“Hey, Emily, why don’t you lose some weight?”
I’ll never forget those words – not in my whole life. They will sadly probably run through my mind on my death bed. That would be just my luck. All of my loved ones around and me, in a fog, blurting out, “Why don’t you lose some weight?” That would be super cool and totally something that would happen to me.
Those bitter words came out of the blue and I was not prepared. Walking down the hallway of my high school in my dance team skirt, I was simply thinking about my routine for the game that night.
I turned to see a guy one year older than me standing at his locker looking me up and down. I knew him but we weren’t especially close and I hadn’t done anything that I knew of to him. He was a bit of a bad boy but not really known to cause a lot of trouble. Or do things like this.
He simply turned back and went about his day. And devastated mine.
I went to the bathroom and sobbed hysterically. At that moment and many going forward, I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to be someone else. And, more than all, I wanted out of this stupid skirt. Who was I to think that I could ever look good in it anyway? I would never be as pretty as the other girls on my competitive 1990’s dance team squad.
Those words, spoken by a boy who was likely just having a bad day and has no recollection of them, will stick with me forever. Just hearing someone else say what my teenage-self already thought took me from a confident, high-achieving, vivacious girl to humiliation, shame, and despair in two seconds flat.
It’s Not Always WHAT Happens
And the reason that could happen was my own thinking. In my mind, a mean boy’s words confirmed that others saw what I already thought – that I was not good enough. That I would never be good enough. Simply because I was carrying around a few extra pounds. And, by today’s standards, no one would have noticed. I think I was seriously around a size 8 at that time. If that boy could have gotten ahold of me years later, he would really have had some ammunition.
Isn’t that the irony of life? Years later, when my weight really was a problem, I could have cared less what that boy had to say. Well, I might have cared a little to be totally honest. With the way his life turned out, his opinions mean VERY little to me. But, at that time, he had the ability to destroy me with a few cruel words.
It’s HOW We Choose to Think of It
The real problem behind those nasty comments (besides the nasty comments themselves – who does that anyway?) was how I CHOSE to let them impact me. And they had a bigger impact than they should have because of the negative thoughts I was already telling myself – all day long.
I still struggle with those thoughts. I love Corinne Crabtree of Phit-n-Phat.com’s name for it. She calls it FGT – Fat Girl Thinking. It lives with us every day and erodes how we feel about ourselves. Fat Girl Thinking makes us feel like a failure even in the setting of success.
Forget all of the things that I was doing well in life. I was a failure because some random person commented on my weight. After all, my 30 pound heavier self from years later would probably have loved to have that teenage body that I was so ashamed of that day.
How We Think Drives Our Emotional Eating
Most of us turn to food when those negative thoughts swirl in our heads. What will make me feel better, is cheap, is easy to get, and will give instant gratification? Chocolate chip cookies. What will turn this negative afternoon around? That bag of chips in the cabinet.
When changing emotional eating habits, we must first look at our brains. Pick your 5 biggest emotional triggers and determine the thought behind them this week. What were you thinking when you felt that emotion and you chose to eat? Until you understand your thoughts, you will not make life-long changes to your emotional eating. Willpower does not last. Understanding WHY you are doing it and making changes to those thoughts and feelings will.
Simple Solution: Our thoughts control our feelings that cause emotional eating. And until you recognize them, you cannot change them. Let’s get to work on recognizing and changing those thoughts to the positive.
For more on Corinne Crabtree, check out: https://www.phit-n-phat.com/
For More Blog Posts on Diet Enlightened: