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Pain Free ...... Weight Gain

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Painfree, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Painfree

    Painfree New Member

    I had TMS once. And I thought I had it beaten.

    I was so confident in my success that I wrote a blog, describing how I freed myself from 2 years of chronic pain. I wanted to rid the world of chronic pain by directing sufferers to Dr Sarno’s books.

    But now, reading this forum, I feel a seed of doubt begin to grow. A nagging, gnawing doubt. Something forgotten, something missed. Something I’ve ignored for years.

    I had always carried a little extra weight. A buffer zone to protect me from the world. A storehouse for hurt and shame, where anger and fear can take root and multiply.

    Coming up to my 40th birthday I decided I no longer wanted or needed this extra weight that I had been hauling around for so long. I joined a gym, and changed my diet and eating patterns. I began losing weight and getting fit.

    But after a few months at the gym, I started having backache for the first time in my life. Then in a Pilates class, my back ‘went out’ altogether, causing terrible, excruciating pain. The verdict: a prolapsed disc.

    Although that first pain subsided, it left me with an ongoing instability. A window for TMS. At any time, doing any activity at all, my back could ‘go out’ again. Each subsequent time this happened the pain was worse than the time before.

    Running parallel to this was my weight loss. As I got thinner, the pain got worse and more debilitating. Though by the time I read The Mindbody Prescription, I had given up on maintaining my healthy lifestyle. All I could do was focus on pain.

    As I worked through Dr Sarno’s exercises, accepted the TMS diagnosis and left pain behind, the weight came back on. To this day I carry an extra layer. Just a bit more than my body needs. A buffer zone where negative emotions can be safely repressed?

    Reading this forum for the first time, I stumbled directly upon a discussion of weight loss and pain gain. This triggered uncomfortable recognition.

    So is this a ‘success story’? Yes it is. My life was totally shut down by pain. It affected my ability to work or socialise. It stopped me from leaving the house, going to the supermarket, going for a walk, going anywhere. It meant I couldn’t cook dinner, entertain friends or live a normal life. But worst of all, it strained my relationship with my partner and limited how available I could be to our precious son.

    The pain is in the past but, thanks to the honesty on this forum, I realise that I still have some further work to do.
  2. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Painfree, I feel for you! I was always a little overweight, but after getting (so called) fibromyalgia, I gained several extra stone. No matter what diet I did, I never lost more than a few pounds, and always regained it. I read Sarno's book in June 2013 and had total recognition of my TMS, working with it, several hours a day I got rid of 90% of the pain, fatigue and other symptoms (hair loss, bladder control, lack of temperature control) but I am still overweight! I decided to put the healing first and see if the weight followed naturally by, like you say, being a 'buffer' against the stresses/pains/emotions of life. Despite being more active (work/cycling etc) I have not lost weight yet! So I will 'gently' diet - cut down on alcohol, cake and suchlike to see if it helps. But I think you are on to something with the 'protective' layer - I wonder how we dispense with it - after dealing with the repressed emotions? Is it maybe a 'body habit' to have it there 'in case'? It is interesting to see how the body works - but bloomin' annoying to still be fat!!!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  3. Painfree

    Painfree New Member

    It sure is!!!! Thanks for your response Hecate. Please could I ask what you mean by "temperature control"? I ask becasue I am always cold.....
  4. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was always cold too. If I got chilled it would take hours to get warm again. If I was overly hot I would be overwhelmed by the heat and have to get to a cool place or use a fan etc. I think that my autonomic system was overwhelmed by the repressed emotional stuff and didn't always process the normal things it was supposed to do. Since I have addressed the emotional baggage I have found my temperature to be like other peoples - normal!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  5. Painfree

    Painfree New Member

    Thank you, that's really interesting. Something new for me to work on :)
  6. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    As I entered my teens, I noticed how much attention the beautiful girls received. I was always considered the 'plain-brain' (in comparison to my 3 cousins). This did not really disturb me, as I did not wish to receive attentions. Rather unconsciously, I realized that extra weight was also 'extra' safety. Thus began my descent into an unhealthy relationship with food. Extra weight equaled safety. It also equaled self-hatred for my appearance. Leaner weight was terribly unsafe, and I still struggled with self-hatred, because I could never be lean enough.

    When I crossed into my 39th year, I blinked a bit in confusion and realized I was near the end of my life (another story). It was time to take stock and finish up the goals I had so long lined up for myself. The Universe is very adept at presenting the tools needed .... when you are ready to not only recognize the tools, but to use them, as well.

    A yoga teacher had come into the small town of Kenai, Alaska, and I was her first student. My body weight was just crossing that 200lb mark. At 5'9", it was not terrible, and my body distribution was rather even, so it appeared more as extra padding everywhere, instead of one area or another.

    Within six months, not only had I discarded my 'special' shoes (replacement joint in my foot), I had dropped a full size. By 9 months, I had lost 20 lbs. It was not because of the physical activity (which was strong), but because of my emotional changes. I had begun a systematic assault on my demons, and repeating often the simple phrase I am safe. I gave myself the permission to lose weight. The mental work was more intense than the physical.

    Over the years, weight was regained during stressful times, but lost again as I recaptured my intentions. Eventually it leveled out at an acceptable place. Pain was gaining ground, but my weight remained more or less steady.

    Pain increased. Eventually I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and given off-label meds. A miracle occurred .... I slept deeply. The pain became manageable. A couple years later we extracted ourselves from an unhealthy living situation (husbands family), and have spent the last 18 months re-constructing an abandoned/foreclosed house that had been hiding behind overgrowth for five years.

    My feeling of safety increased. I could breathe. And my weight began dropping again. I teach yoga, but not energetically, rather, it is more restorative with gentle power.

    I associate weight with my emotional security level. While I know I have much to work on, I do not feel my survival is at risk. It is safe for me to be whatever weight I wish.

    I do not diet ... honestly, I cannot get Richard Simmons out of my head when that word comes up. He said DIE is in Diet. Yes, I will freely admit it ... I adored that crazy man. In the 80's, I knew all his exercises, and was part of his gym. I even got to meet him. I give permission for all of you to get a good laugh :)

    I eat many colors of food (not meat). I eat dark chocolate every day. Every month or so I have my favorite Espresso Madness ice cream cone from a little place in town. I do not eat dinner, but I snack a little, then have popcorn about 8:30ish with pepper jack cheese grated on top. I am aerobically challenged, but I have well developed muscles from yoga. I work hard, I rest often.

    Dieting implies a short term. Food choices should be a life style choice. It is a forever thing. Which is why you do not deny yourself the food you love ... you just don't over indulge. Everything in moderation.

    Weight is so often mental/emotional. We sabotage ourselves easily and blindly.

    Perhaps the question to ask is: Why do you want to lose weight? How much Ego is invested in this?

    In the practice of yoga, weight loss is more of a byproduct, rather than the goal. Health is the real goal.

    Health ... emotionally and physically, and even spiritually. When they align, your body will align with you.

    with grace and gratitude,
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think this encompasses the complete truth on the topic.

    In the past I used food at times to distract me from what I was feeling. Then I discovered pain, which worked better since it was always available to do the job.
  8. Painfree

    Painfree New Member

    Thank you for your replies Lily Rose and Ellen.

    I love this! It actually reminded me of a piece I had written years ago when I was in pain about addiction, taking the comparison as far as self-harming. I wrote it to put on my blog (http://painfatigueandme.wordpress.com/about/) but didn't in the end as it was probably pushing it too far for the general public! This forum is perhaps a better home for it. I will post it on the 'Discussion' thread. Please know that I DO NOT self-harm. Whiplash, RSI, back pain, food and now fatigue have been plenty enough for me!
  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Painfree for sure you have a success story, but you are programmed to believe that weight loss will cause you pain if you do it like you did it before or anyway you do it. This extra weight isn't for any repressions ok. Its just simple conditioning that you can reprogram if you wish so. Like I had all sorts of programming and as long as I didn't do those things then I would be without pain for sure. Like sleeping with a pillow under my legs or always sleeping on my back or not being able to bend a certain way or nort being able to life my arm above my shoulder. It was all conditioning, now that I have learned to not fear any of those structural thoughts anymore I can safly say none of those conditioned responses bother me anymore.

    You have a success story for real and you should be very proud as I mentioned above. In my success story I tell even after I healed from the pain I still had conditionings that I had to work with so start believing that it is ok to loose weight if you wish and don't by any means fear the weight loss -- as in its going to give you pain or focus on the past pain or any new pain and you should come through this fine.

    Bless you -- You are already a success, just some conditioning to overcome now as said above
    hecate105 likes this.
  10. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I do believe this is the key---once the weight was not "serving its emotional purpose" any longer, another distraction came up. . .

    Our emotions and past emotionl trash can certainly "weigh" us down.

    I like the comment about being aligned physically, emotionally and spiritually. :)
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  11. Painfree

    Painfree New Member

    Thank you Eric and Lori for your comments.

    I think I have feared losing weight, as I associated it with pain. So I just haven’t gone there. And I think you are right in that it is just another part of the programming or conditioning, and that I could let that go too. I wonder if another distraction will come up? This time I will be vigilant and I will know what to do!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  12. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a fabulous thread; thanks for starting it, Painfree. My weight has creeped up over the past 10 years and I've just been miserable because of it. Between fibro meds and menopause and of course, the reduced activity due to pain, I find myself about 40 pounds overweight. I refuse to step on the scale because I know the old programming with come roaring in…"YOU'RE FAT!" So I'm not going there. I keep talking to myself everyday, "You are beautiful JUST the way you are, etc" and I remember the wise words of Lily Rose echo in my head. ("You're at the right weight you need to be right now." I just love you, Lily Rose.)

    I like the dimension this thread has added to my thinking. "A layer of protection". I will have to give that more thought. These past 3 years have been especially difficult for us….challenges on so many fronts.

    I am also working on trying to visualize my formerly thin, very active and fit body but meh…I just come up empty. I suspect I'm dealing with some depression right now.

    Right now, it's taking all my energy to work through the resurgence of TMS pain so the weight issue is on the back burner again. And I also need to step back from a formerly close friend who has been very judgmental of me. ("Well! All you need to do is eat less food!" Why is that sometimes it takes a while to open your eyes to destructive relationships?!)

    I was just telling my husband today that people don't need more information on how to lose weight. Being overweight isn't rarely caused by a lack of knowledge…rather, it's a behavioral/perspective issue. And sussing out those behaviors gets to the crux of the matter. Or at least part of it. :)
  13. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star, my beautiful friend ..... so much in your post begs for comment.

    When I first went on the gabapentin, I was startled that I put on quite a few pounds. I weigh myself morning and night, so I noticed immediately. And then I realized the issue ..... the meds lower self-determination and will power. Once I realized that, I fought back. Within a few weeks, the meds lost that particular battle. Blaming the meds is very easy. Recognizing what they are doing is pretty easy, too. Taking back control ... that's not so easy, especially when you are tired already, and hurting.

    Menopause ... like the meds, adjustments have to be made. It is chemistry. The chemistry within us changes, but we tend to cling to 'how we've always done things'. That just doesn't work anymore.

    Reduced activity .... before you realized about TMS?

    I love you, too ^_^

    Refusing to step on the scale is refusing to face what is. It doesnt matter WHAT it says. It is what it is. Hiding and denying aren't your friends. That is the TMS playground.

    Here is WHAT IT IS (yes, I resorted to more than a one-word raised voice ... wanted to get your attention):
    What it is, is a starting place.

    That's all. Just a starting place. It is where you are today. It doesn't reflect tomorrow, because tomorrow hasn't come. Even if tomorrow reflects the same thing, then it is just a new starting place. Hiding information from yourself is like stuffing emotions. Being afraid of the scale ... there is no point.

    You. Are. Perfect. You are where you need to be, right this moment. When you are ready, both consciously, and unconsciously, you'll start that tiny step. The reward for those tiny steps may be a while in coming, and knowing that, you just keep taking those tiny steps.

    Like TMS.

    Then, one day, you'll blink and realize .... that gentle, bemused change :)

    Layer of protection. 'Nuff said.

    Rather than visualize what once was, visualize from the inside out, your light bursting, and removing the debris from every cell ... that will get you better results, and better health.

    Depression is a clever demon, and very insidious. Did you ever see the movie, Firestarter, with Drew Barrymore? She had to stare into the fire and whisper intensely, back off ... back off ... back off.

    Try staring back at that demon, and giving the same command.

    The weight and TMS are connected. Repression, security.

    I would offer this mantra: Awareness without judgment.

    Formerly close friend ... mmm. That must hurt. I am sorry you had to see that side revealed. I am glad you see, now. The ties that bind. Time to do some untying.

    You are 100% correct that behavior, perception, and emotions are the weight issue, not diets, not more nutritional or caloric knowledge. Behavior. Thought patterns. The same place that manufactures our TMS pain to distract us, can use our cravings to distract us.

    You have all the tools .... you just are in the process of organizing them and figuring out which ones work best for you.

    Patience. Faith. And a willingness to take control of your life. It will come together. Not easily, but with each bit of effort, we grow more powerful.

    Your light is shining, beautiful Star.

    with grace and gratitude,
  14. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awwwww, thanks so much for your thoughtful reply, Lily Rose! And yeah, Lyrica packed on a few pounds for me too. Reduced activity has been a bit of a roller coaster. Before I realized it was TMS, my activity options shrunk. I went from very active and then over time, easy exercise in the pool. Even my lap swimming ceased because of shoulder pain and the subsequent migraine trigger.

    Since understanding about TMS, I have been adding activity though the icy weather has kept me from walking my 3 miles.

    Yeah, I've done the starting place thing with the scale before - it's a tool. Actually, I did weight watchers 10 years ago and was very successful. And I did learn the scale was merely a tool to give you feedback - not failure. Something connected with my motivation and I was so empowered. I felt great even though TMS symptoms were popping up here and there. (It was a shin splint that really threw my exercise routine into a funk way back when.)

    I like your visualization idea and will try that.

    TMS and weight….I never really connected that before either. But it makes perfect sense.

    Oh Lily Rose…this friend…we're talking 30 years of friendship. I think I was in denial for a long time. She's changed and I've been clinging to idealized memories. And we've been friends with our spouses too. It has just been devastating on many levels. I think this may be contributing to my flare up of painful tendons.

    I so appreciate your encouragement, dear one. And btw, I chose North Star as my screen name because my life mission is to follow my North Star to my true self. A line from one of my favorite poems, "Sea Fever" by John Masefield, …and all I ask is a tall ship and star to steer her by…" My tall ship is getting ready….

    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  15. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star that is interesting about what your friend said. My husband is very thin and loves food and eats what he wants. I have gained 50 pounds the last 4 years. He loves to cook, particularly with cream and lots of meat and potatoes. He just loves thinking, planning and talking about food. The other morning I was planning on starting a cleansing diet. He woke up and started dreaming about what he was going to cook for dinner. I told him I wanted us to eat more meals centered around vegetables and that I needed the support right now. He told me that it is not what I eat, but that I just need to eat less of it. That's pretty much what your friend said, right? It really upset me. I was thinking about it today and I realized that he has never really been overweight. In fact, when I met him he was underweight and was so self conscious about it he would wear three t-shirts under his shirt. I was very thin until my thirties. I had three brothers and I could eat whatever I wanted and never worried about it. I remember a close friend in college who was overweight and she always liked to talk about it. Today I was reflecting on the things she used to say and how I would respond. I really couldn't understand then why she would always talk about it. I would think "if it bothers her so much, why doesn't she do something about it?" In a way it is similar to thinking "why doesn't she just eat less?" I didn't understand the challenge. My husband does not understand either. I didn't understand until I found myself in this position. I spent my last session with my therapist talking about it and trying to understand. My therapist said something about having observed that people often wear their pain. In my case, I think this is absolutely true. My weight is a physical representation of how I feel on the inside. It is tied to my lack of self worth. I have been thinking about it a lot recently, trying to crack the puzzle as to why it has been so difficult. I don't have any clear answers yet.
  16. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    A book could be written on the beauty of that phrase Lily Rose, You are in a direst path of total healing throughout mind - body and soul.

    This is like the best answer on tms I have ever heard -- also mind and spirit. Thanks so much Lily Rose.
    Awesome advice:)
    yb44 and North Star like this.
  17. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh Anne, I so totally get what you're saying! And yeah…lack of self worth. Wearing their pain. Oh, yeah! These last couple of years have really been brutal and I know I need to find some things that nurture my soul.

    And my friend with the easy answers? Stick thin. Came from parents who were stick thin. My parents…both morbidly obese and both died rather young. Truly, they both wore their pain. Especially dad who was an alcoholic and heavy smoker. My doctor actually commented that it was a miracle I wasn't heavier than what I am given my family history. I was a runner as a young adult so I could pretty much eat with impunity. I got heavier during child bearing years but have always been active so I wore the extra pounds okay.

    Like you, Anne, I am trying to crack the puzzle. I know what to do but feel like my body is at war with me. I know there is some healing work to be done in my soul. I'm tried of being frustrated…tired of the constant battle to silence the inner critic.

    I'd say I'm looking forward to spring so I can get out and walk, that always helps. But here in Montana, spring doesn't come until the end of May. (And snow in June isn't unusual.) Which adds to my mental funk. One day at a time…mindfulness…and oh, yes! The "for sale" sign in the front yard really helps! :) We will be moving to AZ when it sells. The sunshine is intoxicating to me. But I digress.

    I'm glad I'm not walking this path alone….blessings to you beautiful, wonderful souls!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  18. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ha! See my new avatar, North Star. I've the got the tall ship (well, not mine exactly), just need to find the star.

    Another TMSer with weight issues here. I was a chubby child from the year dot and am very aware I ate for comfort, to avoid the pain of loneliness and lack of affection in my home. Now it's just an automatic conditioned response. I have been pondering the concept of being the right weight for myself now and linking it to TMS. At the moment I am quite stuck and wonder if I have achieved the right level of recovery for me right now, that I still need my symptoms for some reason. I like the passage that Herbie quoted above. I know I have all the knowledge and tools for healing but I am still in the process of organising them. One could also say I am procrastinating and if I am procrastinating, I am fearing.
    hecate105 and North Star like this.
  19. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yb44, I LOVE your new avatar! I can almost hear the halyards clanking against the rigging. As a girl, I had the supreme privilege of sailing on Lake Superior. Happy, happy memories.

    Procrastination being a fear response…whoa! That's really good. And spot on, me thinks!

    With all these issues…especially weight issues, which is what started this thread, I think the most important freeing thing is to remember WE ARE LOVED. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's FEAR. The fear of rejection and shame drives so much destructive behaviors. Or of course, TMS.

    Thinking of you all with love….
    tigerlilly and hecate105 like this.

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