I have gained and lost 20-30 pounds at least 3 times in my life. The changes my body went through each time really had nothing to do with the food, it had nothing to do with my body, and the changes were more a reflection of how I was trying to process events in my life. When I felt good about my body this was more because of how I was processing my life and when I felt negative about my body this was also again how I was honoring and paying attention to my feelings.
Have you ever had the experience where you looked in the mirror in the morning and thought, "Damn I look great today!" and then as the day moved on and perhaps you got some bad news or you had a lot of work and a lot of stress arose and suddenly you looked in the mirror again and thought, "Ugh I wish I weighed 5 pounds less." Our body is actually exactly the same. It hasn't changed but what has changed is our connection and compassion toward ourselves and perhaps the heaviness we are feeling is not necessarily because of our body but because of how we are mentally processing external events.
I am guilty of having said in the past, "I feel so fat today." In my process of honoring and embracing my emotions and how deeply I feel things (which will come in another post) I realized that fat is not a feeling. Fat is something that is in our body that we need to be alive. Fat is something we eat. Fat is not a feeling. So when we hear these internal thoughts of I feel fat we get to take a pause, breath, and start to get curious around how we are actually feeling in the moment.
Perhaps we are feeling tired, mentally heavy, sad, frustrated, angry. In just the process of naming how we are feeling in the moment by stating out loud I feel fear, I feel tired, I feel stressed we embrace our human experience exactly the way that it is and we don't have to make our body the battle ground of fighting our emotions. We can separate how we are processing our life from our body image and that no matter what is happening day to day we are still wonderful and beautiful just as we are. When we create more internal space to foster compassion and kindness and self love toward our body then no matter what emotions arise or how we are processing our life we can still take care of our body and discover how we can even increase our level of self care in the moment.
I no longer reach for food when I feel stressed or anxious or sad or depressed. This is a process that took me throughout my 20s to re-learn how to honor my physical and emotional hungers. Give yourself so much compassion on this path. Every moment is a new moment where we get to begin again and to catch our internal thoughts and ask ourselves is this the most loving and nourishing this I could say to myself right now? If the answer is no then the power and choice is within you to re-shape those thoughts to ones that feel more loving to you just the way you are and that you are always doing the best you can to take care of you.