You’ve tried everything to lose the weight. You eat healthy, you exercise, you’re in good health and yet you just can’t lose the weight. I know exactly how that feels and I’ve been in a constant battle with my body for the last 10 years.
For many of us warriors putting on weight and not being able to get it off can sometimes be an unfortunate side effect of trauma. *I am in no way a therapist, I am only speaking from my own experiences.* I noticed that I started putting on weight right after my sexual assault. I had always been thin growing up. I always ate whatever I wanted and never worried about exercise. I was still fitting into a size 14 children’s jeans when I left for freshman year of college.
When I first started putting on weight I assumed it was your typical freshman 15. But this pattern continued and is still something I’m working to heal today. I would put on 5-10 lbs and then lose it. Then I would put on 10-15 lbs and lose it. Then 15-20 and lose it. Now I’ve put on 30 and have tried everything to lose it. I have been in a constant cycle of my weight yo-yo-ing up and down. I have tried everything I can think of to get the weight to come off but it just won’t budge.
So why can’t I lose the weight and keep it off for good?
It was a question I had been banging my head against the wall trying to find the answer to. It’s also a topic I’ve been exploring in depth in with my therapist. And I’ve had so many revelations around my feelings about shame, feeling powerless, my mom’s issues with her body and weight and my unwillingness to allow myself to feel pleasure, but the real aha moment came for me a couple of weeks ago while listening to one of Christine Hassler’s podcasts. You can listen to it here.
In her podcast, Christine spoke with a young woman who had been dealing an eating disorder since she was a child. She felt like she had been taking all the right steps in healing her disorder but for some reason, the weight still wasn’t coming off. Christine asked her how she thought her weight was serving her. What was its purpose? The girl was obviously stumped (as was I) and Christine went on to explain that when you have been through a trauma, in this case, the woman was abused by an uncle, the subconscious mind tells the body that it’s unsafe. The body then puts on weight as a form of protection, like a shield. The body feels like if it has a shield around itself it will become less visible.
It’s not your body’s fault, it’s only trying to protect you and keep you safe.
For me, this was incredibly life-changing. My body doesn’t hate me. It’s not working against me. It’s actually trying to protect me the only way it knows how. So take a moment to thank your body for keeping you safe.
Now it’s time to let your body know it’s safe so you can easily and effortlessly lose those extra pounds and keep them off for good. Treating your body holistically, mentally, physically and emotionally is the best way to ensure that your body knows it is safe and to begin to trust again.
- Mental- Get out your journal and every day write down 5 ways you felt safe and were able to trust. For example…”Today I felt really safe when I spoke with my best friend. I opened up to her and told her how I was feeling and she made me feel really loved and supported. I know that I can be vulnerable around her and tell her how I feel and it is safe to trust her”. This is giving your subconscious mind a clear message that it is safe to trust.
- Emotional- This one might seem a little bit silly, but trust me it works. You can do this in one of 2 ways. Christine recommends getting a picture of yourself as a child. Keep that picture with you wherever you go. Whenever you start to feel unsafe or feelings from your past start to come up look at your picture and remind your younger self that it is safe, that you can trust, and that you are deeply loved. I also like to imagine my inner child in a really cozy room. One that just feels warm and inviting with lots of fuzzy things and people who I really love. Whenever I feel unsafe I just imagine my inner child in that room. Instantly the feeling of unsafe dissipates and I can get right back to what I’m doing.
- Physical- There is something that’s so raw and primal in feeling like you can protect yourself if you ever needed to. Taking a self-defense or any kind of martial arts class is a great way to learn how to actually physically protect yourself. It sends a signal straight to your brain that you safe and can protect yourself. Try Krav Maga, kickboxing/ boxing, Jiu Jitsu or Tae Kwon Do.