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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding the right "diet"

I remembering my mom putting me on a diet in the 2nd grade. Do you know how young that is!?! I was 8. Honestly, I don't think I was overweight then, certainly not by today's standards. I was big, though. I was born big...taller than my classmates with long legs and basketball player sized feet...big.

There was another mother who put her daughter on a diet too. That girl, "M", became my best friend. We had a lot in common...certainly similar mothers with similar expectations! We clearly did not meet the expectation of physical perfection...

So what was this diet these 8 year olds were put on? I remember being picked up at school for lunch (if you were wondering, this did not make us feel special, more like oddballs and outsiders). One of the moms would pick us up and take us to their/our home. The taste of sour grapefruit still lingers in my mouth. I also have images of liver and onions. What 8 year old would like this kind of food, I ask you? I sure didn't. I think it did nothing but ensure that during my life I would battle with boring, tasteless diets...and probably not succeed. It also implanted in my brain that I was fat. It kind of made it a forgone conclusion that I would become fat! It is hard to be a "normal" size when your sense of self is not. Hence a lifetime of dieting, losing and gaining weight and setting up this constant battle between my inner and outer self. Not a winning scenario.

Slowly but surely I have come to recognize that it is my insides more than my outside that needs the work. In order to get my weight under control I was going to have to make peace with myself and come to know myself beyond what others had told me or forced upon me. It is not so easy to come to love and respect yourself when from an early age you have experienced quite the opposite from others.

But I am inherently an optimist. I look at life as a glass 2/3rds full...nothing but opportunity out there! As those I have worked with can tell you, as will my kids, I am a problem solver. I really do believe there is a solution to each problem...the trick is in finding it.

Like many of us searching for solutions, I am an avid reader. I have learned so many good lessons from the books I read. One such book, which also comes on CD, is A Course in Weight Loss, 21 Spiritual Lessons For Surrendering Your Weight Forever by Marianne Williamson. You do not have to be a religious fanatic to benefit from her work. What I found so helpful is that she puts to words so many of the feelings and experiences I have had in my life. She also provides a process with constructive activities for you to better understand yourself and embrace that "self".  Most importantly it is a course about committing to constructive change because of our respect and love of ourselves. A big, giant step for me.