Today I had an "ah-ha" moment. It took 4 years, but I think I get it! It was triggered by this before photo popping up in my facebook memories from 5 years ago, (coupled with my most recent post-op photo taken last week, down 120 pounds since surgery in 2013). (attached below)
....And then reading the following quote on a friend's post:
"Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about unbecoming everything that isn't you so you can be who you were in the first place."
I've struggled for years since losing the weight after surgery with questions of "is this the 'real' me, or am I just pretending and the 'real' 'fat' me will resurface sooner or later?" "Can people really change long-term?" It felt like the obese, sad, self-hating "me" was a monster waiting just below the surface to re-emerge. Give enough time and the right circumstances, the "real me" monster will rear it's head and I'll find myself back at nearly 300 pounds.
Guys! I get it now! It's not about change. It's not about the "sticking power" of change. It's not about willpower or determination. It's not even about counting carbs, protein, calories, and ounces of water. Sure those are tools that help. But it's not about that.
It's about doing the hard emotional work to figure out why I was hiding myself behind 150 excess pounds. It was about allowing myself to have a voice and using it. It was about demanding self-respect and respect from others. It was about leaving behind, painfully as it was in some cases, the toxic people in my life who emotionally damaged me. It was about processing the feelings that I didn't allow myself to feel for 18 years.
Once I realized this, once I did this work, I could little by little shed the layers that hid who I was. I don't hate myself anymore. I'm not even angry at myself for letting myself get to be 300 pounds like I was when my journey started. I realize now that I was coping. I was doing the best I knew how to do at the time. I look at that person in the "before" picture below and I feel compassion because I know she did her best.
I'm able now to let go the "fear" - and trust me, it's a literal fear - of that "real me" monster re-emerging from just below the surface. I can let it go because I realize, this is the real me. It was actually opposite. It was all the hiding I was doing under the emotional eating and the 150 excess pounds that was hiding the "real me."
So I have to on some level disagree with those who say this is a process of change. Sure, you have to change your behavioral choices with food and exercise or none of this will work. But for me it was not "becoming a new person" or "changing" who I am as a person. For me it was about simply allowing myself to feel and allowing myself to return home to who I was before I was hurt and who the universe intends me to be.
Feel free to check out my blog linked in my signature for more of my journey!