As of this morning, I have lost 59.5 pounds! That’s nearly halfway to my goal of losing 140 and for once in my life I am confident that I will get there. I’ve been fighting my weight since I was a kid. I’ve won a few battles here and there but I have never won the war– losing as much as 75 pounds only to put it back on and then some. I know what you’re thinking. With that kind of history, what makes me so certain that I will succeed this time? To answer that, we need to talk about why I got fat in the first place.
Why I Gained So Much Weight
In a nutshell, I got so overweight because I ate for all the wrong reasons. I ate because:
- Food = Love I was raised in an Italian family. If you know anything about Italian families you know that food is a big part of the culture. Every family event centered around food — and plenty of it. Now I know as adults families don’t always elicit feelings of love, but as children our families are where we feel the most connected, the most loved. The wounded child in me remembered this, and equated food with love. With every bite I put in my mouth, I was eating love — trying to fill a hole that wounded little Lori desperately needed to fill.
- Food = Trust Food was my old reliable friend. In a world where wounded little girl Lori’s trust violated by so many people at such damaging levels, food was the one thing that I could count on to be what I needed it to be, where I needed it to be when I needed it to be .
- Food = Comfort Because food was my old reliable friend and would always be there when I needed it, it was my go-to fix for whatever ailed me emotionally. If I was sad, I ate. If I was lonely, I ate. If I was scared, I ate. If I was feeling guilty, I ate. And so on. Honestly the only thing food didn’t satisfy for me was hunger, because my hunger was not physical. It came from wounded little girl Lori, and she was not so easily satisfied.
- Food = Joy Let’s face it. I love food. I enjoy the tastes, the smells, and the way it makes me feel. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted because it made me feel happy. For a little while. Until I felt disgusted with myself for being so overweight. And then guess what I did? Yup. I ate some more because food was my feeling fixer.
You see, food for me was so much more than sustenance. It was my comforter, my helper, my healer, my joy– basically my God. Yup, I made food an idol. Not consciously. I wasn’t opening the fridge and worshiping the baked ziti. But I was relying on it to fill the holes that only God can fill.
Why I Always Failed at Weight Loss
My past attempts at weight loss failed because wounded little girl Lori was still too wounded. Every attempt I made to lose weight was thwarted because that wounded little girl was still too strong. Too powerful. She was not about to give up her fight to get her needs met through food– and I was too depressed to care enough about myself to try very hard. She won the fight every time.
Why I’m Succeeding Now
Of course I’m losing weight because I changed my eating habits. First through Weight Watchers but now I’m doing a keto diet (read more about that here). Keto has made dieting so much easier because I rarely have carb cravings and I rarely get hungry. But that’s not the biggest reason for my success. Losing the weight is only half the battle. I had to figure out the root cause for my eating habits if I was going to keep the weight off. My weight gain was only a symptom of a deeper problem.
Now that I have finally gotten my depression under control, I am able to see and understand the deeper problem –everything I just told you about why I gained so much weight. I know what the real problem is and I am strong enough to fight it. This time, I’m not just treating the symptom. That wounded little girl is getting better through therapy and doesn’t need to rely on food anymore. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy. I still have my days when I struggle to eat right. But now when I recognize wounded little girl Lori trying to open the refrigerator I find a more appropriate way to meet her need. I am in control of what I put in my mouth now. Food no longer controls me.
Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the control of anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12