I was glancing through my Facebook feed recently and saw an article about an association between weight loss and depression.
It stopped me dead in my tracks.
Was this what happened to me?!
Anyone who knew me “behind the scenes” during my teen years would tell you I was, umm… “moody.” Even before the teen years, I remember feeling so frustrated and angry a lot. But I hid it really well when I needed to (my poor family). I was mad that I didn’t have a metabolism like the skinny people of the world. I was frustrated that I couldn’t eat Oreos without going up in pants sizes while my friends weren’t even phased by it all. I was upset that I had to work harder than everyone else to be healthy.
I mean, for a long time that didn’t really affect my choices. Maybe ONE Oreo would’ve been OK, but I didn’t stop until the cookies were gone. I’ll never forget the time we bought Oreos and convinced my mom she forgot them at the grocery store after we hid them in the toy room. hehehe… Needless to say, I was fully to blame for every pound of “too much” on my frame.
When I started losing weight the clouds parted and I found peace. At first. The smaller I got, the higher the pressure became- not from anyone else but myself, of course. I started to feel like I was loved and noticed more and associated it with the success of my weight loss. I mean people were definitely noticing my weight loss more, but not me. And people were cheering me on, but not because I kept getting smaller. It was because I set a goal and was going for it. I just didn’t realize that in my naive teenage brain.
I gave up Experiences. Friendships. Meals. Memories. Chances. All for a number on the scale.
I lied and told people I couldn’t come to things because it involved food and it was often food that “wasn’t on my plan.” I wouldn’t let people get close because I couldn’t risk them seeing how imperfect and unlovable I felt I really was.
I was alone. I was tortured. I was sad and angry and frustrated.
Those close to me would probably again say that they saw the clouds roll back in when I was “skinny,” especially when it came to food. We could ONLY eat at Subway. I would ONLY eat a Boca burger and head of lettuce for meals, no matter how long and hard my mom worked on a holiday meal. I refused to eat anything that I didn’t have a hand in making because it was the ONLY way I knew what was in it.
Just about 5 years ago it all came crashing down. My mind was so tired from the 15 years of deprivation and isolation that it finally said ENOUGH.
Am I glad I lost the weight? Yes. It did improve my ability to participate in life, and buying smaller clothes was a fun adventure. But I took it all too far. The moment that weight loss became the ONLY thing that mattered in my life was the moment that I lost control. It was no longer about “health.” I compromised mental health for physical health.
What I know now is they need to go hand in hand- starting with mental health.
Making better choices out of SELF-LOVE rather than self-hate.
That’s when we get to the place we need to be.
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