April 18, 2016

My Brat Kept me Fat.

Anais Gómez-C/Flickr

For years, I would spend my Saturday afternoons on the floor of Barnes and Noble drinking a latte and flipping through diet books desperate to find a solution on how to lose weight.

You see, up until eight years ago, I was one of those people who struggled with their weight their whole life. I was up and down. I tried every diet/exercise program, but inevitably, I’d lose weight, cheat, binge, and put back on even more weight.

I was in a vicious cycle with my body and food that I couldn’t stop. Or, at least, that I didn’t know how to stop.

Now, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to get thin. I wanted to be thin more than anything in the world.

But, what I didn’t realize at the time was that I had a huge obstacle blocking my weight loss success. Her name was Lucy.

Who is Lucy?

Lucy is my “brat,” the voice of the entitled child in my head who messes with my dreams. Until I got Lucy under control, she was a major force in my life who had me readily blow off workouts, eat junk food, drink way too much alcohol, oversleep, break my promises, manipulate people, and blow money on random gadgets I didn’t need. Yes, that’s my Lucy.

She was the instigator and main contributor to every major catastrophe in my life.

Lucy also kept me fat and unhappy for more than 25 years.

I first became aware of Lucy when I was 80 pounds overweight and starting to work with a life coach. One of my homework assignments was to keep a thought log. The thought log had me pay attention and write down all of my thoughts about food, body, and weight.

That’s when I really heard Lucy for the first time. Her voice was loud and demanding. I want cake! I don’t wanna workout! Five drinks on a weeknight isn’t a lot. Let’s order pizza, it’s only midnight! Lucy was lazy, sloppy, annoying, bored, bossy, and manipulative. All she wanted to do was eat junk food, drink alcohol, watch HBO, and complain about everything that wasn’t working in my life and blame it on other people. She would go on tangents about how I was never going to be thin, how hopeless it was anyway, and how I should just eat the cheeseburger already and enjoy it.

No wonder I didn’t stay on a diet. I had a tween in my head! And she never shut up. She had an opinion about everything. I knew that if I kept listening to her advice, I was never going to lose weight.

Silence, Lucy!

My coach told me the best way to silence Lucy was with promises and consequences. So, I chose a diet, made food promises, and created self-imposed consequences to help me keep those promises. My main consequence if I cheated on my diet? I had to do a workout at 6 a.m. the following morning. And, for those of you who don’t know me, that is hell for me.

Lucy did not like my new promises. As you can imagine, she was not a morning person.

As a matter of fact, she’d throw a tantrum, yell at me daily about my promises and how she needed pizza at least twice a week, as well as birthday cake with extra icing on weekends, or she was going to die. She was also too tired to workout and needed a drink every night to unwind from her difficult day.

Instead of giving in to her demands like I had done my whole life, I started to tune her out. The more I ignored Lucy and kept my promises, the more confident and proud I became, the more weight I lost, and the quieter Lucy got. Then, one day, Lucy just gave up on trying to get me to cheat on my diet. She knew it was a lost cause. I had stopped listening to her.

Eight months later, I reached my goal weight.

I’ve maintained my weight for eight years now. Does Lucy still talk to me in the area of food and body? Sure, sometimes she does. I’ll be out to dinner with friends and the waiter will put a basket of warm sourdough bread on the table.

Immediately, Lucy will try to convince me that sourdough bread is healthy and good for my bones. I just laugh at her, tell her to shut up, and then tell the waiter to take the bread away.

The next time you hear a voice in your head trying to convince you to eat the cookie when you’re being healthy, remember it’s not you. It’s your Lucy. Ignore her and eat an apple instead. I promise, you’ll feel so much better.



Author: Katie Torpey

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Anais Gómez-C/Flickr

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Katie Torpey