Here is a simple exercise for those looking to shed unwanted weight. Think for a moment about the extra pounds you are carrying around, and say out loud:
“I am fat.”
Let that marinate for a moment.
Now let’s try again. Close your eyes and concentrate:
“I have fat.”
Okay, eyes open. What did you feel? If you are like most people, the first statement felt terrible, an indictment of yourself as a person, in your entirety. In fact, for some people, this statement indicates that “fat” is all they are and ever will be. What a downer.
What about that second statement? What an amazing difference one word can make! This statement clearly separates “fat” from “me.” It isn’t who I am, it’s a description of what I am carrying. And just as we wouldn’t stand there with an armload of firewood and declare “I am wood,” it makes no sense to do the same with weight.
When you use the second method, you retake control over the situation. Just as a person with OCD succeeds when she declares OCD to be the outside, the visitor, and not her identity. She is now in a position to drive her recovery, “talk back” to OCD, and take steps to limit its influence in her life.
Once we have declared ourselves to be whole people who are carrying extra weight, we are in the position to fight against the problem behaviors that have brought this situation about. We no longer have to fight against ourselves.
When we put down arms against ourselves, we are free to fight the real battle.