You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if you say so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you, find out “who am I to
Be in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty?”
I make myself feel damn unpretty sometimes. Recently, I read a post by Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen about the struggles with self esteem and weight loss entitled You’re Not Alone. In reading the entry itself, I found myself welling up with tears because I know that I’ve been there and I didn’t realize other people would have the same thoughts that I did:
” I fantasize about getting plastic surgery: gastric bypass, liposuction. I research fad diets, crash diets, celebrity diets. I wonder whether Fen-Phen is still a thing, and if I could get some (it’s not and I couldn’t, thank goodness). Sometimes, on really dark days, when I’m staring into the mirror at the body that I inexplicably despise, I fantasize about just cutting the fat off of my body.” – Gretchen Powell
I, too, have days like that. When sitting, it feels like I’m just a stack of rolls… like the kids toy where they have to stack the rings in order. I want to throw the rings away. I just picture taking the pieces that I don’t like and trimming them off to reveal the person I feel like I should be inside. In the fantasy, it works just like woodcarving–no harm, no foul–but real life doesn’t work like that.
In the mean time, I’ve been considering diet pills. There’s a whole 4′ section of my grocery store dedicated to get-skinny-quick fads and remedies. At one point, I found myself hovering in front of the selection, biting my lip, hoping that I would find one that didn’t repel me. I even took one off the shelf that had been endorsed by Bob Harper “It’s formulated to his highest personal standards and made with clinically proven key weight-loss ingredients. You can trust it works!”
You can trust it works. You can trust it works. You can trust it works…. The words echoed in my head and I put the box back on the shelf and walked away with a quickness. In one moment, I was berating myself for even considering a quick fix, and at the same time I was mentally patting myself on the back for walking away. There are no quick fixes.
I’ve been on Spark People, I’ve gone through Weight Watchers, I’ve had a personal trainer, and weight loss clinics, diet coaches, and fad diets. I have the knowledge necessary to lose weight, but my problem is that I continue to eat my progress. There’s a bigger problem here that needs to be resolved. And I knew, at the moment that I referred one of Gretchen’s commenters to seek counseling that I was one who also needed to seek counseling. Working out and eating right don’t erase the scars that were left by the hurtful bullies pushing me over and saying they were going cow-tipping, or the person who burst out in laughter the first time I was confident enough to show a little skin, or the constant feeling of being judged–and not being found worthy–every time I’m somewhere glamorous people gather. I always hated shopping with my sister because she was fit and fabulous and I was tagging along as the fat friend. A celery stick isn’t going ot fix that. I’ve lost 45+ pounds, an I STILL have days where I get down on myself.
The negative self-talk, the disordered eating habits, the sabotaging food because I would otherwise keep eating it, the complete lack in self esteem that “Operation Beautiful” can’t fix… It’s not going to magically resolve itself even if I were to lose another 45 pounds.
So I’ve made the calls. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and tell people to seek counseling because they have the same dark thoughts that I do. I’m going to seek counseling and I am sharing it with you here today to say the same thing that Gretchen was trying to say – we’re not alone. You’re never alone. If you have self-destructive behaviors, or constantly put yourself down, if your way of “dealing with food” makes you feel ostracized or strange–there’s help.
Eating and Associated Disorders
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD): 847-831-3438 (long distance)
National Mental Health Association: 800-969-6642 9AM-5PM Mon-Fri information on mental health topics and referrals, access to an info specialist
I’ll be chronicling my own experiences here. If you want to share your thoughts or your own struggles, feel free. And I encourage you to reach out and seek professional help, too. It’s not a bad thing, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and there are many people out there going through the same thing. We can do this.