Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lessons unlearned: Frustrations with daytime talk

A too hot Memorial Day =  Too much daytime TV.

Monday, as I waited for the stroke of 5 to cook dinner, I found myself with a rare free moment. Miles was playing Peek-A-Boo with the 3-year-old neighbor who likes to stand in front of our front windows; Mark was grading papers; and Denali was taking a nap. I played on my Kindle for a bit, bemoaning the fact that no one was taking their Words With Friends turn, before I found myself aimlessly flipping the channels in an effort to keep myself occupied.

Dr. Oz was talking to curvy women about, well, curvy clothes and curvy exercises and a curvy diet.

The Doctors were discussing laughing your way to weight loss. And, no, I'm not joking - though I wish I were.

For an entire hour, I learned about what to eat and how to exercise in order to lose weight. What I didn't learn about was what to do once I lost the weight. These shows love to tell you the secrets to weight loss and offer tips and tricks but rarely - and I mean rarely - do they offer you a picture of what's next after weight loss.

They don't tell you about that there are parts of your old body that refuse to leave. I know I've talked about this before but this girl has got some skin - and not the good kind. I have extra skin from knee to rib cage and while it doesn't bother me most days, it does keep me from getting good race photos and wearing a bikini. Sure, neither is important but when you lose 115+ pounds, it would be nice to have both.

They don't tell you that weight loss does not equal confidence. I was watching Rachael Ray this week (I may have to check myself into some sort of program), and these teen girls who lost weight talked about how much confidence they found in their new bodies. Maybe it's related to above but I didn't feel a surge of self esteem because I looked different. Even today, I struggle with physical confidence. I only found a positive image through accomplishing goals and, mostly, running.

They don't tell you about just how hard it is to keep up the good habits. I'll be honest: If I don't track what I eat, I can easily eat too much. A Hershey Kiss here, two plates piled high at the Indian buffet there. It's like the food doesn't count unless I see it on a screen or in a notebook.

They don't tell you that, if you lost a significant amount of weight that you'll never be able to eat like other people. According to the HBO documentary, "The Weight of the Nation," if a woman who weighed 180 pounds lost 40 pounds, she would have to eat 20 percent fewer calories per day to maintain her weight than a woman who weighed 140 pounds her entire adult life. It's no wonder that people struggle to keep off excess weight.

They don't tell you that losing weight opens the door to intensely personal questions and criticism. I have a blog and shared with my story with Woman's Day so it should be no surprise that I am open with my weight loss. However, I can't tell you how many times I've had random people ask me how much I used to weigh and how much I weigh now. People often like to tell me that I was too thin pre-baby or I looked a certain way when I was heavy. While I enjoy people's interest in my story, I think there's a time and a place - and it's not usually while I'm hitting up the community coffee at work.

They don't tell you that people will always question your methods. When people hear that you have lost weight, they want to know how and usually it's because they want to know a secret. They want you to tell them that you can lose weight and eat cookies all day, every day. They don't want you to tell them that you ate less, worked out more or followed a specific program. Why? Because they hate running, they tried Weight Watchers, they can't eat a certain thing. I'll admit that I've judged people for following plans that I couldn't but I never scoff at their choices. I merely say that I admire them for doing something I can't.

They don't tell you that you can find support in the unlikeliest of places. I would have thought that my family and friends would have been the most excited and encouraging of my results - but they weren't. But I haven't been alone. I have found the blog world to be incredibly fantastic, and I thank you all - especially if you have read this far.

So ... what are your thoughts on all the "lose weight now" segments on TV?


  1. Girl - I'm one of your biggest supporters and fans! Even if you want to loose 5 more pounds for whatever reason you want to or if you want to gain 5 pounds or if you want to vent about unflattering race photos - I'm here for you!

    And by the way, you look amazing because you are amazing! PERIOD!

    I'm sooooooo beyond fed up with ALL the weight loss advice on tv and in magazines. I like Dr. Oz, but dang even he has gone crazy - every other day is a "new diet" or "new supplement that burns the fat or blocks the carbs". Seriously - you could loose weight because if you took all the supplements "he discovers" you would be full and not need to eat. I'm just so sick of all of the advice from all of the know it's out there - eat this, do this, don't do this - really? Shut up everyone who hasn't done it! I digress. So sorry!

  2. This was a GREAT post! Too often, I think, people think if they lose the weight then all of their problems will disappear, but it's not true.
    I have lost a lot of weight before (90 pounds in my early 20's), and one of the most discouraging things was when people would tell me how I looked when I was bigger. Once someone told me when I was big I had "man hands", and another said my chest looked HUGE. Here I sit, as big as I was and now self conscience about what some of my features look like because a) I let it get to me, and b) some people just need to learn to say you look great, and leave it at that.
    This is also the reason I stick to Friends re-runs and Spongebob Squarepants (for the little one, I'm hoping that was obvious) when I do have the tv on in the background. Day time talk is mind numbing!

  3. Nice post. I love your writing. Weight loss secrets = ratings, that's why the magazines and tv shows always have those teasers. If only the real secret (discipline and commitment) would sell. I found your blog some time ago and i really enjoy it. Best of luck to you. Perhaps you'll write a book someday?

  4. Great post! I'll admit, I have scoffed a people's choices before (not publicly/to them), so it is nice to see how someone with grace handles it!

  5. What a GREAT post!! I heart you and support you ten thousand million gazillion percent.

    I agree daytime tv sucks - during my lunch break I am forced to watch the doctors (because we only get 3 channels on the tv in the breakroom) and I often turn it off all together.

  6. I hate these stupid weight loss instantly shows, magazine stories, etc. It's a farce. To lose weight you have to work at it. Eat less (or at least healthier) and move more. Sure you can indulge here and there, but come on, no one got thin from eating crap and sitting on the couch. Diet pill especially irk me.

    You're right, no one tells you what to do once you lost your goal. I do like that new Jennifer Hudson commerical though. At least it somewhat addresses it even if they are just trying to get you signed up for Weight Watchers.

    You looks amazing and your story is truly inspiring!

  7. I have found that all these shows do is poke at your self-esteem. They know women are the ones watching, they know women want to lose weight, to know the secrets of how to be a working mom, etc. I think any "doctor" who pushes supplements and fad diets shouldn't be allowed to call themselves an MD.

    I share a lot about myself. My struggles with Ulcerative Colitis, my weight issues due to steroids, etc. And I too have found that the blogiverse is filled with people who truly support you.

  8. I really enjoyed this entry today!! Really fascinating!

    And this:

    They don't tell you that you can find support in the unlikeliest of places. I would have thought that my family and friends would have been the most excited and encouraging of my results - but they weren't.

    If you ever feel comfortable blogging more about this, I'd really be interested in reading it. I have some mixed experiences with friends/family vs. online community, too.

  9. I've often wondered at the condescending tone and sabotage efforts of family. One overweight sister especially resents my choice to be active and make better food decisions. I don't know if it her own guilt making her mean, or if she does it subconsciously, but she continually throws snide comments my way when we dine out together. I am thankful I live in another town, which makes getting healthy easier.

  10. I have a hard time with those programs, mainly because a lot of them don't incorporate that each body is different and loses weight differently. Or that not all of us can work out 24 hours a day or afford to eat a certain diet.

    That is why I love blogs like yours and why I blog myself about my own weight loss! They are more real, more down to earth and honest.

  11. You hit the nail on the head. Maintenance is a way of life. You can't lose all the weight, and then go back to eating the way you did before. I really like WW for this very reason. I love that they really encourage lifetime members to attend the meetings for free! (which I find is necessary for me to stay at my goal). They recently added e-tools for free for lifetime members at goal weight too. I've got about 5 more to go before I'm free again, and that happened cause I stopped tracking, just like you said.

    You are an inspiration to me. Especially that whole new mom thing/working/getting certified for Body Pump/running like the wind thing you've got going on :)

  12. Great post! TV can be the worst. As usual, you have a great perspective on things and I love that you use your experience to help others. You are amazing

  13. I think that they try to offer quick fixes but none of those fixes work

  14. I agree .. I agree .. I agree!

    Great post. Nothing grinds on my nerves more than hearing about "weight loss secrets" and stuff like that. There is no secret. Diet and exercise. The end. How you go about it can vary but that's the "secret"!

  15. Such a true, from the heart post. I appreciate it because a lot of people just getting motivated don't realize the outcome isn't a life perfector. Your first point about excess body part issues is what I always think about. I am fortunate and have not been obese in my life, but I have transformed my body and lifestyle in the last 8 years, and I realized that if you have trouble spots on your body when you're overweight, they will remain trouble spots when you hit goal weight. You truly do need to learn to love your body now so you can appreciate your accomplishments later.