Sorry for the lack of updates recently. Honestly, I've been on and off working on this entry for the last couple of days. So it's finally here. Sorry if it doesn't exactly flow, I just pretty much have been typing whatever came to mind hoping it would make sense. I will probably be posting another entry shortly about my progress over the last couple of weeks. So stay tuned! :)
A friend of mine shared this article on her FaceBook page recently, and I'm glad she did. Thanks for sharing this Janeida!! Not only is this something I think everyone should read, but I'll tell you why. It's about to get deep in here y'all. I told you when I started this blog that I wanted it to be a place where I could be honest.. so here comes the honesty. You may learn a thing or two about me as well.
First, here is the article. This post probably won't make much sense until you read the article.. so take your time.
Okay, so now that you've read it, here goes nothing. Fat shaming is a HUGE thing right now. As was discussed in the article, it's everywhere. I can recall many times watching the evening news and seeing a segment on obesity and they all start off the same way. The news makes a graphic of an overweight person, most of the time with their heads cut off, eating or walking down a crowded city street. Most of the time they zoom in and emphasize the person's larger stomach or how they're walking. I've always thought to myself how angry I would be if I just happened to catch the latest obesity epidemic segment and saw myself in their graphic, haha. Not because of embarrassment, but just the way obese/overweight people are portrayed.
Yes, obesity IS an epidemic. I AM part of the epidemic. I am MORE than aware of this, which is why I'm working to fix my issues. But honestly, my drive to fix the issues was not always there. I'll get into that more later. My issue is the way that obese/overweight people are portrayed.
I'm not sure what person came up with the "if we're cruel to this person, they will lose weight" idea, but whoever did... they are ALL wrong. When did negative reinforcement ever become a way to make someone successfully change their life? I spent my whole childhood being bullied about my weight, and I even deal with it now at the age of 30. Sadly, most of the taunting comes from kids, but you still have some completely immature adults to do it too. I can't tell you how many times I go to the store and you overhear a child saying "Wow Mommy/Daddy, she's big." Often times you will hear the parent correct their child (THANK YOU!), but you would be surprised just how many don't. I'm not even about to dive into parenting, being that I don't have any kids, but making fun of someone does not translate to them losing weight. If anything, it just makes them disconnect more and more from society, rather than getting the help they really need.
Honestly for me, the main foundation in losing weight is having a great support system. Sadly, not everyone has a person or people to back them up on their journey. I can't even begin to explain how critical a good support system is for me. Making a healthy lifestyle change is hard work, especially since the bad habits you're trying to break have likely been around for a long time. Yes, a person needs willpower to get through everything, but knowing you have amazing people supporting you and backing you up makes those changes a little easier to deal with. Honestly, I would be lost without the little support group I have.
Speaking from experience, most obese people have some sort or mental or emotional issue that goes along with their issue. I DO have mental and emotional issues when it comes to my obesity & food. No surprise there. We as people are supposed to eat to fuel our body, but I find that I eat to mask my emotions. I will be the first to admit, I eat my emotions. When I've had a bad day, it's so easy for me to go home and eat. Match that up with boredom eating, and you have yourself a problem. Since I've started my weight loss journey again, I've caught myself on the verge of boredom eating. I wasn't hungry, I wasn't upset... I was bored. Honestly, that was quite a victory for me to be able to see that because now it's more noticeable for me. Now I know to pay attention and how to stop myself from eating when I'm not hungry.
As for emotional eating, that's a doozy of a topic. There is a sort of shame that comes with eating junk when you're my size. We know we don't need the junk food, but in times of stress, it's almost comforting to eat it. I can remember many times where I would stress out, or something would set me off emotionally, and I would find myself hopping in the car and driving to McDonalds or Burger King for a quick fix. It's not because the food was all that great, or would literally fix the problem, but in some crazy way it was comforting. Somehow, sitting in the car eating that Double Cheeseburger or Whopper made me happy for even a brief moment. For that little moment in time, everything was alright. It was the moments following that the shame set in. Many times on my diet I would have moments like this. I would be doing so well, and then something would happen, causing me to make that journey to McDonalds or Burger King. It didn't help that fast food is proven to be addictive... The worst part about all of this was, I hid it. No way was I admitting that I had a momentary lapse in judgement and found myself hitting the drive-thru. That thought of "I failed" entered my head. Usually, when you've had an emotional setback or stressful day, once you've failed the domino effect begins. The thought of "Well, I failed.. so what I do the rest of the day really doesn't matter?" enters your brain. Then the double cheeseburger you just ate is soon accompanied by a large fry and maybe even a milkshake.
The worst part about it all was hiding the issues. I wouldn't log my impulse, I would just pretend it didn't happen. Which honestly, the second you stop being honest with your food logs, you're not holding youself accountable. So even if you do mess up one meal of the day, log it and move on. Make better decisions the rest of the day. As I stated above, it was a very hush hush thing for me. Any evidence of my trip to the drive-thru was quickly discarded and I sure as hell was not about to admit what happened to my friends or family. Not that it was something I would HAVE to tell them anyway, but sometimes I feel if I would have just come clean about it, they may have helped me figure out ways to stop it from happening to begin with. Either way, I've definitely learned from those situations. Do I still have impulses to go get a double cheeseburger and fries some days? YUP, I do. But, I'm working too hard to derail my progress like that to give in to my temptations. I have too many goals to achieve, and a bucket list I would like to start checking things off of.
My point in all of this is, when someone feels ashamed of doing something, they tend to hide it. Name calling someone, or making fun of someone because of their weight is not helping them out. I've heard so many bullies try to take credit for someone's weight loss because they felt that their ridicule of the person helped jumpstart them into it. In my case, the bullying just made me pull away from everyone and be more of a hermit. It didn't jumpstart me into making any changes. It made me feel terrible enough about myself to the point of depression and anxiety. Making fun of someone makes you a bully, end of story.
The biggest impact on my life, and my reasoning to get healthy, was hearing my friends and loved ones express their concern about me not living a long life. When I could see the genuine concern in their eyes that they would lose me, it made me want to get healthy. Not that I didn't think they wanted me around, I guess I just never realized how serious their concern was. Not only that, it made me want to get healthy for myself. So if there is someone in your life that you want to get healthy, don't make fun or them or bully them. Your harsh words will do more damage than good. Talk to them, support them, and help them get on the right path. Positive reinforcement does more than you know!