Friday, October 29, 2004

Battling Weight From the Inside Out

Today Dr. Phil did a show on gastric bypass surgery.  Like most "get thin quick" methods of losing weight, I don't care for it.  I'm sure there are times it's needed but I really fear that people are risking their lives to use it as a cosmetic cure to an internal problem.

An alcoholic or a drug addict will quit using while in rehab because their choices are taken away from them.  However when put back in the real world they need to understand that battling these addictions is a day to day challenge.

Unfortunately too many people figure that once you lose weight that your battle is over and you've won.  Sometimes though, it's just beginning.


I am a food addict.  I have always been a food addict and will always be a food addict.  Case in point, being so sorely tempted to eat badly last week when faced with the trauma of Jeremiah's injury.  Thirty years of behavior is hard to break with just one year of good behavior.  All the triggers that made me overeat in the past are still there, I've just learned how to cope with them differently.

And that's where I feel the diet industry fails the obese population they prey upon.  Take this pill, buy this contraption, do this diet and you can lose weight FAST.  We, as a group of people who have come to depend on instant gratification (like that we find in overeating our comfort foods), buy into it thinking if we could just lose the weight everything else will change.  If I lose weight then I'll want to exercise.  If I lose weight then I'll want to eat better.  If I lose weight I'll be happier, more confident, less likely to fail.


<insert annoying buzzer sound here>  WRONG.  Losing weight only changes your outside - what still needs work and what will always need work is your inside. 

If you have a problem with deprivation and you undergo a surgery that says "if you eat too much sugar or fat you're going to get sick as a dog" guess what's going to happen?  You're going to binge and get sick as a dog.  Why?  Because being deprived causes you psychological pain.  You'll avoid it at all costs, even physical discomfort.

If you have entitlement issues and you work out like a crazy person for a week and see no loss (or even a gain) then you blow off the exercise.  Why put yourself through all that if you don't see a result?   You might even go binge on your favorite treat of choice because after all, you've earned it, you deserve it.  You're entitled.

If you use food to surpress emotion, what happens when you're thrust into the mainstream of life, meeting new people who find you so much more approachable now that you're normal sized?  What happens when you realize that being thin doesn't mean you're going to fall in love any easier, or keep in love any better?  How then will you roll with the punches of the emotional ups and downs that just come from simply living?  Drowning yourself in gallons of Ben & Jerry's that's how.


Why do some people eat whatever they want and never gain one pound, but so many of us end up blowing up as big as a balloon just looking at the wrong foods?  We are in the very unenviable position of wearing our addictions on our sleeves.  Food is to us what alcohol is to an alcoholic.  We have to come to terms with our emotional well being if we ever want to see a change in our physical well being.

Surgery may take the choices away for a while and you have no choice to lose weight, but it's not a permenant fix-all.  One day you will have to deal with the reasons why you are/were obese.  Those of us who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


Which is why I was so completely and utterly psyched yesterday that I could go into a restaurant and make good choices.  After a year the changes I've made are inherent.  This is a good thing. 

Tonight I pigged out on pizza and that was a bad thing.  Not because I went over in any aspect of my diet - but because I used food to stuff down emotion.  I was so brokenhearted to see an 18 year old girl who weighs 350lbs desperate for this surgery when she already has everything she needs to make it all on her own without risking her health or her life.  I wrote Dr. Phil a letter explaing where I had come from and how I felt about her choice, but inside I was just feeling so helpless that someone out there could risk their life to bethin and there was nothing I could do.


I hate the society that says we have to treat obese people like second class citizens.  When she was crying on that stage I knew every single thing she was feeling.  It hurts to be different.  It hurts to be the "freak", to wear your "weakness" where everyone anywhere can see it.  And as a young person I can only imagine how much her pain is amplified.  I can't even imagine being 350lbs in school.  I barely left my house.

I remember what it felt like when I would have to gently tell the waitress that I needed a table, not a booth.  Even back in San Antonio in March we had to sit outside because the booths at the restaurant were too small and uncomfortable. 

Being too big in a small world where people of size are literally despised is a very painful experience.  People just look at you like if you had any will power you'd just say no to food.

What they don't realize, it's not about the food.  It's not even about being overweight.  It's all about how we value ourselves.


Most people who are overweight are very generous people who would do anything for anyone.  They are the care givers and the nurturers who devote their lives to their spouses, families, children, jobs, etc.  They do not put a value on taking care of themselves, they'll do everything for everyone else first and then blame time as an excuse why they can't treat themselves any better.  I know this because I am this. 

And I see this in the people who respond to this journal.  We're good people... we just have to remember that in regards to taking care of ourselves.  We deserve to eat properly and exercise and let ourselves feel what we feel instead of trying to push it down with food and hide under layers of protective fat.


I wish that I wrote this before the pizza.  I probably would not have eaten so much.  Not that I ate a whole lot but it's laying in my gut like a dead weight.  Once my full house is empty again, there's going to be some bike riding going on, headache or not.  I'm not going to let that be an excuse any longer.


Tomorrow is weigh in day.  I'm a little concerned that I won't see a loss despite the hard work I've put in this week.  But you know what?  I don't even need that anymore.  Today my mom (who went to vote like a good American) bought me an early birthday gift in a couple of sweaters, some underwear and a necklace at Lane Bryant.  Do you know how good it feels to buy something you think is pretty, put it on, have it fit and actually feel like you look good in it?  That is a total high - so much better than any food high I've ever had. 

So I'm not going to beat myself up for the pizza, I'm going to work it off.  This is my life now - no deprivation, no condemnation, no entitlement - just good old fashioned controlled eating and deliberate exercise.

I'm going to get thin.  It may not be tomorrow.  It may not be a year from now.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to deter me from this journey.  I've come to far, and I know I deserve to be everything I was meant to be.


Songs to PUMP you UP.

Happy songs tonight.  Peppy energetic stuff that makes my spirit light.  The body has no choice but to follow:

SEND ME ON MY WAY - Rusted Root
BAD TOUCH - Bloodhound Gang
ISTANBUL - They Might Be Giants
DON'T FIGHT IT - Kenny Loggins & Steve Perry
NEW ATTITUDE - Patti LaBelle
THE CUP OF LIFE - Ricky Martin


Tip of the Day: THINK THIN.  Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.  You are what you say you are.  If you look in that mirror and say, "God I'm a big fat cow" then your pscyhe responds.  It will hunger for all the foods it knows it shouldn't have because you have undermined yourself.  By verbalizing that all your effortshaven't produced a tangible result just because you're not at goal, you're not giving yourself thecredit you deserve for having even made the first few steps at a new life.  Self depreciation = self destruction.  However, if you go by that mirror and say, "I look GREAT.  I feel thinner, lighter, healthier.  I'm a success at losing weight." then your psyche will respond in kind.  You'll want to participate in more activities, you'll want to eat better and look better.  Don't wait for goal weight to live like a thin person.  You'll be thankful for the practice!



Calories: 2065
Fat: 27%
Sat. Fat: 6%
Fiber: 40g
Calcium: 1540mg
Water: 72oz
Exercise: rode 30 mins stationary bike

DAILY AFFIRMATION: I have everything I need to succeed.


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