02/27/2014 06:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Do I Look Fat?


For the first 29 years of my life, the question "Do I look fat?" was the only question I asked myself. I never asked myself if I was happy, sad, mad, tired, hungry, full, lonely, proud of myself for putting myself through college and law school, or for that matter if I was anything other than fat. Nothing else seemed to matter but the size of my pants and the size of my body, which I put my pants on. I truly believed that if I could just be thin enough, if I could just attain the perfect body size (what is that anyway?) my life would magically work out. It was as if "Do I look fat?" was my mantra.

In fact, I starved myself down to a size 2 and yet I still believed I needed to be thinner, because my life did not magically fall into place. I still did not have the guy I wanted, the family I wanted or anything else that I thought, on some level, being thinner would bring me. I hated myself and my body, despite being very thin.

Eventually the starving backfired and I gained weight from binging on boxes of cookies, bags of potato chips and half gallons of ice cream, which in many ways, was the natural result after having felt so restricted and deprived for so long (today many people are suffering from binge eating disorder, which results from this type of restricting and resulting binging).

After having starved and binged my way up the scale to a size 26 wide I realized my mantra "Do I look fat?" was not working. It was not serving me. It was not making me thinner, it was making me fatter. I needed a new question, a new mantra, a new way of living!

My question changed it became "Am I more than the size of my body?" I started to wonder if I could learn to like, and maybe even love, myself whatever the size of my body?" After all, I had been so many different body sizes and yet self-love and being comfortable in my own skin had always evaded me.

Maybe, just maybe, how I felt about myself and my body, was not really about whether "I looked fat." Maybe it was about how I felt about myself from the inside out. Maybe how I felt about myself and my body was really about whether I was happy, sad, mad, tired, hungry, full, lonely, proud of myself for putting myself through college and law school, or for that matter if I was in touch with any of my feelings.

My mantra became "The size of my life is not defined by the size of my body." I came to know that the key to the size of my life is, knowing and voicing my feelings and what is in my own heart. Moreover, now I never, ever ask "Do I look fat?"

I know the idea of accepting that it is not really your body size that is making you unhappy with your body and yourself is very scary for most people. I was one of those scared and frightened people. I truly believed that if I accepted my body size and started learning to like and love my body and myself, I would surely gain 500 pounds. However, I was so sick and tired of hating myself and my body that I was willing to try to accept my body at any size. Despite my fear, I did not gain 500 pounds, in fact I lost weight because I learned to start treating my body and myself with love instead of hate.

I now know, what I always suspected, we do not make permanent healthy changes through self-hate, we make permanent healthy changes for ourselves and our bodies through self-love.

The next time you find yourself asking "Do I look fat?" consider asking yourself what you would be feeling if you were not feeling fat or worrying about feeling fat. Ask yourself "Do I feel happy, sad, mad, tired, hungry, full, lonely, proud of myself, or for that matter do I feel anything other than fat?" You may be surprised to find that you have been using the words "looking fat and/or feeling fat" to cover up all of the other things you are feeling, or would be feeling if you were not hiding them under your worries about "looking fat." Then ask yourself "If you are willing to consider that you and the size of your life are so much more than the size of your body?"

If you are not sure if your life and you are more than the size of your body, I can assure you that your life and you are. You are the one and only you that has had your unique set of life experiences, thoughts, feelings opinions and talents. You are your smile, your love of music, nature, art and any and all qualities that make you unique.

Wishing you a large-sized day and a large-sized life!