This past year has been a time of breaking free.
I am breaking free from old patterns of thinking and and old patterns of being. In particular the diet mentality, the self-objectification and the feelings of my weight equaling my worth. Just a few small things, right? Since the moment I declared to never diet again, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is:
It is a lot harder than I thought.
I didn’t realize how much the diet culture and mindset was so embedded in every part of my psyche. After I declared I was done dieting, counting calories, journaling my food intake, weighing myself or restricting in any way, I felt a huge sense of fear; it truly felt like PTSD. I would find myself in states of fear and panic that I didn’t fully understand. How could I allow myself to eat whatever my body wanted, when I have never before in my life trusted my body to give me the hunger cues?In fact, I have used excessive means to obliterate those cues and any cravings. But what I didn’t realize would be so hard, was dealing with all of the ideas I had accumulated about what is good and what is bad and finding within myself a way to reconcile that.
This past weekend I was at a breakfast for my mindfulness teacher training and as I reached for a quarter of a bagel and ate it, one of the participants said to me OMG you eat white bread?! Was this a compliment, or was she horrified? My progress revealed itself in my response: Actually, I am working on applying my mindfulness training and instead of labeling foods good and bad or myself good or bad for eating certain foods, I am becoming more conscious and listening to my body. In the past, a shower of guilt would have washed over me and I probably would have eaten much more than that quarter of a bagel.
And, it’s not all my fault.
This is not just my own personal problem that I’m dealing with. Science is proving that trauma gets passed through our DNA; it’s called generational trauma. A study examining the DNA of Holocaust survivors and their children found similar variations from the norm in both generations for the gene associated with depression and anxiety disorders. The findings imply that children of individuals who experienced profound stress in life may be more likely to develop stress or anxiety disorders themselves.
The fears that I am dealing with are not just my fears, but the fears that the women in my lineage have had to deal with for generations. Of course what I do about it today is up to me, but knowing that the stress and anxiety I feel about my body is not just mine, gives me more strength. When one of us heals, we are helping so many others heal. Therefore, breaking free from the diet mentality (as well as self-objectification and measuring our worthiness with a number on a scale) is an evolutionary act.
My main tool in this period of change is mindfulness. Bringing awareness to my feelings instead of trying to disengage or detach. When I accept all of my feelings and emotions and instead of pushing them away, I give myself some nourishment. I am nourishing all those that have gone before me who didn’t have the tools.
So I am continuing my work to free myself from the false believe that my weight, size, shape, age or body has anything to do with my self worth. It is a journey I am taking on in the name of healing for all who have suffered from this inherited point of view.
Your worthiness has never been in question. Wake up and love yourself exactly as you are. It is an evolutionary act.