Have you got fat that won’t budge, weight that just won’t shift and you don’t know what to do about it?? Well guess what, me too! And I had thought this was so terrible, me being an Eating Psychology Coach and all – what kind of example was I?! I looked into every avenue – hormones, nutrition, stress… and nothing seemed to change. But guess what, there is a gift in our fat, if you take the time and get the help to find out. I believed my desire to lose weight was because I wanted to feel lighter, more energetic, more confident….but really, there was something far more insidious at the root of it. My old friend, perfectionism! Here is what my fat taught me and why I’m okay with it now, even if it never budges!!
- My desire to feel physically light was really a reflection of my desire to feel spiritually and psychologically light. I had learnt as a child that I needed to stay constantly on guard to stay safe and this hyper-vigilance, though much more subtle as an adult, hadn’t let up. Which meant that I often felt serious and like I just couldn’t relax and truly play, especially with my kids. Hyper-vigilance is often a sign of trauma and is a way our nervous system tries to keep us safe from everything it perceives as danger. This means elevated cortisol and living in fight/flight mode a lot of the time, even when you are not aware of it. My body was trying to tell me that it was time to lighten up!!
- With training for a body building competition and then trying to lose the weight I gained after the competition, the hyper-vigilance I always had in the background, increased around food. Without even realising it, I started seeing food as a threat, fat as a danger and I didn’t even realise I had backed myself into a corner until I started a ketogenic diet (high fat, very low carb) in order to sort out a perceived hormone imbalance. The restrictiveness of this diet was finally what helped me to see that my childhood safety mechanism of hyper-vigilance had gotten way out of control! The more vigilant I got with food, the more weight I put on! My body was trying to tell me that food was NOT the problem, my hyper-vigilance was.
- I felt less visible when I carried more fat and that felt safer. Fat helped me hide. My body was trying to tell me that it’s safe to be visible now, I don’t need to hide, I can shine! Thank you love x
- I realised it’s not just losing weight or being slim I wanted – the picture I had in my head was of the perfect, ideal, hourglass, female figure. It was the perfection that was at the heart of it. And I realised that perfection represents safety for me. I believed once I was perfect I couldn’t be hurt any more, I couldn’t be harassed any more, I couldn’t be criticised any more, and then I would finally be loved and I could finally relax. So being perfect was highly desirable and also completely unobtainable. Luckily it is also completely unnecessary. My body was trying to tell me that I was already lovable and it was safe to relax right now – perfect body or not!
- Because I so ‘needed’ my body to be perfect in order to feel safe, I treated my body with real impatience, disappointment and frustration, like it was failing me or betraying me. Like a demanding parent to a child who could never meet their expectations. Funny that…..My body was trying to tell me it was starving for my love, attention and affection, and had had quite enough of my criticism, demands and perfection! I’m so sorry love! x
Perfection is often something we learn in order to stay safe – If I get it right, then I won’t get in trouble, then I won’t be in danger, then I will be safe. Learnt at an early age, particularly in an ongoing situation, our entire nervous system takes on the message and it does what it needs to do to protect us, by developing perfectionist type behaviours and physical symptoms like headaches, tense muscles and fatigue etc.
If you recognise any of yourself in the above points, please get in touch as I would love to help you work through to a place of peace and love with your body and your food too. Eating for pleasure and health is so much more fun!
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