I recently re-read my weight loss journey story, and one line that I had written shocked me:
Food and fat were the glue that kept me intact. I now know that there are other ways to make myself whole–namely through the love of God and the love of others.
What shocked me about this passage, written almost a year ago, was that I never mentioned also cultivating a love of myself. That omission wasn’t because positive feelings upwards of 80% of the time about myself are a given; I definitely have room to grow when it comes to self-acceptance.
That has been the biggest part of my emotional work this year, showing a little love to my perfect imperfections, and coming at emotional eating challenges from another angle. Becoming aware of why I act the way I do in certain situations, and trying to cut myself a mental break when I find myself acting out well-worn self-protective patterns. Attempting to extend the same grace to myself that I hope to extend to others (another work in progress, for sure).
Because I’m not chatting up everyone around me, with my life focused in a largely external manner, I am acutely aware of thoughts about my self always going on somewhere in the background. But I’ve been surprised to realize over the past couple of years, after spending time with a therapist, that many of these thoughts were negative, and that I had created an expectation that who I was and how I felt about myself and others was set in stone, with no positive transformation possible.
I now understand that that’s not true. I also understand that for me to make progress, I have to work hard to consistently give myself words of encouragement, and to make those words sound louder and last longer than the negative thoughts that I have given unchecked, unlimited psychic space to over the years.
This is clearly another layer of feeling that I have swathed in fast-food burger wrappers over the years. This is clearly another hole in my heart that I’ve tried to fill with food. Everyone’s story is different, but as always, I’d encourage you to focus your full attention on your thought life from time to time, to see what messages you are sending yourself. If they indicate a need for more loving talk, for more acceptance in general, you, too may have found a piece of your wholeness puzzle–and a path to continued weight loss success.