October 23, 2010

Loosing Weight for Life; Be aware of the three headed dragon

I apologize for the rash of weight loss blogs. My writing comes from my experiences and, lately, I have been having many that relate to this topic. Since Wednesday I have been mauling over a few things my brilliant colleague had mentioned as he was co-facilitating a course on drug and alcohol awareness with me. 

He had presented a model of a three headed dragon and related it to the process of rehab.  When someone quits something (i.e. using food as a coping mechanism) it is just the tip of the proverbial ice cream sundae.  Sure, the act of over consumption has ceased, but the underlying issues, feelings, and motivators are still present. It will be only time before they start scratching at the door again.  You can either open the door and deal with them in a healthy manner, or lock them up. What do most do? They find the strongest lock possible and a couple of deadbolts and slide back into the comfort of old habits.  This, in my opinion, is the reality behind the weight loss/weight gain cycle (or as others put it..."falling off the wagon").

I have decided to go back to school and earn a masters in counselling psychology. I should have done this at the start, although I loved the five years I spent working in exercise and health psych. I'm doing this because of my frustration of not REALLY being able to help those who wish to change their lifestyles (especially those who want to loose large amounts of weight). Sure, I can suggest how to eat, exercise, and sleep to ensure the greater successes, but in the long run the chance of regain is great. Why? Because I am unable (professionally and ethically) to dive into the real reasons for behaviour. I am starting to feel superficial and trite as I program, market, and facilitate educational opportunities in health promotion. Although I believe in what I do, I don't believe it is as easy as taking a course or reading a book. If it was, we would be the healthiest continent on earth.

Chronic feelings of hurt, sadness, fear, anger, and lack of forgiveness of self and others are the true reasons for weight gain and obesity. We all carry around feelings from our past. It is only a few that are able to deal immediately and move on.  These people have a high level of resiliency, self awareness, and the skills/strategies necessary to stand up and face the hurts of their past. Most of us self medicate through food, shopping, TV, Internet, alcohol, or worse. We keep ourselves so busy that we never have the time to still our bodies and wade through our crap. It's a fact that a still body leads to a still mind...that is a very scary idea to many people. Is this driving our "I have no time for myself" mentality? It's through this "no time" thinking that we drive-thru and sit in front of the TV. The law of inertia states that a body at rest will stay at rest. Doing nothing only leads to more nothing. The vicious cycle is such that exercise will give you energy over time, but to exercise you need energy NOW.....how do you market a promise of energy when the immediate costs are that high?

This isn't a quick fix and this post will not provide you with the tools to log off, deal with your feelings and never be affected by another donut seduction again. My post is merely an offering of respect to the three headed dragon and the hard work, courage, dedication, and commitment it takes to make permanent lifestyle changes that lead to an authentic (sorry, that's a bit too Oprah for me, but the word does fit), sincere, honest, and healthful life.

Of course, I never make a suggestion that I haven't tried myself. I was fortunate enough to have one year by  myself where I forced myself to sit in my own crap, take it apart, and find out why I behaved the way I did for the last 20 years. Without having that time, I would not be where I am today. It sucked, it was uncomfortable, I felt lonely, ugly, fearful, angry, sad, and usually huddled in the fetal position for hours on end.....BUT...when I came out the other side I slowly started making the changes to my lifestyle that lead to true health in the long run (without kicking and screaming my way through the change). It felt effortless.

Yup. I'm going to get one more degree to add to my tool box. When I do, expect to see a brand new business open up offering health promotion in a way we haven't seen yet. But for now...I just have to get my butt off this chair and drag it to the gym (I'm still waiting for that pill....but that's another blog for another time).

That's all I got.


  1. Thank you, Anonymous, for your comment. Very to the point!

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