This blog article was originally published as a part of the Health Hungry series, which has been discontinued.
Have you ever heard about the seven stages a person goes through when grieving? I realized that I have been experiencing something similar as of late (but thankfully not due to the loss of a loved one).
It’s been in response to letting go of life-long beliefs and ideas. (Throughout the grief stages, you can substitute “Weight Loss solutions” for “loved one.”) Because we are human, the seven stages don’t happen in some neat liner order, as they are written. It is common to bounce back and forth through the first few stages as the old ideas are being released. I have been grieving the loss of dieting – and every belief associated with having been a successful dieter. It’s incredibly lonely and so wonderfully freeing all wrapped up into one whirlwind experience!
As I mentioned last week, I am doing everything in my power to embrace the concepts of HAES (Health at Every Size). This has been/is an ongoing process for me, and is challenging on so many levels. Professionally it’s a no brainer, and I’ve been focused on it for well over a year now. Personally however, I was hanging on to a diet mentality in ways I did not see until very recently. Truly making the commitment for myself has brought up feelings that I just didn’t see coming.
Letting go of old belief systems is a process; it is not completed in one day or even one year.
Most recently I have been between stage 3: Anger and Bargaining and stage 4: Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness.
My process has looked a little something like this:
I believe that Health is possible for everyone – despite how much they weigh, but how many people weigh as much as I do? There is nothing wrong with still hoping to be a smaller size. I can accept that I won’t lose ALL of the weight I want to, but I can’t accept that I won’t weigh less. Cleansing isn’t dieting. Rules and restrictions are still the way to go – it’s how I lost the weight before. There is something wrong with me, I am not like others. I can’t learn to think this body is truly beautiful. How can I feel pride in how I look? There is no way my boyfriend will love me and feel proud to call me his if I don’t lose some weight. My family will never be proud of me like they were when I lost 200lbs. Doctors will never support this decision. So few people will understand this approach, they will think I’m just being complacent or giving up! It will take so much strength to swim against the STRONG current of dieters, I don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I can be as strong/proud/confident as (insert any other HAES blogger here)… People will think I’m extreme or crazy. I will have to deal with even more hateful angry words, because new ideas make people uncomfortable.
Can you relate to these kinds of thoughts? This is only about a minute or so of the flooding thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks and months!
Very recently, I have had moments of experiencing stage 5: The Upward Turn and stage 6: Reconstruction and Working Through. I am noticing what it’s like to react to others who are not only convinced that dieting is the only way, but who feel the need to preach (the very popular) ideas about Obesity = unhealthy, and still call themselves a HAES supporter. I do not believe the two can go hand in hand anymore.
I refuse to continue being a part of the money-making scam that perpetuates Obesity as the be-all-end-all disease of our generation! If I continue to buy into the belief that fat people are all sick, unhealthy, mentally-ill individuals – then I must continue to buy into the billions of products out there that can “cure” us all. (Despite being living proof that the weight comes back for 95% of anyone who’s lost it) I just won’t do it anymore. My professional focus has been about HEALTH, not weight loss – and that is exactly where I am finally getting to in my personal life as well.
In every way that I can, I am focusing on nourishment, joyful movement, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, positive self-talk, challenging old beliefs, supporting new thought, embracing the unity that comes from meeting others who have embraced the less popular ideas, having hope that I can change my reality for myself first; and others because of it, trusting that I am exactly where I am meant to be, believing that things will get easier and more peaceful, understanding that my work is needed and being strong (because I am) for those who can’t be right now.
Grief is not something I would ever seek, or wish upon anyone for any reason. However, it is through truly grieving my old-self that my new self can be reborn. There is something so beautiful about the shiny, raw, exposed newness after shedding the old, that is appealing to me. It is pure, bright, honest, and it is necessary on my path.
Being overweight has defined me for as long as I can remember. I was on a diet by the age of 9 and by the age of 16, doctors told me that a Gastric Bypass Surgery would be my only hope for survival beyond 30. I didn’t listen, and this blog is my journey to acceptance. I now teach others how to accept themselves through coaching and guidance. You can visit my website to learn more.