Health at YOUR size

Dreams of Weight Loss

 

Last night I had a dream in which I was offered a free membership in a weight-loss program. This came with food, personal trainer, gym membership, everything I needed to Change My Life(TM). When the offer was made, I was so excited, I nearly jumped at it.

Then a little voice in the back of my head (the Voice of Reason) said, “It won’t work! Diets don’t work, remember?”

You’d think that would be the end of it, but no. In this dream, I actually started bargaining with the Voice of Reason, arguing that if no one knew I was on the program, it might work, and the size acceptance folks don’t have to know. Just one more try, maybe I can finally get thin…

When I first awoke, I was troubled, and was tempted to beat myself up over this; after all it’s kind of hypocritical to be writing a fitness blog about how you can be healthy at any size, while simultaneously having body image issues that stubbornly intrude even in the dream world.

Isn’t it?

But then I thought about it some more, and you know what? My focus did not shift to a health at any size approach until after my 40th birthday. This means that I spent over thirty years voluntarily carrying this ridiculously heavy burden of stigma and self-hate in the mistaken, deeply culturally embedded notion that I was an unacceptable, unworthy person simply due to my inability to permanently change my own body size.

Shifting my focus from negative self-talk and body hate to unconditional self-love is a dramatic change.  It stands to reason that it would not occur once and for all, but rather as a process; and that shame and self-reproach are incompatible with unconditional self-love.  I realized that the result of feeling like a failure because I am unable to instantly change my attitude is exactly the same as the result of feeling like a failure because I cannot permanently change my body size:  It makes me want to give up.

So today I’m writing this blog as a reminder to treat myself with the utmost love and respect.  It’s the only way to keep myself — body and soul — as healthy as I can be, in the body I have.

 

Comments on: "Dreams of Weight Loss" (4)

  1. Diann Johns said:

    We all have those moments of self doubt that creep in. I have been on this journey to self acceptance since 1998 and I have highs and lows, but ultimately each low takes me to a new high. I came to this HAES approach on my own imagine my surprise to learn there was an actual movement to support my new crazy idea that my health was more important than losing weight.

  2. FrannieZ said:

    Theresa, I think we all have these dreams from time to time. And blessedly like you, we now know that weight loss is a dead end. So many of us also came “late” to the idea that our overall health is so much more important that anyone’s image of us and what we are supposed to be and look like.

    Thanks for sharing your dream and subsequent recovery. It helps to read about it and identify with it, and then to smile as we realize we are not alone in our uncertainties and also in the journey we make every day to push past them.

  3. First, I have never owned a weight scale in the time of my children’s lives. I have worked very hard to give them the idea that what you put into your body and what to do with your body is far more important than the shape or the weight of it. Even then, my eldest flirted with anorexia and weight-loss scams (I found her logs and journals that thankfully never went very deep or far).

    Second, as a low-income family, I often have had to reduce my food consumption to ensure everyone else had enough to eat. I am guilty of some how being pleased and turning it into a weight virtue that I have not eaten more than a couple of bites in a day. I have to fight that thinking every time I do it. As much as I fight for HAES for everyone else, I find that voice babbling quite happily in the back of my thinking. Even now, I haven’t had breakfast and I’m drinking my black coffee…I’ll likely have a protein bar I picked up from the discount store and be impressed that I ate something that didn’t kill my budget…or add too many calories. And I’ll feel guilty for that thinking, but I won’t eat anything else until supper time when I make everyone a nutrient dense meal with tons of veggies and protein. And I’ll have half or less of everyone else’s portions…..

    It really is that insidious and at our income level, I can’t even do anything about it.

    • I would say though that you are doing something about it by acknowledging it as an erroneous belief that is a product of our culture and not a reality, and by saying that out loud. Thanks for commenting!

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