I am overweight. I have been overweight for nearly ten years now even though I have tried every diet there is. My mother died suddenly and I guess this all began shortly after that. Up to now I have not let my weight be an issue and I have continued to live my life as normal. However, it is starting to impact my life as my feelings of insecurity about my body have stopped me recently from doing things like going to the beach or swimming.
My relationships are also becoming affected. My friends don’t understand how upsetting it is for me to be this size. My boyfriend although very supportive, becomes frustrated when I am sad. I am very frustrated at myself because I struggle to be motivated even though I used to be active, playing lots of sports in school.
I often find that I am unable to control cravings for unhealthy foods and begin eating even though I am not particularly hungry. I am in my late twenties and beginning to wonder if I don’t take the right course of action now, will I ever be able to be happy?
Thank you for your help,
It is great that you are looking to take action now that you have started to see the toll that your weight is having upon your everyday life.
You have recognised the negative impact that being overweight is having with regard to the way you see yourself and to your relationships with others. I think it would really prove helpful for you to take a moment to consider a further relationship: the relationship you have with food itself. Are you an emotional eater?
Emotional eating, sometimes known as stress eating, is using food to make yourself feel better in the moment. It allows you a temporary feeling of control and enables you to suppress your current experiences of sadness and frustration.
The good news Margot is that, with just a few adjustments to your daily habits, you can overcome this issue and reclaim your happiness.
- Confront your emotions.
Emotional eating is very common and can be brought on by many factors, one of which is grief. You mention that you began to put on weight following the sudden death of your mother? It is worth considering that this may be one of the trigger reasons as to why you have found your weight so difficult to manage over the years.
Feeling insecure about your body can also be incredibly difficult to cope with. It becomes a vicious circle doesn’t it? We eat to feel better even though it is this very act of over eating that is at the heart of the problem.
Feeling misunderstood by the people in your life, particularly your partner, heightens the intensity of the emotions you are experiencing. I would suggest that delayed grief, body insecurity and a strained relationship with your partner may well be the reasons why your eating habits do not feel under control. Being open with your boyfriend about how frustrated you feel may help initially. But I feel counselling would be wonderfully beneficial for you, particularly with regard to the grief of losing your mother. The counselling process will support you through the unresolved emotions that you have been carrying all these years.
- Make the right choices.
It can be challenging to make the shift to becoming more active, but I suspect once you start a daily routine that includes just a light exercise such as walking, you will start to feel much better. Have patience and try every day to move a little more.
You mention that you have tried every diet there is over the years, so you will be aware about the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. Maintaining an awareness about the amount of food that you are eating is key to your weight loss. Why not try writing a food journal, noting down at the end of each day what you have eaten. Be honest with yourself! Often it is the snacks here and there that can creep up on us! Remember that the journal is for your eyes only, so there is no harm in being brutally honest with yourself. In fact, it is essential.
- Be your own cheerleader.
As much as having the support of people around you is important, so is the support and encouragement you extend to yourself. You are still so young and you have your whole life ahead of you. Be kind to yourself throughout this process. There is no quick fix. It will take time to heal emotionally and for your efforts to pay off for the long term. Remind yourself each day that you are strong enough, that you are worthy and that you deserve to lead a happy life. You can absolutely do this Margot. All you have to do is trust in yourself to take the first step.
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