Weight Problem: finding the solution
“For many years I have had a weight problem. Specifically, I have insufficient weight.
Since my teenage years, and especially since I stopped my athletic activities, the situation with my weight got worse and worse until it peaked at the age of eighteen when, to my horror, the scales showed 49,5Kg with my height at 1,80 metres. I ran blood tests. They all showed perfect health. I went on special diets. The results were always temporary. In the beginning, everything would go well, but very soon my weight issue would return to the same starting point, if not worse. Dizziness, low stamina, a tendency to faint and a clenching feeling in my stomach were some of the symptoms that accompanied me every day, everywhere.
I tried to understand what was wrong with me and where the problem was, which only put more pressure on me. I avoided looking at myself in a full-length mirror and every time a salesperson in a store referred me to the children’s section “because there is no smaller size than XS”, my distress got worse and I wore clothes I had had since high school. I fell into the trap I had laid for myself time and time again until I despaired and gave up trying completely. The scales never showed anything above 58 Kg. It was as if they were broken. I tried exercising, vitamins and food supplements. Nothing. No permanent results. I just got more stressed and my stomach got tighter. I was forced to eat small meals 6-8 times a day, unless I was upset, in which case nothing would “go down”. In order to expand the walls of my stomach and be able to eat, I would often drink one or two glasses of water or smoke before a meal, fooling myself that this helped. The reality was that the exact opposite was happening; my appetite was ruined and meals became torture.
This situation went round in circles and had its highs and its lows. In the summer of 2010, my weight decreased again. Against all my wishes and every effort, the scales showed 52 Kg minus a few grams. I ran blood tests again. Again, everything was well with normal indicators. Nevertheless, the small warning bell that rang in my head was now howling like a siren that something was wrong. I was once again at my limit.
My companion stood by me as much as possible, but there was not much he could do since anything I ate was not consumed by my body but by something else that had been eating at me for 10 years. I had to start at the beginning once again.
I was exhausted. Any activity would wear me out to an unbelievable degree, I had no energy to do anything, I was constantly on the edge and I pretended not to notice that all my clothes were too large for me. I was even more upset because I could not work and my body was not helping me at all. Even though I made a tremendous effort to get my act together and to please my appetite for food, my stomach stubbornly refused to cooperate.
This situation lasted until May of 2011. In May of 2011 I became a member of the Servers’ Society. I take part in a self – study group as well as all activities for new members. My participation in the group “Balancing the Physical Body” was the reason for me to look more carefully at my physical body, to observe and explore it. What I saw, I did not like at all. From that moment on came a deep realisation that my problem was not biological. That my problem had its roots in some emotional issue which simply manifested on my body. Between the first two meetings of the group I worked on this subject. I observed myself. I found that I would get up from the dinner table supposedly to get something more or I would stall sitting at the table so that the others would already be half full and would not notice that I would barely eat ten bites of my food and stop.
Within very little time I realised that behind my problem was a very unpleasant memory that had to do with dinner time at my house when I was a child. In my family, dinner time was the only time when the entire family would get together. This resulted in my parents attacking and criticizing each other in an especially nasty and impolite way. Thus meal times became a source of anxiety, misery, nervousness and upset for me. At the same time as my realising all this, I also adopted a certain position towards it. I accepted that the situation was what it was but also that none of this was true anymore and therefore there was no reason to keep on feeling that way about food and perpetuate the problem. In other words, food must nourish my body without my body nourishing the feelings I have about food.
This realisation set me free. It was as if an invisible mechanism started working in my body. It is true that my body still reacts badly sometimes but now I have awareness and I can consciously face this unwanted reaction of my physical body. With every new meeting of the group I became aware of more details about my issue. I worked steadily and conscientiously at least three times a day. After a relatively short period of time, I saw the first results. I was now on an upward course. My weight was increasing and I could see that without getting on scales.
Only a month had past but the results of my work were visible. I looked healthier, my skin looked better and although I still got tired sometimes, I enjoyed finding various manual chores to do or going for a walk. I challenged my body to become hungry so that I could take one more step forward. My stamina improved. My mood got better. I stripped food of any connection to feelings. The need to nourish my body was no longer covered by the fear that I will have to face unpleasant emotions that are connected to something so simple.
At the same time with the work I did to increase my weight I also worked on something else. I worked on cutting down on my smoking. Since I consciously stopped smoking before meals I reduced the number of daily cigarettes by half. I treat my body with the same respect that I treat the things I give it for nourishment. I often catch myself preparing salad for half an hour or cooking something during the night and waiting for it with patience. With the difference that now I am not trying to increase the length of time until the meal nor am I trying to avoid eating altogether. No. I treat food and its preparation with love. It is now a ceremony. Quite often I consume a double portion without pressuring myself at all. I eat slowly and I savor every morsel as if I am now discovering the flavours.
The ceremony begins in the morning. I wake up and the hunger I feel brings me joy, not desperation. I prepare my breakfast and I enjoy it. I do not quickly raid the kitchen and eat whatever I find before the symptoms have a chance to manifest, as I used to do. I continue in the same manner for the rest of the day.
The certain thing is that thanks to the “Balancing the Physical Body” group I made my first steady steps on the road I have to travel. My participation in the group was the catalyst for my effective reaction.
I no longer expect or hope.