Posts Tagged With: mirror

Releasing My Inner Swan

swanI received a most beautiful gift in the mail, a pewter swan. The following note was attached, “A gift from one who lives in Swanton, home of the Swanton Swans. Also symbolic of my favorite story and how the ‘ugly duckling’ became a ‘very fine swan indeed!’ As you have done!”

Step back for a second and flash back over the past few years of my life. In January, 2011, if you’ve been following the blog (and if you haven’t…start at the beginning!!), was when I started my weight loss journey into Onederland. By July 2012, after a rocky bit with my inner ear conundrum, I made it to goal.  Honestly, I thought reaching goal and getting my weight down would be a “cure-all” for so many things in my life.

I was confused when it wasn’t.

While a lot of people were very supportive, many people close to me were not.
I’ve come to bristle at the thought of dating anymore. Guys that knew me when I was bigger, complain that I’m “too skinny” and look too different. I’ve been called “boney” and “wasting away”. I’m not. I’m SO not.  Guys that have only known me since I’ve reached goal couldn’t understand the disdain for the way they joked about “fat chicks”. When I explained my situation, they’d say, “But that’s not you, so it’s ok to say that.” No… it’s not. I honestly thought dating would be easier. It’s not, for me.

I’ve had to pull back from the center of friends I’ve always had. There’s nobody in that group that can relate to what has happened to me physically, mentally, emotionally. They think the journey is “done now” and I can “eat normal”. It’s not done and their normal is not my normal.

So I had to dig deeper and tackle those core issues that needed fixing. Like needing other people’s approval. Like needing to be part of a “couple” – you know, being in a relationship and using it like a trophy or a measure of “making it”. Doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. Well, I’d rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t treat me with respect or love me for who I fully am. Let’s not forget bad self-esteem. Or needing to be liked by everyone. Being angry at others for flaws in my own self. I did journaling. Lots of journalling, meditating, walking while thinking, talking it out. Lots of positive self talk. Looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “Good morning, Beautiful.” And looking in the mirror at night and saying, “Good Night, Sweetie, pleasant dreams, you ROCK!”   I’m not perfectly fixed, but I’m perfectly flawed like Otep would sing. Cracks in antiques give them character, right? I don’t think we’re ever totally fixed, but I’m working on it and it’s made it easier!

On the up-side, I have found many friends online and in person through the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and through this blog.  I have found many kindred souls that have been through the same experiences, the same heartaches, the same victories.

And I have found my voice and my confidence. Albeit, not a roar, but it’s a flame getting bigger all the time. I’m not afraid to ask for what I need, to stand up for myself, to speak up when confronted. But I don’t need the drama of those around me. I’m recognizing the dynamic and the sickening soup that I’ve allowed myself to be cooking in because I felt an obligation imposed on me out of “loyalty”. There are times when we have to look at those close to us and recognize their relationship as being toxic and unhealthy.  So we have to find the courage to pull ourselves up out of the quicksand and climb hard into higher ground. For our health.

I was presented with two career opportunities that required my courage, strength and dedication. But it requires me to say good bye to so much that has been familiar and my safety net. It requires me to relocate into another state. Several states away.  It requires me to rely on a network of newfound friends that are incredibly supportive. It requires me to enter a very corporate job market at “almost 50”, as my Dad pointed out. It requires me to learn more about my profession using my high school education and experience through doing. I never went to college and was mocked by people throughout my life for not going. I’ve learned a LOT by doing it.  It requires me to take a leap of Faith and cannonball into the waters of Life.

A few years back, I don’t think I could have CONSIDERED doing such a thing. It would give me an anxiety attack. I would make excuses about why I could not do it. I would rationalize that it would be impossible to do this.  But after losing 150 pounds, it made me feel like I could DO ANYTHING.

But not everyone around me feels the same enthusiasm as I do. They point out my age. They point out the hard work. They point out that there are people who need me where I am now. They call me selfish. They call me foolish and crazy. And only a couple asked me, “Would it make you happy?” I look into my daughter’s eyes and she is excited and says that I am a role model for her and girls everywhere no matter the size. Tall order.

My story has really started to have that fairy tale kind of feeling. I thought it was Cinderella, but the only time I’m losing my shoe after midnight is when I’m just too tired from pulling too many hours awake, there’s no Prince Charming, no pumpkin car. It really is the story of the Ugly Duckling who became a swan and finally found where she belonged after all.  I even looked up the story by Hans Christian Andersen and I cried as I read it. It was way too bittersweet and familiar to me.

Sometimes where you’re born isn’t where you end up.
Sometimes, those closest to you can hurt you the most.
Sometimes not fitting in is a blessing in disguise, it makes leaving easier.
Sometimes break ups are the best thing that can happen to you.
Sometimes you need to break away from what you’re told to do and find what you WANT to do.
Sometimes the ones that claim to need you the most are avoiding doing for themselves.
Sometimes those late blooms in life are the most spectacular!
Sometimes you have to find the courage and strength to do something big (like get to goal), to show you just how powerful you really are.

And sometimes you have wonderful friends, like my Susan, to remind you of a child’s story that helps you cannonball into the next part of your life so much easier.

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Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cleaning Out The Emotional Pantry

One of the biggest trends and buzz words that I’ve seen in the dieting world in the past couple years is the concept of “clean eating”. Now… everyone seems to clean eatinghave their own conception of it and I’m not sure there’s a clear definition of it. But BASICALLY it’s taking food down to NON-processed, natural, healthy, whole food. Getting away from the JUNK, the ARTIFICIAL and the vitamin LEACHING, over processed, chemical-laced, nutrient-stripped and “hidden ingredient” added GARBAGE. And going clean and lean.

It’s a pretty good concept and there’s tons of info out there on it regarding food and how to do it.

Now, there’s several types of hunger out there. Physical hunger, head hunger and EMOTIONAL hunger.

The physical hunger we feed with real food. When we feed our physical hunger with good, clean, wholesome food in amounts that our bodies REQUIRE (as opposed to crave), we can see positive results with our bodies. We see pounds reducing, muscles toning and strengthening, illnesses minimizing, minds thinking clearer.

Head hunger is a little trickier. I’m not going to go into this much because this deserves its own topic another time. But it’s when we’re not really physically hungry but we THINK we are. Such as in boredom, routines, bad habits (such as always having popcorn to watch a movie, or always eating dessert with dinner, or a commercial comes on television and we look for food).

But let’s look at something we don’t talk about often. EMOTIONAL hunger. That craving for approval or compliments. That starving we have for a better life or happiness. That nagging feeling deep inside us for the relationship or job we either don’t have or it’s not quite what we want. Money problems. Anxieties. Depression. Not being able to stick up for ourselves.  Lack of self-esteem.  A horrible secret we’re hiding from the world. There’s many, many causes of this insatiable hunger.

clean pantryWe tend to feed that emotional hunger with excessive worry, negative thoughts, sabotage. And even after we’ve gone back for seconds and thirds at the buffet of beating ourselves up, we put ourselves in situations, conversations and relationships that reinforce this negative behavior at times. We stockpile a catalog of insults, past memories of pain, and reels and reels of mental video that we play over and over when we want to feel kicked. We engage people that we know are going to upset us and we allow them to make us feel less than worthy.

Why on earth do we do this?  We all have our issues. I found it comes down to this…

Even if you’re following the greatest diet in the world for your food on a daily basis – you gotta clean out that mind pantry of the mental junk food! That’s how I look at it.

It’s those over-processed memories of insults that we play over and over. It’s the artificial intentions and reading into how people look at us, talk to us, their tone, etc. It’s how we double-dip ourselves into bad relationships that we KNOW are bad, but it’s SOMEONE and it’s SOME attention. It’s the nutrient-stripped situations we purposely put ourselves into that put us in a bad frame of mind that “make” us….

bingeGo eat.

You know how it happens. Let’s look at the most recent events. Christmas. For some people, it can be one of the most stressful holidays. Oh, trust me, there’s some people I don’t even want to look at on Christmas let alone any other calendar day. But on Christmas, everyone plays nice. You’re the jerk if you don’t. So you have to put on the smile. Then there’s the relative who verbally pokes at you or insults you. You hold it in. You smile. You’re asked why you’re still single. Or why you’re not pregnant yet. Or where’s your unemployed spouse and why do you think they can’t find a job? Or what about that kid of yours in rehab, how did that happen? You smile, you repress it. You hold it together. Then you go home and you’re dislodging your jaw in front of the refrigerator and pouring the contents down your throat. You’re sobbing because you can’t stop eating. And why are you eating non-stop? I’m not even sure why I do it when I binge.

When I binge on crunchy food during stressful times, I sometimes think it’s because I want to drown out those horrible insults I’m hearing over and over inside my head. But you know what…your mind will play them longer than you can eat. I’ve eaten myself to the point of vomiting, while sobbing and unable to stop. All because I allowed someone to upset me.

Yes…I ALLOWED them to upset me. We ALLOW others’ drama and stress to affect us. Drama is contagious. Nothing says lovin’ like freaking out. It’s how we show people we care. Or at least that’s how they perceive it at times. I have seen it whether  it’s co-workers, family or friends and they’re engaging me in debate. Their voices are going higher and louder and the emotions are escalating. If I’m keeping my cool, I’ve had it screamed at me, “You don’t even care or you’d be as upset as I am.” Well, I learned a long time ago that nothing good comes from anger or being upset.

focusYou can’t think. You can’t focus. You get so wrapped up in the OMG moment that you go straight to worse case scenario in your brain. And it’s not worth it.

Let’s clean out the mental pantry.

FIRST – Throw away all the negative self-talk and name calling that you do to yourself. It’s junk food for your esteem, pure and simple.

SECOND – Stop purposely throwing yourself into situations where people are going to upset you. On holidays, I visit those houses where I HAVE to, for a short amount of time. It doesn’t have to be hours on end. Just enough to say I visited and it’s done. And then I don’t dwell on the negativity that did transpire. Stick up for yourself. Learn to SAY NO. Give yourself permission to be nice to YOURSELF. Make YOURSELF a priority.

THIRD –  Journaling – when we come out of the “high” or “drunkenness” of a emotional binge, step back.  Start a journal entry with “I ate today because…” and just start writing. Get it out. Write until you just can’t write anymore and don’t correct your grammar. Just let the heart pour out. SEE it on paper. You think it’s IMG_0454easy? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. When it’s particularly painful, it can be hard to write those words out. It’s admitting those core things that upset us and seeing those words on paper such as “I really hate my spouse when they…” or “I just wish I’d never wake up so I could get away from all this”. Just because we don’t SAY these things out loud in the “real world” doesn’t mean we’re not thinking them. And our THOUGHTS feed our EMOTIONS and manifest in how we treat our bodies. Journaling cleans out the emotional pantry. It’s those rancid thoughts that have been left to sit on the shelf and go bad past their expiration. Journaling throws these thoughts into a sort of trashcan. You don’t have to go back and read it later. You can burn it, like I know some people do. Or just put it away. It doesn’t even have to be a fancy journal. Even your computer or a scrap of a tablet.

FOURTH – Start looking in the mirror and talking to yourself with positive self-talk. YES, it feels silly and YES it works!

FIFTH – Keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you. Everyone has a free will and has their own opinions. It doesn’t mean they are right or wrong but they are different. It’s what makes this world diverse and wonderful. If everyone was the same…it’d be rather boring, don’t you think? Accept that some people just won’t like you and they will try to make you feel bad. Don’t matter.

paminmirrorSIXTH – No matter what, be your own best friend. Treat yourself in the same way that you would treat your BFF. Be nice. Compliment yourself. Pep talk yourself. (Again, look in the mirror) Be in your corner. Don’t do things to impress others so much as YOURSELF. Don’t diet to make someone ELSE proud…do it to make YOURSELF proud!

SEVENTH – Fill your mental pantry with the beautiful memories of everything. No matter how bad a situation is, there’s ALWAYS something good that came as a result. Focus on the positives, or the humor of a situation. Believe me, I can find humor in almost ANYTHING and I’ve had a LOT of stuff happen to me! Stockpile the nice words and compliments that are given to you along the way.

Stop living in the past memories of pain with the long overdue expiration dates. They’re DONE. Today is worth living NOW.

Stop dwelling in the OMG of a situation and live in the WOW of now.

When you get to the core of WHY you binge or starve, I have found that it’s so much easier to stay on your program, lose your weight and stay at your goal weight. Attack the core issues of your eating! It’s like operating on the tumor that’s giving you a headache instead of just taking aspirin all the time to take away the pain.

That’s my pep talk today… go clean out those pantries and start tomorrow anew!

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Support, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Giving the Monster a Manicure

Franklin Roosevelt was right. The only thing to fear is fear itself.
WHY does fear paralyze us so? WHAT is it about fear?
Fear is an illusion.
Fear is a lie.
Fear is the mind’s way of preventing us from physically doing something that will hurt us…or that we THINK will hurt us. Fear makes us think of things as larger than life, bigger than they really are, scarier than it really is, it’s incredibly overwhelming. It’s an anticipation of something dreadfully gone wrong. It spins it out of control so we stop in our tracks and shut down.  It can make us sick in the stomach, give us a headache. It consumes us, it becomes the only thing on our minds, we can’t help NOT to think about it. Fear distracts our focus from things we really don’t want to do!

–        Whether it’s about jobs/money/career, bill we gotta pay, bills we can’t pay, emergency bills that pop up
–        Or our kids/family/loved ones and THAT whole ball of wax!
–        Our romance life/significant other/spouse, etc  …or lack there of
–        Things from our past that come head on in our faces
–        Fear of the unknown, (we like to control things in our lives)
–        Fear of other people’s opinions
–        Fear of other people’s lack of approval
–        Fear of being mocked
–        Fear of being the center of attention in a bad way
–        Fear of looking silly
–        Fear of looking old
–        Fear of getting old
–        Fear of being wrong
–        Fear of getting lost
–        Fear of going out of our comfort zone
–       Fear of being alone
–        Fear of “losing it”
 –      Fear of being out of control

–        Fear of failing

….. so many things we’re afraid of… isn’t it sad?

On the other hand, let’s look at a very similar emotion…excitement and enthusiasm.

Think of the child that’s waiting for Christmas. Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun from A Christmas Story. He’s got himself practically whipped up into a frenzy thinking about how he can beg, bribe, con, practically sell his soul in order to have this freaking toy! It consumes his very essence! He dreams about it. He makes Freudian slips about it. It’s on his brain constantly. He can’t sleep! He’s planning, contriving and doing anything he can to make it happen. But he’s EXCITED and happy and proactive.

The idea of being “on a diet” and changing our lifestyle with eating and exercise can be scary. It can be full of so much emotion. It can be that monkey on our back, monster in the closet, the elephant in the room…that huge thing that’s always there and we don’t want to address. And let’s not forget all the new things we’re going to do. Eat differently, cook differently, pack lunch differently, shop differently, move differently…oh my God, you’re overwhelming me and it’s SCARY!!

Well let’s look that MF in the eye. (Monumental Fear…what did you THINK I meant?)

Instead of cowering in the corner, letting it disable us and turn us into a quivering mass of jelly… let’s look it in the eye and MAKE FRIENDS WITH IT. Take every emotion you’re feeling with fear, look it in the eye and turn it into the excitement of Christmas! Look at your monster with enthusiasm and run toward it to greet it!

Yeah, you heard me right. It makes me think of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon. If you haven’t seen it in a while… or ever (in case you’re a fetus, aka younger than me) here’s the link:

Bugs is running, trying to get away from his monster when he abruptly turns…and gives it a manicure. He sits, flatters it, caters to it, makes friends with it and then… well, you’ll  see, he takes control and gets the upper hand.

When I started losing weight, it was a monster I was ready to take on and fight. I was making headway and it felt GREAT to be in control after so many years of letting it control me . People starting putting fear into mind. They said things like,
“Everytime you lose weight you have to buy even more clothing, it gets so expensive.”
“What if you give away all those clothes and then gain back the weight?”
“What if you lose all that weight and have excess skin hanging off you?”
“You know I had a friend of a cousin of a neighbor of a mailman that lost weight and she ended up looking older and her wrinkles showed up in her face more.”
“I knew someone that lost so much weight they ended up getting sick and in the hospital.”
“I knew someone that lost weight and they didn’t even look like the same person.”
“Why do you even bother? You’ve always been fat and always will be, you’ll never be ‘skinny’.”

From that point, my ONE monster turned into about TEN monsters that I let people fabricate in my mind. So instead of just that one vague fear of “being fat”, it’s turned into about ten different fears about losing weight. It overwhelmed me, panicked me. I ALMOST believed what they were saying. It reminds me of a scene from the movie, “The Matrix” where Neo is surrounded by many copies of Agent Smith and it seems an endless fight with the same monster over and over and over. But he kept at it until they were all GONE.

And that’s when I looked at all my incarnations of fear in regard to losing weight and rationally thought them all out.

Ok, I’m going to buy clothing whether I’m losing weight, gaining weight or STAYING the same.
I chose to give away and get rid of clothing that got too big for me. Every other time that I held onto it, it only served as a safety net so it was “ok” to gain weight back. I chose to give it away.
Do I have some excess skin? Yes. So what. I’m working at toning up. I’d rather have some excess skin and weigh 159 lbs than have excess skin AND fat and weigh in at 300 lbs.
Do I have some wrinkles? Hell, I’m 47 years old, who am I kidding? I have some crow’s feet, I have some laugh lines and that shows I’ve lived some LIFE! SO WHAT? I have a few lines on my face, I’m not going to gain back 150 pounds as a beauty treatment for wrinkles!
Let’s look at the “getting sick” one…I had a whole list of medical issues at 300 pounds. I had years of fertility problems including PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), hyperinsulemia, arthritis, sleep apnea, incontinence, snoring, scores of back aches, constant knee and foot pain, depression, anxiety and probably a few more I can’t think of right now. All I know is right now, my aches and pains are a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the most severe pain. My blood pressure is 116/65. I am, according to my doctors, healthier than I’ve ever been in my LIFE. I’m not getting hospitalized for losing weight.
I will never forget when that person told me I “would always be” fat and I should just give up. Actually a few said that. It’s their problem. Their own fear of never achieving. Misery loves company. I’m here to say, “Don’t listen to that crap! Follow your dream, you CAN do this!”

And no. I don’t look the same. Even my family tells me that I look so different in the face and body. Like an onion, layers and layers slowly dissolved over the past year and a half. I have a different build than I ever imagined. A slightly different body shape than I thought I had. A different facial structure. I got more bones than when I started, at least it feels like it!  I’m just different looking. I’m still Pam, just a slightly different version. It’s Pam version 2.0, new and improved. A few more laugh lines are showing up because I’m LAUGHING and smiling more. I’m not married anymore and not seeing anyone (and not really LOOKING to right now) so I haven’t received an opinion one way or another that way. But it’s not my big priority right now. I’m happy reconstructing and reinventing ME right now. It’s like what an artist goes through at times. It’s like taking a huge lump of clay and saying, “There’s a sculpture in there, I just don’t know what it is yet” and carving out something … not really knowing what you’re going to end up with when you’re done… and it’s a work of art!

Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Take that leap of faith, dive into the deep end, do a cannonball into the lake of your fear, grab that monster by the hand and…. give it a manicure. Show it you’re unafraid of it…or ANYTHING. You’re braver than you think. Trust me.

When people tell you, “Why do you want a BB gun (or insert your dream here), you’ll shoot your eye out!” Look at them and say, “I guess it’s up to me to find that out.” Give your journey the feel of Christmas, rather than the fear. Because you’ll be giving yourself a HUGE present that will give back SO much to your life. C’mon, Ralphie, we can do this thing!

Hey, if you liked this post, feel free to share it with your friends and whoever needs a dose of motivation! Pin it, post it, email it!

And soon… I’ll be unleashing pamkaelin.com on the world! The site is up but under construction, stay tuned! I’ll have a spot where you can look up the recipes at a glance and all kinds of stuff! So “Go forward without fear” and manicure that monster!

Categories: Anger, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Support, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cleaning Out the Comfort Food in Our Thoughts

When I was 300 pounds, I was not a happy person. I’m not saying that weight by itself is an indicator of happiness, but I know I was miserable at that weight.

My marriage ended to my shock and surprise. My ex-husband started dating and living with a girl who was not only less than half my age but a fraction of my weight. Talk about my worst nightmare. Not only a slap in the face but it felt like a real stab in the back after the years we spent together. It brought out something in me that I could feel happening in my mind and I could do nothing about until it almost consumed me. I started literally hating young skinny girls. I hated their laughter. I hated their happiness.  I hated their skinny little fashions. I hated their trendy brand name clothing. I hated their ripped jeans and tiny tank tops. I hated them. I judged them.   I called them every derogatory name in the book. I demeaned them. Inside … I really wanted to BE them. They took what I had and I wanted it back.  I wanted to be on the winning team. I wanted to be one of the ones who could have it all. I wanted to be on Team Fabulous.

Before I started the Xchanges program, I could feel the hatred almost taking over my brain. I felt helpless. God help the poor skinny pretty girl who happened to be my cashier, bank teller, waitress or had the misfortune of sitting next to me in traffic. (If you are a skinny girl and I flipped you off in traffic for no reason, I’m sorry for that…)  I was not a nice person. That’s putting it mildly. I have a niece who is built just like this (you know, Sam from my blog Looking My Weight Loss in the Eye) and I thought…”How much longer until I throw those feelings onto Sam?” That’s when I knew I had to wake up from this thinking.

I remember saying to myself, “This is crazy. These are NOT the girls that I should be focusing my anger on. In fact, the only girl I should really be upset with is…myself.” That was about the time I decided I needed to get serious about cleaning up my mind, my body and my life. I not only wanted to clean out the bad nutritional factors for my physical body, but the junk food thinking that I used as comfort food for my mind.

I had to get rid of the whole fat girls vs. the skinny girls mentality. I’ve known too many women in my life that had lost a lot of weight, say 100 pounds or more, and then “jumped teams”.  I hate “team jumpers”. They don’t play the whole game, fight to the end, they just want to be on what they feel is the “winning team” at the time for the extra benefits at the time. When I was a teenager, my mother was friends with a woman named Barbra. Barbra spent many years being really big, up around the 300 plus pound range. She seemed to be a quiet, self-conscious woman. I don’t remember how she lost her weight, but within about a year or so she was a sassy size 16. I know this because she became someone else. She didn’t mind telling me exactly what size she was wearing and how I should do something about my own weight. She became very loud and in people’s faces about weight. While she was out with my mother and me, Barbra would look at very large women and tell us how how these women were “lazy, disgusting, a ‘fat-ass’, repulsive’ and a ton of other adjectives that shocked me. Looking back on it, I can see it as very psychological and she was displacing all her anger about her previous physical state onto them. She was calling them every name she felt about HERSELF. She judged them, without knowing anything about their lives… the same thing I was doing to skinny girls.

Another thing from my childhood that really bothers me to this day is something my mother said to me. When I was around 13, I had a friend who was several years older than me, but she was very short due to a medical condition. I was very large at 13, I think I probably weighed in at about 220 pounds. My mother, as “incentive” said to me, “You know when people see you two walking around you look like mother and daughter. You don’t even look like young girls. You need to lose weight so people aren’t laughing at you.” I’m sorry, but I was more involved with my friendship with this girl than what people’s perception of being seen with me. It hurt me deeply when my mother said that to me. Again, I think she was displacing her own angry feelings about it on me and blaming other people who may or may not have said it. It doesn’t matter. What matters is this JUNK FOOD WE FEED OUR BRAINS AND CALL IT COMFORT EATING FOR THE SOUL.

It’s not comfort food for the soul… it’s a sickening junk food full of addictive ingredients that we use to numb our senses into a false sense of security. We try to make ourselves feel better by making fun of someone else. That way we don’t have to fix ourselves.  It’s a little harder to put on the gloves, get dirty and FIX OURSELVES. But trust me, girls… you get so much happier once you do. I know, because that’s what I’m doing!

I just want to scream it from the hills….THERE ARE NO TEAMS of fat girls vs. the skinny girls.

I see it on the Internet and on Facebook with some of the cruel pictures that get posted with captions. There’s ones with fat girls wearing unattractive tight clothing and mocking them.  Or that whole disgusting game of “Are they fat or are they pregnant?” There’s pictures of very thin and skinny girls mocking the fact they don’t have curves and saying things like “Men like meat, not bones.” (I actually had this said to me recently) Or thin women being referred to as “a bag of antlers”.

JUST SHUT UP, STOP JUDGING PEOPLE
AND CLEAN YOURSELF UP!

When it comes to fat people, skinny people or somewhere in between – you do NOT know what is going on in their head about their own self-esteem. So many times, how we see a person’s outside physical appearance is NOT how they see themselves. I look in the mirror and I still see a 300 pound woman. I don’t know how to change this. I don’t know when this will shift. I can’t even explain it. But I’m working on it.  It doesn’t help when people who are larger than me tell me that:

–        “You need to stop losing weight. You’re good. You’re better than me, so just stop losing weight and obsessing over this.”

–        “Oh I guess you won’t be hanging out with the ‘fat girl club’ anymore. You can hang with anyone.”

–        “Now you can ‘get the good guys’, not the bottom feeders.”

–        “That’s great you’re losing weight, when you hit goal, I won’t have to hear about it anymore.”

Or when thinner girls now say to me:
– “Hey, now you can shop in ‘our stores’.

– “Now we can make fun of the fat people together!”

– “Now you can get ANY guy!”

I could go on and on and on with the mindless statements that I have heard from people. I don’t think people realize what they are even saying or how it affects me. I wonder what these people said about me when I was very heavy. Or what they think of me now. I then remind myself, their opinion doesn’t matter. What does matter is MY opinion of myself. I want to help you feel the same way!

Team Pam at Kim Bensen’s Center in Shelton, CT: Pam Sugbert, Pam Kaelin, Pam Hetherington

We are all in this life together as HUMANITY. Society breaks us down into these competitive “teams” and we all seem to be fighting to be the ones on top. The ones with privilege. But, to me, it’s not about that. I am losing weight to FEEL better both in health and in mind… not so I have the “right” to make fun of people. I want to help people feel the happiness, energy and joy that I am getting in my life.

So if you find me ugly, pretty, insecure, mouthy, too quiet or too bold or too profane (what the $@*# are you talking about?) – I can’t help your perception of me. I can’t make you think differently about me. You see, I don’t hang in cliques or exclusive little groups. I’m me and I’m Team Pam. I hang with me. You’re welcome to hang with me, but don’t judge me. You don’t know my story. If you’re that eager to jump “off” my team… that’s fine, I’ll be here when you need me.

We are all in this together. Let’s help each other get where we’re going. Let’s help each other get rid of the junk food for our minds as well as our bodies!

There is no Fat team or Skinny team,… we’re all Team Beautiful!

If you know a woman that needs this message, help her by forwarding this to email, your Pinterest page, your Facebook or Myspace page.  Check out my Facebook page so we can support each other! Get the word out! Let’s help each other. Let’s start by cleaning out the junk food in our heads that poisons our thinking toward other people. Aiming our anger to the “prettier” people or “uglier” people doesn’t fix YOU. Work on fixing YOU and then the real happiness comes out! I *am* on Team Fabulous, Team Beautiful, I just didn’t know it until now.

Categories: Anger, Emotional, Psychological, Support, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turning the Mirror On Ourselves

One of the themes of this blog  is “The looking glass is only the beginning.” This statement has a couple meanings for me.

First, our outside appearance is only one part of this journey. I have found my weight loss journey to contain so much on the INSIDE. They say beauty is only skin deep, but it’s not. The true lasting beauty within has to do with confidence, self-acceptance and happiness and all those gorgeous qualities I admire most.

Secondly, if you’re anything like me, I’ve been overweight all my LIFE. Mirrors and reflective surfaces were an enemy to me and they still are in a way. I don’t like my picture being taken (this is something I’m trying to overcome by silly pictures at times) and I don’t even like to look at myself in the mirror to put on cosmetics. Too many years of conditioning the brain in the wrong way, I guess. When we look in the mirror we are faced with OURSELF. We stand alone in that moment and we look into our own eyes. Our own critical judgmental eyes.

It’s hard and it’s one of those avoidable situations. It’s so much easier to turn our eyes onto someone else and instruct and/or criticize them about what they SHOULD be doing, saying, wearing, how they should be acting and behaving, how WE think they appear to others.

Why do we should all over people?

Well, I have a theory, when I am most miserable about MYSELF, I am most critical of others. Why? Because it’s EASIER than fixing myself. It’s the quick fix pill for the “headache”. It gives temporary relief of the symptom of feeling bad but doesn’t do anything for the core problem. It’s like the drink for the alcoholic, the needle for the drug addict, the one night stand for the sex addict, the co-dependent personality who does favors for others for constant public acceptance or the cupcake for the over-eater, or the cold medicine to help us sleep but since there’s no cure for the common cold, it’s just taking away symptoms…. It just makes us feel better at the time but WE ARE STILL MISERABLE afterward.

Another theory I have, is that we condemn those people the most that REMIND US OF OURSELVES the most because it’s like chastising and correcting OURSELF. We want so badly to change. We want so badly to be happy but it’s HARD to fix ourselves. We avoid looking in the mirror… so we lash out on other people. We end up offending people in our own self-righteous manner under the name of “they should know this about themselves” and then we whine and complain that we have no friends. We aren’t even friends with OURSELF at that point.

Another reason we may condemn others is because we are jealous. And I know this one well. After my divorce, my ex-husband dated and lived with a very pretty girl that was half my age. I HATED HER. Why? I didn’t even KNOW her. I knew nothing about her or her story. It didn’t matter, I hated her. Because she was everything I wanted to be. Young, thin, pretty, charming and living with the man I loved… and I wasn’t. I treated her horribly and I’m pretty ashamed about some of the things I said and did during that time because … let me say this loud and clear … I hated myself. I found out things about her and told my ex, “You should know this about your girlfriend since she’s around our daughter.” I bashed him for having a young girlfriend, I bashed her for many things when inside I repeatedly all day long… bashed myself. I wore the sackcloth and ashes of the divorced middle aged wife who “did nothing wrong” and got kicked out. But I did do plenty wrong. It’s just easy to take the focus off ourselves and deflect that image to someone else. I publicly pointed out how silly he looked when I felt I looked silly… and old … and fat. Because it’s easy.

A couple weeks ago, my Mom was sitting with my daughter and my niece playing a card game. I walked in to ask a question and my niece complimented my jeans saying that they made me look “skinny”. I smiled and said, “Thanks, honey!” Before I could ask my question, my mouth was hanging open to talk, my mother looked at me and said, “You’re NOT skinny. Just so you know that, you’re NOT skinny.” I didn’t know what to say except, “Ok!”  She glared at me and said, “You think I’m being mean, but you’re NOT skinny and you won’t ever be. You should know that.” I forgot my question and was embarrassed in front of my own daughter and my niece. I felt bad for them because they looked awkward and embarrassed for me. I was so hurt I wanted to cry. I walked back out to the office and talked to my sister about it. I was angry. I was hurt. I didn’t know how much weight I could ever lose to ever have her acknowledge my weight loss. But now it’s hitting me. It’s not about me. She’s angry and hurt too. Right now, her body is rebelling against her with cancer and chemotherapy, hair loss and pain. She hurts me because she is hurting. It doesn’t make it right, but I understand it. And it also taught me that I am losing weight for ME, not for anyone else to be proud about except ME.

Last weekend, my family got together to help my Dad move his store. Behind my back, a brother of mine interrogated another family member about “how” I was losing weight. Was it safe? Am I eating? What’s “really” going on here? He felt my whole inner ear problem was caused by losing too much weight too fast and he was so sure he was going to talk to my parents about it. (Yes, I did ask my doctors and they said that is NOT how my ear was affected) Then he was heard also saying during the day to people, “Well, I guess I’m the fat one of the family now.” Again, I was hurt and angry. If he was so “concerned” for me, why didn’t he ask ME any of this or ask how I was FEELING? He barely talked to me that day. But that wasn’t the real concern. Now I see the REAL “problem” here is that he was scared about having the label of being “the fat one in the family.” Instead of facing that problem, it’s easier for him to turn the focus on me and get everyone riled up that I’m harming myself.

So next time you feel the need to “should” all over a person. Take 10 seconds. Look in a mirror. Not just rhetorically, but find a REAL hand mirror, rear view mirror, bathroom mirror and look in it for 10 full seconds.

What are you really upset about? What are you really so scared about?

It’s so much easier to correct and criticize others than to look in the mirror and face our biggest enemy and judge… ourself.  Face it, confront it and be proactive about YOURSELF before you want to change everyone else.

When I first set out to write my next blog post, I was intent on writing about how I felt the only ones in my family that were supporting me were my sisters. I feel the men in my family and my mother constantly sabotage me, try to “put me in my place”, tell me that I’m “cocky”,  and never recognize my efforts. Most of my support comes from my online community of friends and through my weight loss community at kimbensen.com While I still feel that’s a valid point, I’m starting to see that the people who devalue me the most… are simply scared. NOT of me, but of their own issues. Everyone has their own demons.

When I was heavier and in physical pain and miserable, I had a bad habit of correcting and pointing out fault with others. I lost a lot of friends and relationships with that bad habit. I can’t correct the bridges I burned with anything more than a genuine and heartfelt, “I’m sorry.” But I can go forward, recognize my bad behaviors and FIX MYSELF.

As long as I can look in the mirror, make peace with the image and know I am doing no harm to myself or others… it really doesn’t matter what nastiness I hear from others. I don’t care what they feel I ‘should’ know.

I have to thank my friend, Edwinna. When I mentioned I lost 40% of my body weight in a Facebook post, she commented with “You lost a person. An unhappy person.” And she was so very right and it inspired this post. I’m losing the unhappy, negative person and going forward with the smiling happy one. Don’t make my mistakes, don’t be miserable. Be proactive and SMILE!

Categories: Anger, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Support, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

My Bully, Myself

We tell our kids to stand up to a bully. Not to be afraid of bullies. Bullies are insecure. Bullies are really afraid inside so they rule others by fear. Bullies are just loud, distracting, nasty little…. parts of ourselves???

Seriously?

What happens if you are bullying YOURSELF?

Don’t laugh. I think we’ve all done it.  It’s that little voice inside of you that taunts you. It’s that nasty little demon that sits on your shoulder and laughs. It’s those screams that haunt us at the 3 am “hour of the wolves” when we can’t sleep.

You lost some weight…what 5, 15, 25 or 50 or more pounds? You know your clothes are fitting so much looser. You have to go out and buy new bras, for goodness sake! You turn one day and look in the mirror and…at JUST that perfect angle, it accentuates a double chin, or muffin-top, or “back wing”. And you’re so focused on that ONE TINY BAD area that you’re losing sight of all that hard work and those pounds you’ve lost or sizes dropped You start to see another “bad” area. You start questioning if the diet and/or exercise is doing ANY good at all. Seems like you’re always counting calories, Xchanges or points or weight reps and you never have any fun anymore. Yeah, you deserve some time off to “get away from the diet so I can focus” Then I’ll go back and start fresh.  Next thing you know, you’re saying “Screw it! I’ll never be thin anyway. It’s just making me miserable” And you’re sitting in the Dairy Queen drive-thru ordering a Blizzard or Banana Split, taking in every mouthful either in private in the parking lot or in your driveway or in the confines of your bed with a sappy movie.

And THEN you’re really miserable.

Because you’ve done again. You let the Bully stand there and yell and make fun of you until you cry and feel horrible enough to give up and eat yourself sick and it was YOU. Nobody else was in that room.  Ok, maybe your sister, mother, cousin, ex boyfriend or ex husband said some nasty things in the past …but YOU chose to replay that tape in your head. THEY didn’t make you eat…you bullied YOURSELF into it.

We all have our own reasons.

Some of us feel we have to repay for past mistakes because we haven’t forgiven ourselves. Some of us have confidence issues that we don’t feel we deserve to feel pretty. Some of us have told it’s a sin to be “cocky” and full of pride (raising my hand real high) and we sabotage it so we don’t have a REASON to be vain. Some of us like to flat-out be a martyr. Or the weight gives us attention…maybe negative attention, but it’s still attention. (think abused wife or child?)  Only YOU know your reason why you sabotage. Some of us, myself included have even gone through years of counseling or therapy to figure it out. Luckily, I found out and faced some things about myself. Perhaps some negative people threw some nasty ideas up on my wall…but I ALLOWED it to stick there and hang like a poster. I didn’t get out my “confidence cleanser” and scrub it off. I play those insults, diatribes, slanders and arguments over and over in my head sometimes accompanying it with some cupcakes and whiskey until I’m drunk on food, liquor and pity and feeling miserable at life and myself…. No more.  Did you hear me?

I said “NO MORE!”

You must scream it. Look in the mirror and self talk to yourself that you will NOT bully yourself anymore. You will stand up to the bully. You will yell back at the bully. Because the bully is afraid. The bully is afraid you will SUCCEED. The bully wants to rule you with your own fear.

So why are you afraid?

Are you afraid that you’re going to be thin (if you’ve never been before) and you’re just going to feel so pretty that you’ll start to get attention from the opposite sex  and since you’ve never had that before that you’re going to end up promiscuous?

Are you afraid that your significant other will think you’re so smoking hot now that you’ll be jealous of YOURSELF because he will react more amorously?

Are you afraid that you honestly won’t recognize yourself and you’ll become a different person as a result of looking different or you just won’t know who YOU are anymore?

Are you afraid that you’ve worn plus size so long you won’t know how to dress “fashionably” and you’ll look dumb?

Are you afraid that other large people in your life will be hurt because you’ve lost weight while they were struggling and you don’t want to hurt their feelings? Or they’ve made you feel guilty because you’re not in that “club” anymore? Or they threaten to break up with you because “you’re just not the same person anymore” or here’s a BETTER one “You’re going to lose weight and get rid of me” or “We might as well break up because you will anyway since you’re losing weight and you’ll find someone else” It’s all part of the same insecurity of another bully. Don’t let them bully you!

Are you afraid of that person that said “You’ve always been fat, it’s in your family or genes, you’ve been fat since you’ve been a baby, you’ll never be thin” and you think there must be some truth to that because this is just too hard?

I’ve had each and every one of those feelings. I don’t want to be scared anymore. Take ownership of your own bully inside. Realize that the people that don’t want you to succeed have their own issues. You need to get healthy in body AND mind and take control. You can’t fix other people, you can only fix yourself.

The only bully that is sitting me down, strapping me into a chair and putting food into my mouth is me. The only bully stopping me from exercising is my OWN feelings – not the skinny girls at the gym, not family members saying that you’re using up the living room instead of having family time. It’s ME. You need to give permission to yourself to LOVE and LIKE yourself enough to help yourself succeed. It’s not a sin. It’s not vain. It’s self-esteem. There will always be our past and we can forget it, reconcile with it or LEARN from it and go forward and show them ALL… including that bully inside.

I have a tattoo on my wrist that I look at when the bully flares up and makes me doubt myself. It’s a fleur-de-lis with the Latin phrase “sine metu”. It means “go forward without fear”. It’s my portable affirmation. When I get scared I look down and I know I can go forward.

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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