Posted by: Claire | 2007/12/01

How do I love and accept myself?

I'm a 19 year old woman, a first year at university. I have always had quite a nice body, except for one or two short periods in my life that I picked up some weight, like on my student exchange program to Europe. Last year I looked stunning,although I only see it now!, but still I thought I would like to lose just another kg or two. My issue is not diet and exercise, I know very much about that, it's an inner hunger I have. This year ,now,I am about 8kg heavier than last year this time, but it's been like that for most of the year as I started picking up weight on a Contiki tour last december. But, I decided that I was noy going to just do what I always did, eating little and excersizing(spelling?) a lot. I decided I was going to accept myself, otherwise I know that even if I lose weight now I will just pick it up again if I dont resolve my inner hunger, which is probably that i don't accept myself as I am and not at peace with myself. So I've been working on it, loving me just as I am. Not comparing myself to others as I have seen what this does to self-esteem. But still I feel as if I'm not quite "there" yet and don't know how to progress further. I keep a diary and pray about it a lot, but I wonder if you have some advice? I still find I'm eating a lot and its not because I'm hungry. I feel out of control. I just want to be one of those people who eat whatever they feel like, but only when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Moderation in short. But I have never been able to achieve moderation. It's either diet or binge. When I do manage a day or 2 moderately I suddenly notice that I've lost one or 2 kg's and then the focus is immediatly on losing weight again, instead of moderation and inner peace and letting go of food. And then I fall back into diet mindset. My mom is very supportive, but I also feel I need her reassurance constantly which I know wouldn't be so if I were at peace. Please can you give me advice or your opinion on this matter? On your photo you seem like such a comforting person.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Claire, I'm wondering what exactly you mean by "inner hunger". It sounds as though, as you observe, you're eating even when you're not hungry, so its not so much about hungr. Some peopke eat not so much through hunger, but because it feels like they deserve to reward themselves, or to comfort ourselves ( maybe one of those inner hungers is for comforting ? ) or because it makes them feel secure. Maybe your "inner hunger" phrase suggests you think it could be in some way a substitute for some other actual hunger. I'd think what might help most would be some sessions specifically of CBT ( Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ) which deals with your habits of thought --- about food, about eating, about hunger, and about securely and reliably changing both unhelpful reflex thoughts but also behaviours that are inconvenient and fruitless.

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