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Emotional Layers of Fat

Sunday, June 24, 2012

If you are an emotional or stress eater like I am, each pound that you've gained over the years probably symbolizes some transition or life event. Maybe it was relocation, graduation, marriage, divorce, death of a friend or family member, or other traumatic event. Or it could simply be a mundane lifestyle change or too many dinners out. Combine the weight gain with failed diet and exercise programs and you end up cloaked in multiple layers of fat.

I'll give you examples.

As a teenager in middle school, I was enrolled in P.E. class, a cheerleader, played softball and ran track. I walked two miles home from school nearly every day. I weighed 135 pounds.

Then I graduated middle school and started high school. I ditched most of the extra curricular activities and took the bus home from school. I gained 20 pounds and weighed 155. Did I ever take this off? No.

Then my family relocated from the midwest to the east coast. I became homesick and spent lots of time at home watching MTV. By graduation, I weighed 170. Then I left for college.

I was much more active in college. My dorm room was on the fourth floor in a building with no elevators. I walked to classes every day. I jogged and worked out at the gym with friends. My weight settled in at 155 lbs.

My last year, I moved off campus and took a part-time job at a fast food restaurant. I rode the bus to campus and ate lots of free burgers and fries. My weight returned to 170.

After graduation, I fell in love and got married. I dieted and exercised to look good for my wedding. I weighed 155. Got pregnant and had my daughter. My weight returned to 155. Then I got divorced....one year later, met another guy and fell in love...that relationship fizzed. Two years after the divorce I weighed 180.

Four years later, my grandparents died...
Then I accepted a new job and relocated....
Six years later, I lost my job....

Well, you get the idea. Being an emotional and stress eater, I gained weight with each life event and, with one exception 10 years ago, never took it off. Now, as I drop the weight, I'm once again confronting what originally caused the weight gain.

Right now, I've just lost the 20 pounds I gained while I was unemployed last year. I've also lost 10 of the 20 pounds I gained when my grandparents died. I now have 35 pounds left to lose; The balance of the weight I gained after losing my grandparents plus the 25 pounds I gained after my divorce.

The 20 pounds I gained after middle school? No plans to lose it, because I'm in my 40s and don't want to look boyish or angular. I believe that when you're older and lose too much weight, it draws fat from your face and ages you.

My granny died 10 years ago and my divorce was 20 years ago. It's time for me to stop carrying around these events on my body. Wouldn't you agree?

What are you carrying around? Are you carrying the events from your past into your present? Maybe it's just weight you gained from happy times---delivering a baby, a series of hot dates at fancy restaurants, weeks of graduation celebrations? Heaven forbid, if it's from something truly traumatic, please see a therapist and face those issues. Whatever it is, at some point the fat is visible baggage from the past and needs to go.

Onward and downward.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Very insightful! I never thought of it in that way. I'm going to take a look at my issues.


    2093 days ago
  • BECKYJ2224
    Inspirational blog.. I know I have layers from emotional eating and I have been carrying them with me long enough. emoticon
    2094 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/25/2012 9:33:20 AM
    You are a strong, determined woman to realize the root of your emotional eating, I know you will make your goal, or anything else you set your mind to. Make sure to post a reunion picture!
    2095 days ago
  • KAYLA0041
    Awesome blog, I am determined to remove some of my emotional layers too.
    2095 days ago
  • KARENA228
    Wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing, this was an eye-opener for me as well.
    2095 days ago
  • MPLANE37
    I was carrying the weight of starting a career. It was hard in the beginning, but over time it became easier, although the conditions did improve only modestly. May be I became wiser, content with what little I was able to achieve. Now I am losing all that weight, and only about 10 pounds left. This last 10 pounds seems to be really tough to lose though. We will see what I can do.

    By the way, you have narrated it very well. You must be good at writing.
    2095 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/24/2012 5:04:19 PM
    Hi. I found your blog by chance and it really speaks to me. All my layers of fat are emotional :) - and they keep telling me they want to stay with me and I keep telling them it's time to go! Five added pounds a year for 10 years -- that's the fifty that brought me here to Spark. I'm so impressed that you've lost 30 pounds. Fabulous!

    I noticed you have a photo of Chaka Kahn. I just saw her at the Hollywood Bowl two nights ago and she looked gorgeous! She wore those skin-tight cat-suits when she was bigger and looked great too, but honestly she looks sensational now. I heard she lost her weight on a liquid diet, though. Not a Sparky choice.

    I'm going to take what you wrote seriously. I need to re-visit some of these emotional issues. And I'm going to add you as a friend, if that's okay.
    2095 days ago
  • MISSB8604
    REALLY great blog and I love how you consider each pound you've gained as an emotional layer of fat. That is exactly how it is for me. Thank you for this!

    Onward and downward!!
    2095 days ago
    Thank you for sharing you story. You are a true inspiration!
    2095 days ago
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