Walk a Mile in MY Shoes

- POSTED ON: Sep 15, 2012

A strange and all too common phenomenon is the way a person, who is has never been very far beyond the borderline of the obesity range, loses around 20 to 30 lbs and suddenly becomes an expert on dieting and obesity.

These people take their personal experience with minor weight loss.. (which of course, might be MAJOR to them personally)… and decide that whatever worked for them ought to work for everyone, and that clearly the solution to the weight issue is easy, because “hey, if they can do it, so can anyone”.

This is like someone who has just finished their first piano lesson telling others about how to become a concert pianist.  It’s like asking someone without cancer how they prevented cancer in their own body, and then using those lessons to treat cancer patients.

I say to such a person:

"Congratulations on your weight loss. I'm sure it's significant to you. But you do not have the same issues that a person with 100 or 200 pounds to lose frequently has."

It’s almost amusing how everyone feels they have an “expert” opinion to share with someone who is trying to lose weight. Even people who have never had a weight problem tend to assume that they are doing something that fat people aren't doing, and therefore they also know the solution to obesity.

There are many naturally slim people (some of them who are even doctors or nutritionists) who truly think obese people are just ignorant, greedy, and lazy. After all, they, themselves, have slim bodies which stay slim by "occasionally taking walks and not eating entire gallons of ice cream in one sitting."  Especially, those who have mediocre processed food diets, and are borderline sedentary, are very quick to assume that obese people must have VERY bad habits.

Anyone who truly believes that people who continually struggle with weight issues are simply missing the information, personal desire, and sense of personal responsibility it takes to succeed, is showing that they don't have a grasp on what it really is, to struggle with a great deal of excess weight, nor an understanding of obesity’s difficult issues. The "eat-less-move-more formula," for a morbidly obese person, is frequently far more complex than even the majority of medical professionals make it out to be.

The habits as outlined in the National Weight Registry Control research – which appear necessary for the majority who succeed at weight-loss maintenance, …. such as daily weighing, calorie counting, lots of exercise etc….. are the same behaviors that are castigated by those medical professionals who involve themselves with treatment of “Eating Disorders”. And yet there is an immense amount of proof that if a reduced obese person stops self-monitoring and making immediate corrections, the weight comes back on without fail.

Many people find it easy to lose a bit of weight, but the body fights back, so very few are able to do what it takes to keep it off.  Invariably when I read "inspiring" weight loss stories in the popular media, 99% of those profiled haven't even made it to the 5-year maintenance mark. When .. and if ... they get there, I’d like to hear about it. Also, please tell me what society you can live in where normal sized people don't feel compelled to shame fat people. I'd like to move there.

Sometimes doing what it take for weight-loss maintenance feels like a dreary way to live. My own position is: “Being Fat is Hard. Losing Weight is Hard. Maintaining Weight is Hard. Choose Your Hard.

Weight loss is difficult and often complex, no matter how determined you are.
As a reduced obese person who is now maintaining a large weight-loss, I am well aware that obese people sometimes make excuses and wallow in self-pity instead of doing things that they “know” will be effective in decreasing weight. Many people spend decades looking for the magic of an easy way, while in basic denial of the simple truth that eating less calories than you burn will …in most cases…. lead to weight loss.  Truthfully, it is very hard to believe how few calories an obese person actually burns, because for many, the Scientific Theory that 3500 calories equals 1 fat lb just doesn't always hold true for everyone at every weight.

More precisely, it's not that we fat people need to hear this from others - after all, what fat person hasn't already heard it a thousand times?. Rather, it's something that many of us need to take to heart once and for all, instead of continually ignoring/denying the Reality of the difficulty of the consistent, ongoing, lifetime effort it is really going to take.

Eat less calories than we burn.  However, how do we individually DO that?
And then, … how do we do it consistently, FOREVER?
Obesity can't be treated with a one-size-fits-all solution. We are not cookie cutter people and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. How great it would be if everyone could truely take to heart the message within the video below.

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Existing Comments:

On Sep 15, 2012 Alma wrote:
Phyllis, thanks for the song. I have said Walk A Mile In My Shoes many times. I have listened to loads of criticism and watched as many of my critics became victims of obesity. Some people would gloat but as an intelligent person, I know by their face they are silently remembering their own words to me. If there is a place where people don't criticize, I would like to move there too. I can say that the South is heartlessly rude. I have been offered a new wardrobe to lose weight, been told how much I am loved, don't I want to look nicer and the worst was a book for a birthday present on "Breathe Your Way to Thinness" which I had the pleasure of returning to that person. My statement to that person was, " I have had this book for over ten years and the only thing I accomplished was sounding like "Puff the Magic Dragon" with my sore, blazing throat so please take this as your birthday present and show me how it is done". As we get older, many things change for us and one of them is the muscle tone loss that causes body shape changes. Our love of good food and somewhat slower pace allows the weight gain. I can squeeze my glutes until hell freezes over but 66 year old glutes are not a pretty sight and that is a good reason why I keep them under wraps! KEEP ON KEEPING ON and know that you are able to fall down and get back up. You are a dieting queen and the battle will always be there for both of us. As you have proven to yourself, "Maintenance is still dieting".

On Sep 16, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Alma, Thanks for your kind words, and thanks for sharing some of your own experiences. <3

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