As a physician I deal with people wanting to lose weight every single day. I counsel them on diet and exercise. I try to be empathetic. I try to listen and give them practical and reasonable advice.
It is a double edged sword for me. I am overweight. For some patients, this decreases my credibility. They think I'm telling them to do things I don't do. At times in my life, that's been correct. But not now.
For others, it increases my credibility. They know I struggle. They know I don't want to exercise sometimes. They know I enjoy food. They know I have genetics stacked against me. They see me doing things, it makes them realize they can too.
Here's the deal: There is no magic pill. There's not. There is no magic program. There is no magic surgery. There's not. I'm a freaking doctor and if there were, I'd be the first to get it. Hell, I'd probably get it free because the drug companies would be sampling it. I've had surgeons offer to do surgery on me and waive their fee. There is no easy answer. There's just not.
I have been reading some blogs lately by people who've either had gastric surgery, especially the lap band, or are considering it. I'm not saying the surgery is wrong or bad or people shouldn't do it. But it isn't an easier or faster way out. It's not. I've had patients have the surgery and lose weight. They exercise. They eat healthy foods. I've had others lose weight and gain it all back. ALL. OF. IT. I have patients have the surgery and lose only 15-20 pounds. Are you freaking kidding me?
I have a patient who had the surgery. She weighed over 300 pounds. She's lost 150. She was beautiful before, she is now. She has hanging fat everywhere. She hates her body. She's developed nearly an addiction to exercise, in a bad way. She's developed practically an eating disorder because she eats very little. She is depressed and miserable. Still. She like so many others thought all their problems would be solved by losing weight. Their life would be changed. They would be happy.
Here's the deal: Losing weight will not make you happy. You make you happy. Should we lose weight and be healthy? ABSOLUTELY. Will it answer all your problems? No. Not if you don't do the emotional work. Read the blogs of the most successful losers. You'll see.
I just can't read anymore blogs of people with the lap band who write they did well because they only had chicken nuggets for lunch. Or they only ate a mini snickers for snack instead of the whole one they used to. Or they ate a small blizzard for dinner and was only 300 calories. OMG. I just can't.
Or they go through the cost physically and financially to have the surgery, but they just can't find time or get motivated to spend 30 freaking minutes to exercise.
Really, you don't have time? I'm so tired of this excuse. I can't take it anymore. I work 40+hours a week. I run my own business. I serve on the board of a hospital. I have 3 kids and a dog and a gecko and a turtle and a house and a yard. We have tae kwon do and football and band and boy scouts and soon girl scouts and 3 kids in 3 different schools. Now talk to me about time. Everyone has time. It's just how you choose to use it. I literally have to sit down and each week figure out when I can work out, when I can go to the gym. And then I do it. Nearly every day. For nearly 5 months now. (cool huh?)
And if one more person tells me that they bought those Shaper Shoes so that will help them, I might lose it for sure. OMG. Just wearing those shoes does not equal exercise. It doesn't. Unless you are wearing them to exercise. In which case, good luck. I hope you don't fall and break your ankle.
I am empathetic to people. I am. For goodness sake, I am just beginning here. I've only lost 30 of the 100 I need to lose. I have a long way to go. I'm an expert on the facts on how to lose weight and healthy diet, lifestyle, and obesity related diseases. I'm not an expert in losing weight. There are many people who've done much more than me in this area. I'm just really having a hard time with the excuses. All day long they're there.
And I guess since I've tried really hard to recognize the rationalizations on why losing weight is too hard when I use them on myself, I see them that much more now in others. The excuses. The "reasons" why right now isn't a good time. It's too stressful. I have too much going on. I'll start as soon as this project is done. As soon as the kids are in school. As soon as we sell this house. I'll start right after vacation. After my birthday, I want to enjoy my party. After my daughter's wedding. Later. Later. Later.
Here's what I know for sure: It will never be simple. It will never be easy. There will never be the perfect time. There will always be something stressful. There will always be another celebration. There will always be something because the only thing stopping you is YOU. Until you get YOU out of the way and change your attitude and thinking, it's not gonna happen.
No one can do it for you.
I'm sorry for sounding "mean". I know that has been a topic around here and I don't want to offend anyone. But, sometimes I feel like this is the blind leading the blind on these blogs. Sometimes people need to hear the truth. I know I did. I still do sometimes. You can't always say, "Don't beat yourself up. You're doing your best. Those slip ups are in the past." That's just enabling sometimes.
So, I want to challenge all my wonderful and helpful followers to feel free to kick me in the pants if you start seeing any of those rationalizations or excuses come through on my blog. I'm working really hard on getting those things out of my self-talk and vocabulary for good. I am unbelievably thankful for finding this blogging world where people know, really, really know what I've been through and am going through and are where I want to be.
But, even with all your help and support, I'm the one who has lost 30 pounds. I'm the one that dragged my wheezing ass up the stairs to bike and lift weights this morning when I really, really was tired and still feel a little sick. When all the excuses that rushed in on me this morning hit me, I pushed them out. I said no. It is incredibly empowering.
No one can do this for me. No matter how much they care about me.
Have you gotten YOU out of the way yet?