Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blaming the Fat and the Food

It is so, so easy to look at everything that's wrong in your life and blame it on the fat and the food.

If I wasn't fat, I'd have a better job.
If I lost weight, I'd find Mr. Right and be happy.
If I could get thin, I would be so much more active.
If I weren't so obsessed with eating, I could get more important things done.
If I didn't have the ice cream addiction, I would not be so depressed.
If I could drop 40 pounds, I wouldn't be stuck in this rut.

I did it for years. I *still* catch myself doing it sometimes. In my head I'd think about how great life would be if I weighed X pounds instead of Y pounds. I just KNEW everything would  turn around once I got the weight off. After all, *not* being morbidly obese anymore has to fix a lot of things, right?

Well it did fix a lot of things. It did. At 175 pounds, yes, my life was so much easier in a lot of ways than at 278 pounds. I could move more freely. I had less pain. Getting dressed was a lot more fun and a lot less complicated. I felt better about myself, and my health improved. Life was more *fun.* But losing 100 pounds did *not* fix everything.

If your marriage is in the toilet, losing 100 pounds will not turn it into a happy relationship.
If you are a sloppy housekeeper with a clutter problem, losing 100 pounds is not going to turn you into an organization diva.
If you lack the drive to move up in your career, weight loss alone will not infuse you with the drive to do so.
100 pounds less, you'll still be sad, if you don't fix the stuff that was underneath the fat... that's still underneath the thin.

When I catch myself in a mopey moment, muttering, "if I could get this damn weight off my life would be SO much better," I stop. I make a mental note of what brought on those feelings. And I figure out what I can do *now*, today, in this moment, to create that "so much better" at the weight I already am.

If you wait until you are successful at getting all the weight off to start living, to start making important (and difficult) changes, you are wasting days and weeks and months of YOUR LIFE that you will never get back. Today you are the youngest that you will ever be again. Soon you will be older, it will be harder, the year will be gone forever. Do not wait.

Keep working on your weight loss and health goals, yes. But blaming *life stuff* on the weight is useless. Make the best of today by working to change what you want changed, NOW, whether you weigh 50 or 100 or 200 or 300 pounds more than you'd like. Because even if you never lose another pound, you deserve to have the rich life you are looking forward to... now.


julie said...

I lost the extra weight, physically things are better, emotionally, I think they're even worse.

Nmmumaw said...

"Today you are the youngest you will ever be again."

Wow. That's the only thought that went through my head when I read that line. It's so true, and people often state it from the other direction, so to speak (first day of the rest of your life). But that's the first time I've heard anyone put it quite that way. There's profundity in that that made me stop and pause. What a great way to start my morning (in Japan)!

Thanks always for your incredible writing, Lyn. I truly hope for happiness and grace to come to you as you feel your way through this leg of your journey.

dlamb said...

Dear Lyn, your post is pretty much along the lines of what I tried to suggest gently, a couple of months ago, when I mentioned "secondary gains" (I am, of course, referring to the psychological term; nothing to do with wt.).

I am not suggesting that it applies to you, though I have no way of knowing but I believe, with your ability to analyze situations, you can see that if maintaining the status quo, as painful and CONSCIOUSLY undesirable as it may seem, for some people any of your examples and many others,

If I wasn't fat, I'd have a better job.
If I lost weight, I'd find Mr. Right and be happy.
If I could get thin, I would be so much more active.
If I weren't so obsessed with eating, I could get more important things done.
If I didn't have the ice cream addiction, I would not be so depressed.
If I could drop 40 pounds, I wouldn't be stuck in this rut.

could be more threatening. As the expressions goes, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't".

Recently I have started to read the blog of a woman with whom you may be familiar, who addressed this topic admirably. Even if you have already seen this entry, perhaps others may benefit. She illustrates so beautifully, the point I tried to make a few months ago, in a less artful way and to some extent, the topic of your post today.


katie said...

That's called 'The If..When..Then" spin cycle of self abuse and self recrimination.
I just read Geneen Roth's latest book "Women Food and God" and it speaks about the abuse and violence we perpetrate against ourselves in the 'dieting' process.
Got it from the local libary.

Mary Ellen Quigley said...

I agree completely. I am also guilty of placing the blame on my weight for everything. I was famous for the "If I was thin, Mr. Right would just come waltzing into my life." It took me a long time to understand that Mr. Right will never love you, if you don't first learn to love yourself.

Awesome post! There are a lot of people that need to hear this.

MargieAnne said...

Like you I have to stop myself thinking... when ....whatever .... my life will be better.

Now in my 70s I realise how much of this kind of thinking plagued my life.

I cannot remember when I began to live the best I can in whatever situation but I'm sure reading the Bible helped me get there.

Somewhere Paul wrote I am content in all things, whether rich or poor.' Or word with a similar meaning. This began a discovery tha I too can be content with what is most of the time.

Contentment is not .... deciding that life is OK and doing nothing to improve it. Contentment is finding a way to live with a measure of joy through it all and make the most of every opportunity because you're not wasting energy wishing things were different.

Your words are wise.


Tracy said...

I'm a new follower and am intrigued by your blog...thank you for sharing your battle with weight. In one way or another I have always fought with my weight from anorexia, to bulimia to overeating and it is difficult! I once said (prior to anorexia) if I just was thin, I'd be happy; hah! what falseness...
thanks again for your honesty...

Izofo said...

The story of my life...and I guess it can be pretty annoying to those around me. I probably spend more time complaining about what my weight is preventing me from doing than actually doing something about it.

Thank you for this. Sometimes seeing it someone else's words is enough of a wake up call. I have to realise that happiness isn't defined by my dress size but by living the life I have put off for so long.

Pls check out my blog:

Leslie said...

Wow - great topic and food for thought. I was struck by several comments - Julie, who said that "emotionally, I think they're even worse", and then dlamb, "could be more threatening. As the expression goes, "better the devil you know that the devil you don't."

As I look over my weight loss and disordered eating history, I see again and again that when I get a good amount of weight off, things genuinely are better physically. But if all else fell in place, I likely wouldn't begin a climb back up the scale. Once we put down the "substance" (for me bingeing, in general), and lose the "buffer" (extra weight), whatever inner issues and feelings that drove the eating are unmasked, unstuffed, and present themselves much more readily. It's subtle, too; I don't even recognize it for what it is until my waist bands tighten a bit and I "feel" my increased girth around the middle.

I bet you're going to have some great comments here. You already do!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I agree fully with this. For many of us, our lives ARE good, and the only thing really affecting us is our obesity.
I have a pretty good marriage (knock wood) and a wonderful child. We have struggled but are now financially secure, and have a lovely home. We have people around us who love us.
I could mope about all the things that are wrong (I have brain tumors, for instance, my husband has had two bouts with cancer), and my mother died recently, but I choose to focus on the positive.
Losing weight WILL fix all the things that are causing me grief --I fear for my health and future, I worry about my mobility. These are the things weight loss CAN and WILL fix. It will also be fun to buy cute clothes! Yes, these are the things that will change. For me, weight loss WILL solve what is wrong with my life.

dlamb said...

Anon 8:50 AM. I am terribly sorry for all you have gone through, I truly am!
I do not believe that Lyn, or I for that matter, not to mention Screaming Fat Girl whose link I attached at the end of my comment, implied that losing weight is not beneficial or that it will not "fix things that cause grief".
The idea is that consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously, there are often forces at work that are MORE POWERFUL than our stated desire to lose weight. In psychological terms, one of the expressions used to describe this situation is "secondary gains" This implies that one may believe or actually "benefit" from a negative condition or situation that appears upon superficial observation to be counter productive.
A very simple example would be if a woman with a family history of breast cancer refuses to have the test that would rule out the possibility that she carries the gene for breast cancer, or in fact, even go for mammograms. One would consider such a life threatening decision to be counter productive unless one is aware of her partner's position on mastectomy. This is what is being referred to as "secondary gains". She may DIE but the thought of her partner leaving or being turned off by a possible mastectomy keeps her from even seeking the truth. She does not want to do anything that will put her in a position to make a decision or truly be faced with the fact that her partner "meant" what s/he said and may indeed abandon her.

K, now I am getting off the subject of secondary gains because even I am sick of reading my comments about it. Having said that, I wish you well with your efforts, since I do not doubt that it will benefit you immensely, in numerous ways.


Shihtzux2 said...

©reat post, Lyn! Thanks