I’ve been really conflicted about addressing this problem because it goes against everything that I’ve said in my self-acceptance post. If you haven’t read it, I basically exemplified that my rigidity was preventing me from valuing myself because I was so fixated on being perfect, but I discovered that so many people admired what I did while I constantly believed that my interest in health and fitness was worthless to my social environment.
Regarding this situation, recently someone in my family made a comment that I was very suspicious about. I wasn’t sure if this person tried to hurt my feelings or meant well, or just wanted to say what was said for the sake of seeing a reaction. This person basically said:
“Cassie, you should stop eating dessert so much!”
I responded jokingly with a genuine laugh, “Oh you think I’m gonna get fat?”
“I think so! Yes!”
This person was being serious, by the way. I was also eating SUPER healthy and moderate desserts too–fruit, unsweetened dark chocolate, pure peanut butter, or one of these cereals. I don’t know if it was me being really sensitive, but that comment really hurt my feelings. I didn’t show that it did but I struggled to sleep last night with cereal just slumping in my stomach, making me feel so guilty and crappy about myself. I stepped on the scale the next day and almost cried because I found myself at the higher end of my general range. I never felt this horrible about myself in a very long time.
I didn’t stop eating dessert after dinner right away, but I tried to cut out everything else to compensate. I purged through exercise and shrank my other meals to even it out. But no matter what, I saw nothing when I looked in the mirror. Nothing I liked about what I saw. I always found something to pick at–jiggly thighs, purging belly fat, a squarish torso, whatever. I hate the way my clothes fit. Sometimes I’d even comment saying that I was out of shape, but all I got was denial. I didn’t believe anyone who objected. It wasn’t until I finally stopped eating dessert one single night when I got called out for it. I tried my absolute best to cover the reasons why I did it (“Oh no, it’s just because I’m not craving chocolate”), but in the end I was busted. Everyone now knew that I was afraid of eating dessert because sweets = weight gain. I thought, great, now my family thinks I have some kind of eating disorder.
The more my mind revolved around this comment, the more my behaviors started to become obsessive. I’d freak out from every possibility of not getting in a good workout. I’d beat myself up internally if I accidentally bit into something unhealthy. I was terrified of what to do if I was in a situation where I was offered food or if I was one step behind from weighing myself, working out or getting in a good sleep. But I had to stick to my general healthy regimen if I were to gain confidence again. What I didn’t realize was that the more obsessed I became, the more power I gave to the old comment that occurred weeks ago.
One night in bed, something in my mind hit me. What happened to the old you who didn’t give a sh*t about anything? Where is she and why isn’t she here? It was then when I discovered that I was to blame all along, not the comment. Words can hurt only if you allow them to, and that was exactly what I did to myself. I let someone else’s expectations dictate my happiness. But how was I going to please other people if I couldn’t even please myself?
I’m not going to lie and say that the comment no longer bothers me. It still does, but it’s not like I wish it never ever happened. At the same time, I know that I can use these comments to prove other people wrong and use them to my best advantage. Or, I can just live my life if I don’t find that the criticism fits into my personal happiness. Now, what did I do as a result of the dessert comment as of now? I didn’t stop eating dessert, actually! But what I DID stop doing was stressing out about it. The excess stress that I let cloud my mind was actually part of the cause I started to bloat more after I became more self-conscious. When I decided not to stress about it anymore, my body recomposed itself and found its happy place again.
I’ll probably talk about this more in a later post, but stress seriously plagues your body and can manipulate it in a way so that it starts working against you, no matter how healthy you eat or how intensely or long you work out for. I was so stressed about gaining weight from this person’s remark that I did gain weight, or at least believed that I did. But what I really had to learn from this experience was that it was all in my control to change it. If something is bothering me, then I can either fix it or fix my point of view, and you can do the same.
I hope that this post helps you and resonates with your beliefs, or that you’ve gotten something new out of it. Be on the lookout for my full video and post series of New York City and I look forward to coming back soon–but I’m having a blast!
What are your best tips when something starts to really stress you out?