Monday, July 5, 2021

How I lost 100 pounds embracing grief vs. minimizing sorrow

 I've been blogging about how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or a weight loss drug. And while some discussion centers on diet tips to lose weight, probably more of it deals with psychological issues. It is easy to misunderstand obesity as just a physical thing. But I got overweight from not dealing with mental health concerns like depression and grief. Part of how I lost 100 pounds was to acknowledge grief rather than burying my sorrow. 

The gastric bypass reality show "My 600-lb Life" proves the importance of that in weight loss. Overweight participants on "My 600-lb Life" share stories of grief and trauma and how they led to obesity. I experienced weight gain after losing two stillborn daughters and taking the antidepressant Paxil. My obesity did not reach the extent of those on "My 600-lb Life"but only because I was blessed to catch it in time and lose weight. As Al-Anon says, there but for the grace go I. All of us actually.

So getting overweight had to do with repressed emotions, trauma and stress. And losing weight had to do with giving them their airspace. No blame shame game, but it essential feeling all that went with it: anger, resentment and maybe even some bitterness for a little while. Acknowledging every feeling as neither right nor wrong, says Al-Anon, is how we get to a healthier place. 

It was also important to turn a deaf ear to some unhelpful comments. People in grief do not need to be exhorted, perked up, pontificated to or chided. We don't need .  to be told what to do. We are not stupid, we are hurt. We need sympathy, empathy and space. 

Grief is personal and it takes every person her own time to deal with. I'm not saying we should dwell on pain but sometimes, we hurry the process. We end up compartmentalizing and stuffing emotions as Al-Anon would say. And define "Dwelling on." It varies by person. After a death, for example, one person may be feeling better after a month. Others may take a year or longer. And you never "get over" losing someone. You may hopefully get to a place where it hurts less.

How are grief and weight gain related?Sometimes we turn to food for the comfort we aren't getting elsewhere. Sometimes depression causes us not to care for ourselves. Listening to other people too much and ourselves not enough disconnects our physical and emotional selves.

So weight loss for me was about owning my feelings, learning to do what I needed to do to heal, and giving myself permission to take all the time I needed. If you need someone to give you that permission let it be me. Love and healing, my friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive