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What Do You Really Mean When You Say, “I Feel Fat?”

November 4, 2013
Why You Didn't Lose Weight Going Gluten Free

I say “I feel fat” a lot…too much.  It’s a bad habit I’m trying to break.

What I noticed over the weekend is the feeling that I really feel is scared. I feel scared and anxious, although what I say is, “I feel fat”. What am I scared of when I say “I feel fat”? What I’m really scared of is that I’m no good at my job if I’m not leaner. I’m scared that I won’t be loved or accepted because of my body. That’s a lot bigger than “feeling” fat. And that’s the real problem to solve.

“I’m fat” happened

I was already more mindful of when the thought “I’m fat” happened, the next step was to learn more about the thought/feeling I was trying to change. What I learned was that thinking or feeling “I’m fat” comes from a much deeper seated fear of not being loved or accepted, of being vulnerable – and in our appearance focused society it’s easy to point all the focus on how we look as a reason things may not be working out the way we want.

We can get a haircut, a new outfit, a make over or we can lose weight – all as a response to feeling bad about ourselves.

As much as a I love a new outfit – and I could spend a day in Sephora – the high from our make-over is always short lived as the real issue surfaces again the next time we “feel fat”. Realizing that my actual fear was that I’m good enough or may even be unlovable (at least by some) was not news to me. I’ve done enough work in this area to see this and say, “Oh, you again….”

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And we all have some flavor of this – if you haven’t read the work of Brene Brown, do it.

The problem with shifting the focus from the real issue to “feeling fat” is that I can now obsess over what I’m eating and how many times I missed the gym last week. I can wallow in the frustration that “It’s so hard for me to lose weight!” and get all down in the “It’s not fair”.

What I noticed is that when the thought “I’m fat” comes up, I instantly start to control it. I think, “I can make this better by eating cleaner/eating less and I can really take my workouts up a notch this week.” Or I really get into it and think, “That’s it, I’m not having one bite of food that’s not protein and vegetables for 30 days – maybe 60, I can do it.”

I start to spin, control, manipulate and try to fix a feeling by controlling what I eat and how much I exercise.

I’ve done this before, it doesn’t work. It’s solving the wrong problem. Sure you need to eat clean and workout to have a BETTER body, but if your thoughts don’t shift you will not be able to sustain it. The work to be done is that my self-worth is still tied up in how my body looks. I still fear at times that I won’t be loved or happy or successful unless I’m 15% body fat.

Using the word “deserve”

When our self-worth is tied into how our body looks, whether we’re thin/lean enough, then we start a whole host of unhelpful behaviors – like using the word “deserve”. And it goes both ways: “I deserve a treat because I’ve been working so hard!” And “I deserve a treat because I’ve had a hard day, I already ate badly at lunch, I might as well start again next week….or maybe not at all. I don’t need this dumb diet!”

We use deserve because we’ve been good and we use deserve when we’re feeling bad – either way it gives us a stamp of approval or a big red F on our diet test. It can’t be that way. Our worth is a reflection of the kind of person we are: loyal, hard-working, honest, kind, generous, a good mom, a good partner – not merely in our body fat percentage.

Not to say how we look doesn’t matter – of course it does. It matters big time. But it’s just one more quality, one more thing that makes us who we are. So why do we make it the only thing that matters?

Why when we’re having a “fat day” do we want to cancel life and get back in bed? Why, if we feel fat, do we completely negate every other lovable thing about us and feel totally insignificant?

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I’m not sure I know why, and it’s useless for us to blame the media, our cultural beauty standards or even our parents. If you find yourself feeling fat too often, regardless of why, you’ve got to do something about it. When you feel fat you shrink down – you miss our life. You don’t ask that guy out, you don’t think you deserve (see there it is again!) that promotion, you don’t run for city council, and you don’t feel happy. In fact you feel bad. And when you feel bad, you can’t make good decisions for yourself – at least not for very long.

Every time you pass up the sandwich for the salad, it’s exhausting. Each time you drag yourself to the gym it’s a punishment.

You have to feel good or you can’t sustain the choices you need to make to BETTER yourself.

In short, we gotta stop feeling fat!

This isn’t going to change over-night, but if you spend 30 days on this (or any other habit) you’ll be leagues above where you are now. I’m 4 days in and feeling much more clear on how big the problem is, what triggers it, the cost of continuing to do it, what the real issue is hiding behind it, and what to do about it.

If you haven’t joined me yet, do it! Come December 1st you’ll wish you had started today. This work to change habits is just as important as lifting a dumbbell and it takes just as much training to do it effectively. You simply work it out every day, in time you’re much stronger.

Next up, I’ll walk you through my 6 Step Process To Changing a Habit and show you the actions I’m taking to transform this limiting belief I’ve held on to for so long….the I’m fat story needs to end! #BETTERin30days

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If you’ve ever felt like a Hangry B*tch and are ready to balance your hormones and restore your joy in just 5 simple steps then Hangry is for you!

GET YOUR BONUSES NOW
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