Last weekend I got a message via Twitter from @locust9 who lives in Sweden–a country where less than 10% of adults are obese:

switch out grains, only protein, no sugar. Weight will go away.”

At first, I thought, “Yes! That’s it. That’s what I need to be doing. It’s that easy. I can do that.”

A few hours later I thought, “Hell, I’ve been working at this for three fucking years. It’s not that easy. If it was, I’d be super-hero fit….”

A day later I found myself grumbling, “Who does he think he is, saying how easy it is to lose weight? What does he know, living in Sweden, the thinnest country in Europe?”

And then it hit me. He never said it was easy. Suzi Storm doesn’t say it will be easy. Weight Watchers doesn’t say it’s easy. I don’t say it’s easy. Losing weight is hard, no matter how much you have to lose.

But, when you’ve got a large amount of weight to lose, it’s even harder, because you’re also having to change habits, mindsets, and attitudes towards food that are obviously problematic. When I hit rock bottom I was fat. REALLY fat. I needed to lose about 120 pounds. Now I have about 20-30 pounds to go, and I battle a lot of the same crappy lazy behaviors I had three years ago.

Last weekend I saw friends of the family for the first time in about five years. One of them is a woman who has struggled with morbid obesity for 30 years. She’s been going to Weight Watchers for a year and has lost 40 pounds–and whined at me that it was taking too long.

“Don’t worry about how long it takes,” I said,’Just work on changing habits day by day. Start trying not to think so much about food all the time. Work on changing your thought process so the weight doesn’t come back. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.”

She continued whining about how hard it was (and then ate about 20 really fattening cheese & pastry rolls that were about 5 points a piece…I know because I made them). Maybe I thought, maybe she would be happier to just do what she wants: eat. She’ll die a lot sooner, but maybe she’d just be happier living a shorter life as a fat woman enjoying her food.

Is that what I want? To die at 60 because I wanted to swill wine, shovel popcorn, and chow on hot fudge and frozen yogurt? Or do I want to be one of those serene people, waking up to practice yoga at dawn, go for a quick run at lunch, lift some weights before dinner? Someone who fuels their body so it can be strong and healthy, not eating for “fun”?

Yes, that’s what I want. I’m happiest when I’m healthy. Therefore I need to be healthy. It’s that easy.

Advertisements