I read an article the other day in one of my many fitness/health related magazines that said that a large portion (cannot remember the figure) of women who had been vegetarian at some point in their life later developed an eating disorder. It went on to say that if you were considering vegetarianism for weight loss purposes then you might want to speak to a doctor about it. I wanted to write a strongly worded letter to the editor of the magazine pointing out that you could just want to be a vegetarian because it is good for you and the planet and that weight loss benefits don't necessarily mean that you've had or will have an eating disorder. Weight loss was not one of my goals when I went veg, and since you can very easily be an unhealthy vegetarian I have a little trouble believing that statistic anyway. But I just left it alone. Maybe its true on some level.
But while I didn't go vegetarian because I wanted to lose weight, weight loss stays on my mind pretty much constantly. I agonize over every bite of food I take and beat myself up at every failed moment of willpower. I'm fair at encouraging others and telling them the right things to do, but fail miserably at doing it for myself most of the time. I'm not bulimic or anorexic, but I have a problem with food. When my newest book about nutrition came in the mail today I knew that something has to change.
I'm back on Weight Watchers again and still maintain that it is hands down the best weight loss program out there. That hasn't changed and I'm still going to follow that. But I'm currently reading Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels and finding that I have a lot in common with a woman whose body I would die to have. In it she talks about how the moment that she knew she was cheating herself out of the life she deserved, and why she became as tough as she is. The fact is, weight loss is still one of those areas where we tiptoe around people's feelings. I think that's because we know that most people don't gain weight just because they're lazy. For most people there is emotion tied into food. Those could be good emotions, or bad ones, but they are there and discussing weight is almost like discussing feelings. You don't want to hurt anyone. But at one point in her life someone looked at her and said "You're wasting my time" and it forced her to step up and take control, and now she doesn't that for others every day.
My weight issues are long and complicated. My thyroid condition plays an important role, but it isn't the reason I got as large as I once was, and it isn't the reason I'm not doing what I need to do now. Yeah, I have tons of stress on me right now (as do so many of us) and I just want to sit down with a box of cookies every night. But I know that's only going to make the problem worse. Then I'll feel guilty, and start the cycle all over. I'm wasting my own time. I'm letting myself down. I'm cheating myself out of the body that I want, the feelings I want to have, the respect I deserve out of myself and the health that not only I deserve but that my kids deserve from me as well.
"They" say shaming people doesn't help, and I agree. If you beat someone up over their weight, you only make the problem worse. If you beat yourself up, you only make the problem worse. But, I think that I need to do a little "shaming" of myself to get where I need to be. When I watch The Biggest Loser and Jillian tearing those people apart I know why she's doing it. She's trying to make them angry enough to confront their demons. I always wonder how they can go on TV, even with a cash prize at stake, and stand there for all to see. But I'm starting to understand that sometimes you have to drop to the bottom to get to the top.
Several people recently have told me that I look great. I smile and say thank you, but I wonder who they are looking at. From where I was a few years ago, yeah, I look good I guess. But, compared to what I could be and what my body deserves...I don't. So, I took some very raw before pictures. Right now, they're sitting in the camera waiting on me to decide what to do. But, I'm thinking about sharing them a la Biggest Loser. Just putting it out there for all to see and judge. Then maybe I'll stop wasting my own time.
Stay tuned to see if I'm brave enough.