The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine 



    August 22, 2003    PAGE THREE      
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          The Journey to Self Acceptance by Beverly Knauer
                        "Our entire life, with our fine moral code and our precious freedom
                                consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are."
                                                                      Jean Anouilh

With this issue, we welcome Beverly Knauer to our contributors staff. Beverly is a pediatric occupational therapist — Chief of Rehabilitation Services for a program called California Children Services.

Beverly began low carbing in the 1970’s and has taken several detours from the LC path during the years, only to come back to it over and over again. The LC way of life is the only way she now wants to live, and she believes the words of Margaret Thatcher, “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Beverly posts as 'Moongoddess' on the Talking Low Carb forums. She lives in beautiful San Diego and her current project is writing a book for children.


   
There were some thought provoking questions posted on the Talking Low Carb Forums: Would we really feel satisfied once we got to our goal weight, or would we still want to lose more weight once we got there? Would 115 pounds be thin enough? Would any weight be thin enough?

Those questions triggered my own personal memories, and I would like to share some of my experience-in hopes that someone else can learn from it.

Embarking on a weight loss program is a journey, and as the saying goes, it is the journey that is of ultimate importance-not necessarily the destination.

On my first weight loss journey, I lost a considerable amount of weight-well over 100 pounds. The anticipation of reaching my goal weight was intense. I even marked each day I successfully low carbed with a bright purple "
X" on the calendar. Having been overweight for most of my life, I was so anxious to reach my "magic" goal weight. What would I look like? What would people think? How would it affect my life? Self Image

Like many girls, I grew up reading Seventeen Magazine, playing with the perfect-figured Barbie© dolls, and coveting the beauty of the glamorous stars in the movies. I never matched the image they portrayed, but I wanted to. In my mind, I wasn't the ideal because my weight always got in the way.

With my determination to finally lose the weight, I was convinced I would look as good as I did in my fantasies. Finally, I would be "okay."  Finally, I would fit in with other people.


Maybe. . . I would even be more popular with the boys.

To my surprise, the long-awaited moment when I reached my goal weight was actually a disappointing day for me. How would that be? It was because my expectations were not met. I erroneously presumed that when I reached that number on the scale, I would be "swim-suit-ready". Because of the large amount of weight I lost, and I lost the weight rather rapidly, I had a great deal of redundant skin to contend with. Instead of the slender, sleek, "ready-for-a-bikini-body" I had hoped for, what was reflected back to me in the mirror was floppy, droopy, and saggy. The mirror still wasn't my best friend. It wasn't fair. It wasn't what I hoped for, wanted, or imagined.

"You can tone it up by working out", everyone said. So once more, I set a certain expectation in my head, and I worked out intensely for a year in hopes of "fixing myself" again. After a year of intense aerobic workouts and weight training, I was more fit and much stronger, but it didn't fix the problem.

Surgery was not an option for me at the time, and in spite of my successful endeavors with weight loss and fitness, I felt depressed. All I could see when I looked in a mirror was someone who failed because I wasn't able to meet my pre-determined expectations. I didn't meet the image of what I thought society wanted me to be. With that being foremost in my mind, I lost my focus and motivation. I lost my desire to maintain my new way of life with low carb eating and healthy exercise, and I un-did all my hard work and effort by gaining back all the weight — plus more!

I am NOT telling this story to frighten or discourage people. Quite the opposite. I don't want anyone else to reach his or her goal number and end up feeling the way I did. The majority of people do not have to lose the large amount of weight I did and do not have the severe redundant skin issue to deal with. The point I am making is that we need to take a look at our expectations of what we think life will be like when we meet our goal.

For people in a similar situation to mine, I recommend that those people who are on the weight loss journey simultaneously embark on a journey of self-acceptance as well. It is a concept that is bounced around a great deal, but it is an important topic for those on the weight loss path.

With self-acceptance, you won't reach 115 pounds and still feel you are fat. It is not so much a way of thinking as it is a way of living your life and a way of being. Maybe many of you are at that point already and that is wonderful. But for those who are not at that point, I suggest you embrace concepts of self-acceptance during the days, weeks, months, or years as you journey towards your weight loss goal. If you achieve the goal of self-acceptance, then when you have reached your weight loss goal, you will be happy with who you are under any circumstance, because you already were happy with yourself.

Self-acceptance is something I have been lacking most of my life, and I failed to work on those issues while I lost weight. Instead of learning how to internally validate myself, I thought I could rely on the external validation that others would give me through praise, acceptance, and compliments to fuel my esteem. I believe if I had developed self-acceptance while I was losing the weight, I wouldn't have gained the weight back. I thought I would feel attractive and be thin enough when I reached goal and then "people would accept me." When I reached the goal, I didn't look as I had envisioned my self, therefore I figured I still was not going to be accepted by others. So defeat took over and I gave up.

Many people, especially women, grow up thinking that something is wrong with them – especially those who grow up with a weight problem. Maybe you are one of those people who would never accept yourself with excess weight but you think you would and could love yourself once you were thin.

The journey of self-acceptance requires us to change the way we think — and just as weight loss is a process, so is this. No matter what we feel about ourselves, nothing is going to change until we change our feelings about ourselves. We need to visualize ourselves differently.

Self-acceptance Self-acceptance is about being in the present moment. It is about being satisfied with who you are right now at this point in time. It is about being fully aware of the self in body, mind, and spirit.

You must be willing to agree to accept and appreciate who you are – now at this instant – even the parts of you that you are not pleased with or may wish to change in the future. Self-acceptance is not about approving of ones' self. It is simply about being aware of all of the parts of the self — free of judgment.

Self-acceptance allows for change. With self-acceptance, I can allow myself to be satisfied with myself now, even before I reach my goal weight. When you begin to accept yourself the way you are right now, the perceived good with the bad, you begin a new voyage. One that will allow you new opportunities and possibilities that didn't exist before.

When you are not in a state of self-acceptance, you place yourself in a defensive posture. It takes great energy to protect yourself, defend yourself, and guard yourself against such unpalatable thoughts like, 'you are not okay,' or that 'you do not belong or fit in,' or 'you are unworthy.' That kind of life is a struggle and it is exhausting.

As you travel on the road of self-acceptance you will begin to use your eyes in a different way. You will see yourself through the eyes of an admirer and not those of a judge. We look for the good in our friends and admire them and tell them their good points and qualities — why don't we do that for ourselves? We need to be our own best friend. We all have the awareness of aspects of ourselves that we would like to change-things we are unhappy about. Without self-acceptance, we view ourselves through a mirror that is negative and self-defeating. This reflection we see in the mirror will be with us if we weigh 115 or 315 if we don't embrace acceptance of who we are.

Acceptance is the first step in achieving power over something, and accepting ourselves sets the stage for the challenge of loving and accepting others. Knowing our own limitations and problems enables us to have a more compassionate attitude toward those around us. People who embrace self-acceptance are a pleasure to be around because they are free beings and not tied up in negativity. Because they have learned to accept themselves without judgment, they also do not judge others and are then able to freely give us acceptance and love.

It takes time to change our perceptions and beliefs, of course. The perfect time to work on that is while we are on our weight loss journey. This message may speak to some of you and not to others. For those it does speak to, I encourage you to combine your journey for self-acceptance together with your weight loss journey. You will be happy you did.

Copyright © August 2003  Beverly Knauer and Low Carb Luxury





          

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