Friday, August 6, 2021

How I lost 100 pounds and gained some surprising things

When I lost 100 pounds seven years ago, I was obviously morbidly overweight. In healing obesity, it's easy to focus only on what to lose: extra calories, despair, blame-shame game, self-pity, making excuse, fattitude (obesity mindset), overeating, bad habits. But to lose weight, I had to gain or rediscover certain things too: inner strength, willpower, Al-Anon 12 step program, a reliance on my higher power. And after weight loss, I gained more surprise things.  

The reality TV show "My 600-lb Life" explores how overweight patients awaiting gastric bypass share shame and feelings of hopelessness. "My 600-lb Life" participants manifest it as low self-esteem, body image issues, self-pity, perceived helplessness, rude arrogance, making excuses or failure to take responsibility (what Al-Anon calls the blame-shame game and I call fattitude). None of these are very attractive. 

"My 600-lb Life" demonstrates that healing obesity is about diet but also losing the unattractive blame-shame game, self-pity, fattitude, despair, arrogance and low self-esteem. It's about finding more attractive willpower, joy, self-motivation, self-confidence and self-control. Some of these you need to lose weight and others develop after weight loss. 

I was surprised at how my self-confidence and body image improved after weight loss. It's hard to discuss the appearance aspect of weight loss. I'm afraid it sounds crass or insensitive. And body-shaming has made us leery. We fear even suggesting that someone looks "better" after they lose weight. But a big motivation for me to lose 100 pounds was appearance. I didn't like how I looked overweight. 

Current thinking says every body size is attractive. Certainly accepting ourselves as worthy regardless of body size is important. But morbid obesity isn't as healthy as weight is a moderate range. And that obesity mindset is certainly unattractive. I felt ugly emotionally and physically. My bigger body size made me lethargic and that felt lazy, inept, embarrassing. 

That's why Covid 19 recovery  has been so trying. I'm normally an energetic person. I don't like feeling this Covid lethargy. Covid exhaustion is temporary, hopefully. But obesity was, literally, stuck and gaining, a snowball hurtling downhill. 

After I lost 100 pounds I looked and felt better. I also felt stronger because obesity no longer controlled me. I controlled it. It's not perfect and neither am I. I still get stuck. But I'm on an upward spiral. Nothing succeeds like success. 

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