With obesity speedily expanding to become a truly global epidemic, I wanted to take the time to tell you about my very personal battle with the bulge, in a bid to purge some of the preconceptions of what makes people fat and how obesity sufferers can be helped to recover. This is a story of self-hate, growth, acceptance and love. It is also a story of strength, power and the vanquishing of persistent and deadly demons. At my peak weight I was an unhappy 22 stone (308 lbs), yet I now find myself at a consistent, healthy 14 stone (196 lbs). This is the story of how this happened.
7 years ago, I was suffering from a major identity crisis that I suppressed with food and alcohol. This is me then…
I was not happy. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I hadn’t accepted who I was and had been forced to repress my feelings, my identity and ultimately my soul. I didn’t eat and drink because food tasted nice and alcohol was moreish. I ate and drank because it distracted me from my insidious unhappiness. Being fat, I didn’t need to be told to eat less, I simply craved for the love and support that was necessary to face up to the root cause of my problem – my repression.
At this point, and feeling entirely alone, All hope seemed lost.
It was not till after some dramatic, and traumatic, major life upheavals and trials that I started to re-evaluate what I was doing to my body. It slowly became apparent to me that I was fatally harming the vessel transporting my soul. I was comforting myself with food and alcohol, running from the truth of who I was and suppressing my truest self.
The sad thing was that although I started to realise what I was doing, I didn’t love myself enough to change. I didn’t feel like I deserved the happiness and success that others enjoyed.
At my lowest point, and with nothing else to lose, I made the first timid contact with my soul, my light, my true-self and my love. Allowing my soul to slice through the darkness, I began a lengthy evolutionary process that would allow me to metamorphasise into a better version of myself.
This process would become the journey of a lifetime.
This process was far from easy. It took a lot of hard work, exercise, mental restraint and self-confrontation, as habits of a lifetime needed to be changed. Additionally, my focus needed to be realigned, my flops and failures overcome, many previously pent up tears needed shedding to properly grieve for the pain of the past and ultimately personal acceptance needed to be achieved.
Results were not grown overnight.. In fact, a few years later I still carried around a veritable hunk of extra weight…
But within the lost pounds was mingled the self-loathing, suffering and struggle. As the pounds slid away, so did my hatred for what I had become. I was able to face my past, and its trauma, with a renewed perspective, a perspective that portrayed me as a valuable human being with a true purpose. Within this new view I learnt first how to like myself, then how to love myself and finally the joy gleanable from loving others. I was beginning to become valuable, useful, loving… Beautiful.
As I look in the mirror today, there are still many things that I would (will) change, such is the human condition. That said, I also see the reflection of a person that I truly respect and love.
I love me! and I urge you to do everything in your power to love yourself too.
If you can’t love yourself, then your soul cannot shine with love. If your soul cannot shine with love then you will live forever in mediocrity.
(Photos – Eli Woodbine, London, Amsterdam, Montreal, 2015)