Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work toward adapting my personal mission statement with regards to health and body weight.
So far, this is what I’ve got:
1) Each and every person is unique, and thus the plan that leads to a healthy life for them is going to be as unique as they are. Individual plans may involve help from the weight loss industry, rigid exercise programs, light exercise programs, pre fabricated meals, books on nutrition, liquid food, surgery or any number of things. A picky eater may thrive on a plan that features limited food choices in a way that someone who needs a wide variety of foods would crash and burn in short order. The right plan for a person is going to be, like my own, 100% unique to them.
2) For me personally, the American weight loss industry is a failure. I got on board with it for the first time at 14 years of age. I believe that, over time and repeated stumbles with their attendant rebound weight gain, it has turned what would have been a minor weight problem into a massive one. It may be possible that I have simply not been motivated properly on one of these programs in the past – but at this point in my life I am unwilling to risk another 20 to 30 lb. weight gain in another potentially failed attempt. If I don’t get off this roller coaster, it is going to kill me. That I do believe.
That being said I realized lately that I’m harboring some ill will toward a few aforementioned weight loss industry types, and that the ill will is not helpful. Primarily I don’t like Jenny Craig, who, as everyone probably knows by now, cost me my gall bladder. All the others haven’t hurt me, they’ve simply taken my money and not worked – but I never wanted to give the impression that I was disapproving of them if they are the correct paths for somebody else. I know that I personally turn into a neurotic, hungry mess when I have to obsess over, weigh, measure and write down every morsel of food that goes into my body. That is not the case with everyone though, and those who enjoy and thrive on structure and planning should not be judged, most of all not by me.
We, women in particular, are inherently judgmental creatures. Vegetarians criticize meat eaters, vegans think vegetarians are weak. People who have been thin all their life can’t fathom what would make a person fat, (other than laziness and gluttony). I have even seen one person criticize another for eating too much fruit. I have no doubt whatsoever that sometimes, when I talk about weight loss and health, nasty things like, ‘well what the hell does she know? She’s fat,’ are said the moment I walk away.
Sometimes we are the ones judging ourselves. If I’m in a situation and admit that I’m hungry and would like to eat – and the person or people with me say that they are not, I immediately judge myself inferior to them. I’m not in control, I’m weak, I’m the one who’s hungry. How crazy is it that our body’s natural impulse to sustain itself with fuel has become a source of shame?
Real success is so rare and cherished that people can be very, very protective of their chosen weight loss methods, sometimes angrily so. A person who has experienced success on a program is going to naturally be very happy and they will want to share their happiness by encouraging others along the path that worked for them. That’s fine, my point is simply that we all need to respect one another. Myself included.
I don’t want to offend anybody. I don’t want to judge, and I don’t want to turn into one of those people who eats, sleeps and breaths nothing but their weight loss plan. This isn’t my religion and all of it is nothing if not a learning process about living life as well as eating healthy. In the future I think I need to put more positive emphasis on point #1 listed above, and tone down a bit on the negatives that comprise point #2.