Contributing Author: Clara Moisello
Translation: Mauro Clerici
I spent the first thirty years of my life thinking there was something wrong with my body that needed to be fixed. Today, I know I was wrong. I know that many people out there are still stuck in the same vicious loop that held me trapped for so long, and that is why I'm here to share my story.
Throughout my life, I felt that unless I was able to fix ‘that something’, I would not deserve to be loved, desired or to be successful.
The evil object of my attention was called “fat”. Since a very young age, the world around me was teaching me that fat was NOT an ok thing to have. It began early by childhood, watching my mom constantly shifting from one diet to the next, and beating herself up about her weight and her image. Then kids at school would tease me, my boyfriend would give me ‘the look’ when I ordered dessert or a candy. Media was not kind to me either: their messages would highlight the attributes of unnatural super thin models, along with the latest diet, supplement or technique to achieve those models sizes.
So, being fat was clearly NOT acceptable. And because we all long to be loved and accepted by people around us, it was clear to me that I had to do my best to hide it. This meant living a life full of fear and contraction, constantly feeling I had something to be ashamed of, and that was obviously all my own fault. I would avoid all the situations where my body could be exposed and hope that one day I would eventually shed it all off!
About five years ago, I decided to follow a popular diet system. I counted points, sized portions, tracked all my fitness activity, and… at last, wow, I did lose some weight! I had never felt that light and weighted that low. To my surprise, despite the temporary weight-loss, I was far from being at peace with myself. My issues were still there. I was in pain with myself, my relationships were still challenging, my job was tough on me, my personal fears have not gone away.
I was disappointed! Wasn’t it all supposed to be resolved along with the fat "thing"?
It turns out, not really! Under my own emotional distress, my body weight slowly started to increase again to my "normal" levels. That turned out be a pivotal moment in my life. I was finally getting aware that I was looking at my issue from the wrong point of view!
Are you wondering what I mean?
For years, I had lived thinking that my weight and my fat were the problems. All my energies were directed into fighting them and shaming myself for not being able to control them. Now, I was starting to understand that rather than the main issues, they were the symptoms of a different problem; they were messages from my body that something within me needed nurturing, care and love.
This revelation was the first step to an amazing new journey. A journey that would bring me back home, and that would teach me how to love myself. While before I was trying to ‘shape-shift’ my body by forcing it through diet and exercise, now I look inside myself with curiosity and respect. What is this message trying to tell me, and what is it trying to teach me?
Health became a journey of self-love, instead of blame and self-hatred. The more I opened up to my relationship with food, the more I found discovery and self-healing.
This is not an easy task! But it’s a journey worth pursuing. And once I became aware of my challenge, I found that I was not alone in my path! I have learned from all the amazing teachers I've met so far. I have become so passionate about the topic, that today I am studying at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, training to be able to support people who are willing to make a shift in their health from suffering and blaming to a place of love. I know now from my own experience that it is possible.
Today, though my weight hasn’t changed much, I feel a completely different person. It is a daunting task, and it will take time to undo all the pain and distortions acquired in my past, and I wouldn’t go back to where I was before for any reason. My life is so much more juicy and colorful today.
I dare you dreaming! If you feel you are in the same place now and need an inspiration, I would ask you: what would your life look like if you were able to LOVE yourself, just as you are, starting right NOW?
The author of this post, Clara is currently enrolled in the Eating Psychology Certification program at the Institute of Psychology of Eating, and soon she will be able to help other people. You can leave comments on this page, or contact her directly here.