If I’m truthful with you I really have put off talking about this weeks self-help topic because being a…’larger lady’ myself I feel it is not right for me to talk about it. But not only is having a healthy body a big part of helping people to get better mentally, but it is also a core element of DBT. I am of course talking about the body and how your physical wellbeing can affect your mental wellbeing (or maybe not). It is best I go at this from a personal level…
For all intents and purposes, I am classed as morbidly obese (as are many of my clients) and yes I could do with losing a lot of weight. But I would consider myself happy and secretly I don’t mind being the weight I am. Ok so it’s undeniable that obesity is bad for my health and it is true lockdown has been tough for me, but I have always been a big person. So the real question here is how can I be so overweight and yet still consider myself to be happy? The answer is nothing more than control. I have control of my mind and thoughts thanks to all the DBT training I have so while I am aware I’m overweight I don’t let it get me down.
The truth is the relationship between mental health and obesity is complex. Sure, being overweight can indeed affect your medication, but when it comes to the mind not so much. It is all a matter of quality of life. My husband doesn’t mind my weight so for him it is not an issue and while I am aware I could do with losing some weight for my physical health long-term in the short term I feel good, I feel happy, I feel content. It’s no secret that losing weight can bring a confidence boost. But it’s important to acknowledge the psychological pitfalls that can arise along the way when one tries to lose some weight. It can cause anxiety around food and even deeper depression if the weight doesn’t fall fast enough. So if you are not feeling in control of yourself or your mind the last thing you should try and do is lose weight.
Once you manage to feel more grounded and more in control of your emotions maybe your weight or your own exercise level is something you can tackle. But there are plenty of physically healthy, perfect BMI people who suffer from BPD, depression and anxiety. To be happy with yourself and in control of your emotions doesn’t mean you need to lose weight. It just means you need to gain control of your thoughts and emotions. Maybe it is your weight that is causing your depression, and if you feel that having the confidence to lose some weight will indeed help you mentally, but that is NOT true for everyone. Some people are big and happy while others are healthy physically and ill mentally. Love you for who you are, not what you look like or would want to look like because happiness comes from within no matter how much fat it has to get through in order to shine through.
This Week’s Homework: While this will not be possible for everyone I would like you to try and find a photo in which you are truly happy. Maybe it was on holiday, or maybe it was a long time ago. Look at it and question what made you happy? There is nothing preventing you from smiling now and being happy! If you want to feel happy you can, even if you have piled on a few pounds since that photo was taken. Did you know smiling burns more calories than frowning and laughing burns more calories than sex! Now that is something worth laughing about.