A diet of self-abuse

Joey Garcia

I am an overweight junk-food eater who can’t stop eating sugar. I always call myself names when I look in the mirror, hoping it will make me stop eating junk. It doesn’t help. At work, I pretend that everything is OK, but it is just a front. I wish I could go somewhere and not be seen until the fat has subsided. I know that I can’t do that, so I suffer, eat junk food and talk about myself. I have tried to lose weight by walking, pills and the three-day diet. All I think about is how fat and unattractive I am, so I hide from the world. The job I have is only part-time, so I don’t have money for health clubs or diet pills. I don’t know how to begin to get a hold on my life. Please help. I feel like I am dying.

If your physical health is threatened, see a physician immediately. If you believe you’re dying to whom you have been, and rising to a new life, then you have some preparations to make. The first is to stop criticizing yourself.

The wonderful Zen Buddhist teacher Cheri Huber calls the path you’re following “better living through self-hate.” In her insightful books The Key: And the Name of the Key Is Willingness and That Which You Are Seeking Is Causing You to Seek, she points out precisely what you’ve discovered: It doesn’t work. At least, not in the way you’re anticipating.

Pouring more salt in your wounds can encourage you to hit bottom emotionally, and that can lead you to seek alternatives finally. For example, a 12-step program like Overeaters Anonymous is a perfect fit for your budget. It’s free and will help you understand how to stop eating sugar and how to bring real sweetness to your life. Then, the angry and depressed part of you can heal (and eventually be seen less frequently). Meanwhile, the fat—the excess weight of unkind thoughts—will subside as you learn how to be honest enough to value your talents and skills as equal to or greater than your outward appearance. Once you shed your mental weight, the physical pounds can follow.

My boyfriend loves to keep in touch with his former partners, whether those relationships were healthy or not. I told him he needs to Feng Shui his past. He’s also a pack rat; he keeps mementos of those relationships. He tells me he loves me, but I keep thinking, “That’s what he said to all those other people he keeps from his past.” How can I accept his love of his past?

Admit that you’re doing the same thing. Simply stated, relationships are connections between people. You maintain an emotional connection about his relationships with former girlfriends through your thoughts about those relationships. Those thoughts cause you stress, so they can’t be very healthy. Nonetheless, you keep mental mementos—bits of evidence that can be used to justify your premise that he should end those relationships.

If you Feng Shui your mind, you can see how you contribute to recreating his past as a problem. Then, you can investigate why you don’t trust him and whether you need to make amends with anyone from your own past. Remember that you can’t change him. So, is there something that needs to change in the relationship, or something that needs to change within you?

Meditation of the week
“If you’re unhappy about what you’ve done, it’s probably not because of what you’ve done as much as you didn’t listen to your heart when it guided you not to do it,” writes Cheri Huber in The Key: And the Name of the Key Is Willingness. To whom do you need to apologize?

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