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When My Weight Became My Protective Shield

Our bodyweight doesn’t define us, yet it can cue us in a lot on our internal environment.

I sit here after just eating an entire loaf of Jimmy John sandwich bread. I feel sick, guilty and embarrassed. I want to feel good, proud and beautiful. I want to feel sexy in my own skin. I know everything I need to do to lose the weight, to get in shape. I have tried almost every weight loss product and plan out there. I am a former Weight Watchers Leader. I know it should be as simple as eat healthier, and be more active. But is it really that simple?

I think we all know what it takes to lose a pound. How many of us make New Year’s Resolutions every January 1st to lose the 10 or 20 pounds that have been creeping on over the previous years? How many of us start off strong by going to the gym every day while counting every calorie? All the while eating salads and drinking water. How long does that actually last? For me, it depends on my mindset. Yep, it’s all in the mind. Where our mind focuses is where our life leads.

Why is it when I get within five pounds of my goal, I decide I’ve worked hard and I deserve a treat? Why do I tell myself when I hit my goal weight, it will be easy to maintain? Why do I look at myself in the mirror and see only the extra tummy rolls, the thicker thighs, the droopy arms and the double chin? Am I the only one who sees that? Why can’t I see the way my curves fill out my body, the way my smile lights up my face? Why can’t I see myself through someone else’s eyes, particularly the eyes of those who see only the beauty in me?

Growing up, I went through the tomboy phase. I always compared myself to my older sister. She was the skinny one, the pretty one. In fact, I was once mistaken as “Chris” our little brother. I felt lucky during my sophomore year in high school when I got such a bad kidney infection that I lost 20 pounds. I had grown my hair out and I actually looked like a girl, and a pretty decent looking one too.

I managed to maintain that self-image of looking pretty good for a while. I was getting attention from some guys and felt like I was pretty. And then I got married. I lost my self-esteem and being told I looked “fine” just didn’t cut it. I binged on sweets, telling myself if I ate them fast enough the calories wouldn’t catch up with me.

  • I ate when I was happy, as a way to celebrate.
  • I ate when I was stressed, to soothe my nerves.
  • I ate when I was angry, to calm my temper.
  • I ate when I was bored.
  • I ate as fast as I could when I was eating something I was trying to hide.

I could find a way to justify any reason for eating. I became a Weight Watchers Leader to lead meetings at my workplace. If I knew I was being held to a higher standard and needed to set an example, surely that would keep me on the straight and narrow. I was wrong.

At one point, I became addicted to running. It became my replacement to food. Running was a way to make myself feel better about the way I looked. It worked, for a while. I was in the best shape of my life. It stopped working when real life crashed back in. Trying to find balance between a full-time job, a marriage and being a mother pushed my own self-care to the background. Soon I was back to the same place I always ended up, finding comfort in food.

I know if my mind and heart isn’t in it, no matter what I do, I won’t see a change. So, how do I get there? What is it going to take to get me to see that no matter what weight I am at, I am enough? No matter how many rolls I may have in my tummy, I am beautiful. This is going to take some digging, to find the inner issue.

Why am I holding onto this weight like a shield? Maybe that is it. It’s a shield. A way to protect myself and come up with excuses. A way to stay living in the shadows, because it’s safer? I think I just hit the nail on the head. You see, writing is a way for me to process my thoughts and emotions and most often, by the time I am finishing up, I have had a revelation. The next step for me? Finding ways to push outside of the safety net of all things food related. I’ll keep you posted on my journey, this could get interesting.

Previously published on Medium.

Photo by Annie Marek-Barta on Unsplash

Christa McDermott
Article by Christa McDermott
Christa is a beacon of light who wants to help you find the beacon that glows inside of you! She believes the cracks we have, not only let our own light out, but also let the healing light back in.

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