Trust me, I know what its like to live for 35 years on a diet! I know how it feels to have to limit your food intake. I know how it feels to be hungry! So hungry that your hunger pains will wake you through the night. I know how judgemental, mean spirited and just plain rude people can be about someone who carries a little too much weight. But I also know that while you're punishing yourself and hating and blaming yourself you'll find it hard to lose any weight at all.
I think I knew I was "too heavy" from the age of 8 years old. My parents and siblings are big people, and as we know there is a genetic component to this. Officially, we're told that the genetic component is around 30% of the total. The other 70% is around lifestyle, diet and exercise.
When I reached 15 years old, I was 15 stone. So I went on a radical diet of just apples! I lost 4 stone within 8 months (which I saw as a good thing at the time) but I gained an eating disorder! For the next 35 years while I continually struggled with my weight I also remembered how delicious it felt to be losing 'The Weight'.
You see, I don't see 'The Weight' as part of me; it's separate from me. That's why I don't call myself "overweight" or even obese. I'm a person who is carrying too much weight. And let's be very clear here; it's me who is carrying this weight, not any of those people who judge or criticise me! So I feel perfectly entitled to call my state anything I like. It's me who is inconvenienced by The Weight, not them. Is this simply denial? Maybe it is, but I don't care. After all it's been me who suffered with The Weight, who struggled with The Weight and who suffered the slings and arrows because of The Weight. So I feel entitled.
And I'm wondering, in a world where it's illegal to discriminate against a person because of their race, disability or gender when did it become okay for (mostly average to thin) people to malign and criticise people who are carrying too much weight? And it's not just "Mr and Mrs Average Thin Person", but whole governments that are getting in on the act! We watch telly commercials which are designed to make you feel bad about your weight. The words "OBESITY EPIDEMIC" scream out from that flat screen and grab the attention of everyone in the room as you feel your face reddening with shame and second guess the thinking of your loved ones. Loved ones who are usually tucking in to a bowl of icecream and pop corn while you're munching on carrot sticks.
So with the hindsight of 35 years "struggling" with The Weight I'd like to share with you a little known secret about how to finally feel better about yourself. And finally lose The Weight. It goes like this. You need to know that you are more than just a Body Mass Index, you are more than the two dimensions of Height and Weight. You are a whole, complete and perfect human being. You were born perfect and you've remained perfect.
You bring to the world a string of achievements and talents. You love others and they love you. You do amazing things for your loved ones. You work hard and achieve extraordinary things. You are kind and sincere, funny and clever, thoughtful and hard working. You are perfect!
"But", I can hear you saying, "I still want to lose weight!" Sure. If you were to lose some weight you'd enjoy feeling lighter, you'd feel healthier and have more energy (to love those people you need to love). Maybe you just want to feel more confident or go shopping for new clothes in a smaller size? Maybe you just want to see the faces on your friends and feel good about yourself? All of these motivations are healthy.
But lose the weight by accepting that you are already perfect. Because when you 'punish' and hate yourself you make bad eating choices and you feel too fat to exercise. Know that when you work from a 'punishment model' of weight loss, you will not lose weight. When you see yourself as perfect (just the way you are) and you choose to be a bit lighter, you're much more likely to eat healthy foods and do some gentle exercise.
And finally, let's take a stand on this issue. Let's band together and shout out a message to the so-called experts out there that label us as 'lazy', stupid and soft. If those 'experts' really want to 'help' us by pointing out the bleeding obvious when we've been accutely aware of our state since childhood, they need to know they're not helping us at all. They're judging us and being mean to us. They're actually undermining all our struggles to lose weight. But mostly they're failing to see the whole person, the three dimensional person we are. The absolutely perfect human beings that we are.