I was thinking about the guilt that I felt during the 10 years I struggled with being obese. I felt guilty for not looking better for my husband, guilt over needing to sit down while my kids ran, and guilt every time I secretly ate entire bags of candy. I also felt a lot of fear. I was afraid I would continue to get bigger and bigger and end up house-bound. I feared for my health and worried I’d have a heart attack if I walked for any length of time. I was also afraid my husband and kids were embarrassed to be seen with me. I’d purposefully ask my husband to take the kids on field trips or drop them off in their church class so the teachers and other parents wouldn’t judge my children because of my appearance.
Instead of waiting for other people to make fun of me or criticize my weight, I made fun of myself first. I’d laugh at small chairs and say, “I’d better not sit on that chair or I may break it.” Looking back, I know I must have made people uncomfortable, but at the time I was using humor as a defense mechanism.
I had a hard time acknowledging that I had any good qualities. I couldn’t admit that I was doing a decent job of raising my 2 kids or making our family finances work reasonably well. All I saw where the bad food choices I made. I let the feelings of guilt, fear and insecurity dominate my life all those years.
Being gentle with my feelings and setting realistic expectations for myself was one strategy I used during the 14 months it took me to lose 158 pounds. When I began to mentally berate myself over eating a piece of chocolate instead of a carrot stick, I stopped short and reminded myself of all the good choices I had made the week before. When I felt guilty over only walking for 15 minutes instead of 20, I gave myself a mental pep talk to avoid turning to food.
Losing weight takes developing a healthy relationship with food while learning to positively affirm the good things about yourself. If you allow guilt and shame to rule your life, as I did, you may find it difficult to move forward with learning and embracing a new, healthier lifestyle. As you journey down your own personal weight-loss road, I’d encourage you to release the feelings of guilt and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge the good you do to avoid letting small stumbles stop your forward progress.