Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fooling Myself

A few of the blogs that I follow brought the program "My 600 Pound Life" to my attention.  I watched an episode yesterday that broke my heart on many levels, but also got me thinking about my own issues related to weight.  The woman they featured, named Penny, was bed-ridden.  Her husband cares for her 24/7 and they have a 6 year old son.  She expressed a strong desire to be able to live for their son, and that was her inspiration for getting weight loss surgery.

What followed was an examination of how her troubling delusions, along with her husband's inability to be a supportive leader in a new healthy life, kept her from successfully achieving her dreams.  Her lies to herself and others-- about following the prescribed diet, about her efforts to become mobile were both painful to watch, yet struck a somewhat familiar chord for me.  Since I have had a lifetime of being overweight and trying to change, I can see how I have harbored my own delusions about how hard I try or how faithfully I follow a healthy eating plan.  Then when I step on the scale, I am faced with a disappointing outcome.  This has happened over and over.

It's never comfortable to confront the lies we tell ourselves.  When I think back, I know that an evening of lasagna, wine, bread and dessert, NOT followed by more activity will result in weight gain.  But it was so easy for me to go on the next day, not willing or motivated to move my butt - ignoring the truth.  Time after time of this has resulted in where I am today.  This is exactly why I feel that weight loss is so much more than following a healthy eating plan.  Almost as importantly, we need psychological support to help us through the process.

Many chat boards, doctors and even the family and friends in our lives are puzzled by why we can't just eat less and move more to lose weight.  In the face of so much judgement from everyone, I have felt paralyzed by my own shame in not being able to follow through with what is necessary for me to become healthy.  So now with my Optifast group, while not a traditional group therapy class, at least I am exploring what is necessary in the company of others who are in the same struggle.  I don't have to have my defenses up, and can know that I'm not alone in this journey, and that I'm not an outlier in my behaviors.

Even as I write this, I'm not sure that I'll be able to re-enter the world of eating and be empowered to do it differently.  This scares me and is why I enjoy reading the blogs of people who have lost a lot of weight and are continuing the healthy lifestyle.  I'm going to keep reading and keep this in my consciousness as I go along with the journey.

So I think of Penny, not with loathing and anger, but with compassion for someone who hasn't quite gotten all the help she needs yet.  Her husband needs the same level of psychological care as well.  We are all a part of a family system, and if one person is out of whack, then it's difficult for all of the others in the group.  But with the right help, things can eventually change.  I believe that.

I will keep on this Optifast Adventure and explore new issues that I come upon.  I will seek new strategies that will support ways of thinking that are truthful and that reinforce the strength that I know resides inside of me.  I know that this will nurture the thoughts and actions congruent with the life I desire.


Unknown said...

I think this is a really important issue to have come to terms with. I have not seen that show but I think I should watch it. I've seen similar clips and shows about morbidly obese people and what really struck me too was the similarities I have with them. Especially when it comes to delusions and lying to myself.

I would constantly say that I didn't eat unhealthy because I ate mainly home-cooked meals. That was a lie because not only did I have takeaway (large McDonalds meal/Indian/Pizza) at least once a week (often 2-3 times), but I also had huge meals at home. Giant bowls of pasta and sauce, with a huge handful of cheese and garlic bread on the size. Plus a massive bowl of ice cream to finish it off.

I was so confused how (as a binge eater) the occasional emotional binge could really make me the weight I was. But it was also the choices I made every day that was hurting me. And that I was in denial of. If I'd go for a walk or to the gym, I'd then want to sleep in for the next 2-3 days because "I'd just been to the gym the other day!" But that would inevitably turn into weeks and months and years without proper exercise.

One lady I saw on a show once who was around 500+ pounds said something that has stuck with me since: "That voice in your head that says 'I'll start the diet tomorrow'... don't be decieved. That voice is trying to kill you."

happyinca said...

Yes! The fast food drive-thrus, portions and dessert. Thanks for sharing your last quote. It is truly profound. This is a serious journey we are on sometimes. Christy

Kathy said...

I think you hit on something so important in your post - this is so much more than just not being able to eat less and move more. I also watched that episode and my heart broke for her on many levels because I also recognized her inability to move beyond her world of pain into honesty. As difficult as it is, it takes true honesty with where we are at to be willing to move on to the next step. It sounds like you've found a great Optifast group. That's so important since not many people will have your same experience of being on the program and dealing with the many emotions that pop up. As you continue on this part of the journey, it is a scary thought moving from shakes to regular food but the great thing is that you are being honest in addressing your fears about it. As a person who was unsuccessful after transitioning, I can say it's very important that you face these feelings head-on so that you will have a positive experience.

happyinca said...

Thanks Kathy. I have yet to be successful with sustained weight loss, but I'm going to keep at it and doing something like Optifast is a new thing for me. Maybe something will click and I'll be in a good place to make better decisions or handle my emotions differently when I go back to food. I'm very inspired by your blog and look forward to following your adventure through weight loss surgery.