THE BLOG
07/10/2013 05:30 pm ET | Updated Sep 09, 2013

Looking in the Mirror the Lazy and Loving Way

There is an Upworthy video (http://bit.ly/12jewVV) of a Dustin Hoffman interview that is going viral in social media. In this American Film Institute clip, Hoffman is moved to tears by the fact that he spent most of his life prior to shooting the film Tootsie ignoring women who were less than beautiful in his and society's eyes. He got this lesson when he looked in the mirror and saw himself perfectly made up as the character Tootsie. He instructed the make-up people to make him prettier. They told him they couldn't. That was as good as it got.

In that moment he got the impact of having not been open to all the less-than-gorgeous women he could have met in his life due to societal brainwashing.

I had a similar come-to-Jesus moment recently. I have a dear friend who has been a mother figure in my life since I was 14. She is 79, extremely fit and thin. By her standards I am absolutely unequivocally FAT (expressed appropriately in capital letters and always uttered with disdain). By my doctor's standards, I'm incredibly healthy and fit. I do, though, come close to my friend's assessment when I look in the mirror and judge myself harshly.

Yet even when I was delighted with my weight, my friend encouraged me to lose more. I disagreed and still disagree. She is in another league: She has zero tolerance for fat. Over the years, we have had conversations about this, including years ago when she was harping on her teen granddaughter about her eating -- which was in no way unhealthy. The young teen had the tiniest tummy due to an impending growth spurt. By summer's end it was gone and she never had it again. In the meantime, though, there was no room for that tummy in my friend's house and I screamed, "This house has a zero tolerance for fat and it's not healthy! You are going to give her an eating disorder!"

I was livid, but I didn't really know why until now. The things we hate in others, we have in ourselves. There is a fat hater in me who is just as intolerant, and my friend led me to discover her.

She recently asked me to spend the night with her after a minor surgery. Over the course of our weekend together she asked such things as, "Did you buy those pants in your size?" and "Oh, but you've always had those cheek bones, haven't you?" as if they were my saving grace in life.

A couple days later, still upset by all the comments, I called her and initiated a conversation that led us both to a huge breakthrough. I confessed that while I had always jumped at the chance to do anything she asked of me, I had hesitated when she asked this time because I felt too fat to see her. I went even though I was scared of the comments I did in fact receive.

I broached the subject first by defending her son and daughter-in-law with whom she is very close. The son is losing weight and the daughter-in-law is nursing an 8-month-old and hasn't quite gotten all the baby weight off yet. Her doctor is delighted with her weight, but my friend is not.

In the hopes that she could have compassion for her daughter-in-law and son I told my friend how it felt for me to receive the criticism. She got it: "I bet you all feel it when you walk into the room and see me, don't you?" In that one instant she understood exactly what it felt like to enter the No Fat Zone.

We always think we are covering up what we are really thinking. Sadly it bleeds out. And who wants to go toward blood and disdain?

I told her that none of us want to be overweight, but that it seems like she thinks the judgments are helping us. I said, "You can't heal that which creates the weight in an environment of hate. You need an environment of love to heal."

As soon as I uttered the last word, I got it for myself. In hating my body, I hadn't been allowing myself to lose the weight. In an environment of body-hate I reach to sugar and carbs. That is what my particular version of body-hate craves. I have rarely had sugar or carbs since I had this revelation, and feel better than ever.

The Lazy & Loving way to lose weight and keep it off truly is for me to create an environment of love. That environment is located between my two ears, and I have control over it. I'm still mastering this, but getting the impact of that which was previously hidden from my view was the first step.

For more by Bridget Fonger, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

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