Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Staying Loyal To Our Commitments

When we are dealing with food addictions, we tend to make all kinds of commitments to change while in a heightened motivated state of mind, only to abandon those promises once the  emotions have died down and the daily grind of sticking to a diet overwhelms us. Saying what you are going to do is completely different from actually doing it. Staying loyal is the only way to get to goal. Beginning is the easy part. The true test is not how you begin or end, but the work you do in the middle when the emotional high has faded and the goal seems so far away. Successful people keep going while others are making excuses to quit.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Letting Go

Facebook has this interesting feature where each day they send you several postings from your own timeline on that date from years past. Today's entry included this post that I had composed on Sept 12th 2012. I don't recall the motivation behind it, but I thought it was worth putting here for anyone that may find it worth reading.


If you never got rid of anything you ever owned, and I mean anything...where would you be? Probably on an episode of "Hoarders". Life demands that we learn how to let go of possessions, ideas, lost opportunities, and even people. No one gets through life without having to let go. The thing to remember is that when you lose something, it just makes room for something new to enter your life. Some people miss the chance to learn and heal and move forward. They stay trapped in the past and revisit it over and over again. It makes as much sense as running back into a burning building to see what started the fire. Moving on is what we human beings do. I've always told my kids, "You can get over pretty much anything". Getting over is not the same as forgetting. Getting over means not staying stuck in your grief. When it comes, embrace it and squeeze the life out of it... and then leave it behind.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fat Shaming

It seems we are in an interesting phase in our society. The term, "fat shaming" may be trendy, but cruelty towards people dealing with eating disorders and obesity has, in my opinion, been the last socially acceptable prejudice for a very long time. It begins in childhood, sometimes within the family structure that should be offering a safe haven, and continues all though a person's life. Every stage of life is affected. Schoolyard bullying, isolation during those difficult teen years, early adulthood with denied job and career opportunities, even lack of finding meaningful relationships and building a family. No one has ever gone to battle for the rights and feelings of the obese before. Over our lifetime other forms of prejudice have come under fire and caused a shift in thought and behavior of the majority, but publicly humiliating the obese has still been acceptable.

We can look back at what were once acceptable prejudices and behaviors, even within our own lifetime, and be horrified by them today. People will rally to the defense now of a person deemed "different" for whatever reason if they are being victimized or bullied, but as my daughter experienced just this past week in Walmart, two adult men can verbally abuse an adult obese woman in a store, with other shoppers present, and NO ONE will intervene on her behalf. No one will step up and shield her or call them out for being ignorant. It supports the deep belief that most obese people have. That we deserve to be abused. We should be ashamed of our bodies. Unlike most other self destructive addictive behaviors, we wear our pain and shame out in the open for all to see and judge and ridicule. 2 young adult men know that they can rudely imitate vomiting or gagging while looking at her as they pass and not worry about anyone else caring or taking action. The last acceptable prejudice.

The only TV shows that focus on overweight people are those that are about 'Extreme Weight loss" or "Biggest Loser" or some other insulting degrading shame fest. I was hopeful when the show "Mike and Molly" came on the air. It was about 2 normal people who were both obese that found each other and fell in love. it seemed like it would be so sweet. The first season was predictably focused on their futile attempts to lose weight with all the expected jokes and jabs. SO disappointing. Is it impossible to imagine fat people loving and being loved for who they are and it having NOTHING to do with their weight? There have been sitcoms that had slim women with overweight men and that is acceptable. A woman can fall in love with an obese man and no one questions it, but have you ever seen a show depicting a slim man falling in love with an obese woman that is not about fetishes? I haven't.

There was a comedian this past week that posted a YouTube video that went viral and has caused an enormous uprising among the "No Fat Shaming" community. She called it comedy. Everyone else called it hate filled bullying to the most extreme. The fact that she is making tons of money off of this video because the very community she attacked has spread it all over social media in protest is unfortunate, but at least it has stirred the pot and caused those who may not have given any thought before to the reality of what overweight people endure, to see and react and possibly change their own prejudice.

I fully support striving for a healthy body and weight. However, it's a personal choice how one manages their diet and their health. No one has the right to judge or abuse someone that is overweight. We all have our struggles. For someone like this "comedian", the shaming should be on her. She has hurt vulnerable people who have done nothing to her. That is the definition of a bully.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Easy To Be Cruel

Last night my 32 yr old Daughter needed to go shopping so she went to Walmart, the only store open late in our area. While she was there she texted me this message, "Two young guys just walked past me and one made a puking sound at me". She added, " They were probably about 20 yrs old.

Most people think my daughter is in her early 20's. She says it is one of the perks of being overweight. She tries to have a good self esteem in spite of her weight, and was actually feeling especially confident yesterday due to finally getting a good job after a couple of years of unemployment. She's been able to buy new clothes and take better care of herself. Then, two jackasses cross her path and lob an emotional grenade at her, a direct hit. As they walked away laughing at their mutual brilliance, she was left standing there humiliated, hurt, and angry.

This has been her life since she was about 8 yrs old. My daughter has battled being 200 pounds or more over weight most of her life. It creates an interesting dynamic between her and I. Here I am, the "Cambridge Lady" who spends her days helping other people lose weight and deal with the emotional luggage they carry, and I can't help my daughter. My heart breaks for her. Every time some thoughtless idiot does something like this to many feelings.

I had my share of abusive behaviors directed at me and my weight over my life. Each one of them is branded in my memory. Beginning as a 3 year old being told I was too chubby to eat what my siblings ate, to being made fun of in the playground and feeling like I had to run faster and play harder then the skinny kids, to having young guys yell "Ya ever heard of Jenny Craig!" out their car window at me as they drove by, to having a neighbor in my apartment complex that would "Oink" every time I had to walk past his door to get to the stairs.

My daughter is a force to be reckoned with. She puts on a confident and together facade, but I know she is suffering in silence. This morning I saw that she had posted on her FaceBook page. It read, "Two young guys just walked past me at Walmart and one made a puking sound at me. Either I'm super gross, or he is. I was actually totally feeling awesome today. Clearly the issue was with him cuz I'm fierce as eff.

Good girl

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Feeling Invincible?

I was watching a TV show about addiction. One of the men featured was addicted to meth, and the other to Oxycodone. They showed a little of what their day to day lives were like and how their addictions had affected their lives, relationships, and their sense of self worth. Like most addicts, their drug of choice took priority over all things. The show was about them coming to terms with their addictions and going in to treatment.

I found it impossible not to relate to these two. Over the course of my food abusive obsessive life, I made many choices that I clearly knew were harmful to my life in body and mind. I knew that these choices also affected my children and friends. They altered my life choices regarding school and career, and were the root of my dependence on others.  No amount of shame or guilt was enough to cause me to stop what I was doing. My food addiction took priority over all things.

While these two men progressed in their treatment and recovery I was impressed again by the similarities between their experience and mine. One of the counselors said something, (it was more of a warning) that struck a cord.  He said that it's when you are feeling the most invincible in your recovery... that you are the most vulnerable to relapse. This may sound contradictory. Confidence and feeling invincible should mean you got your stuff under control, right? Unfortunately for those who struggle with addiction, feeling invincible is part of the illness. It's an extreme thought process or emotion that is not valid and leaves you teetering for a fall.

Over the 15 years that I have worked with people struggling with obesity, one pattern that I've seen repeated over and over, is the dieter who successfully completes their first month on Cambridge and now feels invincible over their old behaviors and habits. They honestly feel so powerful that they willingly put themselves in situations that in the past would have triggered a full on eating binge. They think they will not be tempted and that there is zero chance they will trip and fall. This emotional state of mind is not based on a history of experience, but on the high they feel from 30 days of self control. This is not unlike the addict that leaves their 90 day recovery program after only 30 days completed.

Sobriety needs to be tended to and nurtured, not challenged. No matter if we are talking drugs, alcohol, or food. Yes, it is wonderful to feel free from whatever substance had a hold on you, but never turn your back on it and become cavalier about your recovery. It takes time and a restructuring of how we react to the events of life, how we see ourselves in our new lifestyle and others see us. Relationships have to adjust..sometimes even end. Ultimately, the goal is to feel peace in  your relationship with food. Extreme emotions are not the goal. Feeling invincible is nothing more then the pendulum of feeling out of control, swinging in the opposite direction. It can swing back just as easily.