Me: “… but I need to lose weight”.
Her: “Ok… I can see how you can think that.”
Me: “Everything you are sharing with me makes so much sense and I can feel it inside of me, that it’s what I need [pause & sigh] … but I need to lose weight”.
The tears started to roll off my cheeks. Uncontrollably crying. The tears were coming from the depth of my gut. It was one of those moments when you want to stop crying because you really don’t want to cry in front of strangers but you can’t… it’s not in your control.
Her: “Stephanie, your desires to lose weight are valid. It’s normal that you want to lose weight. These desires are encouraged every day by the society in which we live in, an environment that is laden with weight stigma, body size discrimination, and fatphobia. It makes perfect sense that you want to lose weight.”
I was deeply confused.
Life is on hold until I lose weight
I was 38 years old and the last 25 years of my personal life had been a series pressing “pause” and “play”. I only allowed myself to “play” my personal life when I was at a weight that was recognized by others to be ok. If I was gaining weight or not working hard to lose the “not normal excess weight,” my personal life was on “pause”.
Her: “So, let’s work through this, Stephanie. Why do you want to lose weight? What do you feel will happen when you lose weight?”
Me: “ Uhhh…..”
No one ever asked me this question. I never asked myself this question either. My brain was stumped… blank.
Her: “It’s normal that you don’t know how to answer this question. You likely never thought of the desire to lose weight as optional therefore never considered why you were desiring it.”
She was right by that point it had been 27 years. Since my teens, I had lived on and off diets always chasing “another body”. The truth was my happiness was conditional to the way my body looked. Even when my body looked “ok” it was such a battle to keep it up that I didn’t have the mental space or time to fully enjoy my now “allowed happy life”.
Me: “I guess you’re right…”
Her: “Until we see each other again I want you to ask yourself these questions: Where is the desire to lose weight coming from? What do you feel will happen if you lose weight? Will you be treated differently? Will you feel beautiful? Worthy? Healthy?
As a good perfectionist, I did my homework. I had so many Ah Ah moments… many realizations. It took me a while to fully accept what these questions forced me to see: As a strong, independent & feminist woman, I had given away my power.
The journey back to my power
The social conditionings of the patriarchy of our modern society had kept me very busy dieting and chasing after the false currency of beauty instead of chasing my dreams. Being consumed by the fear of how my body looks was keeping me away from my power.
I found my power. My true power. The power to live my life now. I gave myself the permission to be enough unconditionally to what my body looks like or weight. I no longer needed to be perfect in “all the things” or to make choices to please others in fear of rejection
In today’s episode, we welcome a guest, Aaron Flores is a Registered Dietician with a private practice is in Calabasas, CA. He uses Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size in his work to help individuals learn how to make peace with food and their bodies. Aaron is a Certified Body Trust provider and he also the co-host of the popular podcast, Dietitians Unplugged.
On this episode, Aaron and I answered the following questions:
- Why do we feel the need to lose weight?
- Is the pursuit of weight loss helpful?
- Can we take a weight-neutral approach to health?
- My doctor said I need to lose weight
- How to manage our medical provider expectation and discussion with regards to bodyweight
Mentioned on the show:
“So… You Want to Lose Weight?” Workshop