Looking back, I can see that when I was overweight and a lot heavier than I am now, I would spend a lot of time feeling bad about myself. In all honesty, I could say that I pretty much hated myself because I was fat and not skinny, I hated myself because I over-ate, because I couldn’t seem to control how much I ate. It was as if something was controlling me, some creature within me that demanded food and more food until my stomach hurt. I hated my body and the way it looked and hated that I couldn’t stop this monster-eater.

I went to the gym to try and lose weight and became fit for my size; I’d pull weights and use the treadmill, but the kind of fitness I really needed eluded me. I became a compulsive shopper to try and buy clothes that would hide the weight, but how can you hide an extra 44 kilos? It’s not such an easy trick to pull off!

I was also forever searching for ways to feel better about myself and escape this self-destructive cycle of self-loathing.

Feeling bad

There were so many ways I felt bad about myself; I felt deeply ashamed at my size, I felt ashamed I couldn’t be ‘normal’ (but what is normal anyway?). I ate, drank and numbed myself so I would not feel as bad, but it never worked. When I ate I wanted to annihilate myself with self-loathing. Even going to the gym was a battle with myself and my body. I lived with thoughts going around and around in my head of shame, disgust, frustration and a self-loathing that felt as deep as the deepest ocean.

Skinny is everywhere and fat is shamed

If we take a cursory look, we can see there is so much in the world to support us to feel bad about ourselves – because skinny is everywhere and applauded everywhere, especially in the media and magazines:

  • Celebrities with even slightly fat bodies are shamed for their size (fat-shaming), make-up advertisements are dominated with skinny models, even hair models are thin and never big
  • the food we are told to eat by ‘experts’ in those magazines, which, if we were to stick to, we are told would produce the ideal weight in a jiffy: if it doesn’t, we must be a failure, so adding to the burden of self-shame.

So called ‘healthy eating’ is packed with high carb, high-sugar and high fat, so it’s not so healthy at all. When it comes to our physical health, I have had the experience of an overweight GP telling me to go on a diet, in a case of ‘do what I say, not do what I do’. All of this seems to be there to tell us:

  • That we are not good enough
  • That fat is failure
  • That we need something ‘out there’ that we need to ‘do’, or ‘have’ some magic remedy that is ‘out there somewhere’.

So, we are constantly searching the world for that one outfit to make us look thin, the one diet that will make us thin overnight, the one hair-do that people will love and so not notice our body weight.

What kind of vicious cycle is this?

What way is this to treat ourselves and anyone else who is even slightly overweight, let alone 44kg overweight!

If the world tells us we need to keep searching for the one ‘something’ that will miraculously change our lives, like the wave of a magic wand, what is that telling us about ourselves? That we are intrinsically wrong for carrying excess weight?

How is that possible? Why have we accepted this as okay?

The harm we do to ourselves with the self-bashing and self-loathing is far worse that the impact of all the food we care to eat, for it takes us apart and disassembles us to poison ourselves with self-hatred, self-blame and loathing.

What sense does it make that overweight means we should be condemned?

Absolutely NONE!

Let’s consider some facts here –

We are born with incredible beauty within us; nothing can take that way, nothing and no one.

Just because we grow and put on excess weight cannot and does not take that beauty away from us – it is inviolate, untouchable, no matter what happens to us or what hurts we have experienced, it remains.

We can recognise the beauty within us or we can bury it. But why do we bury it? We can do that for all sorts of reasons, but no matter what the reason.

We do not have to remain a prisoner of the influences that tell us we are no good.

Anything that tells us we are ‘no good’ or ‘not good enough’ is a lie anyway

I have found it’s best to not listen to lies – they are worthless. So living in the world is a bit like a boot camp – it’s how fit we can be to not listen to things that are untrue; anything that tells us we are not the innate beauty within us. This kind of fitness has nothing to do with body building, but is the kind of fitness that can support us to refuse to listen to lies, refuse to self-loathe, refuse to self-bash or be self-critical and appreciate ourselves for all we are worth. That calls for the kind of fitness that we can build step by step by being gentle and loving with ourselves.

We can make ourselves a priority with how we move, speak and walk and go about our day realising just how valued and precious we are. That is real fitness in the world.

There is a wealth of articles, videos and audios on this site to support you to develop appreciating yourself for all you are worth:

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Body imageFatLosing weightWeightFitness

  • Photography: Matt Paul