Many overeaters are “weighting” for their lives to begin. I think you know what I mean by that. You’re waiting to slim down enough to feel good about yourself so you can do the things you want to do—date, find a new job, travel, seek or leave a mate, or buy a new wardrobe. It makes me both sad and mad that the only thing stopping you is yourself!

You may be sick to death of hearing people like me say that if you’re putting off life until you lose weight, you’re wasting your time. Please don’t bring up all the folks in this culture who hate fat and make fun of fat people. And don’t tell me you’re so uncomfortable in your body that you can’t get it to do the things you want it to do, or that life in some ways is more difficult when you’re fat. All definitely true, but by saying these negatives over and over, you’re only convincing yourself to settle for a less-than life.

I am not fat, but here’s what I would do if I were. If someone commented on my body, I’d let them know in no uncertain terms that my body is mine and I will not abide their remarks about it, no matter how well intended. That is one thing I would put a stop to right off the bat, whether a remark was made by an intimate or a stranger. I would do whatever I could physically even if I couldn’t do all I wanted. I’d dance in my house if I felt uncomfortable going out to a class or a club. I’d find activities my body felt comfy doing and do them until I could do others. No way would I say one negative thing about my body. In fact, I’d work extra hard to love myself. I’d do all these things not because I’m special or unique, but because I’d be damned if I’d let other people dictate my life or intentionally make myself unhappy because that’s just nuts and I’m not nuts.

For over 30 years I’ve worked with people who are unhappy with their bodies, some of whom were fat and some of whom weren’t, so I think I know the issues involved and they’re not about bodies at all but about a mindset which is mentally unhealthy and needs to go. We’re talking mindset here, not body-set—all-or-nothing thinking as in “If I don’t lose weight, I’m a failure or unlovable or whatever.” Your value is not based on your weight and if you think it is, you’re simply wrong. Another dysfunctional attitude is that you’re a victim. If you have issues from childhood when you truly were a victim that messed up your life and could use some resolution, get help. Your mental health now is your responsibility. Realize that if you’re not getting out there and living your best life, it’s not about your weight. It’s about your fears, shame, and other deep-seated feelings that are in the way of going for the gusto, and you’re using your body size to not face them. Honestly, you can learn to do better. Act as if you can, and you will.