It’s been a while now since I finished my sessions with Earnest Ross and I have been meaning to commit some of my thoughts to virtual paper ever since, but life and Christmas and travelling and all sorts of things got in the way.
It has not escaped my notice that since September I have been on the most sustained and successful weight loss drive in the history of this blog. Not quite the history of Seren – I’ve achieved the nirvana of goal weight a couple of times – but unlike these other occasions I am relaxed, I have eaten out, been on holiday and generally tried to make dieting (I hate that verb but it is the most appropriate in the circumstances) a part rather than the focus of my life.
Now this could be down to a number of things. But I do think it is, in no small measure, down to some of the work that Earnest Ross and I did.
I believe that people who are overweight often fall into one of two, very broad, categories. There are those for whom nutrition and the actual calorific worth of food are something of a mystery – who genuinely do not know that the whole pizza that they eat for supper contains a day’s worth of calorific content. Then there are those for whom food and drink are weapons and armour against stress, misery - generally, any negative emotion. These people know full well the calories in that pizza and they eat it anyway. And I, and I think many of the people who read this blog, fall firmly into the latter fold.
Now there are many lessons to be learned about identifying the cycle of emotion, thought and action that lead to people making these destructive decisions. And we talked a lot about self compassion and the strength and conviction it takes to practice it. But, for me, the thing that really stayed with me is something Ross said in one of our later sessions.
He said: “We need to hold our stories loosely.”
I love that phrase. I love the idea of holding my stories loosely. The stories of my past. The fact that I have always been “the fat girl” in my head and the sad floundering when I wasn’t, physically, her anymore and didn’t quite know what to do with myself. The stories of disappointments in love, of career paths that didn’t quite wend the way I expected them to, of confounded expectations. They are there, lightly clasped in the palm of my hand, but they none of them define me or my future. I do not have to do what I have always done, or to seek solace where I have always sought it.
And while I am not so naïve as to think that the battle is over and done with, still I feel the most tremendous sense of optimism, especially at the beginning of a brand new year, that by holding my stories loosely it will give me the strength and the freedom to write shiny new ones full of health and hope.