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Friday, September 14, 2007

SLAYING DRAGONS:
What Are Your Weight Loss Obstacles?


All good fairy tales have villains and obstacles to overcome.

Every weight loss journey is a quest for something related to that loss--for health, for a smaller dress size, for acceptance, for a more vibrant life with fewer limitations. And every dieter will run into trouble (goblins, ogres, etc). And you and I will have dragons of all shapes and sizes to battle.

It's good to know what you need to work through, over, or around--or just swing hard and decapitate--when you start a new eating plan/healthful lifestyle. We all have histories, issues, physiological quirks, and maybe many of us have medical conditions.

Y'all already know I have Metabolic Syndrome (formerly Syndrome X). But this seems to be more a result--of excess weight and sedentary living and even bad food choices--rather than a cause of obesity. (Although, I'm sure they'll be looking closer at it, scientifically.)

I also have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My thyroid is basically destroyed by autoimmune processes in my body. It's a shrivelled bit of scar tissue. I have to medicate daily and get checked every few months for tweaks to the Rx. When I was diagnosed ten years ago, I was at a super low point: sleeping 20 hours a day, could barely move, felt tired all the time, was cold all the time, had hair falling out, had dry-straw hair (well, dryer than usual), and dry skin. My face was a puffy, immobile mask.

Interesting that I had to get THAT sick for my doc to notice. I think because fat women have the stereotype of the "it's my glands" complaint, I made sure never to even go near that excuse. And, hey, I actually did have a problem that went ignored for years. (If you have the above symptoms and haven't had your thyroid levels checked, please demand it.)

It took another year and a switch of endocrinologists to get me to a point where I could function, but I've never been normal. I'll still have tired bouts. I still have hair loss cycles. (And no, I have never, ever, ever been on a VLCD. I have a hard time sticking to 1800-2000 calories, much less going down below 1200. So, I didn't wreck my thyroid on starvation dieting.)

I also have a ton of allergies and very, very bad asthma (that I had since a baby and even when I was a skinny girl, so, no, it's not fat-related. It's familial. Autoimmune disease runs in my family, and asthma/allergies, too.)

So, yes. I am working with a few handicaps in the metabolic game and that means weight loss is harder for me. But it's not impossible. It just means I have to plan and strategize and study and learn and come up with solutions...and persist. (See that post below on passion and persistence and imagination.)And I have to find the best weapons for the quest.

Once we get morbidly obese, there's a big, fat dragon in the way. You can't ignore it.

We really do wreck our system. It's never going to be fully normal, I think. We've got the fat cells there, and they don't die or leave town (sans the very nasty procedure called liposuction). We have our endocrinological mess to deal with. Our appetite control system is out of whack. So much within us is fighting hard against cutting down calories and losing fat. We will be hungry. We will have to learn to maximize calories and minimize stress. We will have to plan meals. We will have to measure and learn what normal portions are. We will have to choose BETTER foods than we chose in the past.

We must change INSIDE, not just outside.

But we aren't doomed to failure. We may be doomed to constant battle. We may never see easy victory. But we aren't without weapons.

Weapons abound.

But the very first obstacle to overcome--that first dragon to slay-- is inertia. The second is pessimism.

The first obstacle is what keeps you and me stuck in our rut, stuck in our bad habits, doing the same thing. It's what keeps us from change. The second is what keeps you from succeeding at change. Neither is easy to overcome.
So, get that sword ready. Touch it. Pick it up...

Kill inertia: Do one thing that's different--and helpful for weight loss--today. Change your routine just a bit in a direction that moves your health forward. Skip the processed, boxed, perservatives-riddled, low-cal cookie and have... a plum or some cherries or an apple. That begins to get you out of the inertia. Make ONE change toward weight loss RIGHT NOW, TODAY. Go on.

Then make another change tomorrow.

Kill pessimism: As stupid as it may sound, speak affirmations into your day. Or pray them Or sing them. But do something that fills your mind with positive messages that say, yes, you can make changes for your health. Yes, you can eat less junk. Yes, you can eat fewer calories. Yes, you can learn to enjoy wholesome foods: fresh produce, fat-free or low-fat dairy, broth-based soups instead of fatty cream-based woups, less salt, more herbs, water or vegetable juices instead of soda, whole grains instead of denatured grains, and lean proteins from healthy sources (ie, no hormones, no antibiotic-fed critters). Yes, you can change your meal habits so you eat in a way that keeps hunger at bay. Yes, you can take a walk. Yes, you can take off weight and get to a better place. It's not impossible. Others have done it. You can. I can. Turn off the "I've always gained it back" talk. Turn off the "I can't stop overeating" talk.

Self-talk does affect you. Make it self-talk that helps you succeed, not fail.

Obstacles include impatience, fear, emotional challenges, depression (I suffer from this one, and yes, it really does suck), unsupportive partners and/or friends and family, financial issues, dislike of healthful foods, dislike of exercise (I'm with ya!), dependence on pleasure from certain foods, physical disabilities, lack of self-esteem, abusive situations, etc.

We all have them. List yours. Then, begin to find ways to overcome each and every one.

So, what are your obstacles? Are you trying to figure out how to overcome what stands in your way? Do you have a tip for others on how you overcame one of your particular, specific obstacles to weight loss and health?

Tell us. Give us a link to a blog entry where you discuss this. We all want to be slimmer princesses who didn't wait for someone else to slay the dragons.


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Edited to Add: Weird. I found this post online...in GERMAN. Heh.

5 comments:

Teale said...

This is great!

iportion said...

The hair loss I hear is a big thing with people who have real tyroid probs.

Lisa said...

Wow. Inertia and pessimism! You really nailed it. Like the two starving ghost children lurking under the cloak of Christmas Present in 'A Christmas Carol' called Ignorance and Want. Demons to slay to be sure!

Scale Junkie said...

I have metabolic syndrome too. I have to agree with the inertia and pessimism. I know I'm my own worst enenmy and my downfall always starts with me. I'm working on dealing with those issues and I find so much inspiration from my fellow bloggers! Thanks for your post!

Lady T said...

after digging around in my archives....i found one that relates. but girl, i'm tired...so there is just one. so here's the link:

http://2whommuchisgiven.blogspot.com/2007/07/series-of-somewhat-related-topics.html

i get to the meat of the matter toward the end of the post.

man, i talk a lot. lol!