I’m Sick of Being Fat
I have a friend who is a life coach. In fact he started off as my mentor, then became my Pastor and now, whilst he remains both of those things, is now one of my dearest friends.
In his role as mentor, Rob talks about the ‘players box’. Using the analogy of a champion tennis player he encourages his mentees to establish a team of people, four to six, to help them navigate life. Some are always there, others come and go depending on the season of life. Each has a critical but unique role.
Five years ago when I escaped a long term abusive relationship my players box consisted of Rob, my sisters, my doctor, my therapist and a very dear friend. Over the year or so that followed these people each played a crucial part in my first steps to recovery, as I gradually unraveled the long term consequences of this abusive relationship. With their wisdom, help and support I navigated confusion, anger, and the joy of finally being free.
Later, when the consequences of my freedom resulted in overspending and I found myself in unexpected debt my players box changed. Thanks to good advice, accountability and discipline, my segue into crippling debt was relatively short-lived.
In more recent times my needs changed again. I am struggling to find a way to continue my relationship with my adult son who is severely disabled, with his father determined to obstruct me in every possible way. Again, having the right people in my corner has made all the difference as I fight for justice for him and for me.
Despite all these challenges, there is one that has woven its way through all the twists and turns of my adult life. It has always been there, somewhat in the background, yet not quite blending in. The unmistakable elephant in the room as I navigate the twists and turns of life.
About 220 pounds and five foot two. Some may give me flack, saying that isn’t ‘that fat’. Sure, I can still shop in normal stores. I don’t need a seat belt extender on a plane, yet.
I blend in.
But I don’t like it.
I don’t want to be fat. My joints hurt and I get out of breath way to easily.
And I’m missing out.
Missing out on waterfalls that I need to traverse 50 stairs to get to, chairlifts and ziplines that have a weight limit, all day hikes to mountain peaks.
I’m done with missing out.
Applying the players box concept to my health
In this story I mentioned how a physical therapist named Craig taught me how to exercise. As a result of his help and patience I have learnt how to exercise for my body. Instead of attending a gym or class where I can’t keep up, I exercise where I’m at, and compete only against myself.
It’s been life-changing.
Craig taught me to focus on exercising in ways I enjoy, all the while showing me ways to strengthen the parts of my body that osteoarthritis has weakened.
Without realizing it I was assembling a new player’s box. Perhaps the most important one of all. Because unlike the the others, which were all in response to a crisis of some type, this one is for me. This one is a result of me saying that life is going to continue to present huge challenges but I still matter despite them.
I deserve the chance to do what it takes to remove the excess weight that I dislike so much from my life, and to do it without shame, guilt or judgment.
I needed professional help with my eating habits
Now this is far from the first time I have done this. I’ve signed up for more weight loss programs, meal plans, gym memberships and other interventions than I care to remember.
In 2008 I had lap-band surgery that had to be reversed within two months to save my life.
But this time is different. I am a paying customer seeking a service and I’m doing it on my terms.
So three weeks ago I met with a nutritionist. I decided I was going to be completely frank with her and I would know, by her response whether or not this was going to work.
She asked me what I hoped to achieve by working with her. My answer:
I’m ready to be re-educated.
She smiled. Then I said that I am open to anything she wants to teach me on two conditions:
I will not get on the scales
I will not keep a food diary
She was fine with both. She didn’t ask me to explain but I did anyway. Weighing myself does not help, whether I have lost or gained the result is the same. I’ll either eat out of reward or disappointment. I won’t get on the scales unless my doctor asks me to, and she better have a good reason.
And food diaries just make me feel like I can’t be trusted with my own body.
Instead she set me up for a win
My first consultation was one hour. She spent the first 45 minutes asking me questions.
Then she made a few observations.
I have a very high level of stress in my life
I eat too much for dinner
I allow myself to get far too hungry
Yet my overall diet is reasonably healthy
She said my diet needs tweaks more than it needs an overhaul. Together we decided on five changes that were achievable.
Swap my 2 large coffees a day for small
Have two plant based dinners per week
Have a healthy afternoon snack every afternoon by 3.30 so I don’t go home ravenous
Reduce the size of my evening meal by 25%
Do at least one thing every day to relieve stress.
I’m already winning
All of these were achievable and painless. I have learnt in the short three weeks since my first appointment that stress is a major issue for my body. For the first time I feel like I’m being supported and not judged by the person who I’m paying to help me.
I’m doing it on my terms, and I’m already winning.
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