Years ago, one of my best friends told me a story I’ve never forgotten. She shared how her stepmom would frequently buy one of those giant, gooey cinnamon rolls from T.J. Cinnamons and nibble on it throughout the day. It was her calorie allotment for the day, and thus the only thing she would eat the entire day.
Once she licked the last bit of cream-cheese icing from her fingers, she’d pull on her leotard and legwarmers and get sweaty doing leg lifts in the living room with Jane Fonda.
This was her weight-management strategy.
Sounds crazy, right?
I bet, however, if you’re anything like her or me, you’ve done some seemingly crazy things to maintain or lose weight.
When we hate what we see in the mirror, many of us will go to extremes to shape-shift our figure, to achieve a perfect body, to change our reflection.
Although our actions might seem crazy (most often in hindsight), they really aren’t. Creative, yes. Crazy, no.
Every action we take is to fulfill a need. We are simply acting on our completely normal, fundamental human need to belong. Such behaviors are an attempt to take care of ourselves, to meet our innate desire to fit in, to be loved and accepted.
Now This Is Crazy
Really, the craziest thing we do has nothing to do with cinnamon roll diets—it’s buying into the cultural messaging that convinces us that when we achieve a flatter stomach or thinner thighs, than we will be worthy, we will be enough, we will acceptable and safe from judgment, criticism and rejection by others—and ourselves.
Insight Plus Action
It took me a long time to release my core belief that my worthiness was connected to the size of my body. By working on my inner world, I unearthed the insight I needed to truly understand what was driving my behaviors at the root level, and then I made a choice to take action on the insight.
I enlisted many teachers and healers to help me on my journey to unconditional self-love and self-acceptance. It was a long, hard climb requiring unwavering commitment and moment-to-moment awareness. I still occasionally hit a bump in the road, but damn, is it ever freeing to put down that 20-ton struggle.
I don’t have any special powers. If I can do it, so can you. And if you need a hand, just reach for mine anytime.