Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Courage to Succeed: Who Knew We Needed That?

Do you have 'the courage to succeed?' - The courage to have even your loved ones treat you differently? The courage to lose friends when you no longer 'fit' their needs. Have you the courage to be a normal weight person in a world that is growing heavier? 

Lloyd Glauberman, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, wrote an article entitled Emotional Eating: Six Types of 'Problem Eating To Watch for in the Huffington Post on January 10, 2011. 

This and all the other articles about abnormal food behaviors, weight loss, food choices and dieting appearing everywhere you look between between mid December and today are all 'timed' for this stressful season of recovery from holiday eating. I wish there was more reporting on the ways long-term weight loss has been maintained by people who have had the experience of excess weight but today are able to keep their weight in check. Real grit from people who do it instead of people who make a study of other people do not have the experience of addiction themselves. 

In my experience with losing 220+ pounds and keeping those pounds off I find directly hearing the experience of others who have succeeded has been the key to getting through all the tough spots of any food/eating challenge I have faced. When we learn to drive cars our instructor is a driver, not someone who studies other drivers without ever getting behind the wheel of a car. I find the best instruction, strength and hope come from those who have lived the experience. 

That said, I did particularly identify with parts of Lloyd Glauberman's article:

Changing your eating habits is tantamount to changing your religion. There is not a single stitch in the fabric of your life that will not be affected by the process of losing a significant amount of weight. The way you see, think and feel about yourself, the way others respond to you and the day to day patterns that structure your life will be entirely different. There are also a lot more choices available as you become, in a literal sense, a different person.

This is especially true for people who have always been heavy, since being at a healthy weight is like being in a country where you're just learning the language. Developing the skills to cope with all of this is no easy matter. And it takes an enormous degree of courage to succeed.

I have had this experience. Even losing all my weight in a healthy, natural way, it was a long time before I could accept I can go into any store and find clothes that fit me. It was two years before I accepted that I can no longer describe myself as an overweight woman. I still forget that I do not need reinforced furniture and that I can fit in the row's middle seat on a plane. I find I cannot wear rings on my fingers because all my many rings are too big and even today I struggle to accept that I need to have them re-sized.

I have had to cope with the taunts of family members who single me out for being ‘thin’. There are friends who no longer include me in their plans because I am not the fat buddy any more. I no longer must push to get attention at a home store, an auto shop or the office supply store. I am no longer the invisible fat lady to service providers. Family and friends reach out to connect with me more – in a good way, not a creepy way. There are more hugs, more caresses. 

I am so grateful that I lost my weight in a healthy and natural way. I have the chance to grow into the 'new me' slowly, even today. I am STILL growing into the new me; still noticing things that are different about how people react to me and how I carry myself in this brave new world of a leaner body. 

I do not know if it is courage or stubbornness that propels me. Perhaps it is a little of both. Anyway, I am keeping the pounds off for another day. How are you dealing with your new body today? 



Fat Girl Fights Back said...

"In my experience with losing 220+ pounds and keeping those pounds off I find directly hearing the experience of others who have succeeded has been the key to getting through all the tough spots of any food/eating challenge I have faced."

Exactly. Jane, you are such an inspiration to me because you have lost what my goal happens to be. I'm trying to lose 230lbs (hoping I see that 50lbs lost tomorrow). To ignore your experience is like ignoring a map maker after they have already plotted the course of your travels. Certainly, environmental conditions may change making the journey different, but the road is pretty much unchanged. You've already walked it, I see your footsteps and now I must pay attention and glean what I can from that experience.

Jane Cartelli said...

It is the same road and sometimes our steps will align and sometimes we will be divided but as long as we are on the same road and traveling in the correct direction, we are doing the right thing for another day.