Today is my first day back in the office after working remotely all week in the desert. Not only was it incredibly beautiful to coach clients from the office my cousin set up for me, but it provided an ability to really focus on the business of coaching, rather than the tasks involved in running my business.
During this week, I was inspired by questions regarding body image, weight, and self-care. I am never surprised that these challenges impact a woman’s ability to date successfully. Many women feel that they aren’t “ready” to date because they aren’t “skinny” enough, their boobs are too big, or too small, or their hips are too wide to be deemed worthy of love, or even be desired by members of the opposite sex. Other women haul their truck load of Limiting Beliefs to any venue where they play the dating game, judging themselves and others based on size, shape and weight. Whether it is online or at Whole Foods, women assume that their size, if not similar to the size and shape of women on the Red Carpet, makes them undesirable.
Then, when they do meet someone who does represent a possible opportunity, the barrage of self deprecating messages begin launching missiles that scream “I’m too fat” or “I’m not pretty enough” that leak toxic poison into every interaction, often wrecking relationships or destroying the potential for a relationship to even begin.
As a woman who has struggled with her weight since first becoming aware that JB might like me better if I lost some jiggle at the age of 16, I know that when I am sad, stressed or anxious my default method to self-soothe can be food. During my teens, and into the first years of my marriage, I gained and lost substantial amounts of weight. In fact, when I went back to college after first meeting my ex-husband and spending a summer eating peanut butter mixed into chocolate ice cream each night with my best friend, my secret plan involved spending the two months we had to be apart as a member of Diet Center (a diet facility that no longer exists). I wanted to lose 15 pounds and wow my ex with a new jiggle-free physique. I don’t remember much from that semester of school, except my daily visits to weigh in, and how choosing not to drink alcohol because of the diet proved a great excuse to stay in and hibernate. I spent those two months isolating myself, ditching my social life in favor of spending time obsessing about my body, counting carrot sticks, and fantasizing about my ex, the boy I had left back in Scottsdale, who would ultimately become my husband.
The bottom line is this: It didn’t stop there.
Sure, I lost weight that time. And, of course, I gained it back again, plus more. I lost weight to fit into my wedding dress two years later, and proceeded to gain it back the minute we returned from the honeymoon. It was then, sitting across from a therapist as a newlywed, that I realized that whether I was single, in a relationship, or now married, my weight had always been a life-long barometer of my loveability.
Thus, the number on the scale gave me permission to be happy, see myself as valuable, desirable and worthy. If the number wasn’t good enough, well then, neither was I.
Yikes. It was a horrid truth. I was caught in a rut. When I became close to someone, I ate. I then gained weight,obsessed about it and felt like crap, pulled away, and often sabatoged my relationship. Then, I would diet, get “skinny,” and ultimately re-calibrate my worthiness based on whether or not I was, once again, attractive to men.
And thus, this week, I am inviting you to look at how much mental space you are using to think about food, weight, and how it impacts your ability to be in relationship.
Are you hiding behind your weight?
Is the “number” a “great excuse” to stay stuck?
Is your weight keeping you safe, protecting your heart from the possibility of loss and sadness?
Are you waiting to date until you “feel” attractive?
Or, if you have recently lost weight, are you basing your self worth on the new number that is reflected on your scale? Is your happiness truly that fragile?
Take a moment now to consider the truth about what you are really, truly fearful of. Then, consider this fear as an opening to seek more awareness. From this place I invite you to walk boldly towards it. For in my experience, I can only guarantee you this; that finding freedom from the food/body/relationship rut will take you closer to knowing true intimacy, beginning with the first step — the opportunity to fall deeply in love with yourself.