Fat is not a Feeling

By Griffin Wynkoop, M.Ed., LPC-A

We “feel” it in our new pair of jeans. We “feel” it as we sit next to the girl with her perfectly manicured fingers and toes.

But do we really “feel” fat?

Oh! How my brain can trick me…and odds are I bet it can trick you too.

We can “feel” it when we don’t get invited to our new friend’s birthday dinner, or learn something we feel we should have known all along at work.  But is it “fat” we are really feeling? Or is it something else? Something that might be a little more challenging of a feeling to go to.

When we “feel fat,” we are convinced that it is us – our bodies – that need to change.  We cope with what we eat, where we do or don’t allow ourselves to go. We cope with food rules and social rules. In doing this – we think we will have the friends, the body, and the life we want . . . the life we believe we need to succeed.

But is this really the truth? Is “fat” really a) what we are feeling and b) what we need to change for the “acceptance” we all so crave? Do we need to change at all? Or is this way of dieting, exercising, and molding our selves actually a way that we are rejecting ourselves?

I invite you, as I invite myself, as “feeling fat” approaches, to ask our selves – What am I really feeling? As we “feel fat” we reject ourselves, when really, it is inviting ourselves that we just may need to do.

Here are a few tips to “invite yourself” rather than “reject ourselves” to bring real feelings, and real acceptance to the table:

Ask yourself – what am I really feeling? What is underneath this “feeling” that isn’t an emotion at all?  What are we making our bodies out to mean at the moment? It may be exhaustion from a long week or it may be feeling rejected by friends. Finding our real feelings is the only way we can solve the real issue. Here is a list of feelings developed by @MeandMyED.art that can help you get a little curious: https://www.instagram.com/p/BSdt7EHDd4C/?taken-by=meandmyed.art&hl=en

Self-Compassion. Self-compassion is different from self-worth or self-esteem. Dr. Kristin Neff states,

“Self-compassion involves being kind to ourselves when life goes awry or we notice something about ourselves we don’t like, rather than being cold or harshly self-critical. It recognizes that the human condition is imperfect, so that we feel connected to others when we fail or suffer rather than feeling separate or isolated. It also involves mindfulness — the recognition and non-judgmental acceptance of painful emotions as they arise in the present moment.”

So be sweet to yourself. Let yourself feel feelings that aren’t so perfect, and know that it just means you’re human.

Offer yourself some words of affirmation. I love a good mantra. Whether I’m at my best or worst, I love speaking truth to the lies or fears that so often fill my mind. Whether it is a verse of scripture about God’s love for you or a simple truth about your worth such as “I am a good daughter,” remind yourself of the good that lies within you to cast out any words of self-contempt.

 Do something kind for yourself. What is your love language? Gifts? Get yourself a little present. Words? Write yourself a note. Quality time? Take yourself on a date – even if it’s just to read for 10 minutes at a coffee shop. Find a way that you can give yourself a little of the feeling that you’re really missing. You’re worth it.

Griffin Wynkoop, M.Ed., LPC-A, received her B.S. in Psychology from Clemson University and her M.Ed. in Professional Counseling from the University of Georgia. Griffin worked with adolescents, families and adults at Center for Discovery and Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders before joining the team at Living Bread. She also has experience working with trauma, relationship distress, life transitions, depression, and anxiety.

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