When I was at my very highest weight, and eating a lot of unhealthy food I had so many friends who loved me that were very worried. They worried they would be attending my funeral very soon. Many of them tried to have heart to heart talks with me. I had been so good at rationalizing my self abuse to people that I would tell them what they wanted to hear, admit to my problem, and give them just enough hope to ease their concern. I admitted to all of my many of my transgressions. I was so good at convincing even myself I was a victim, it was easy to convince my friends too. It was not intentional deceit, I believed the line of crap I was feeding them. I did try, I thought I was trying. I even had success on occasion. But when I got stuck, I blamed the scale, and water weight, or anything but the fact that I was eating too much. I mean, compared to how I normally ate, I felt I was truly dieting. I believed I was a victim of the circumstances around me. I said I owned it, but really didn’t. Many people with the best intentions rallied around me, and tried to work with me on a solution to my obesity. I feel a lot of shame about all of this. I am so blessed with a lot of friends, they have been so good to me. Better than I deserved. I was a pro at turning the conversation around and about them, asking questions and being very personal, and listening to them deeply. I played the sweet girl card, the nice Christian girl, the good daughter, and niece. The sad widow. The giver…. when you are obese you do super sweet things that block people from becoming critical and would normally confront you for your self abuse. I truly love people and care about them, but I used all of this to become too sweet and kind for my friends to get very mad at me or confronting.
I have observed the shields fat people use to compensate for their lack of self care and self respect. Some people get very sarcastic, and cynical. Some are clowns, always talking first about their size before anyone else does and cracking jokes about their weight. Some a sappy sweet. Super kind, thoughtful and giving, yet emotional distant about themselves. Some are super caregivers. In fact these sweet fat people seem very emotional open, but if you listen very close, they use that sweetness to shut down the truly deep issues they don’t want to speak of. You see, if you get people to talk about themselves, you don’t have to talk about that huge void inside of yourself that you try to fill with food. Most people are so flattered if you ask questions about them, they don’t notice. Some fat people are just mean, and bitter, making people fear their crudeness. Some are very, very opinionated, spewing their “expert” opinions about everything to everyone. Becoming obsessed with things, be it movies, their dog, computers, video games, anything to avoid looking at themselves or feeling anything. Some are know it alls. All of these characteristics are walls we build around us to avoid any confrontation or emotional pain. These are ways we push people away, almost making them fear getting to close. Being emotionally vulnerable AND fat is an overwhelming thought.
The most recent thing I feel the worst about is the kind girls at the YMCA that came to my home several times a week to work with me and get me going. I half way tried, I ate somewhat good, but in the 6 months that they worked with me, I lost less than 10 pounds. These girls were young and very frustrated with me. In fact a few times they got so frustrated they really yelled at me. That was hard to take. I remember trying to work my charm on them, being a cool buddy, showing deep interest in their lives and families. I look back now and feel kind of silly, I tried way too hard to be their buddy. They did not buy it. I don’t blame them.
Today, I am so full of hope. I feel like I am making good progress, and have dreams of a future I never thought I would have. It’s very hard for me to see a fellow fat friend, who is struggling. I see through them, I don’t buy into the games and manipulation. I want to run to them and share all my new awarenesses. I want to help them flip that switch to health. In fact some of the friends who I love very much I have tried to enlighten. They get defensive, and resent my efforts, seeing me a being judgmental, bossy and maybe even a bit cocky. I honestly am not trying to come across that way. I know I am always on the edge. Once I get comfortable and over confident, that’s when things can spiral very fast. There is no arrival. EVER! Only progress, and even that comes in waves.
I have made the mistake many times with my fat friends to go to that emotional and open place that many fear. Most of the times I get shut down fast, then resented to the point the relationship has been damaged.
I had a conversation with a fellow weight loss buddy today that is doing very well. We shared concern about a mutual friend who not doing so well. She said they were doing somewhat ok with food but feared they did not get the “head stuff”. That was good way to explain it. 95% of losing weight for an morbidly obese person is the fat in their head. There are many food plans that work, the secret is the head stuff.
I get approached almost daily with people who want my “secret”. I get questions everyday asking about my food plan. I don’t mind being asked at all, ever! I want to help people succeed and get healthy. But the one thing I can’t make happen is the head stuff. I would be so rich if I had the magic formula to flip that switch. That’s what we are actually seeking when we buy new diet books, exercise plans, and the latest diet pills. We all want that switch in our head flipped. Or we think if we can just get the weight off that switch will automatically flip.
The best advice I can give is;
- Never give up! Seek your path to good health with all your might.
- find a healthy food plan
- stick with it, always, make it your #1 priority. NO, really! This includes weekends, and all Holidays.
- For me, no cheat days or meals
- get anything and everything that is tempting out of your house. Even if it means your husband and children will miss it. Trust me, missing you in their lives is way more devastating than those favorite cookies you keep for your grandkids.
- Find a few people who you can be bare naked honest with, I mean totally transparent.
- create an army of people who you are accountable to, not just on your terms, but always!
- be ridiculously honest, and don’t rationalize anything
- scour your community and the internet for people who are having the success you are wanting, and reach out to them. Most will recognize if you are truly sincere and want to be your friend or help in some way.
- READ, READ and read…. blogs and everything about healthy eating, and the psychological side of weight loss
- Journal or better yet, blog. Blogging has been life changing for me.
- connect with your spiritual side. Seek a divine connection. If you truly seek it, you will find it.
- Stay positive, read motivational quotes videos and materials
- Ask for help when needed
- Accountability, daily or even more. I have a group I have access to 24 hours a day. I report my morning goals, and report how I did with them at the end of the day. Priceless!
These are many of the things that I do. These are the common threads I see in people who have the success that I want to have. If you are not willing to do these things, you are probably not ready. If you are not, be honest about it. Don’t lie about it just because it’s what you ‘should” do. I have more respect for someone who is honest, about not being ready or struggling to stay on plan than someone who is not honest. Being honest is much more than confessing you are struggling or “not perfect”. It includes focusing on exactly where or what you struggle with. Saying your are struggling or ‘not perfect” is cop out. It gets you off the hook without really looking at it. Be specific with someone safe. Losing weight is about constantly sharpening the saw and always fine tuning. Be loving and patient with yourself. Love who you are. Make a list of the things that are beautiful about you no matter what your size. These are what last. A healthy body is simply a healthy body, so you can live longer, be in less pain, and move around easier. Seeing what it is about you that is worth saving is the biggest motivator of all.