“We cannot achieve more in life than what we believe in our heart of hearts we deserve to have.” ~James R. Ball
I was a binge eater. At night. Every night. No one would ever have guessed it because I was at a healthy weight. But I believed that my weight was too high a number, so I would try to fix it.
Each morning I would start afresh and eat like a svelte, sexy mouse. I vowed that this time would be different. But each night, to fill the voids I didn’t know were there, I would eat. And eat. And eat.
What helped me get off that hungry, helpless cycle? A dress.
When I was swinging wildly between under and overeating I did not buy clothes. Why bother when I would be smaller in a couple of weeks? I would be better. No point wasting money on clothes that would be too big on my soon-to-be-lithe frame.
Years went by and my body shape was still no different. I still had a wardrobe filled with ill-fitting and ill-feeling clothing. I was still no better.
Hiding behind the seemingly practical idea of not wasting money was the belief that I was undeserving.
I did not deserve to clothe a figure I deemed too large. I did not deserve to move my body in ways that felt good (unless it was going to tone and tighten). I did not deserve to eat high quality food. I did not deserve my own love. And I definitely did not deserve to be loved by another.
After years of weight loss attempts and willing the binge eating to stop, I was tired of the struggle. I decided to stop focusing on the scale numbers and start focusing on learning to eat normally. To eat without the restriction, the rebellion, and the inevitable guilt. I wanted to be free.
The desire to feel sane around food trumped my desire to be thin. I put the pursuit of skinniness on hold. I realized that meant my body might not shrink. That the numbers on the labels of clothes I fit in may never decrease again.
My previous excuses for not buying clothes didn’t apply now. I would have to dress my figure as it was. So I went out and brought a dress that fit my current body.
That small act gave me some proof that maybe I didn’t have to wait until I was skinny to have nice clothing. Maybe all those things I had been putting off, I could do right then, at that weight, at any weight!
I slowly gathered more proof. That party I didn’t want to attend because I deduced from the guest list I might be the biggest one there—I went.
The walks I enjoyed but put off because I didn’t see the point when it wasn’t going to burn off enough calories—I walked anyway.
The perfect, but expensive foundation I wouldn’t buy until my cheeks lost some chub—I bought it.
I was dieting (and falling off the wagon via whole loaves of bread) to lose weight. And I was trying to lose weight so I could be confident and happy and could do the things I enjoyed. By doing those things and creating those feelings in spite of my weight, I cut out the middle steps.
I realized that, instead of going from diet to weight loss to happy, I could go straight to happy.
I showed myself that feeling confident and beautiful was not a luxury afforded only to those with bodies deemed perfect by our society. I realized that I deserved to feel good. No conditions. No weight restrictions. And that set me free.
Make your list.
Where do you hold back on what you deserve? Make a list of all the things you have been putting off until you lose weight (or achieve another goal). What would you do differently once you reach your goal? How would you live your life? What kind of things does that future person do each day?
Start small and take action.
Look at your list and pick at least one thing to do today. To get momentum going, start with whatever is easiest and fastest to implement. Do it immediately.
By doing something small and simple, you’ll begin expanding your beliefs of what is possible for you right now. Instead of just thinking you might be able to do those things, you’ll prove to yourself that you can do them, regardless of how close you are to your goal.
Some of the items on your list may seem too difficult or impossible. Break them down into smaller steps.
For example, if you are putting off swimming until you lose weight, maybe you could go sun hat shopping, or try on some swim suits, or walk barefoot on the beach and feel how lovely it is to have your feet in cool sand and salt water.
This should be a list of things to make you feel good. If a step still feels too scary or hard, break it down further.
Keep your list handy. Whenever you have a “once I reach my goal” thought, add the action you are putting off to your list. Each day, pick another item from your list to carry out.
Doing things to make you feel good now doesn’t mean you will never reach your body or life goals. It just means you don’t have postpone your joy. And in these short and unpredictable lives we live, joy is too important to wait for.