Your Weight is NOT Your Identity

So often we attach our self worth to how we look and what size we are.  We can often do this for so long that we forget who we are apart from our bodies.  We begin to think that our identity is tied to that number on the scale.
My sister recently told me about a conversation she was having with her husband.  She told him
she didn’t know her role in the family if she wasn’t the skinny one because all her life up until now she had been the skinny one. So now who was she?

I liked his answer. He said “you can be more than one thing”.

I had a different answer.

I said, “you’re the same person you’ve always been in the family.  You’re the kindest of us, the most caring, the most artistic, and the most creative. Being skinny or fat doesn’t change that”.
Whether you were skinny when you were younger and now you’ve gained weight in recent years as an adult or maybe it’s the other way around and you were the fat girl growing up and now you’re slimming down, regardless, your weight does not define who you are.

Sometimes we can get this skewed vision of “being skinny” similar to how we might think of money. We think that it will change us but really it is like money in that losing the weight will just allow us to be more of who we are already are.  Money will make a generous person able to be more generous and it will enable an evil person to be more treacherous.  If you are overweight, the excess weight has been put there as a sort of shield of armor to protect you and make you feel safe from the parts of life you’ve been too afraid to deal with.  Your fear causes you to overeat as a coping mechanism and the result is weight gain.  You have been hiding behind the weight rather than living life as your truest self.  So losing the  weight doesn’t mean you’ll become a different person. It means that you are no longer hiding and you are able to be more of who you were always meant to be .

And then there’s the inner critic.

There is a voice that so many of us carry around with us for most of our lives. Some people refer to her as the mean girl. It’s the inner critic telling you that you’re not good enough. It says you are weak for not being able to control your eating. It says something must be wrong with you that you can’t just shake this problem and lose the weight already. This voice is taunting and relentless and yes, just plain ole mean. And yet, over the years, it is familiar. You’ve come to expect it in your ear. You depend on that constant bashing to keep you in your place. Without it you’re not quite sure who you are. So losing the extra weight can be a very scary thing because it means possibly losing your mean girl voice too.
Sometimes what makes us miserable still feels better than the unknown. We stay in bad relationships longer than we should because it’s what we know. We stay in shitty jobs way longer than we should because at least we know what to expect every day when we show up for work. And we hold onto excess weight because we’ve become familiar with that body. If we change these things that have become so familiar to us then who will we be? How will we define ourselves?
That voice in your head is not your friend. She is holding you back and keeping you from being your true self. That bad relationship you are in is not who you are. That dead end job is not who you are. And you are NOT your weight.
So who are you?
 
How you treat people day in and day out is who you are. Whatever beauty in the world lights you up, whether its art or nature or good literature.  That’s who you are. The ways that you choose to express yourself, that’s who you are. And that one special talent you have that no one else can do quite like you- that’s who you are.
But you are NOT your weight.
Maybe you’ve gone so long living with what’s familiar and listening to that mean voice that you’ve forgotten who you are. Here’s how you can go about remembering and reclaiming the real you:

Every day moving forward, ask yourself these 3 questions to help you figure out who you are when you’re not labeling yourself by your weight loss journey.

1. What did you used to love to do as a child? Many of us were our truest selves when we were young and innocent and didn’t even know to care about what other people thought of us. Looking back to our childhood can reveal the mysteries of our soul’s true nature.
2. Whenever you’ve  found that you’ve lost track of time, what were you  doing? Some people call this “being in flow”. Being in flow is a type of euphoria. It is wonderful to be so engrossed in something that you lose track of time. You’re so consumed by the activity that you even forget to eat. Yes, I know, what a concept! But it’s real and it can happen to you. Once you are paying attention and you are aware of what puts you in flow you can more readily recreate that situation time and time again. This is how you find your passion in life and then you can pursue it relentlessly.  When you are pursuing your passion there will be no room in your life for diets and food addictions and weight obsession. You will simply have better things to do.
3. What kind words have people always said about you your whole life? You may have a mean girl in your head telling you you’re awful but most likely there are people in your life who have always sung your praises. They don’t see your weight. They only see you. Recall what they love about you.  What have they always said about you. “Ryan has always been such a great problem solver. No matter what you’re going through, you can always go to her and she’ll help you come up with a plan and figure it out.”  It may not be family. Maybe its friends or teachers or neighbors. Look around, those people are there.
As I look at my sister over the past 5 years, I also notice that she has completed less creative projects, and she’s making less art. She has become more bitter and as a result she’s a bit less compassionate to others.  These traits are not gone of course but they are not as full as they once were.  When she finally loses the weight and returns to her former “skinny self”, I don’t believe it will be the result of some strict diet she was able to sustain. No, instead, I believe it would be a direct result of her remembering the girl she’s always been, the creative, artistic compassionate girl, and regaining these qualities she has always possessed and claiming them as her truest self.
We are not our weight. Or our thighs.  Or our bellies. Our bodies do not define us.They are merely the vessels that contain our souls.  But our bodies are indeed a reflection of how we are living and whenever we are not being our authentic selves it will show.
So think back and recall all the wonderful things people have always said about you all your life no matter what size you were at the time. That’s who you are. That’s who you’ve always been. And maybe the answer to your weight loss struggle is to stop dieting and focus on getting back to being more of that girl that everyone knows when they think of you. That girl that deep down you’ve always been.
So tell me who you are without using how you look to describe yourself.  Let’s get a conversation going about how great we all are and how great we all could be if we stopped giving a f*ck about how much we weigh.  Leave a comment below.

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