Watching Dr. Oz the other day he had a counselor on the show who was talking to morbidly obese patients about getting healthy. Some wanted the help, others not, but what he said was you have to start your journey by asking yourself one key question, "Who was the first person to tell you "you were worthless?"". This is really a personal question to answer, and very difficult, but a necessary question to face. I haven't shared my answer with many people except those who lived it with me, but feel that it is necessary in this process to be open and honest about why I got to 360lbs. For anyone who has struggled with the need to use food as a coping mechanism this is really an important thing for you to reflect on. It is one that I know the answer to myself, but I don't think I have ever articulated it in writing, so here it goes.
Most of you know I have struggled with weight my whole life, but looking back when was the first time I was made to feel worthless and by who? I remember I was always a chubby kid, but I don't remember ever feeling the need to overeat to make myself feel better. Growing up I loved to bake cookies with my Mom and eat the cookie batter, I loved the sweets. For the most part I had a normal childhood and a good home life. When I was about 11 years old my parents told me that I had a brother, a child my Mom had given up for adoption when she was a teenager, and he was going to be part of our family. This discovery for me wasn't really upsetting, I think it was shocking for sure, but it didn't upset me or make me feel worthless. Over the course of about a year and a half this brother was brought into our family and my Mom left to go be with him. That year or so was hell on earth, I remember coming home to a fight between my parents and trying to protect my little brother from the pain as we watched dishes being thrown across the room. I remember listening to my Mom talk about me on the phone about how I was getting in the way of her seeing her "new son", about how much of a bitch I was. I remember just not wanting to ever be in my house because it was painful, it was much more comforting to go to the store and buy five chocolate bars and eat them all. My Mom moved out of Victoria to live with what I saw as my replacement. I was no longer important enough to be her daughter, I was no longer important enough to raise, I was no one, I was worthless. I was left in a house of boys, I was left to help raise my brothers, do the laundry and the dishes. I was 13 going on 30.. I was resentful and angry, I didn't see or speak to my Mom for about six years. By that time I had ate myself to over 300 lbs. I had suppressed anger and feelings of worthlessness beneath a shell of fat - I was hiding from life. I had convinced myself that I wasn't good enough for anyone. Then since I was already 300 lbs, worthless, a no one, it didn't really matter anymore. I gave up, I would eat a large pizza all by myself and feel sick and gross but still eat it. I would go to Tim Hortons, order a dozen donuts and eat them all. I was ashamed at who I was, disgusted, I was proving what was ingrained in my head at 13 "you are not worthy". This got me to my highest weight of 360 lbs at 24 years old.
So that is my story of worthlessness, today I have a good relationship with my Mom but the worthlessness story is still a tape in my head. It still carries forward in my life even now that I have lost 185 lbs. I still second guess peoples intentions, do they really like me for me? or do they want something? will they stick around if I say the wrong thing? Am I disappointing them? Am I making the right choices? I'm a work in progress, it's been a long hard struggle emotionally for me to get past the hurt, but I work on it every day. I force myself to let go of the questions in my head about others intentions.
So now that I've shared something very personal to me, I hope this will help others reflect on their own story. Ask yourself the same question, "who was the first person to tell you you were worthless?". Be honest, and face what the root of your internal struggle is. The story of being told your worthless, in whatever context that is, is really the story of why you gained weight and it is the story you need to face in order to conquer the weight. Face it, you will be grateful you did.