Lipedema Sufferer Learn to Love Yourself As You Are

Forgiveness & Self Love

Lipedema sufferers learn to love yourself Quote by Brene’ Brown: “Talk to yourself as you would to someone you love.” Casandra Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation and is the author of Five #1 New York best sellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead.

The hard part is loving yourself just as you are.

Over the past three years I have been on a long, long journey.  I didn’t realize how long the journey would be the day I left my house and drove to my doctor’s appointment.  I was 56 years old and had spend the vast majority of my adult life losing weight, trying to lose weight, not giving a rat’s patootie about losing weight, gaining weight, thinking about losing weight, ignoring the fact that I was gaining weight, etc. etc. etc.  You get the picture.

On that particular January day, I started a journey that would be unlike any other I had been on to date.  I was sick and tired of being fat.  I was sick and tired of worrying about the potential health problems that the additional weight I was carrying would cause as I got older.  I was afraid to tackle the problem again, but was even more afraid of not tackling it.  And so I made an appointment with a physician that a friend had told me could help.  This physician helps get people ready for bariatric surgery, and although I had no intention of getting any type of bariatric surgery, I had always felt that if I could do what it took to get weight-loss surgery, then I could continue the necessary changes so that I could avoid weight loss surgery.

And that is exactly what I did.  Over the course of 10 months, I lost 78 lbs, and my weight, though not perfect, was under control and I felt that I had learned to use the tools to keep it that way.  I was proud of myself, and pleased with my results… for a couple of days.  Yep.  That’s seemingly the way I work.  I give myself a little credit and then I attack.

I wasn’t happy with the fact that my legs and arms were still fat.  Really, still fat.  In fact, virtually no change in them at all.  How could that be?  Obviously, it was something defective about me.  I blamed myself.  I blamed myself for being fat for too long, and was certain that this was the reason why my legs stayed “heavy and thick.”  Or maybe the reason was that I didn’t target all my exercise to the right areas… if I did more legs lifts, if I could run (although post knee surgery that option, I knew, was not a good one), or had I just listened to my mom and continued to lift my laundry iron with both hands over my head more times, my upper arms would have ended up leaner and firmer.

On and on I went with the self-deprecating comments.

You know the rest of the story if you have read any of my blogs.  I accidentally discovered that I had Lipedema.  That explained a lot.  It also began the process, a very long process, of forgiveness and self-love.  I hesitate to talk about it, because I have not arrived yet.  I suspect that I will be on this journey for the remainder of my life.

At the onset, feelings of relief flooded into my soul.  A Lipedema diagnosis felt like cool water on the back of my neck on a hot summer day; like cherry chapstick on my lips after a frigid, windy snowmobiling trek.  It felt like my dad telling the story of what I good swimmer I was as a child.  It healed me.  My life became rather consumed with making arrangements for surgeries and travelling to get there, and recovery, and worry and fixation on the diameters of calves.  Every once in a while, I would stop myself and inhale a photograph of myself with my new legs and arms that better matched my smaller body.  Every once in a while I would give myself credit for being a strong and mighty warrior.

And the next day, I would focus on the defective parts.. the saggy skin, the lack of smoothness, the “pooch” in my lower belly, etc. And then I read the quote from Brené Brown about talking to yourself like you would to someone you love.  Yes.

I am worthy of self loving not self loathing.  I am worthy of kindness, and tenderness; the kind of tenderness and understanding that I offer to the ones I love.  I deserve to run my fingers across my puckered, saggy skin and thank it for keeping me cool, warm, and soft.  I deserve forgiveness for not knowing what I could not possibly have known 40 years ago.  I am learning the language of self love.  Join me.