Anorexia of the soul -
don't desert yourself
Compulsive self shaming is the anorexia of the soul. It’s a way of depriving ourselves of what nourishes and sustains us. It’s a way of divorcing and deserting ourselves when what we really need is to be there for ourselves. It's when we need to light multiple candles of self-compassion and self-care.
During our Self Love Diet group (where we learned to ’stop the hate and get wise about our size'), we watched a fabulous TED talk by Traci McMillan about marrying ourselves. I wrote my own marriage vows and promised never to leave myself….until I did.
The bad part is that I so easily forgot I’d promised to love myself in ‘sickness and in health’. I got hi-jacked by a story I thought was dead, until I discovered that dead and dormant are two different things. That was how I deserted myself.
How quickly and erroneously
I had an allergy that sensitized me to ‘heat’ of any kind. Before I knew it, I was a real mess with puffy weeping eyes and a relentlessly itchy body. The interesting thing though was what i found myself focussing on….not that I was ill and needing extreme self care and compassion. No! Instead, I immediately berated myself for being fat, unattractive and an energy-less lump of lard. In short, I walked out on myself - by blaming and shaming my amazing body instead of being grateful for it's incredibleness.
I blamed my weight
Let’s step back though. I hadn’t gained any weight. When I was feeling hail and hearty at this exact weight, my body wasn’t an issue. But when I wasn’t feeling well - my body was suddenly ’the problem'. Just goes to show how deeply those old conditioned beliefs that ‘my weight is the problem’ messages have
become wired into my neural network. Even though I’ve researched weight and dieting and ideal body size for decades and built up new and more accurate beliefs over many years, those very deeply ingrained ones were lying there, ready to pop up and try to reclaim their story with barely any encouragement.
One moment those old beliefs were dead looking weeds, the next they were like that
resurrection plant, a plant that can survive extreme dehydration, even over months or years and then with just a tiny sprinkling of
water is strong and verdant again. It's time for a cautionary 'note to self.'
Don't let outdated beliefs hi-jack you
Even knowing what I know (and I really DO KNOW that
my weight is not the issue), it's interesting to observe just how easy it would be to allow that old story to grow into one that made me feel overwhelmed and hopeless. If I hadn’t caught it, it would have been so easy to allow it to wipe out all the progress I’d made over so many years. It’s been such an startling reminder of just how sneaky all those old beliefs are, and how prone we are to allowing them (if unquestioned) to grow into an anorexia of self-nurturing and a bigorexia of self-criticism.
The take-away lesson for me from all this? When these old thoughts try to sneak up on me… it’s time to observe keenly and say: “You sneaky outdated belief, I see you trying to lure me back into diet
mentality and food jail.” That’s when it’s time to put up a giant red mental STOP sign and to remind yourself that when you say ’NO’ to being recruited into an unhelpful belief, it’s really a way of saying ‘YES’ to staying married to yourself and treating yourself as a person you truly are in love with.
Ask yourself this question… if someone asked you to name all the things you love, how long would it be before you said your name? What would it take to marry yourself and never leave yourself?
Catch all my recent video interviews with weight and body experts here - especially the most recent ones:
Lindsey Averill - the producer of the upcoming documentary: Fattitude
Karen Koenig - author of 6 books of food and feelings on how to eat normally. AND LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS TO stand a chance of WINNING A COPY OF HER BOOK: OUTSMARTING OVEREATING.
With love, with laughter and with wishes for your exquisite self care