Four Noble Truths TMI for very personal information...
I am not a Buddhist, but I believe all religions have wisdom to share. The four noble truths of Buddhism say that
Life is (full of) suffering.
Suffering is caused by desire for and attachment to transient things.
Suffering can be ended by attaining dispassion.
The path to end suffering is through gradual self improvement.
I am all tied up with desires in many areas of my life which I may expand upon another time. Today I want to talk about weight because of the suffering it has caused. I have been obese most of my life. It was noted in my school medical records at age 9. I remember wanting to be normal sized from the time I was a young teen. Even so, I just kept getting bigger and sicker in body and mind. The constant effort to be thin with it's inevitable failures, wears on a person's psyche. Many poor life decisions were based on the negative self image I built up over the years. By the time I was a young adult, I believed that I was undesirable because of my fat. I looked to others to boost my self worth. I was promiscuous, to give you a clinical term though in my mind, I heard "slut". I wanted to be loved, but the mental anguish caused by my behavior only made things worse. And then I got pregnant. I was 22, had recently graduated college and was wondering what to do next. I felt that having a baby would ruin my future, so I chose to have an abortion. I was raised as a born again Christian, so you can imagine how quickly the self talk turned to "murdering slut". I was so depressed after that, that I might have chosen to kill myself. My secrets were too deep and dark. If I ever told anyone, they would hate me, like I hated myself. My mother knew something was wrong, but she didn't know what. She sent me to a month long in patient addiction program that she had attended for food issues. She saved my life. In group therapy, I was able to tell others my story. They didn't hate me, they cried with me. I was also able to tell my Mom. We were so close and hiding my pain from her was terrible. She just accepted it with no judgement. Miss you, Mom.
Within 3 months, I lost 50 lbs. I met Bill and we fell in love, but that is another story.
I have continued to struggle with my weight and the desire to be thin through getting a master's degree, marriage, having three kids and a career in teaching. By 2010, I had reached 280 lbs. That desire has continued to cause suffering. I have trouble letting go of failures and I still torture myself with memories of things I have done.
I believe that Paleo is the way of eating that will free my body and mind from the unnatural connection to food. I hope to get to a point where the "desire" is not about weight, but health and that I can just be. I'm so tired of the mental struggle.
The Buddhists believe that conquering desires takes many lifetimes. I am hoping to speed the process a bit, since I believe I only have one. My father lived his whole life with an inner sense of failure. He could not see all the things he had done through the forest of his self doubt. I have the same tendencies, but the difference is that I can see the amazing person I am in spite of my issues and I have a path out of the forest.