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.)
Today, I celebrate 12 years of sustained weight loss. If you are new to this blog, after years of yo-yo dieting, I set out to lose weight permanently. My initial weight loss of 74 pounds was an incredible journey for me, an education in life I never expected.
After losing that weight, I was determined to “keep” the results. I knew from my research that permanent weight loss is defined by the medical profession as weight loss sustained for 5 years and more. I also knew, sadly, it is very rarely achieved.
I had to keep learning and growing in order to maintain the weight loss. In the last two years, I’ve lost more weight. Today, I’m 92 lbs. lighter.
As I was thinking about this anniversary, it occurred to me that I got what I wanted. How many times can you say you got exactly what you wanted (and more) in life?
I don’t call it amazing anymore, because I know the work that was involved. It’s no miracle. I literally “grew myself up” out of food addiction. I found, for me, most addiction theories don’t work. To me, they just get a person addicted to a program, instead of freeing them from the addiction.
In essence, the entire medical and therapeutic community says, “You are damaged and will always be addicted. Here, be addicted to this, which we deem healthier, rather than that substance (food, alcohol, drug, sex).
That just didn’t work for me.
What I wanted was freedom. Freedom was a huge value and driver of my behavior. In fact, as a weight loss coach, it’s something I hear practically every day from a client, or two, or three.
“I just want to be free to eat what I want.”
It’s perhaps the most common derailer of the average diet, and why diets don’t work long-term. When I was in the throes of addiction, the minute anyone told me “you can’t eat that” or “at your weight, is that wise?”, you could be damned sure I was going to eat it! That’s the freedom value showing up.
Well, today, I am free. I’m free of the compulsivity of addiction, feeling as though my actions are occurring without my permission.
I am free of excess weight, which hindered my movement, my self-expression, my comfort in the world.
I’m free of a host of medical problems.
I’m free of my excess weight making, refusing or coloring decisions for me.
Once I grew up, I discovered huge gifts: Choice. Opportunities. Meaning. Connection. Self-esteem. Love.
And true freedom.
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