So you think you’re fat. And let me guess, you also think if you were just skinny, you’d be so happy and fulfilled that everything in your life would be wonderful and make sense. Also in this skinny life, you might finally get that guy or girl you’ve had your eye on. And everyone will love you. Work, school, and life will be easier in general. I am sure you know where this is going. Of course you know logically that this fantasy is false, but it’s hard to emotionally let go of it. That’s the most important part of this thought process: it’s an emotional one, not a rational one, and therefore not a productive or healthy thought process to go through. Beating yourself up about food intake is not a healthy way to live, not only when it comes to physical health, but mental health. Which is where the key to physical health lies. True physical balance comes from mental and emotional balance. Not to mention the happiness that comes with feelings okay about your body and food. There’s nothing worse than being miserable at your own hand: hating yourself and punishing the body that you designate as separate from “you.”

If you feel you are fat or could be fat and it’s a terrifying prospect that’s out of your control, most likely the source of your feelings are in a place you’re not looking. It’s a deceptive issue that it veils itself in something we don’t consider a vice: food. But in a way because of that it’s much worse. How dare something rob you of the pleasure that should be natural in life: nourishment. Not to fear, this doesn’t have to be permanent, but it must be dispelled. And you must work to dispel it. And it’s a worthy pursuit. Fearing food and “being fat” can rob you of so much happiness and fulfillment in your life. In some cases it can literally take life.

In many cases issues with food come from a time long ago: a time when you were young and something made you feel you were not loved. This could have been a family dynamic or perhaps that someone hurt you to make you feel they did not love you. Most of the time as kids we digest acts we don’t understand as a reflection of ourselves, “If they don’t take care of us, that must be our fault.” Sometimes these feelings will cause us to feel our worth lies solely on our ability to make people love us, and that responsibility is to say the least, stressful. It’s also a misperception. That view of us is a picture that we paint around ourselves, and though sometimes our family dynamics can reinforce it repeatedly to us, it is not real. Relief from this pain is possible and with it more health and beauty come naturally. Decide that you want this relief for yourself, and walk towards it. It does exist.

Our family scenarios often set up a lot of how we deal with food. It becomes a way that we act out our role within our family: sometimes it’s the only control we have, other times it’s a way to refuse what we feel is a lie being fed to us. This all sounds extreme and hyperbolic, but when it happens it’s a hidden emotional process that we are for the most part unaware of. In other cases this obsession with food comes from stress or trauma: a time that made us feel so stressed or scare of what we couldn’t control that we displaced this fear and lack of control onto ourselves. Somewhere along the line, food becomes something to displace worry and stress and overlay feelings of lack of control. It becomes a metaphor for these feelings, but it’s not truly the source of these feelings.

The worst part of both of these things is that in the process suddenly your body becomes separate from “you.” This is when balance becomes difficult because you’re no longer able to feel what’s truly going on in your body. When your body is a separate thing, no longer receiving nourishment when it needs nourishment but when your brain decides it should have it based on emotions, eating can turn into something scary or drug-like. There’s no logic or pacing other than a roller coaster of emotions: you feel like you have no control and that is terrifying. When you eat too much you feel hugely upset. When you don’t eat enough, you’re starving.

Regardless of the cause, food becomes a thing that is no longer food but medication for something that emotionally triggers us. But this cycle is not permanent. It just needs to be “re-wired” by replacing the action. And that requires awareness, motivation, effort, and therapy. Any kind is good, as long as the underlying issues are addressed and dispelled. I also recommend yoga and meditation. I like to do downward dog or even touch my toes. Any inversion that will get the blood flow to your brain will do. Don’t take it lightly. It’s something that will give you much relief in life and it’s well worth it.

When it comes to actual physical health, when you’re in a mentally healthy mindset it’s just logical. It’s practical and approachable and not so terrifying. If you need to lose weight, you take steps toward that goal. You’ll exercise more. You’ll want to eat better and you will understand what your body wants. You’ll change habits that are unhealthy and you’ll be who you want to be.

The most important thing is to stay connected to your body at all times. Often when we’re stressed out or feelings of anxiety bubble up we tend to “stuff” them with things: a cigarette, a drink, or food. We distract ourselves from the things that upset us. It’s the way that we can become numb to our feelings, including whether or not we’re full.

Life is too short to spend any of it beating yourself up or hating yourself in any way. And it’s not necessary to be prettier or skinnier or healthier. All it does it rob you of the life you should be having and the happiness that you deserve. Be nice to yourself. Nurture and care for yourself. Protect and covet yourself. You are your body, and not separate from it. Never treat yourself like an enemy. You’re in the only body you’ve got. Be good to you.

Happy Sunday, people. xox Sarah

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