Wednesday, August 31, 2022

How I lost 100 pounds by deleting old messages on service vs. self-care

Who here recalls recording on cassette tapes? You could re-record but first you had to "erase" existing recordings. Now with cellphones, it's similar technology, except we delete old messages. This relates to weight loss, too. Part of how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or drugs was by deleting old messages on service to others and creating new ones about self-care. Alanon teaches a similar concept. 

I was raised on the old maxim that to achieve JOY, you put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. Which is good, to some extent. However if you're an empath like me, you translate that as serving Jesus by putting others always and yourself never. I learned young to ignore my own needs, wants, feelings and ideas and be a servant to all.  I was so busy trying to please everyone that I made myself miserable. 

It wasn't just obesity that this indentured servitude caused. That came later in life. In the early days, it meant denying myself (or being denied) everything including enough food to sustain. For much of my early life, I didn't have my own bed or pillow. I had to buy my own shoes and sanitary napkins. I had to raise siblings. I learned to make the best of situations that weren't even safe, let alone healthy.  

Self-care, I learned, was selfish and self-centered. That I should suffer with joy. That I should serve without appreciation or reward. My role in life was to help, do for and fix. I took care of everyone. Except my grandparents. There I could be a kid. There, I had what I needed. But their voices weren't loud enough to drown out the other messages. Those said I had to earn everything, including love. And no matter how hard I worked or how much I gave, it was never enough to buy that. 

So what does this have to do with weight loss or weight gain? Everything. Getting healthier requires several things: 

1) recognizing you're ill. 

2) discovering that you deserve to be well. 

3) deleting old messages that tell you otherwise. 

4) learning how to be well. 

5) understanding that you can serve others and still take care of yourself. 

6) Knowing that if serving others is keeping you from self-care, you're doing it wrong. 

7) Discerning when someone needs your help and when they are manipulating and exploiting you. 

8) Coming to the awareness that you don't have to and shouldn't help when it harms you. 

9) Believing that No. Is a complete sentence. 

10) Accepting that God wants you to be healed and that He will help you do that. 

So this post has been as much catharsis for me as advice for you. But catharsis is painful as well as healing. It's still very much a work in progress for me. And I hope, if any of this resonates with you, that you'll read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. If you need someone to tell you that you DESERVE happiness and wellness, please, let it be me. Love, mar


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