As a child I remember a tremendous amount of focus on my body, particularly my weight. Other children could be very cruel. I know some of those children as adults now. I see them on social media. Sometimes when I see their names it takes me back. I recall the repeat offenders and the names I was called. Sometimes I wonder if they remember, or if they forgot. It really doesn't matter. I'm not going to call anyone out. I certainly had my moments, too. That's not what this is about.
In those days the solution was to lose weight, even at a very early age. I was about 10 the first time the idea of shedding extra weight from my body entered my world. That is way too young. The thought was that maybe if I lost weight I wouldn't get teased. It wouldn't have mattered. There are lots of people I could blame, including our society at large, but staying in that space does me no good. That's not what this is about.
As an adult I've had my fair share of body shaming bullshit to contend with, including medical professionals who tried to push surgery and anti-depressants to solve my weight "issue". Very recently I had a doctor suggest medication to help, because her opinion is that people with extra body weight must have an underlying depression. I wish I was making this up. It infuriates me that a medical professional with no knowledge of my mental health would make this recommendation. It saddens me to think about her other patients who may have been misdiagnosed. I have since fired that physician, but that's not what this is about.
I think about all the diets I've been on. I think about the decades spent focused on my weight, changing my body, trying to please someone or something outside of myself. I think of the money I spent over the years trying to find happiness, approval, and acceptance in the form of a smaller physique. Again, that's really not what this is about.
Every single thing I have experienced has brought me to where I am today. Along the way I found compassion to forgive the childhood bullies. I discovered a new level of understanding for the loved ones in my life who thought they were helping, even though they weren't. While I believe they had the best of intentions, they were (we were) misguided. I have harnessed the confidence it takes to stand up to medical professionals and not take their body shaming shit. I enjoyed telling that doctor what I do for a living. I loved sharing how I have changed my relationship with my body, stopped dieting, conquered emotional eating, and how I support other women do the same. The look on her face was priceless as I explained how I help my clients learn to stop hating their bodies, stop turning to food, and experience weight loss on their own terms from a place of love. If I'm being honest, it was mildly entertaining watching her back pedal when she didn't know what to say or do after that conversation. But, that's not what this is about.
Keep in mind that I fully understand the ways in which extra weight can lead to health complications. I have experience with this, hence the journey I am on now. However, it's also important to note that health issues are not reserved only for the overweight. Many people who carry extra weight are healthy, and losing weight does not guarantee a clean bill of health. After all, I was diagnosed with breast cancer after I lost 100 pounds. My point here is that body shaming by doctors is very real, and there is a way to treat patients with respect, compassion, and understanding. I believe this is something that is severely lacking throughout much of the medical community when it comes to weight. But again, that's really not what this is about.
This is about a story within me that is changing. It's about a vicious cycle that will end with me. I am starting a new narrative, one that will show my children there is another way. The conversations are different because I have put an end to the diet chatter, body shaming bullshit, and emphasis on a number. The conversations are changing because I have faced old belief patters head on as I watched them disintegrate. I have discovered a love for myself and my body that I hope will encourage them to view theirs in a whole new light. After all, it’s a ripple effect. It starts with me, but it's so much bigger than me. While I know there may be other influencers in their future, it is my goal to continue laying a stable foundation for new conversations. I was recently reminded that this could very well be one of the greatest gifts I am giving my children. I couldn’t agree more. That’s really what all of this is about.
If you are interested in changing the conversation and exploring weight loss from a place of love, I'd love to help.
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