I have been dieting for as long as I can remember. I have tried the cabbage soup diet, Atkins, the 3-hour diet, the juice diet, Best Life diet…etc….you get the idea. Any and every diet I have ever been on has failed but with each new diet I would have a new-found source of energy to try the next one. Hoping it would help me. I ask myself now as I look back, what was I trying to do? Lose weight? Is that what I ultimately wanted from dieting?
In between diets, I would be out of control with bingeing episodes. Donuts, cookies, cake, ice cream, Chinese food, Doritos and then more ice cream. I can tell you my bingeing episodes were something to be marveled after. I would buy all of this food in one trip, take it home, sit in front of the television and eat as much as I could until I was sick. I also was a lover of diet soda and I would drink liters of them every day. Once I felt bad enough I would attempt to go back on yet another diet. I knew I was damaging my body but I didn’t know to what extent. At my highest weight I was 325 lbs. which told me I was overeating but the real damage could not be seen and that was inside of my body. I was diagnosed with stage 3B stomach cancer in 2010. When I was diagnosed I was in complete shock. I sat and thought how…why me? I told myself I felt fine but I really just learned to ignore all those red flags that, if I were paying attention, would have led me to a doctor. I ignored the signs of acid reflux, feeling full after eating a few bites and then all the other signs of not so good health such as arthritis, brain fog, ADHD, memory issues, depression, an overactive thyroid and major pain in my bones. I just chose to ignore all the damage I was doing to my body because I wanted to eat. I will tell you that having stomach cancer should have been the end of all the eating but… I’m still living…STILL doing the work! I didn’t know, during those years, that my health was at such great risk and some of the damage that I was doing would be impossible to be undone but I had to try. When I found out I was sick I immediately changed my habits. I began to exercise and watch what I put into my mouth. What I didn’t know is that this was not a permanent change and that the struggle to stay healthy would be a life long fight if I didn’t find the root cause of why I loved to eat the wrong foods and in such large portions.
Now, I ask myself was losing weight really why I was dieting? The answer is no. The truth is I wanted to look like all the other girls and that meant that I had to lose weight which was the drive for me to diet because it was all I knew to do to “fix” my problem and so many of us think dieting is the answer to end our distress…our pain. My self-esteem was low and I just wanted to feel loved and to “fit in” with the other skinny girls and THAT is why I wanted to be skinny which is why I would diet. The reason I say I needed to find the root cause of why I diet is because dieting doesn’t work and being truthful with self helps one find themselves on the right path. The path that I needed to be on was one of learning to love myself not one of losing physical weight. The weight I carried was in my heart and learning to love myself would lead me directly to the path of happiness. You see, loving yourself helps you to make better choices and decisions for yourself. Loving yourself, means you accept yourself with flaws and you know that you are just as worthy as the skinny girls to have a good life no matter what size your jeans. My damage control, which in the beginning was about my health, was now about my entire life. I am learning to love me just as I am and with this new-found love it has made me more conscious of what I put into my body and that includes my mind and this has resulted in major weight loss, a very healthy lifestyle and happiness in all forms.