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What I've learned since 2007: Part 1

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1. I know why I abused my body for all those years.

I can’t speak for everyone because the reasons overweight people abuse food are as unique as people are unique, but I know why I abused food. I could have chosen drugs or gambling or sex addition or whatever, but I chose (primarily) food. Once I discovered the core issue (which funnily enough was in front of my face, manifesting itself in every aspect of my life and every thought in my head), I was able to chose to address the issue instead of eating to avoid the issue.

Why was I abusing food? I was abusing food because of how much, at the core of my being, I hated myself. I was eating to experience, for a fleeting moment, a respite from my CONSTANT self-loathing. That temporary bliss was the only joy I was able to experience in life (or so I thought).

The depths to which I hated myself were too unbearable to acknowledge or feel. One thousand times each day I was confronted with situations where I didn’t measure up, I didn’t have the approval of others, I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t good, I wasn’t beautiful, I wasn’t talented, I wasn’t thin, I wasn’t loveable, and on, and on, and on. The situations were always different but at the core of each situation was the same issue: I didn’t love myself/I was a failure/I wasn’t worthy of love-success-happiness…

My reaction to each of these situations was the same: I would eat to escape. I would feel better. I would finish the food. I would feel worse. Rinse and repeat.

Did eating prevent me from feeling what I was trying not to feel?

No.

Sure, for a moment I could escape through whatever I was eating. I would relish the moment's peace and be thoroughly comforted. But then the frappuccino would be gone, the bag of chips empty, my plate clean, and the feeling that drove me to eat was still there, unaddressed, and compounded by the fact that I now felt TERRIBLE for having over eaten.

By avoiding the primary problem, I created a secondary problem: I was now obese. My weight in turn led to a SLEW of tertiary problems: I couldn’t easily move my body; I was uncomfortable in all clothing that wasn’t made from jersey or stretch material; I was uncomfortable being intimate with my husband; I was uncomfortable being seen in public; I couldn’t cross my legs; etc.

Most importantly, the weight and the issues it created became my SOLE focus. I thought THEY were the REAL issues and had no idea that the PRIMARY issue, the one that had caused this whole mess, was the fact that I did not love myself.

So how did I stop the cycle of hating myself, eating, hating myself for eating, and eating again to have another respite from hating myself?

I finally decided that enough was enough and I wasn’t going to hate myself for one more day.

It wasn’t easy to implement, but I finally decided that I was worthy of my love AS I WAS. I wasn’t going to wait until I fixed every flaw. I was going to love myself even though I was a terrible person, a judgmental person, a smoker, a person with the capacity to be very mean, even though I had a quick temper, even though I didn’t wear the size clothing that I wanted to, even though I didn’t have the approval of the world, and on, and on, and on…

I no longer have to earn my own love. I no longer depend on the love and approval of others to validate me. I love myself as is. Flaws and all.

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