Guess what? I was not depressed. Nope. Embarrassed? Humiliated? At times, yes. But depressed? Not at all, because even at 283 pounds, even though I couldn’t fit into any clothes in South Africa, Zimbabwe, or Botswana, I knew there was so much more to me than my size.
My career was flourishing. I worked like a dog, but I was earning more than I ever imagined I’d earn, and I was getting an annual bonus. At the ripe old age of 41, I had finally paid off my student loans, dancing in the streets of Manhattan in jubilation. I’d been forced to take on a bully in the workplace (who happened to be my boss), and I’d come out on top, with my integrity and reputation firmly intact. I had tapped a well of inner strength that I always believed was there, but, to that point, had never had the courage to release. And I was on vacation – a southern Africa safari, no less! Depressed? Hell no! What did I have to be depressed about?
Yes, I was really fat. I was also a really good person – kind and compassionate, honest, smart, funny, independent and responsible, with a strong sense of integrity, and a solid work ethic. I never defined myself solely by my weight. Why would I do that? Why on earth would I ignore all of the other attributes that made me who I was? I suppose had I done that, I probably would’ve been depressed…but I never did. Nor should you!
Whatever aspect of yourself that you are trying to change, never forget that it is one of many, many characteristics that define you. Write them down if you need to. Think about more than just the roles that you play, like mother or coach or partner. Recognize the attributes themselves. Are you kind? Sensitive? A loyal friend? A good listener? Create your list. You are all of these things. Embrace the whole of who you are!