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It may have taken only a little more than a year to lose over 100 lbs, but ridding myself of the excess baggage between my ears is an ongoing process. My self-talk used to go something like this; “you stupid, fat, effing slob”, followed by all kind of self-depreciating lines:

  • You’ll always be an effing, stupid, fat slob.
  • Nobody wants to talk to a loser like you.
  • You’ll never amount to anything.

DSCN3082If I heard a mother in the store talking to her child that way, I’d call Child Welfare and report her, yet I spoke to the child in me in the most mean, degrading way possible. And it took a lot of the wrong foods to take away those feelings.

I had lost over 100 lbs at least twice before 1993, but gained it back and a little more for extra measure. Why was that? I could get down to a healthy body weight, but always returned to the kind of eating that contributed to physical morbid obesity.

What made the difference more than twenty-one years ago, is that I came to an awareness that my mind, heart and body were not in alignment. I did nothing to change my thinking. It did not matter how fat or thin I was; as long as I heard that degrading voice inside of me, I would be hard not to return to my ‘comfort foods’.

Santa Barbara MissonIsolation often accompanies obesity. If my head tells me that no one wants to talk to a big, fat, effing slob like me, I surely would gravitate away from people. On the worst night of my life, I felt so alone, couldn’t think of a person to call and my best buddy – food, was no longer working to take the edge off my emotional pain. I thought about killing myself. In physical and emotional agony, I reached out to a God I no longer believed in, and asked Him to help me.

Well, He did. When God feels a million miles away, it’s usually because I moved, not Him. I cried to a girl at work and she helped me to start this journey. I am grateful beyond words for the people who showed up in my life when I finally made the connection that there were no diets that could help my head and my heart – I needed a relationship with God for that. I love Wayne Dyer and his words ring in my heart often, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” What did I need to reframe in my thinking and my feelings, along with my body?

Somehow, I found a loving and caring God, and those negative feelings about myself started to go away. I finally believed that there was someone out there who truly loved me, unconditionally. If you do not feel this way about the God in your life, keep looking; you might not have found the right one yet. God to me means unconditional, always-available love and compassion.

I very gently and slowly began to move away from that mean self-talk as I continued to develop a spiritual life. I no longer felt deprived by taking those unhealthy combinations of sugar, flour and fat out of my diet and replacing them with delicious fruits, vegetables, lean meats, I filled up on the love of God. I began a daily ritual of prayer, meditation and journaling.

No one has ever died of hunger between lunch and dinner, so when I felt ‘hungry’ between meals, I began to call some friends.  I learned that I needed to ‘share it or wear it’. Going toward the fridge was not the answer. Over the years, I have built a network of supportive friends that I can call and just talk, filling that hole inside of me with unconditional love. I like to call that army ‘God-with-skin.’ He will put people in my life to help, but I need to reach out and do the footwork.

My mind and heart began to change right along with my body. It doesn’t matter which weight-loss program I chose; as long as I made the changes in the other areas of my life to accompany that diet. It has been the key for me to increasing the odds of long-term weight loss and maintenance.

Before and after, 2014And here I am, twenty years later, maintaining the same healthy body weight. It has been an amazing journey of discovery, one I still embrace today!  Food no longer is a ‘friend’. You are! And with God’s help, I can continue to see life in a new way and not need to turn to food when life happens.

One Response to Coaching from the Coach; Spiritual Weight Loss?
  1. Thanks for sharing this Gerri! It is a very inspiring story, with lots of great messages for all of us. While I don’t suffer too badly from unhealthy over-eating (though I do find myself eating sometimes simply out of stress and pay a small price in being a little heavier than I probably should be), I often have that same voice in my head telling me that I am losing, that I am failing, and that I am not doing enough as a dad, as husband, in my career. Cracking yourself out that vicious loop is so important, yet so difficult.

    Similar to your story, I have found the most success in locking into a purpose that is higher than myself (for many, this is in God/religion, for others it can be related to more human things like serving other people, improving the environment, etc…) and, the most important part, taking action toward that purpose. As you described, it took more than thinking about it. You had to DO something about it to start to feel better. One of my favorite quotes echoes that…”You can’t think your way into a new way of acting. You need to act yourself into a new way of thinking” (adapted from a business management quote by Richard Pascale). If we can stop thinking about how we are acting and start acting how we want to think, we can make great, and lasting, changes in ourselves. Love the blog, and keep it up!

    Love – Joe

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