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.
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.
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.
Non-Diet Weight Loss Tip #13
Quite often, clients tell me their bodies have gone beserk and are putting on fat at an alarming rate.
Well, yes and no. The body is NOT a fat-making machine.
When assaulted by poor eating habits, excessive dieting, fasts and cleanses, or any other fad… it seeks to regain balance.
As I celebrate my 15th anniversary of sustaining a 92-pound weight loss, I feel unimaginable sweetness in my life.
My journey to my own sweet spot began as a tiny girl when my grandmother and I would sneak candy as a secret.
I couldn’t admit to my mother I had developed a taste for candy, cookies, cake, pie, brownies – the list was endless – because my grandmother was diabetic and was not supposed to be eating sugary things!
Not only did I get the message that sweet things weren’t good for you, it had to be hidden. It was shameful!
As I developed a serious sugar addiction, I felt an outright fear around sweet foods – I craved them and I loathed them – quite a double message – and I hated myself for loving sweet things so much.
This Thanksgiving week, I feel especially grateful for my health and happiness.
Often, when I’m giving a speech or presenting a workshop, I make this statement:
“Today, I’m grateful I struggled with excess weight for thirty years.”
It seems I always have at least half an audience who become incredulous at that statement, but, now that I’m on the other side of struggle, it’s quite easy to see the life lessons I learned on my way to success:
As I celebrate 14 years on the permanent weight loss road, my own little “self” anniversary, I’m making it a point to look back as well as forward.
Reflection is only useful if it brings greater awareness. Speaking from the beginning stages of weight loss, one of my newer clients asked me, “Oh, don’t you look back and feel bad for those days when you could enjoy eating anything you wanted?”
She was earnest, and honest, but looking through the lens of her own fears. And, no, the pleasures I feel and create today don’t even compare to pepperoni pizza. They couldn’t come close to that meaningless little chocolate truffle. No, they’re not even on the same planet.
Sure, food can be a pleasure but, when your senses are tuned into life, you are constantly creating heightened states of energy, ecstasy, and expansion — within your soul, not just your body.
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