There was a time when losing weight was so important to me, because the decision to become smaller was geared towards finding someone to love me. I never dated as a teenager, was not even asked on a date by a boy throughout high school, so I hungered for attention and the love of others. I was heavy, with fat cheeks and very thin legs, a genetic disposition from my father’s side of the family. All of my paternal aunts and my paternal grandmother were overweight. As a small child, I loved climbing into their laps and laying on their large, soft bosoms and feeling loved.
As a teenage girl, that desire to be loved and to find someone willing to own up to knowing me and acknowledging that I was special to them led me to solutions that were not healthy and may have been self-defeating. One of the avenues to getting out of the cycle of trying to lose weight and then of bingeing when I wasn’t noticed, even with five or ten fewer pounds, was reading the admonition to “love others as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31. The problem was no one had inculcated me with the notion of loving yourself, and, for me, the sentiment of self-love seemed selfish to me.
But, after a divorce that left me feeling like a failure and of no value unless I was connected to a man, I realized that the only way to reunite the jagged edges of my self-esteem and find true love was to seek counsel on how to love myself, especially how to put myself first and not try to rescue people as a means of finding love. It doesn’t work, for one thing, for when evil people see your desperation, they use it to their advantage, leaving you even more broken after the relationship ends.
Over the years, I have learned that unless we can see our own value and worth, so many others will not see them either. When I joined a program last year to lose weight, it was because I loved myself enough to want to be in the best of health if I contracted the coronavirus.
I felt that I owed it to myself to get healthy. It is with a sense of self-love that I have decided that i have reached a goal that is good for me. To try to lose more weight to please others would be letting myself down and would destroy all of the progress that I have made in learning to see myself as a diamond, as a jewel of great value.
Yes, being loved by my husband is great, and at age 69, still being desired by him (sorry, young people if that is an “EW” moment but we oldsters ain’t dead yet!) is amazingly wonderful, but it is my love of self that, ultimately, led to me losing twenty pounds and feeling fit and healthy. Why we choose to lose weight and for whom, meaning ourselves or to be approved by others, impacts how well we stick to the diets. I believe that we can avoid a lot of eating disorders and feelings of failure and binge eating, if we learn to love ourselves and to not allow others to define our queenliness.