"My Friend Has a Weight Problem"

It happens over and over again. When I tell people what I do - helping women heal their relationships with food and body, people will tell me that they have a friend with a weight problem. 

Their voices drop a little as if maybe they shouldn't be talking about it. And then they proceed to tell me about the friend in a bigger body who is unhappy and has lost some weight recently or is trying to lose weight. Can I help them?

Yes I can help! It just might not be in the way that you expect. 

The biggest problem people have with their weight is the fact that people keep telling them it's a problem and they have taken it upon themselves to try and fix what wasn't broken. 

Once they set off to fix it, they now have a mindset of my body is a problem and I won't be happy (and other people won't be happy) until it looks different. 

So they cut calories and they work out and hopefully, that is all they do because there are also more extreme ways people try to lose weight.

Perhaps they lose some weight and inevitably they will get compliments and praise that only fuels the belief that this weight really needed to go. 

And then biologically our bodies fight back. They don't like the conditions under which they are being asked to operate and so they make it even harder. Eventually, we tire of the constant vigilance required and the weight comes back.  Sometimes it even comes back despite our vigilance. 

So even if your friend did everything "perfectly" - there was still a low probability that it was going to "work" in the long run.  

And now what's a girl to do? Most of us blame ourselves and our "falling off the wagon" and remain in search of the next great weight loss book, program or idea to try and try again. 

I have to applaud our persistence! It's truly incredible. 

Inevitably this begins the period of yo-yo dieting or weight cycling that happens to so many. Thus making it appear that we have a weight problem to those who have not lived our experience. 

However, if we had not tried to change our bodies in the first place, we wouldn't be in this position of gaining and losing and losing and gaining.

We may realize this at one point and stop the cycling - but often we still beat ourselves up and call ourselves failures and then self-deprecate for the rest of our lives about our weight and our lack of willpower and our love of food.  

This is where I love to help women the most. I love to help them see that it was the diet to blame and not their failure as to why weight loss is so hard. 

I also love to help them see that they can be healthier and stronger and happier at whatever weight they are in their lifetime. 

So I'm not going to help your friend lose the weight and keep it off in order to be happier because that is not the path to happiness. 

I see your friend's problem as the fact that somewhere along the line someone influenced her to lose trust in her own body - trust in its wisdom and its beauty. 

I know this comes as a shock to your friend as much as it does to you and I often get a lot of raised eyebrows when I suggest this. 

But once people get over the shock - you mean it's not a good idea to keep trying to lose weight after XX years? And once they experience what it's like to stop the constant battle with their own body, the raised eyebrows become relaxed shoulders and sighs of relief.  

It might take some time to reverse our thinking and calm our bodies down from the pain of being ignored for so long, but it can be done. 

The path from awareness to peace does have to go through muck and gray and unknown territory before we come out the other side, but isn't that the way out for all meaningful growth? 

Still, even after the discomfort of the healing process, people usually find that they have more clarity of thought and peace in their hearts and ease and freedom which allows for more joy, love and yes happiness. 

This doesn't mean that they will never feel uncomfortable again by the way. We will never be able to eradicate discomfort, that is not the point. The point is what do you do next? How do you cope, soothe, process and grow from each experience in the most compassionate way? 

So of course,  I am happy to speak to your friend with a "weight problem". I can't wait to tell her how incredibly strong, brilliant and beautiful she is right here and right now. 

What thoughts, questions or feelings does this bring up for you? If you’d like to share, I’m always here to listen.