losing it. Full disclosure, it’s been 27 years or more since this emotional roller coaster started for me. I thought I was overweight and “fat” when I was younger than 20, even though I really wasn’t. I was “normal” and healthy looking up until my college years. Pictures don’t lie and as I look back at photographs of me during high school or younger, I wasn’t overweight or obese at all. I just thought I was. It turns out it was in my head.

As a young child, I was told, mostly by my close family that, “You’d be so pretty if you just lost some weight”, “do you really want to eat that”, “haven’t you had enough”, and “are you really going to eat that”, just to mention a few statements that I can remember. Many others I have blocked from my memory. These phrases said to me by anyone, family or a so-called friend, just made me want to eat an entire cake or a whole package of cookies. Usually, I’d get so upset that I would eat an entire cake, bag of cookies, or multiple bags of candy. I ate to quell my emotions more than eating because I was truly hungry. I usually wasn’t hungry at all. Eating sweets raised my serotonin levels and made me feel happier. For a short time, anyway. I would get depressed, cry (in private, of course) and wonder how someone that supposedly loved me so much, could say something like that. It didn’t help me, in fact, it made me bloom to be (at my highest) 250 pounds. I never said anything about the emotional side of being overweight to anyone. It was my hidden secret. Almost like it was my super personal thing. On the outside I looked happy, and most of time, I was, the life of the party. Inside, I had negative thoughts and told myself what a loser I was if I couldn’t control how much food I ate and how much I weighed. I carried so much emotional weight and baggage around with me. It got way to heavy and recently, I decided I couldn’t carry all of these negative thoughts and emotions around anymore.

I’ve been doing some internal soul searching over the past few months. During this time, I have discovered some truths that I didn’t believe until I started my personal soul searching exercise. I have been a big fan and believer that you should always work on yourself to become the best version of you that you can be. I have read a ton of self-help books. I follow Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dwyer, Mike Dooley and others who I feel “get it” and share their wisdom daily on websites, blogs and in writing. When I took a deeper dive, and started meditating and treating my soul and body with respect, love and gave myself a break & more compassion and self-love, I discovered that I haven’t faced the emotional side of the years I have spent miserable, as an overweight woman. I started meditating on my feelings around weight and amazing things started happening.

After a few sessions of meditating, eating better than I ever have before and moving more, I started losing weight and not just a pound her and there. Since the beginning of November, even with the holidays smack dab in the middle, I have managed to lose 18 pounds. That is the most I’ve ever lost in approximately two months…ever. Not only have I lost 18 pounds but I’m working on losing the past 27 years of emotional baggage about food, yo-yo dieting, letting other people criticize me, put me down, different relationships with loved ones around this topic that have hurt my sense of self and let all of this dim my light and effect my personality and spirit. These situations and thoughts have worked against me. They have fueled the negative thoughts and talks I have had with myself for years. The thoughts left me feeling worthless, not worth love, and caused me to NOT treat myself the way I should have treated myself, with compassion, understanding, and love.

Now since I’ve started doing the work, I feel lighter in my body and spirit. I have forgiven myself (really forgiven), along with those close to me who wouldn’t let the fact that I was “fat” go. I have let those people who threw the “fat” word in my face more than needed, off the hook of blame and shame. Easier said than done!

I felt like I needed to have someone to blame. Blaming myself was easy and felt justified. It isn’t true and justifiable anymore. No matter what weight I am, I’m beautiful inside and out. I have a large group of friends and family who adore and cherish me and all I give in those relationships. I don’t have to hide behind my weight ever again. As I look back, I’m shocked at some of my behavior and habits around food and exercise. I treated it like it was a game that I could win any time. I now realize my triggers. Boy oh boy, do I have triggers!

I have figured out a way to move on from all that was said casually and without much thought or compassion. One of the ways I have moved on…is by telling myself, “They (or he/she and I) would have done better if we all knew better”. That makes it easier for me to forgive myself and others, then move on. I have also figured out that it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. It’s really not my business to care about what anyone thinks of me. The most important person to care about their thoughts about me, is ME.

I am 18 pounds lighter. My clothes are loose. I’m moving better and feel like I CAN exercise, do yoga, walk, and hopefully soon, start taking Zumba classes again. I have also figured out that to continue a good exercise routine and schedule, I have to like the exercise class or program I participate in. It turns out that I love yoga, bike riding, walking and taking Zumba classes. Those are the exercise programs that I’m going to focus on.

Yoga and meditation have played a huge role in my new weight loss success. They both have allowed me to figure out my “weight baggage” and have helped me figure out how to tackle all the baggage and live a truly healthy, happy and abundant life from now on. I’ve wasted so much time, beating myself up and being depressed over this one thing. It turns out that this isn’t all that important after all. Being healthy, having good relationships, and truly loving my life is so much more rewarding.

So, my plan for the rest of this year and beyond is to stop comparing myself to others. Stop caring or worrying about what others think or say to or about me. Remember…it’s not my business. I won’t talk about anyone else’s weight struggles EVER. I don’t know what their demons are. I have understanding and compassion for anyone else who struggles the same way I do. I will continue to put more love in the world and let my light shine as bright as it can.

If you have any comments or questions, please post them in the comments section. Let’s try to keep the comments clean and nice. I hope to hear from you sometime.

Earth Day = FREE Stuff

#47 – Free stuff for you and the Earth on Earth Day – this Sunday, April 22nd

Celebrate Earth Day with free coffee and more!
 
You can get a free hot or iced coffee from Starbucks (select locations only) or Caribou Coffee this Sunday, April 22nd.  Just bring in a reusable mug.  Also, the Starbucks Foundation is giving $…4 million in funding to nonprofit organizations, and you get to help decide where it goes.  There’s still time to opt in through the Vote.Give.Grow. program.  When you do, your registered Starbucks Card becomes your Community Card, and you get to vote each week through the end of April on where you’d like the money to go.  I love that you can choose where your money will go! 
 
Below are some more freebies to celebrate Earth Day but to use all year long!
 
1. Free Reusable Bag From Target

Visit your local Target store on Earth Day, April 22, and get a free reusable bag at guest services.
This Earth Day freebie is only available while supplies last.

2.  Free Orgins Cleanser

Fill out the form and bring it into a local Origins store along with any current skincare product (full or empty) and they’ll give you your choice of two different Origins cleansers.
This is only valid on Earth Day, April 22nd and are only available while supplies last.
 
3. Free Reusable Bag From the Disney StoreBring in 5 plastic shopping bags into your local Disney Store on April 22nd and you’ll get a free Earth Day reusable bag.
 
4. Free Packet of Sunflower Seed From Pottery Barn Kids

Stop into a nearby Pottery Barn Kids store on Saturday and Sunday (April 21-22) and pick up a free packet of sunflower seeds from PBK and National Geographic.  There are many free events for kids at Pottery Barn Kids all during the year.

5. Free Tote Bag From Jo-Anns

Stop by your local Jo-Ann fabric and craft store and if you are one of the first 50 customers on Sunday, April 22nd, you’ll get a free tote bag.  No purchase is necessary and are only available while supplies last.

6. Free Entrance Into National Parks All Week – Love this one…get outside!

This Earth Day freebie will really help you celebrate the Earth!  Go out to almost 400 national parks this week (April 21-29) and you don’t have to pay an entrance fee.  Check with each national park as well because there are many free events happening this week.

7. Free Verde Energy Audit App for iPad until Earth Day

The application walks you through the process of listing your personal electrical usage,
and together with your local KWh cost found on your electricity bill, Verde will calculate your total energy consumption and make suggestions on how you can make changes to save money and energy!
 
Take everyday green actions to earn points, which add up to discounts, coupon savings, gift cards, or prizes.  Love savings, gift card and prizes!
 
 
Sign up for the Earthbound Farms coupon program to receive $50 in printable coupons via email throughout the year.
 
Enjoy all the great FREE stuff that is earth friendly on Earth Day and be part of making the world we live in a better place for generations to come!

What’s for Dinner?

Julia Child Recipe's
Delicious Julia Child Recipes from "Julie & Julia" Themed Dinner Party

#52 – Host a themed dinner party and ask friends to make a dish to share.  Then make a party out of it!

We were recently invited to a really fun “themed” dinner party at a friends house.  The theme was inspired from the movie “Julie & Julia”.  Everyone chose a Julia Child recipe and spent most of the day Saturday sifting flour, melting butter, sauteing vegetables and thickening sauce to make some of the  most delicious dishes I’ve had in a long time.  They were better than any restuarant I’ve been to in awhile.  I was very impressed with all of the dishes and what fantastic cooks our friends are! 

Once we were all there and the dishes were beautifully displayed on the table, we all took turns telling everyone else our individual stories about picking the recipe, shopping for the fantastic fresh ingredients and what it took to prepare the deliciousness we were about to enjoy.  Almost everyone’s dishes took quite some time to make, but wow…they were so yummy.  There was plenty of food to go around and we were all more than satisfied at the end of the evening. 

We didn’t do this as a group, but my boyfriend and I decided to watch “Julie & Julia”, the movie, the night before the dinner party so that we were up on most things “Julia”.  Since the movie was fresh in our minds it made for great dinner conversations while we finished our first plate…then went for seconds!

We did figure out that between all of the dishes we made, there was more than 2 pounds of butter in them.  That’s probably why they all tasted so good!

It wasn’t all that expensive to plan this type of dinner since most of Julia Child’s recipes call for fresh ingredients, and we each only prepared one dish.  So besides bringing a bottle of wine, it was a fun, inexpensive night out.  You should try it.  Find a theme you’d like to try some recipes for.  Pick a date.  Share the plan.  Then enjoy a fun night “in” with some tasty food and great company!