This year, I’m focusing on getting healthy, and I have as much work to do mentally as I do physically. You can read the posts in this series in reverse chronological order here.
I’m still slowly reading my way through Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth, and every chapter gives me a lot of food for thought.
One is the realization that what made me an emotional eater at the age of 8 or 9 is not the same thing that made me equate weight with my sense of self-worth. Somewhere along the line – I don’t know exactly when, but probably around 11 or 12 – I somehow decided that being thin meant . . . well, all the good things like being pretty, successful, happy, deserving.
Intellectually, of course, it doesn’t make sense to base one’s sense of self-worth upon one’s weight. But we’re human, not Vulcan, and we’re not ruled by logic. I didn’t fall so far down the well of despair as to think that I was completely worthless. But I have always had the sense that life would be so much better – if not perfect – if only I lost weight and became thin.
None of this is totally new to me, although I never actually separated my evolution as an emotional eater with my self-sabotaging perfectionism.
What’s changed is putting these realizations together with a recent post at Money Saving Mom. Crystal talks about a three-step process she’s used to become more confident, and it’s already helping me reprogram my own thinking.
Step 1: Label the lies. I’ve read for years about recognizing negative self-talk, but until reading Crystal’s post, it never occurred to me to just flat out say, “That’s a lie.” But there’s something liberating about it.
Step 2: Refuse to believe the lie. Labeling the lie as a lie causes me not just to dismiss the negative self-talk, but to affirmatively banish it. My stomach isn’t flat, but it’s a lie that that fact makes me unworthy. That’s much more effective than simply waving a negative thought away.
Step 3: Replace the lie with the truth. After reminding myself that my weight does not define my self-worth, I remind myself of the truth: I’m a good person, with a good life.
This is not a quick process by any means. It may take all year and then some to reprogram what’s now decades of negative self-talk. But it’s definitely worth doing and persevering.
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