Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Overcoming obesity "thin fat" is as much Alanon as calorie restricting: how weight loss alone fails

Hello dear readers whom I hope I may call friends. In today's chapter on how I lost 100 pounds, I'm looking at obesity shame, "dry fat" and how weight loss alone fails to heal. You may be wondering what "thin fat" means. It's a term I coined, similar to the "dry drunk" of Alanon. A "dry drunk" is an alcoholic who, while not actively drinking, is still not in recovery because all the "stinkin thinkin" that led to alcoholism remains. 

"Thin fat" refers to someone who has lost weight but still hasn't addressed the obesity mindset, or what I call "fat think." I'm going to use as an example, Mama June Shannon of Honey Boo Boo and From Not to Hot fame. Mama June is an extreme example, but many of us struggle with "fat think" even after weight loss. 

Mama June Shannon, mother of pageant star Honey Boo Boo, enjoyed huge weight loss after gastric bypass and other plastic surgery on a reality TV show "From Not to Hot." However, immediately after this transformation, she reverted to old behaviors (fat think). Probably even while she was being nipped and tucked, she continued eating the same. June Shannon has gained back 100 pounds (and counting) but claims to be "comfortable" with it. My guess is this is an excuse to avoid doing the work required to lose weight and also because she never really dealt with the fat think that led to obesity. 

She was one of those gastric bypass patients, such as those seen on "My 600-lb Life" who believe that bariatric surgery alone will lose weight.  I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass. And while I made a million mistakes, one trap I avoided was the bariatric surgery myth of miracle cure. My weight loss was as much Alanon as calorie restricting: I had to examine old patterns of stinkin thinkin, in my case an obesity mindset which led to weight gain. 

I have always considered myself overweight, even when I weighed 110 pounds. I guess I had a form of anorexia, at least mentally. This "fat think" caused untold damage: terrifyingly low self esteem, anxiety panic attacks, depression, stress eating and more I probably haven't even unpacked yet. Weirdly, when I got overweight, it was hard to see because I had such a skewed self-image. I even hit morbid obesity and didn't realize until I took off the "blindness glasses" (more on that later). 

I cannot stress enough that healing obesity is about so much more than weight loss. Further if you lose weight without addressing the stinkin thinkin (and keep revisiting it because it is baffling, cunning and pernicious) it's very easy to regain the weight. Recovery really is one day at a time, every day. Stay tuned for more on how I lost 100 pounds. 

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