I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on my life lately and I am finding that certain things truly spark my emotions. I know that I talk about food and size quite a bit but that is where my life has led me. I know I am not the only one. So my posts are for those that can relate or have someone in their lives that can relate.
My thoughts right now are about judging people by their size. It really makes me upset. If I were to speak honestly I would say it really p*s#*s me off. Why? Because I have lived through it with people I love and watched them be embarrassed by the stares and judgement.
Visualize this. My Mom, my sister and me on a “girls weekend” to Clearwater Beach, FL. Mom took a plane (and she hated to fly but Kimberly made it fun for her..thanks Kim!) and we spent 3 wonderful days “just the girls”. Mom had cancer. She was on this medication (which I know the name but won’t say because its not the point) which kept her pain to a medium level but the side effects were plentiful. Inclusive of – shortness of breath, weight gain, fatigue, nausea, etc…the list truly goes on.
Mom was not a big woman generally but this medication really did make her gain weight which she was so self aware of. She felt like people judged her and thought that they were saying things about her size. She would say that even though we were on the beach she needed to wear a “moo-moo” over her bathing suit to cover herself up. She felt like people were looking at every meal she ate and everything she put in her mouth because she felt like they thought she was just overeating. She was not.
In fact, Mom ate a lot less than she should have during those days. She kept it “clean and healthy” trying to “beat the cancer”. She would turn down sweets and things that she liked that weren’t really healthy even though she might have wanted them. My entire family knows this but the general public doesn’t…so they judge.
My plea to you is the next time you see someone who is of a “larger than normal” size (or someone who doesn’t fit YOUR mold…and seriously, you might want to re-evaluate yourself because life is not all about YOU)…don’t judge them. They could be going through something you would never want to.
I wish my Mom hadn’t spend the last year of her life on a restrictive diet that the “experts” told her to. I wish she had eaten her strawberry shortcake and ice cream if she wanted it and enjoyed it. It doesn’t matter now as she is in glory. However, it might matter to someone who is on their way there.
I received the dreaded call a couple weeks ago that my Dad had passed away. Having already lost my Mom 4+ years ago I obviously had a lot of emotions running through me. I’m not going to go into all of that but I will share with you what Mindfulness has done for me and how it helped me through some of my emotions all the way around.
When Mom passed away I was not in a good place food wise. I was still on the Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle which I would eat, feel guilty, exercise a lot and restrict my calorie input because of it, and repeat the cycle…over and over again. It was my way of being “in control” even though I was truly out of control. So, since I was not able to be truly in tune with my feelings for fear of not being in control, I acted the way I felt others wanted me to . I gave tissues to other people at my Mom’s service and comforted them for their loss…even though my heart ached beyond words and I was angry others were not comforting me as much as I felt like I was them (I realize now I didn’t allow them to). And then I would go home and eat a plate of brownies to stuff my emotions and as my way of giving the finger to the world.
This time, I allowed myself to feel. I allowed myself to not be the pillar of strength for everyone else. I did my best to listen and support my brother, sister, nephews, as well as my other family members, but I allowed for my tears to flow. I logged off work completely for a week (which I never do) and knew it could all wait until I got back. I told people what I needed and how I was feeling. I had a classmate from high school tell me she was coming to my Dad’s memorial was rescheduling her work day to be there, which normally I would have insisted she did not do, but I knew I needed her support and wanted to see her, so instead I said “Thank you SO much”. She came and it meant the world to me.
I did not eat and entire plate of brownies and I did not stop myself from having a cookie if I wanted it. I did not eat when I didn’t want to and I ate when I knew I needed nourishment. I did not spend my time thinking about food or how to avoid it or get more. My point…I was in the moment, mindful of what we were going through. For someone who had an eating disorder in the past and has finally found her way out of it with mindfulness and mindful eating, this is huge.
It actually isn’t until being home in FL and back to work that I’m looking back on the past couple weeks realizing that I have made such huge strides. I wasn’t thinking about it then because it wasn’t the focal point.. Where as in the past, no matter the situation, food would have always been some sort of focal point.
Mindful Eating not only changes your life around food but allows you to become more Mindful in every day living. It truly changes your life.
As I go through this process of leaving the diets behind (and I have been on MANY of them) in lieu of learning how to listen to what my body requires for fuel and eating for hunger vs. eating for emotional reasons, many things flash back through my mind. I am feeling so blessed to have gone through everything I did regarding food issues and yo-yo dieting because it has led me to where I am today and not only am I helping myself, but I am helping others as well. I want to share my insights in the hopes that it reaches those that can relate to my own struggles so they can know they are not alone and there is hope.
What is on my mind today is I am wondering if we realize what putting labels on children does to their self esteem? You see, when I was 5 I definitely was a chubby girl but I was happy and had plenty of energy. I remember playing outside constantly, playing hopscotch, making forts in the woods, climbing the ladder to our hayloft to jump all over the bails of hay, etc. Life was all about going to kindergarten and coming home to play. So, what happened? An adult happened. Now, I don’t blame this person as she felt she was doing my mother a favor by telling her, but it put a label on me and I remember because I was right there. This adult told my Mom that the last time she saw me I was chubby but this time I was down right fat and I needed to lose weight. Yes, those are her words verbatim. They are forever carved in my brain. Well, no doubt as to what happened next. My Mom kicked the woman out of our house and told her to never come back and I haven’t seen her ever again. My Mom consoled me because I was crying. You see, you think kids don’t understand things but we know that being called fat is not a nice thing and it made me feel different from other kids; like I wasn’t as good because I wasn’t thin.
My wish for all adults out there that when dealing with overweight children is to choose your words and actions carefully. What adults say and do can truly impact a child’s life. I have struggled through a life of obesity, dieting and eating disorders and maybe would have anyway, even if it wasn’t for that day. I will never know and that’s ok. I am where I am now and I’m good with it because it made me who I am today. I know I am more than a label; we ALL are!
If you find yourself struggling with eating issues or yo-yo dieting and you truly want to break free of it all, reach out to me. I’m here to help!