I was watching the gal from the show My Big Fat Fabulous Life staring 30 year old Whitney Thore on Dr Oz today. I totally saw myself in her when I was in my 30s. My weight fluctuated from 350s to the 400 plus pound range. I was very mobile. I went to movies, I stood on my feet and cut hair 10 hours a day, life was a bit more difficult, but it was doable. Then, I wanted to lose weight to be healthy, but mostly to become marketable for dating, and to look good and buy clothes. I agree with much she has to say. I was one of those girls who, in spite of my weight, was outgoing and had a multitude of friends. A persons size should have nothing to do with their happiness. It shouldn’t, but for many, including myself, it does. It all caught up with me.
Youth is wasted on the youth. When I lost 200 pounds in the late 90s I was in my 30s, I used Richard Simmons products and soon became a marketing tool a testimonial for his products on various markets. Soon, the weight loss and the association with a celebrity became my identity. I still weighted 240 pounds, and was marketed as a role model. Those numbers on the scale do mean something, but have little to do with your character as a person or your worth. I was too happy but not truly content. I felt so good, my motivation took second place in all the hubbub of my testimonial days. Pain, both physical and emotional are often motivators for losing weight. it’s that whole “bottomed out” theory. Compared to being 444 pounds I was in no pain, I felt more normal than I ever had. I lost my vision. No matter what anyone says, 240 pounds is still not healthy. I didn’t quit, but I lost my focus enough for the eating to get careless and the weight started to creep back. It was not conscious decision. (never asks a person why they gained back their weight) There was no specific date I fell of the wagon. Unlike a drunk or drug addict, you can’t just stop eating like you can stop drinking. So falling off the wagon is a slippery slope. And that is the scary part.
Due to my association with Richard Simmons, I have met a lot of fat people. I have seen a lot of people lose a lot of weight. I have seen a lot of people die. Being unhealthy, makes you unhappy. Statistically over 90% of those who lose weight gain it back within 3 years. The odds of successful weight loss are not good. I keep thinking and wondering what is the common thread between those who have success and those who fail. I’m far from an expert, I have only been around and exposed to a lot of people with weight issues. I think for many of us, pain, is the top motivator. And when the pain is numbed, the motivation seems to weaken. Sometimes when life is going along, we forget where we came from.
A lot of fat people I know have various reasons they are not motivated. Some have just enough weight loss to be complacent, some have enablers. People, usually family members that lovengly keep us just above bottom. They love us too much too let us truly bottom out, even if the fat person thinks they already have.
I have started surfing the web for people who have successfully lose 200 and 300 pounds, trying to, again, find that common thread. So far what I have found is no surprise. Almost all have bottomed out usually with serious health issues due to their weight. Many seem to have these very quirky opinionated, rigid personalities. Very open and have managed to let go of their shame. They have no tolerance for any excuses of any kind. I mean like ZERO! All are strong warriors whom I have the utmost respect for. I aspire to be like them. Besides I like quirky, I am quirky.
I have also studied the behavior of those who fail. Like I said, I am no expert. I saw myself so much in these people. Full of excuses, but deny that they use them. Whiny, easily hurt, very thinned skinned, focused on themselves, and avoid deep feelings or talking about them. Feeling a lot of shame and unworthiness. Needy, playing on others sympathy, and lacking in independence, and the big one, FEAR! For me, fear caused me to put my head in the sand. I claimed to not be good at managing things in my life so others did them for me. That was all fear based. I was an expert at milking sympathy from my friends and loved ones. Oh, and one more thing I have noticed, we revert the attention to something else, or someone else. Be it kids, grandkids, over care taking, for some, obsession for a hobby or something. Thats a big one for me, I’ll get interested in something and it becomes an obsession, then I move to something else. I feel bad about that time in my life, but it taught me a lot. I’m still working through some of this stuff, but at least I am aware of it. In fact, it is hard for me to see this behavior in others because it reminds me of myself. I struggle with patience, because I want us all to get healthy and be happy.
I am doing great right now, I’m in the zone. But I fear getting over confident because I know this is a long road. A little fear is healthy. I want to remember the pain. The years I was in my bed. The loneliness, the fear of death. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but I can’t afford to be giddy. I know what happens when you let your guard down. I now strive for contentment. Fabulous, giddy, and even happy is overrated. You have to feel the lows to feel the highs. So for now, I’m seeking my healthy fabulous life, I know in the long run, it will bring contentment, which has a more lasting effect.