Are you stressed about your weight and fitness level?
Do you gravitate towards specific comfort foods when you need a mood boost?
Do you binge or eat emotionally when you’re stressed?
Have you tried every diet and fitness plan under the sun but still feel stuck?
Do you always seem to encounter roadblocks every time you try to get in shape and lose weight?
You might seem to have it together on the outside, but inside you feel ugly and unworthy. Stuck. You wonder where it all came from and if you’re just doomed to live with these feelings and extra weight forever. You know that this mindset affects both you and those in your universe (kids, spouse, partner) negatively, but you don’t know how to change.
If any of this resonates with you, you may be suffering from what I call REAR VIEW MIRROR SYNDROME.
You know that saying, “Objects in your rear view mirror are closer than they appear?” Well, events from our past can follow us around, always within view and constantly affecting our moods, eating, relationships, jobs -- everything. Both big and little things that happened to us as children or teens have a way of growing and becoming huge mental monsters that keep us heading to the cookie jar or wine fridge.
And, it’s not only negative past events that can haunt us today; memories that give us warm and fuzzy feelings can also influence our eating habits today—they don’t call it comfort food for nothing!
I can relate...
It’s hard to pinpoint when it all started for me.
Maybe when the pediatrician said I was fat. . . .
Perhaps it was when my parents mistook my trailblazer personality as a curse and liability rather than as the amazing gift I now know it is. . . .
Maybe it was when I always got picked last for team sports. . . ..
It might have been when a boy in 8th grade cruelly whispered comments to me from behind the stage curtain at a talent show that I was SO ugly and that no one could ever love me.
Or when I went to college and gained the freshman 15 (times 3)?
Or when my weight went to sumo-wrestler status during and after pregnancy.
All I know is that feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, and shame followed me to high school, to college, and adulthood. I became a yo-yo dieter and tried every fad diet and weight-loss plan I could find, spending multiple thousands over many years. But my mental monsters and extra weight just followed me wherever I went. And this mindset influenced nearly all aspects of my life.
Professionally, I stayed in bad job situations way too long---always looking to prove my loyalty while hoping things would improve-trying to earn love and respect and acknowledgement from others that I was indeed worthy, talented, and lovable.
Personally, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and why others seemed hell bent on keeping me in my place. I would rev up with coffee every morning, relax with wine at night, and perhaps comfort myself with donuts during the day or Ben and Jerry’s (Heath Bar Crunch) in the evening--my two fave comfort foods!
But no amount of food or drink could give me the affirmation that I needed, so these unhealthy habits and unhelpful mindset remained firmly in place, and the cycle continued.