Here's what I know: What you are looking for you can find now. You can find kindness and blessings in the heat of the struggle. In fact, that's when you're most likely to find them. I would not have learned that people can be so caring and generous if I hadn't lost my car in a parking garage and accepted the surprising gift of kindness from strangers.
Try this little exercise: Think about how you might be blessed now, no matter what you weigh. Do you feel joy about the little things, like braiding your daughter's hair; taking time to answer your son's question about caterpillars becoming butterflies; holding your husband's hand when you're at the movies? Do you feel a sense of victory when you aren't mean to yourself for eating too much or give yourself a pat on the back for passing up the irresistible cinnamon bun that calls to you at the mall?
This seemingly Sisyphean task of weight loss could be your best opportunity to learn how to be your own savior. Now is the time to be kind to yourself when you fail and congratulate yourself when you do the right thing, before you're as thin as you want to be. Because it's not going to magically happen when you hit a certain number on the scale. I know this because not one student—not one—has ever, in 30 years, told me that she was kinder to herself when she lost weight. But every single student has told me the opposite: that when she gives herself what she wants most—treating herself with tenderness—no matter what she weighs, she already has what thin will give to her.
Ask yourself what the kindest thing you could do for yourself now would be. Something that doesn't require money or waiting for a result in the future. And when you know what that is, lavish it upon yourself. Because, unlike cars and keys and glasses, once you have it, you will never lose it.
Read More from Geneen Roth:
Does having one cookie turn into 10? How to stop
The no-diet weight loss method
Start the 15-week companion guide to Women, Food and God
Geneen Roth's books were among the first to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with deeply personal and spiritual issues that go far beyond food, weight and body image. She believes that we eat the way we live and that our relationships to food, money and love are exact reflections of our deeply held beliefs about ourselves and the amount of joy, abundance, pain and scarcity we believe we have (or are allowed) to have in our lives.
Geneen has appeared on many national television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, The NBC Nightly News, The View and Good Morning America. Articles about Geneen and her work have appeared in numerous publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Time, Elle, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has written a monthly column in Good Housekeeping magazine since 2007. Geneen is the author of eight books, including The New York Times best-seller When Food Is Love and a memoir about love and loss, The Craggy Hole in My Heart. Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything is her newest book.