Thursday, February 26, 2015

The "WHY" Of Weight

I know it is a normal thing for people to try and figure out why they have allowed themselves to become overweight or obese. You could spend a lot of time theorizing and even allow yourself to be influenced by whatever the popular thoughts are on the subject, but I came to realize that you really don't get to the root of it until the weight is in the process of being lost. When you are forced to face the reality of self imposed limitations and you no longer have that crutch to lean on, it is time to deal.

One thing I realized over the coarse of my weight loss was that my obesity had lessened others expectations of me. This had not been the conscious reason behind my weight problem, but it certainly did play a part in the path my life had taken all those years. I'm not sure when my sense of feeling incapable compared to others took root, but being obese sure did give me a good excuse not to excel in anything.  I convinced myself that survival was all I could hope for and that I had a perfectly good excuse not to try for more.

I was quite shocked at how that all shifted when I lost the weight. Suddenly people had expectations of me! I was very intimidated by that and it took time for me to adjust, but my sense of achievement and interest in seeing what else I could do eventually got me through it.

Along the same line, as a single mom I was often overwhelmed with the 24/7 never ending demands of my 3 kids, plus running a home based day care 12 hours a day. I realized that the action of eating tended to make people leave me alone for a while. Even a few minutes of no demands kept me sane, so eating was a good shield to tell everyone, "Later, I'm busy eating right now".

These insights gradually became apparent to me over the months of changing. There were others, but these were a couple of the ones that took me by surprise as I discovered them and worked at dealing with the emotions as they were emerging.

If you are in the process of losing weight, take advantage of the insights you will be presented with as you progress. Don't be afraid to accept the fears or to take ownership. None of us get obese because we are hungry. There is ALWAYS an emotional root that needs pulling.

Monday, February 23, 2015

No Limits

I have a question for you all. Over the time that you have been overweight, have you put limits on yourself and the experiences you could have enjoyed? I know that may be a totally "DUH!" question, but I think it's a good thing to think about when you are working on keeping your mind focused on what you are doing and why you are doing it. The day to day grind of sticking to a limited eating plan, no matter what kind of plan that may be, can seem to drag on sometimes and we dwell on all that we are missing, food wise. much have you missed by choosing food over experiences? I know that for me, my weight was a deciding factor in all the choices I made, no exaggeration. I missed out on a lot. So did my kids.

Today, when you find yourself thinking about the sacrifice that losing weight requires of you, flip that switch and instead think about all the sacrifices being overweight has cost you. Then, imagine yourself in all sorts of new adventures! What would you do if you had no limitations?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Success Story!

Hey guys! I just had to share with you all. I have a customer that I have been working with off and on for the past few years. Like many of us, she'd had a hard time committing to her health and weight loss. Being a single mom of 4, she had a hard time making herself a priority, but after a doctor's appointment last year where she learned that she was diabetic, she had a fire lit under her and she jumped in with both feet, fully committed to getting the weight off and getting her health under control. When she called me last Feb, there were lots of tears (on both our parts!) and she was scared and doubtful, but we got her going again and I am pleased to say, today she reached her goal! She lost a total of 138 pounds and is no longer on any meds for diabetes! She has turned in to a total gym rat and told me that for the first time in her life, she feels excited about what's to come. We talked about dating (she's not ready) and about my skin removal surgery (she has an consult appointment for a tummy tuck and breast lift next week, they call it a "Mommy Makeover" ) and she sounds so happy!

She would be the first to say that this took more emotional momentum then her diabetes Dx alone could maintain. It was her kick-start, but if she hadn't invested time and energy and effort in to creating a new lifestyle along the way, she never would have reached her goal. She had always been one of those who was desperately trying to lose weight for an event. Weddings, reunions, vacations, every time she contacted me it was for an upcoming social gathering that she didn't want to be the "fattest girl in the room" for. This time, she said it was different. Her focus was off of what other people would judge her for, and 100% on giving herself and her kids a better, healthier life. Now, instead of them all sitting in front of the TV and eating, they go out and do stuff!

I asked her if she would come and post her story here on the board, but she isn't one to share on social media. She did give me permission to tell her story for her.

I know some of you have a similar story. Some of you start with the best of intentions, only to lose your momentum and quit until the next attempt. She wanted me to tell people that she now realizes the sacrifice Cambridge requires of us, to forgo regular food for a while, is a tiny price to pay in hindsight. Going in, she felt completely  doubtful that she would be able to stick with it after all her failed attempts, but now..looking back, she realized that like Dorothy in "The Wizard Of Oz" she had the answer all the time right in her own back yard...or, more accurately, within herself. Once she took the focus off of outward influences, and instead focused on her own desires for her life, things fell in to place and she got out of her own way.

I hope her story inspires you to stop and examine your internal dialog, your motivation, your willingness to embrace a new lifestyle, and your belief in your ability to change. Never underestimate your ability to change.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

That Old "Nature vs Nurture" Thing.

In all my years (most of my life) of living  as an overweight to obese person, I often tried to solve the mystery of why I was burdened with whatever it was that had made me that way. I know most believe it is just a matter of eating too much and not moving enough, but I know for a fact this is not true.

I grew up in a home where we were not allowed to raid the fridge or dig around in the pantry for something to eat. We were raised to eat what my mother put in front of us, no more, no less. There was no fast food or restaurant meals in our lives. There was very little of what would be considered snack type junk foods. Just home cooking. I was one of 4 siblings, the baby. My 3 older sibs had no weight issues at all. They were thin and for the most part pretty sedentary. I was 100% tomboy. I rarely sat still and even TV watching was a short term activity for me. Besides, in the 60's and 70's there were only a few channels to choose from and cartoons were only on Saturday mornings. If we did not have our chores done in time, we missed the boat. With only one TV in the house, my parents had first priority for evening viewing choices.  I learned very early (around 4) to become an avid reader for my entertainment, or to just go outside and play.  I loved basketball, handball, riding my bike, working with my dad in the garage, anything that kept me moving. In spite of that, I was a pudgy kid from birth.

One of my earliest memories were of being in my stroller at a school carnival with my mom and brother and sisters. We had stopped at a booth with the most amazing aroma! They were selling little bags of fudge and boy I could hardly wait! My mom was actually buying some! I waited for my share, but I was told, "Not for're too chubby". I had no idea what that meant, but I knew that for some reason, there was something wrong with me. From that point on, that was my number one identity in my mind.  I was different. I was "chubby".

Thus began my endless quest to be thin and normal, first through my mother's efforts, then through my own. As I said, although I ate exactly the same as my siblings, I was the only one in my family, other then my mother, who had a weight issue.  My mother had also been an extremely active child and teenager. Her sister had been completely sedentary...and thin. It was during the depression and her father had died when she was only 14. Needless to say, she and her sister and mother had struggled to get by so food was not abundant.  In spite of my mother's involvement with sports, even playing ball with the boys long before that was acceptable, she was never thin like her girlfriends all were. She eventually became an obese woman that lead to hypertension, then heart failure, then death at only 62. I evidently inherited my mothers health DNA. I inexplicably struggled with the weight, had elevated BP in my teens, became diabetic even though I kept my weight from exploding through very strict control, and had heart failure in my mid 20's. This was not a lifestyle issue. I came in to the world this way.

Over all these years, trying to understand why, in spite of my constant effort to remain healthy...well...except in my 30's when I just stopped fighting it up and ballooned to well over 300 pounds...why could I not figure out how to be "normal" like my friends? So much guilt is attached to obesity and like me, not everyone who struggles with this problem is 100% to blame.  Just like the color of your eyes or hair, or personality traits or interests, how our body processes nutrients will differ, sometimes well out of the norm. You can't change that.

My point is not to make excuses or cry "poor poor pitiful me" or blame my mother. This is and has always been my reality. My job has been to do what I can to manage it and not end up dying much too early from a weight related disease as she did. Keeping my weight under control it top priority to accomplish this. For me, Cambridge not only allowed me to lose the weight when no other diet would work for me, but it has also been my maintenance tool that has kept me on track for a long healthy life. I turn 56 next week. When I compare my health status at this age, to what I remember my mother's being, it is drastically different. I still have the same health issues and I always will, but I keep things controlled and I work hard at staying as healthy as I possibly can in spite of them.