Losing weight shouldn’t be your mindset. Becoming healthy, confident and eating for a balanced lifestyle should be. Losing weight is more than just a number going down on the scale. It’s about losing weight mentally, clearing the junk and fear out of your head – that’s when you will feel most accomplished and will have found your true identity.
By Gay Edelman
I had to accept myself overweight before I could do something about the extra 100 pounds I was carrying.
I remember the first time I saw the power of this kind of self-acceptance. Paradoxically, it was accepting myself as I was that helped me to change what needed to be changed–losing weight both mentally and physically.
I was buying maternity clothes. My weight was already well over 200 and, of course, climbing. I went with my sister to a store that specialized in plus-size maternity clothes. With her encouragement, I spent more on clothes that one day than I ever have before or since. As I tried on all these lovely new things, I had the aha moment, that I couldn’t batter and barter myself to a healthy, comfortable weight.
I had to love my way to losing weight…
Fast forward a couple of decades. The nuts and bolts of finding and keeping my right body didn’t appear right away. It took several more years of trial and error before I found what I needed to not only lose weight, but eat right—to avoid certain foods (sugar, wheat and flour—because I binge on foods that contain them! What else do I need to know?) and to weigh and measure my food according to a prescribed food plan (because I am a food addict and compulsive overeater and have no reliable appestat. I honestly can’t tell how much is enough.). Tons of peer support. Patience. Ability to read labels. More patience! One day at a time and all.
Losing weight mentally and physically with tools, therapy and exercise
Whew! What a long, hard road it has been. Along the way I’ve acquired many tools. Had tons of therapy. Learned to appreciate the benefits of exercise. Learned to set aside vanity in favor of sanity. Having the slender body is a terrible goal, a fine motivator. Good health—mental, physical and spiritual—is the goal.
Most significantly, though, I developed a sense of myself as a spiritual entity. I have a higher power now, and food ain’t it! As the saying goes, I’m not a human being getting spiritual, I’m a spiritual being trying to be human. Said another way, I am much, much more than the sum of my worldly parts.
I have my health, I have my right body, I have my sanity. I have me! That’s something to appreciate!
Gay answers the Identity 5:
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
Being a person is work! Every day I have to suit up and show up and take responsibility for my own care and for my relationships.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
It is so exciting to turn something awful—being horribly overweight with all the related health issues, not knowing how to deal with feelings—into something wonderful. I love that I get to mentor people every day of my life who need help the way I did years ago. And I love that life just keeps unfolding to be discovered!
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
Discovering how to be my right self. It started with losing weight, again mentally and physically(100 pounds 18 years ago), and keeping it off ever since. That accomplishment has enabled me to have a life where my relationships are beyond rewarding. I get to be of service to those in the world who need my help. That is an amazing joy.
Goals that I still have? To continue sharing what I know about a tough, tough topic in our world of recreational eating, food that’s not real food, fear of facing feelings, etc., etc.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
I’ve learned that assets and liabilities are often two sides of the same coin. I have a lot of words, and sometimes I talk too much and don’t listen enough! I’m stubborn—but tenacious. I get things done! Except when I procrastinate. I’m much better at helping you achieve your dream than helping myself achieve my dreams. (But I think that’s pretty common among women. When stressed, it’s not just fight or flight. It’s tend and befriend—i.e., go take care of somebody, quick!) I’m a leader—but I can be too bossy and controlling. See what I mean?
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
Sense of humor! If we couldn’t laugh, where would we be? I love to laugh—but never when there’s meanness involved. Because I also love my sense of compassion and kindness.
Gay Edelman is a writer, editor and writing coach with over 25 years’ publishing experience. Previously, she was senior editor of Family Circle, McCall’s and Rosie magazines, and was editor of Women’s Faith & Spirit. Currrently a blogger for ThirdAge.com, she has also written for, Beliefnet, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Spirituality & Health, Guideposts, Parents, Parenting, Prevention and many others. She is currently freelancing and working on her book The Hungry Ghost, about her 17-year success maintaining a 100-pound weight loss. She lives and works in Red Bank, New Jersey.
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