Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Diary of a Determined Dieter - The Frustrations and Challenges

I was once in a restaurant where a pleasant looking overweight woman was having lunch.

Although her food choices were certainly none of my business, my dining companion took issue that she was having gravy on her french fries and spoke of her as though she were some kind of criminal - something I'm sure wouldn't have happened had she been thin.

But this is nothing new.

From an early age we are taught to believe that being fat is bad. Something shameful, and hideous - an affliction of the weak minded, instead of a very real combination of genetics, and lifestyle that have placed some of us in the unhappy position of waging life long battles with the very bodies that house our souls.

We are told it is essential to love ourselves - that to be successful in this society it must start from within, yet in the next breath and in every way possible, we, the overweight, are reminded of our flaw so that no matter what we do, or who we become, we are always lacking.

Whether other people see us as lacking or not isn't the issue. Unless we've been living under a rock, our poor battered psyches have been bridging defenses against media messaging, judgmental strangers, and even well meaning friends - there to remind us with every diet tip or suggestion that we're not good enough as we are.

Quite frankly, the only reason most of us go on diets is to gain acceptance.

To be seen as people who are strong, confident, and attractive in the same way as people who are "nice and thin."

And there's the next rub.

The journey to achieving permanent weight loss is like being in Dante's second level of hell - uncomfortable, guilt provoking, and seemingly endless.

You change everything in your life, go to bed most nights hungry, and force yourself to workout in the hopes that one day you will actually learn to enjoy it - all for changes on the scale that, miniscule at best, never seem to equal the amount of hard work, guilt, and suffering you have put in.

I have said this before: If losing weight was easy, Oprah Winfrey would be thin.

So why am I doing this?

For all of the reasons I mentioned above.

When I went to the Recipe to Riches audition in Vancouver, for the first time in my life while standing amongst the competitors, I felt invisible.

A dichotomy really - being the heaviest person in a group yet feeling the least visible.

I am fortunate, however, to have a personality and presence that was able to rise above and breakthrough - but no matter how fabulous a person is, as long as that little voice inside continues to remind us of our fatal flaw, we will only get so far.

And I am sick of it.

That's why I'm doing this.

Because I know I'm not going to beat em - our cultural perception of what it is to be overweight isn't going anywhere anytime soon - I'm fed up enough to join em.

Or die trying,

With today marking five days with absolutely no weight loss since my initial six pounds, you can imagine how frustrating it feels.

I know a 1 -2 pound gradual weight loss is a good thing.
I know that some weeks I won't lose anything.

But that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

And so I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again...


Update, I was little cranky this morning when I posted this. Made the mistake of weighing myself daily which is a recipe for frustration - but to the good, a pair of pants I haven't been able to get on in over a year fit.

Towanda and Happy Tuesday!


What's for dinner?

How about an easy and healthy recipe for Maple Salmon?


  1. Well said,as always :)

    In case you didn't catch this...

    I've lost and kept off 25 since then (was @ 30 before the month from hell). I'm back at it...

    Hang it there!

  2. I missed that but will check it out now - thanks for the nudge Chris - it's great to have friends on the same journey :-)

    Oh, and congratulations!

  3. Oh, boy, love, this is a tough one.

    I recently found pictures of myself as a teenager. I was so young... and thin... and had hair!

    Now, I'm none of those things.

    I struggle with my weight. Well, perhaps I shouldn't say "struggle" as I give in to temptation incredibly easy. I saw pictures from my recent family trip to Disney World and was blown away by how huge I am. And of course, this inspired another round of "I have GOT to diet and lose weight."

    But to be honest, in the dark of night, I wind up asking myself "Why."

    Why do I diet?

    I'm single and have been, basically, my entire life. I'm a 47-year-old gay man, so it's not like I think losing 20 or 30 pounds is going to suddenly make me attractive in a youth-and-beauty-centric society.

    And more importantly... I like food. God help me... I LOVE FOOD.

    So in the end, no diet really lasts overly long. Because unlike when I quit smoking -- which I do by going cold turkey -- I don't really WANT to diet.

    I jog a couple times a week, and work out on the bike in our basement another day or two. I've cut back on some particularly bad foods. I eat salads, something I said I never, ever would. And I... well, for the most part, maintain. Lose a pound here, find it over there.

    But I'm happy. And to me, that's the MOST important thing. I don't have anyone to lose weight FOR. I don't think that by losing weight I'm going to FIND someone. (I have a lot of issues, but delusional is not one of them!)

    And so I struggle more with what I know I SHOULD do than with what I WANT to do. And whenever that happens, let's face it, we all know which side will win.

    Pass the damn French fries.


  4. And there you have it, summed up in the comments. Chris thinks it's worth the pain, and Tralfie is happy to maintain (happy being a relative term). Maybe it's a guy thing. I've been 20 over for years, but seem to stay there...

  5. Interesting observation Tom. What does that say about us?

    Meanwhile, I so related to Richard and realize, at the end of the day, my desire to lose weight is as much cosmetic as health related. I want to be that fabulous, happening woman who jogs and looks good in a sleeveless dress.

    I was her once. I want her back :-)

  6. ps...

    Richard, Chris, and Tom - it was AWESOME to see you in the comments. Thank you for weighing in, it means a lot.