For many of us, weight was and maybe still is the convenient reason for a lot of the bad things that happen in life, or the best place to levy blame for anything that did not turn out as well as we had hoped.
'I didn't get the job because of my weight', is easier to deal with than not being promoted because 'my work wasn't the best of those being considered'. Raise your hand if you've ever left the house for a party feeling really good in an outfit, only to walk through the door and disintegrate into a hot mess, thinking all eyes were on you for being 'too big' rather than that you looked great. Yep, thought so. No wonder we feel so much pressure as we unzip and then remove our protective fat suit... underneath it, we're naked!
Et tu Gwyneth?
I am not implying that carrying around an extra one hundred pounds doesn't hinder life, or that there is no true fat prejudice in the world. Only that we manufacture a lot of our own unhappiness by thinking life would be better if we were thinner. However, when looking at our slim friends 'better' lives, we are often blind to fact that their life is filled with the same crap as ours - watching a cell phone bounce on the kitchen tile, insurance cancellation when the payment didn't draft, not making bonus, water heater flood, a disrespectful teen, marital fusses and fights - are not obesity related.
It may take years, but one day it becomes possible to separate the issue of weight from issues with life. It is hard for me to believe that twenty years has passed since my bariatric surgery and I am only just now able to wrap my brain around how it went down in my old life.
I liked myself and loved my life for most of the years before I had bariatric surgery, but as I grew larger during a period of great stress and upheaval, there came a time when what I saw in the mirror no longer matched the photo in my head. Then I began to dislike myself and it completely went South from there.
Rolling in the deep
It took just one post op year and a loss of one hundred pounds for me to once again feel safe and secure in my world. I am lucky that I got my groove back without a lot of effort other than the weight loss side. Years later (and after many life lessons), I now get that when I feel worried or frightened, I pad my body with weight as a form of protection. I can look back and see that at the times in my life when my weight was out of control, there was something big going on that made me feel awful about my life. I did it again a couple of years ago even with bariatric surgery!
Life is good? Life is good!
We can fight fat for 20 years and still be fat because we have not dealt with the underlying cause. As a forever bariatric patient, I have learned that it is better to put the weight issue aside and work on the other issue first; the problem that is screaming ‘I need protection, I am insecure’. My body still responds to my emotional patterns and if I don't eat right and stop working out, I gain weight. When the need for the protection is gone, or when I start feeling secure, the fat almost melts away with the help of my bariatric surgery. When I am happy and I am right, my world is right and so is my health.
Chicken or egg?
The problem is that we hang around waiting life to improve first. I will focus on eating better when I am not as busy, when the kids are out of school for summer, after we visit your mother next month, when I get my bonus, once we move to the new townhouse. The truth is that when we feel better about ourselves at any weight, that glimmer of happiness jumpstarts the improvement in life. Being happy is a choice and it fixes a lot of what we are waiting for to go away. Stop chasing happiness. Be happy and things will seem better because they are better. When the world is right and things are good, we aren't thinking about drowning out the bad with a big bowl of macaroni and cheese.
Read Me, out loud!
"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. " --Alfred D. Souza