I received sad news today… a woman I first met on social media, asking for help to lose weight, has had serious complications from surgery intended to alter her stomach’s ability to hold nutrition (gastric bypass surgery).
After years of pretending she was concerned for her health, I watched her dip in and out of diets, always despondent when they didn’t work. She embraced (and had personal evidence) diets were never going to work, but she preferred to keep “trying”, rather than face herself.
Am I surprised? No. Not really.
This is the saddest part of my work as a professional weight loss coach.
I’ve helped hundreds directly with coaching and thousands through my online programs, but not everyone wants to lose weight, and lose weight permanently.
Anne (a pseudonym) gave me permission to share her story with you.
She called me for help, but never quite signed on to begin a coaching relationship. Or a class.
She had a million excuses.
Actually, she was waiting for something to force her to act. (We usually wait for something ominous to force our hand – by then, it’s too late.)
Anne wanted someone else to take away her excuses. The rock-and-roll and in-and-out of diets seems comforting after a while, always living in the future, living in hope with no action.
Of course, hope with no action is fantasy.
Anne knows that now.
Really, she didn’t want to change. Most of us don’t!
Many people cling to the thinnest shred of any possible reason NOT to take charge. It’s a big step. They know there are no excuses available after they begin to work with me – they sense I teach an ultimate form of RESPONSIBILITY. (After all, I teach a class in responsibility called Own Every Bite!)
I get it.
I could not have seen my own weight rise to 242 lbs., if I didn’t have to work through the same shit everyone else has to work through to get to a point of change.
And I’ve had more than one potential client decide not to pursue coaching or healing their food addiction, clinging to their “safe” world of food-as-problem-solver and food-as-soothing-agent, and wind up right back in my office a few years later with a breast cancer diagnosis or diabetes (excess weight is a major contributing factor to both). Even then, they don’t quite see the connection of what they have created in their bodies, but their doctor told them to get their act together.
I don’t really want to see you in my enLIGHTen Your Life! Mastermind Class or as an individual coaching client when your doctor sends you… I want you to show up BEFORE that… when there’s still time for you to make positive change and ALTER the path you are traveling, a path that leads to poor health, body breakdown, and loss of power.
I want to see you when you recognize you have choices and are choosing health and self-care over your old martyrdom story of “everyone else comes first.”
No job, no relationship, and even the kids don’t come before your health. If you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you can’t help them. You won’t be there to help them.
And you’ll have given them a piss-poor example of how to manage life if you can only cope by stuffing your face.
No, you are not hiding that from the kids either. They know fat. Just like they know if you secretly drink, or drug, or cut yourself.
Believe me, I was once in your shoes. I walked that walk, until I got a new one.
Here’s what I think keeps most of us from receiving help:
It takes some real humble acceptance to recognize and admit we need help, or need to learn a new way to cope.
We often feel, if we avoid getting help, we’ll solve fat alone, and no one will be the wiser to what we’ve been doing or (worse!) what we’ve been thinking about ourselves. Because we feel a lot of shame about our physical condition.
Here’s what I think encourages us to move beyond addictions:
Somewhere, deep inside, you have to know you are worth more than the scraps you are getting in life. After all, if you were getting what you truly need, there would be no drive to augment life with excess food.
- That boring job, with the stress and headaches? Yes, you can do better.
- A terrible parent or relative who constantly judges and puts you down? Yes, you can find supportive, loving new “family.”
- The ungrateful children or siblings, who don’t understand your needs? Yes, we all need to be understood and loved. It’s possible.
- A spouse or partner who doesn’t hear, see or revere you? This costs a fortune in esteem.
- The toxic relationship you’ve forged with yourself, where you berate or excuse (or both) yourself for your choices and habits… it’s time to release it.
Overeating is about making up for something, stuffing real feelings, hiding.
We all need to love ourselves enough to choose to live differently.
If your morale hit the floor when you read the New York Times’ article about the massive Biggest Loser weight regain experienced by participants, you are not alone.
My phone has been ringing with some mighty disheartened folks, asking for my opinion.
First of all, the regain is real. I won’t tell you it’s not. Over the past 15 years, I’ve coached many clients who lost weight in an all-out, highly restrictive, biggest loser fashion – weight loss surgery, fad diets, fasting, liquid protein diets – and ALL of them regained ALL the weight.
The problem with highly restrictive diets is we must leave the body out of the weight loss effort, literally wreaking violence internally.
This wave of reaction I’m feeling about the Biggest Loser article reminds me of one of my most vivid memories, which occurred right before I decided to lose weight permanently.
I was in the medical school library, and I had just found several studies showing how weight is regained rapidly after highly restrictive diets. I admit to being just as stunned as many of you are right now. The numbers I found on the National Weight Control Registry (which follows real life losers) were:
Thanks for all your emails and FB messages, but nothing in the new article in The New York Times, “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight” is news to me.
The article details research showing how the Biggest Loser participants (and anyone rapidly losing weight) regains at an astonishing rate, destroys their metabolism, experiences great shame, and crushes their esteem.
Not only did I discover those truths in my own diet-and-regain merry-go-round of a life, I turned that vital information to my advantage in losing 92 lbs and sustaining the weight loss long-term. (74 lbs sustained since 2000 + another 18 lbs sustained since 2011).
Before that, shame was my middle name as I spent over 20 years losing and regaining.
What burns my butt is the disingenuous nature of the doctors and researchers in this article. You can’t tell me they didn’t understand these concepts, which I was able to learn as a layman in the medical school library. If it is news to them, we need to take a serious look at medical school training today.
Of course, I admit I had to explain it to my brother-in-law, a doctor, who claimed to have heard nothing of it in medical school.
Fat people, he claimed, were weak willed. Oh, brother(in-law)!
Why should I, simply a fairly intelligent woman who conquered a food addiction, be telling the supposed professionals about permanent weight loss?
I recently read a blog post by a woman who lost a lot of weight, listing all the things she missed about being overweight. Losing weight permanently means letting go of anything you might miss later. It means moving on in life, without regret.
I read the post with interest. I had never thought about missing anything from my days at 242 lbs. I was HAPPY to leave those pounds, that mindset, and any regrets behind me.
Here were the five things she missed:
I could pig out whenever I wanted
When I was fat, and people liked me, I knew it was real.
I didn’t worry about what to eat
Now, I threaten people
Other people left me alone
I call bullshit!
Let’s look at those “missing” items.
I was recording a podcast Friday and had to interrupt my host when he mentioned my “15 years of permanent weight loss” with an update.
As of tomorrow, that number will be 16!!!
After losing 74 lbs, I began the process of cementing my success in place.
It was March 13, 2000.
I new diets didn’t work. I had left them in the dust.
Focusing on the new healthier habits, I vowed to never go back. I didn’t quite understand, but I was learning how to create a new lifestyle.
A new lifestyle isn’t something that happens in a vacuum, or overnight. It develops.
By now, you have heard that Mattel has tried to diversify its long-time bestselling doll, Barbie, in response to criticism her impossible proportions negatively affect young girls’ body images.
If you read my blog at all, you know I have linked the plastic doll to the super thin plastic “ideal” body seen in every Hollywood film, on the fashion runways, and in advertising.
Almost sixty years ago, Barbie was modeled literally from the original dollmaker’s 12-year-old son’s body – wide shoulders, narrow hips, otherworldly long legs and neck – and then a pair of large fake breasts were appended.
Mattel didn’t cave in and change Barbie because of the collateral damage to females. Instead, they changed the 57-year-old doll due to lowered sales in a world where women have effectively (finally!) rejected the anorexic ideal in favor of reflecting realistic shapes and sizes of females.
It can’t be argued many women have measured themselves against this superthin image, with disastrous results like food addiction, anorexia, disordered eating, bulimia. A recent study published in Psychology Today showed 91% of women were dissatisfied with their bodies, with almost 80% saying they were too heavy, when only about 60% of all women are overweight.
The focus on thin in media has been changing. Who cares if Angelina Jolie can subsist on 600 calories a day? No one is watching her movies, because they are seriously awful, which is why she has to do such outrageous things to get publicity these days.
The public is much more engaged with Amy Schumer, who is seriously funny, and hasn’t abandoned her body to Hollywood’s makeover artists. And with Kim Kardashian’s curvy derriere. And they are fascinated with the sexy new Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Ashley Graham. (Photo by James Macari/from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on sale now.)
Much as been written about Oprah Winfrey buying Weight Watchers‘ stock for $40 million dollars and, in just a few days, tripling that investment, when stocks rose.
On the surface, like most media blitzes, the numbers look impressive.
And comics and cartoonists had fun with the idea that Oprah would make MORE money to add to her billions:
But beyond the media blitz and the jokes, there is something much more insidious and disappointing about this shoddy deal.
Holidays are tough for many people but, if you are actively trying to lose weight, the extra stress can be a diet killer. What do successful weight loss survivors do? Here are some helpful weight loss tips from experts and coaches who’ve actually been successful losing weight themselves.
I specifically spoke with experts who understand the concept of sustained weight loss too. This is a big distinction, as permanent weight loss, defined by the medical community as weight loss sticking around over five years, is illusive to many.
Research shows permanent weight loss is more likely to result from lifestyle and attitude change. Diets just don’t do the trick for long-term change.
Subscribe by EmailGet new blog posts sent directly to your email!
Like Pat on Facebook!
Follow Pat on Twitter
- Do you let #Sabotage wipe out a large area of your life? Get the 8 DANGER ZONES AND DETOURS #weightloss... https://t.co/Wuv0yAFupf 08:10:47 PM July 30, 2016 ReplyRetweetFavorite
- The 9 Tips you need to Go BEYOND temporary #WeightLoss. Get #Results NOW! Check it out here!... https://t.co/fL7JJlWsBN 12:55:42 PM July 30, 2016 ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Are you ready for a #lifestyle change and have a life of amazing #health and #vitality ? Begin owning your health... https://t.co/Es2cPRqCGW 09:28:36 AM July 30, 2016 ReplyRetweetFavorite
- #DRAMATICALLY change your results? Get in touch with your #body now! Here's how..https://t.co/oCD4e3cRYM https://t.co/6QjPMyNrQ4 12:50:03 PM July 29, 2016 ReplyRetweetFavorite
- #life is a #journey..... not a #destination #healthylifestyle #permanentweightloss... https://t.co/YuYVoUzrjl 09:01:27 AM July 29, 2016 ReplyRetweetFavorite