The Weight Problem I Never Had

Me (in blue) with my friend Debbie at 8th grade graduation.

Me (in blue) with my friend Debbie at 8th grade graduation.

As many of you know from either knowing me personally or reading previous posts, I have struggled with my weight over the years. I’m so tired of this issue I didn’t even want to write about it again. But I had an interesting epiphany that was so BIG I knew I had to share it.

I did not have a weight problem until I believed I did.

You read that right. I know it might sound strange, but I was looking at some old pictures and realized for the first time I wasn’t overweight when I started dieting. And I was shocked!

The picture above is what I looked like when I first believed I needed to go on a diet. I was 13. I was at the age when girls start to fill out and my dad said to me one day “Looks like you’ve put on a few pounds.” That’s my first memory of my body not being okay the way it was. And what I made that statement mean about me changed the way I felt about my body and myself.

I dieted all through high school and after I had my first child at 20. At no time during those years was I actually overweight. Crazy? Definitely! I didn’t start gaining weight until I’d been dieting for a number of years. I dieted myself into being fat.

For more than 30 years I have either been on a diet or off a diet. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about my weight, what I’m eating or how much (or little) I’m exercising. I labeled food as “good” and “bad” and judged myself by what I put in my mouth. “Good” food made me feel virtuous and worthy. “Bad” food made me feel guilty and full of self-loathing.

The pressure to be thin is ever-present and there isn’t a woman alive who hasn’t felt it. If it hadn’t been that statement from my dad, it would’ve been something else. You know the old saying…”You can never be too rich or too thin.” As a society we believe that’s true and we’ve created an entire industry around it. An industry that is now a $20 billion business according to this article on ABC News. And I wasted 30 years buying into it.

I’m not blaming my weight problem on my dad, or the diet industry or even society as a whole. I’m just wondering what might have been different if I hadn’t bought into other people’s beliefs about me.

The reason I think this is important is to show just how much our beliefs influence us. That one belief set me on a course that would dominate my life. The “problem” was an illusion. It didn’t exist…until I started believing it.

In the last 30 plus years I have rarely been happy with my weight. When I was fat I wanted to be thin. When I was thin I wanted to be thinner. And I can honestly say there is no bigger waste of time and energy than to wish things were different than they are. Thirty years is a helluva long time to obsess over something that wasn’t even wrong in the first place.

I’m tired of playing that game so I’m opting out. I don’t now if this will change anything as far as my weight goes. But I do know it will free up a lot of time and energy for other, more fun, things.

Please…take my advice. Don’t waste one more minute thinking about your weight (or whatever it is you believe is wrong with you). Don’t miss another moment of your life wishing you were thinner (or smarter, or prettier or more successful). I’ve been thin and I’ve been fat and I can honestly say my weight didn’t have any bearing on my life other than what I assigned to it.

What you believe about yourself matters because you’ll create an entire life around it. What beliefs are you buying into?

……………

I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna
    May 24, 2013 @ 21:37:37

    What a great blog post Shannon. So many of us have done this exact same thing. Thank you for shining some light on it.

    Reply

  2. Deb Dow
    May 29, 2013 @ 18:04:29

    Shannon, your words of wisdom always enlighten me as well as I love the way you put things, your words make things so clear. Since the 2nd grade I have always looked up to you, (even when we had our little fights) sorry if I have never shared this with you, but it 100% TRUE! Thank you for this, thank you for being such a wonderful friend (even with miles between us & years of not sharing time together) you still make an impact on my life as a whole. Keep on sharing your life, as I know it helps me in way or another.
    Friends forever & always,
    Deb (Chambers) Dow xoxo

    Reply

    • Shannon McDonough
      Jun 24, 2013 @ 14:44:41

      Debbie…thank you so much for your kind words. You make me want to keep on writing :) It’s funny…when we were kids I wanted to be like you. But now that we’re adults I’m glad we’re different and that makes for a stronger friendship…even across the years and miles. Love you!

      Reply

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