About a week ago an article was all the buzz on the blogosphere. Some hailed it for its honesty, others criticized it for it’s supposition from which that article is based that weight loss is supposed to solve all of your problems. My reaction to the article was closer to the latter. I was annoyed by the article.
While the message that I think they were trying to get across is that you can’t expect one thing to be a fix all in your life and that your expectations need to be realistic, the message that I fear comes across, especially from Jen Larsen’s section of the article, is a discouraging one. It leaves me with a negative feeling about weight loss and I think that it is overall just a distraction to weight loss.
What do I mean by distraction?
Before I started my weight loss I used to read articles like this and feel a little hopeless about the fact that apparently weight loss wouldn’t fix anything for me. Adding to the first section of the article in which we are told that Jen was disappointed about her weight loss we are then introduced to Jennette Fulda who tells us that she was happy fat. The overall tone suggests that there is no point in weight loss.
I’m (almost) 30lbs into this whole weight loss thing but I can say without any hesitation that every single aspect of the weight loss process is worth it. I can already move in ways that I couldn’t, I have more energy, my skin and hair look much better (even if my hair is still a fluffy curly mess), the coloring in my face no longer looks sickly, I love waking up each morning and noticing something that is a little different (yesterday I noticed that my jaw line is starting to show), and I get to dig out the clothing I had sadly put away because it no longer fit me.
“I think fat people are sold a fantasy, and then get no support in the reality, because we’re simply supposed to be grateful that we’re no longer fat,” Larsen says. Oh no, it’s much more than being grateful that I’m no
longer less fat. I’m grateful for all of those things and the quality of my life is naturally improving because of it.
If you are thinking about starting a weight loss journey, though, or you are already on a weight loss journey, there are several things that I think are important to combating this particular distraction.
Expectations: We do have to be realistic about what to expect from the weight loss. Am I going to look better, feel better, be healthier, have more opportunities, be looked at differently by others, be treated better, and even be checked out (possibly)? Yes! Am I going to find the man of my dreams (Dietgirl did), get super rich, become famous, get a promotion, be cured of depression, be cured of other ailments, and take over the world? Maybe, probably not. Weight loss is one of the pieces of the puzzle in all of these things but only a piece.
Work on the Interior, not just the Exterior: A few months before I took the plunge with changing my diet I started working on the habits, thought patterns, feelings, and unhealthy emotional baggage in general. For several months, knowing that I was going to get to work on weight loss in the near future, I allowed myself to eat whatever I felt like eating while I dealt with those other things. This probably wasn’t the best way to go about it but dealing with the inner stuff is almost more important than eating your broccoli. No willpower, strategy, or “diet rules” will have any consequence in the long run.
Using a Healthy Weight Loss Method: If we try to lose weight by making changes that we know will be temporary, not real lifestyle changes, we will not change either. The last woman, Darliene Howell says “She’s tried ‘every diet on the planet’ and has counted calories, points, carbs and proteins ‘until I thought I was losing my mind,’ she says. She lost 100 pounds on a liquid diet.” I don’t mean to sound judgmental, even if I am, in fact, being judgmental, but it doesn’t sound like anything she tried was actually a permanent lifestyle change. She deserves a real tip of the hat, though, because at the end of the article it does say that “A few years ago she was 300 pounds. Now’s she’s 240 pounds, dropping 60 pounds by ‘listening to her body,’ she says. She swears she’ll never diet again, but will keep on dancing.”
What do you think: Do articles like this discourage you? Do they distract from all of the awesomeness of weight loss?