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I was 109 kilos—or 240 pounds, on a five-foot frame.
I was as large as I was tall.
It was a usual Saturday morning. The sun was out, kids were up, and yet, we were chattering lazily in the bedroom over coffee—commiserating hangovers and avoiding parental responsibilities in preference to Saturday morning cartoons.
As we spoke about our hangover faces, I turned to see an unwell, bloated, ugly woman in the mirror, sitting on the bed where I should have been.
I asked my partner at the time, “Why didn’t you say something?” He didn’t see it. Why didn’t he see it and I did?
Well, dear friend, that is because he loved me, even though I didn’t love myself.
I eventually lost weight, but I realized that the extra weight we carry is to cushion ourselves from the pain we may or may not feel from the world. My weight dragged me down in many ways, and it cushioned me from repeating past childhood traumas—like being attractive to the wrong people. My weight prevented them from taking advantage of me.
Rebuilding is the beginning of our weight loss journey. It’s a simple yet effective way to grow out of our self-sabotaging behaviours and into the person we know we are deep down. In layman’s terms, we will look like the person we feel like we actually are.
Rebuilding our inner dialogue through one question, “Is this being kind?”
Is the food we’re about to eat being kind to our body?
Is sitting down to binge-watch “Lucifer“ a kind thing to do for our body?
How can I be kind to myself today?
It seems simple enough, right?
Yes, because it is. The hard part is taking it slow, building on the practice, and slowly, but surely, weaving that thought process into all parts of our life.
I started with food. I ate food that nourished my body. I still smashed out a bit of junk, but I did it consciously.
Later, walking became a regular thing. It was time out with or without the kids. I came home feeling refreshed after having invested in myself.
My confidence started to grow, which meant I could dig deeper. I dug and found deep-seated shame within the layers. I was ashamed of the parent I was. I felt I should spend more time cleaning and spending time and having fun with the kids.
In order to nourish my soul, I started being kind to the mother I was and helping her say “Yes” when the kids wanted her to play. I went out more and moved with them. We danced in the lounge on rainy days. We threw random parties just the three of us.
I cleaned the house more so I could feel proud of it when people came to visit. It feels good to offer someone a cornflake-free seat.
One of the kindest things I did was to stop drinking so much. It hid my pain and temporarily sheltered me from shame. The thing about alcohol, though, is that it has an accumulative effect. The more I drink to numb, the more I needed to numb. I was drinking to hide, but, in turn, I needed to drink to hide the hiding. It’s a ridiculous cycle, yet as common as wool on sheep.
Removing alcohol caused dramatic weight loss—add to that useless calories and fried food breakfasts. The most interesting outcome was that it gave me back my control. For the first time, in a really long time, I was in control of what happened to my body and how people spoke to me and treated me. This was the most healing action I have ever made.
It took me nine months, but it all went well. I stayed this way for seven years until I had my fourth pregnancy. I never tipped the scales at that weight again, but I slipped into an unhealthy inner dialogue from time to time.
When this happens, I just start from the beginning, “Is this kind to me?”
I am by no means qualified in psychology, dieting, or even counselling. I am simply a mom of four who found her self-esteem buried underneath the bullsh*t pressure of society’s norms.
My advice to you, dear friend, is to disregard the rules of “normal” and just be kind to yourself on the daily.
You’ll get there.
You’ll evolve, and then you’ll stay there.