So one night I was lying in bed and I realized something–that when I woke up the next day, I didn’t have to do things the same way I had always done them. It sounds crazy to say that I actually had to have the realization, but I did. You can go through your whole life and just keep doing things the same old way, or you can wake up one day and start doing things differently. It really is a choice.
But here’s the deal. In order for your world to change, you have to change something in your world–and that starts inside you. You have to first change your mind. You have to understand that you have the power to make the change, and then you have to do it.
It all seems very elementary, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. I have learned that sometimes changing your mind once isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to think something one time and have that thought carry enough weight to last for the rest of your life. You have work to maintain the mindset you have adopted so that you can continue to live the life that you are beginning to live.
Here’s an example, and don’t get offended. I’m okay with all body shapes and sizes. For me though, I need to be under a certain weight to be comfortable and healthy. I lost about 65 lbs in about a year and a half. I did it by making different choices with food. My dilemma is this: my mind has not accepted the new version of me. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see my new body size. I see the same person that I have always seen looking back at me. I don’t have a super negative body image–I never realized that I was as heavy as I was. The only way for me to see how big or small I actually am is to look at a photograph of myself. It’s ridiculous to me that my mind can fool me the way it does when a photo tells the cold hard truth every time!
So what does my example really mean? It means that I am constantly obsessing about eating too much. I’m not worried about getting enough to eat–I don’t obsess over meals. I just always feel guilty when I put a morsel of anything in my mouth! Even though the way that I eat now is healthy and is good for maintaining a healthy weight, I am still in the mindset that I have always been in. That’s very dangerous for someone who is trying to keep excess weight from returning. Any time you throw guilt into the equation, you have problems. One of the first things an old comfort food eater wants to do when she feels guilty is run to food to numb the guilt. Constantly fighting that battle keeps it on the forefront of my mind, but not in a place where I can deal with it.
I know I have to change my mindset to get a victory in this area. I have to throw away everything I have ever been taught about eating, and form new opinions. I don’t think that people understand the damage that they can do to children when they constantly tell them, “If you keep eating that way, you are going to get fat,” or when they tease like “You are going to have to start wearing a wide load sign around your neck.” The damage from words like that can carry over to adulthood. So can “grabbing the rolls of fat” and “pinching an inch” and making fat jokes, or doing anything that changes a kid’s perception of what “normal” is in regard to body size. The worst part about it is getting to be my age and realizing that I let the world bully me into being overweight when I never would have been if I would have known how to stand up to it.
How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you see the old you or the one who realized that you have the power to make changes for the good in your own life? Taking personal responsibility is a huge step but it’s also a huge privilege! God has entrusted us with the free will to be who He designed us to be–we don’t have to accept less than what He meant for us to have! I’m not trying to throw any prosperity gospel at you–becoming what He intended you to be takes hard work and sacrifice and humility. Nothing that is worth having ever comes too easily!
I need to change my mind in the body image mentality department. What is it for you? I know that of course it isn’t always as easy as going to bed at night knowing that tomorrow you can wake up with a different outlook and mindset, but on the other hand–it has definitely worked before! Anyway, it’s a place to start.