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THE PROMISE

by Rachel K.

At 17, I made the first promise. On reflection, I can see that I was going through very rough times: I felt socially isolated at school, I had a lot of fights with my parents, growing up was not easy! And then I found Richard Simmons' book. His story touched my heart and his magic promise—weight loss through dieting—was the perfect distraction. I promised myself to lose weight. I got so involved with the eating plan and the body thoughts that "poof," all my other problems seemed to disappear. I lost weight; I was in seventh heaven, but not for long. Soon enough, my old feelings of fear, loneliness and anger returned stronger than ever.

At 26, again I promised myself to lose weight. I was a single, working woman, far away from home, living with a roommate who had a boyfriend. My friend next door also had a boyfriend; my girlfriend at work had a boyfriend as well. I was alone. Then I found the perfect companion—Ultra Slim Fast™! A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and the pounds dropped at an alarming rate. My girlfriends praised and envied me. But they still had their boyfriends and I was still alone.

At 29, once again I promised myself that I would lose weight. I was married, I had some really good friends, I had 2 cats and a dog, and I still felt lonely, isolated, sad, and angry at the world. What was wrong with me? Everyone was talking about how diets don't work. Certainly, my own experience proved that. According to the T Factor Diet and Stop the Insanity, the low-fat lifestyle is a change in eating habits leading to a gradual weight loss, not a diet. I signed on. A few months later, I was binging on real ice cream and high fat everything. I felt like a complete failure. A relative recommended the Overcoming Overeating approach and gave me the book to read. Again, a glimmer of hope and again, I promised myself I would lose weight.

Now, I'm a few months into the approach. I've spent much of that time kicking and screaming and resisting. It's been very hard for me to accept the ideas when there is no promise of how much weight I will lose (if any) in what period of time. In fact, as I began legalizing and stocking, I gained weight.

But I have made a remarkable discovery. I have found that I have a loving, supportive and caring mommy inside of me. The idea that I could be my own good caretaker touched a deep need in me that before, I had never addressed. I need to be accepted and loved unconditionally. For the first time in my life, I am able to talk to myself without name calling, without anger and hate and disgust. I am learning that I am scared and anxious and in a lot of pain, and for the first time in my life, I accept those feelings with gentleness and compassion. I know I have a lot of issues to address and I have a feeling it's going to be a long and difficult process. But my new mommy is making a whole set of different promises to me. She promises to be there for me during the hard times. She promises to remind me to talk to myself gently when I'm scared and need to turn to food for comfort. And she promises never to yell, always to love and accept me even if I never lose an ounce!

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