My question has to do with something I have been struggling with a long time. I am 100 lbs. overweight and I can't lose it not matter what.

It bothers me so much that it is ruling my life. I have looked at what the belief is that I am holding onto. I have been in therapy for years. I have done the tapes, seminars, 12 steps, prayed, TM meditation etc. I let it go, I take it back. Prior to gaining the weight, I was sexually assaulted at 14 yrs old. I became pregnant and was forced to get married. I am now 39 years old.

I really want to get past this but my weight/body issues are staying with me. I am not at peace. I have looked at this from all angles, please help me with any insight that I may have missed. Thank you in advance!

A: No where on the planet do people struggle more with weight issues than here. Most other countries deal with starvation. I am so amazed at how many women hate themselves because of their weight. I listen to those hideous pre-meal/pre-dessert mantras--"I really shouldn't"--as if saying that phrase makes the calories go away. Honestly, will that socially deplorable ritual never end?

Ten minutes of looking through magazines at those half-starved women in skin-tight clothing does more to evaporate a woman's self-esteem than 25 negative comments directed at her from outsiders. This idea that women have to be starved to qualify for a rating of "attractive" is appalling.


Let me suggest that you, first of all, recognize that your central issue has to do with taking charge of the maintenance of your self-esteem. You're not overweight; you are starving from lack of self-esteem. It's very difficult to decide to love yourself just the way you are, but the fact is that resolving your crisis has to begin there, not with diet pills that don't work and have absolutely no impact on whether you are comfortable with your interior, much less your exterior.

What would it take for you to drop--pun intended--the issue of weight completely and turn your attention to building your self-esteem? My impression as I write this is that you have yet to learn how to stand up for yourself and to protect yourself from criticism. I don't think it is easy for you to maintain boundaries and to be clear about your needs. I am inclined to think that you have become passive with your life and emotions, resigned almost to the way things are. I feel like pushing you forward.

If you are still in an unhappy marriage, get out. If you are still dealing with the assault, why? At some point, we have to complete our healing process. Twenty-five years is a long time to nurture a trauma. So, again I have to direct you to cast your attention to building your self-esteem. My question is how creative can you be in initiating a program for yourself? Sooner, rather than later.

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