Everything is riding on my weight loss.

 Dear Suzie,


When I was younger I weighed a normal healthy weight, I can look back at pictures of myself aged 4 or 5 thin & happy. When I got to be about 7 I started putting on weight, my mothers habits within feeding me & my sister caused us to both grow to unhealthy weights. My mother isn’t all to blame though, because I gained my own independence as far as eating habits were concerned. I was unaware of consequences. Although the severe bullying at school & the taunting from my uncaring abusive father made me feel horrible & led me to understand that I was ‘fat’. But my lack of education in that region led me to believe that there was nothing I could do about it & that was just the way my life was going to be. I learnt to tolerate the bullying. When I reached secondary school I began to learn exactly how what I was eating & how I was treating my body physically was affecting me. Although the bullying reduced as I mixed with a lrager range of students, it still went on. I tried diets & other such ways to lose weight. But my love for food & my honest desire to enjoy the way I was pushed me to lose the will power. I began to be able to tolerate the moments of emotion pain when I noticed how I looked or when others taunted me. I could cope with those moments in small doses, but could not cope with the lack of food & the unwanted exercise activities. More recently I tried the gym, back when I had the confidence to try those things. I lost weight, which soon piled back on due to my lack of will power again. I begain self harming, lying & smoking to ease my pain. Lying about the things I wanted to be true. Saying things to make me the centre of attention, good or bad. I want to be thin & on some random occassions I will feel something inside me which tells me that I can do it. No matter what people say to me I cannot gain enough power. My health is bad & my immune system is against me. I have no confidence to go to gyms or go swimming or take part in other sports. I cannot be pushed with phrases or do good comments. Because of my childhood tolderation even being bullied & humiliated is not enough to make me lose the wieght. I have become lazy & angry. I upset everyone around me & cannot settle as myself. I have always felt that if I was thinner & happy with my body it would trigger other thingsin my life, which would make everything better. This may not be the cas but I know for a fact that some things will change. I am writing to you as an almost last resort. I would never reduce to suicide like I did last year, for I think of myself as stronger now. But I need some help. I have no energy & I am constantly ill. I cannot push myself to work hard for my GCSE’s & I constantly put myself down. Low fat, low carb, low fibre diets do not help. Health runs are pointless & last several days. I cannot keep myself in a zone in which I can help myself. I need help from someone. Someone who can help me change my life & bring my confidence back again. Everything is riding on my weight loss. If I do not achieve this, it will jeopardize everything in my life.


You might benefit from reading your own letter as carefully as I have done. You tell me you have no will power, are lazy and cannot push yourself. Yet, in every other sentence you give entirely potent examples of a will of iron. You cannot be pushed, nothing will make you do anything you do not choose to do. And you choose to be angry, helpless and – as you see it – “fat”.


Since you don’t give me your age, height and weight I don’t know whether you are actually obese. People with eating problems often display exactly your profile – lacking in energy, angry, defiant and utterly convinced they are fat when they are anything but.


Let’s get a few things straight.


One is that you’re the only person who can change things. I can’t wave a magic wand or come up with an instant, easy formula to make you what you wish to be. Especially as I’m not sure what you see in the mirror is the same thing as I might see.

Two is that nothing – NOTHING – will change if you lost weight. Nothing is riding on your weight loss. If you lost weight you’d still be the same person with the same problems. Your obsession with your weight is almost certainly a smokescreen for other issues. You say you were “happy and thin” when 4 or 5. And then what? You talk about an uncaring abusive father and a mother who  caused you to grow to an unhealthy weight. Doesn’t sound as if you felt your family had a loving, supportive atmosphere, does it? That’s what you need to look at, not your weight.

Three is that you are perfectly capable of keeping to a healthy eating plan and doing exercise. Thousands do. Why not you? You refuse because you see it as something imposed from above – you’re acting the small, defiant child to the bullying parent. Well, why not start acting like an adult, and do this for yourself?


I suggest you get some support from someone who can help you recognise you already have or can get some of that power you crave but not by losing weight.  You’d really benefit from seeing a counsellor. Are you in full time education? Is there a tutor who can help?  Or can you ask your GP to refer you? Whatever your age, it will be confidential unless you chose to let your family know you are doing this. I think it’s time you turned that refusal not to be pushed into a determination to push yourself. Good luck!  

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