Let me preface this by saying, there will be adult words, and it has taken me a couple of weeks to write this because the first version would have been nothing but adult words, so give me some credit for that.
A few weeks ago an article ran on several of the major 'news' sites on the interwebs about a study done that shaming obese people doesn't work to help them lose weight. First, really? And I mean really on so very many levels.
* Has shaming ever worked to help people?
* Who, who would pay for such a study?
* Who would suggest doing such a study?
* and, really? No shit!
I can't actually bring myself to share the link to the article, but if you search the interwebs- you will find it, very quickly.
I have some very judgement responses to my questions above, and maybe I'm wrong, but I'd bet chances of that are slim.
wold suggest doing such a study? Someone who not once in their life has
struggled with their weight, has no idea what it feels like to be fat
or overweight, and is probably very attractive in general.
would pay for such a study? Someone very stupid who wants to waste
their money? Or someone who I am willing to bet fits the same categories
as the person who suggested the study. Or someone who has way too much money on their hands and could use it to do something way more important like I don't need feed the hungry!
For those of you who don't know me in the past 7 years I have lost 88 pounds. And up until about a year ago, I would say I have been fat my entire life. I no longer fit that category, so I am, what you might say, an expert in the whole being fat/obese arena.
I also know that I have lost a lot of opportunities because of my weight, at work, romantically, friendships, or just activities I was afraid to take part in.
Allow me a few side track of what that article/study made me think about:
My office, like many today, offers an annual screening of height weight, blood pressure, sugar levels and a couple other basic health stats, it is free, so I take advantage of it every year. For the past couple of years it has been the same company, so they have the previous year's records. This year, the woman looked at my report, the amount of weight I'd continued to lose, the drop in my bad cholesterol and the rise in my good cholesterol and said. 'So what are we going to do about you losing some weight?' I can only imagine what my face looked like. But I said, 'I'm sorry did you see how much I've already lost?' She said 'yes- but you need to lose more, you need some help with that.' I said, 'I'm done here thank you for your time', and proceeded to get up and leave.
I watch the Biggest Loser. Both Sunshine and I enjoy it. But I often sit back and wonder what I would do if Jillian yelled at me like she is so apt to do? Would I walk off the show? They don't always show all the previous contests, but there are certainly times when they do that the contestants have gained back a portion (sometimes a significant portion) of their weight. There is no golden rule here, there is however, a certain percentage of overweight people who have very low self -esteem, you think yelling at them helps with that?
About 8 months ago I added another exercise element to my journey, building in weight training and different cardio, for me it has helped improve the other aspects of my activity strengthening my core and my body in general, I am usually less sore after long runs than I used to be. I signed up with a trainer where I do online workouts, and can email him etc. I watched an exchange on facebook between my trainer and another discussing how a client said "I'll try" and the trainer didn't like this. He wanted the client to say I can. I don't know the other trainer, but I went to high school with my trainer, so I know he has always been fit, and a natural athlete, so I get it.. 'I can' is a natural part of his vocabulary. But what I also get is sometimes the hardest thing ever for someone who is overweight is to say "I'll try" instead of I can't. That, that is a huge leap forward. Start with 'I'll try', 'I can' will follow.
I have written several times, and shared with Sunshine, that one of my greatest fears for her is that she would be a fat child. Just saying those words makes my heart flinch a little. Making fun of fat people is, as far as I can tell, still quite acceptable. And just last week, a woman at work getting ready to go on vacation walked by my desk and said- "The fat lady has sung". I was in that moment transported back to my Junior year in High School- folks that was a couple of decades ago- when on a bus, several boys tried to get me to sing 'LA'. I found out later, their reason- so they could say the fat lady had sung. Decades later folks, and I can still feel that aloneness and ache I felt when I found out what my 'friends' were up to.
So back to the study by who the heck knows. I can't help but feel real sorry for the people who took part in the study. Will some one pay to get them therapy? What awful things were they told as part of their shaming? Do they believe the words that were used against them? Can I take the researchers and shame them about something in their life?
I have watched several of the videos that have been and currently are circulating aimed at the LGBT community, specifically LBGT teens and young adults telling them that things get better and it will be okay. They are so very powerful and profound and I hope that people hear those words. What I want to tell you is that it never gets easier being overweight. Adults will still make fun of you, even if they don't make fun of your sexual preference or your skin color or that you have the wrong Jordache purse. Take for example the recent articles on Melissa McCarthy's weight.. pretty dang successful and amazingly funny women, but people still feel it is acceptable to write about her weight.
Everyone has to make their own weight loss journey, for their own reasons,with their own motivation. Doesn't mean there aren't cheerleaders along the journey- those are so very important. But the people who shame you or belittle you, you don't need them- throw them by the way side. And, if you aren't ready to take your weight loss journey now, it is okay, as I have learned with age- timing is everything.