There are certain things inherently against us when we set out to change our weight.
- Media Messages
- Habits that are near and dear to us
- Physical restrictions
- Emotional issues
I wanted to talk about how hard it is to lose weight when we get so many conflicting messages. The media messages we hear tell us to eat all we can eat, drink what we want, and indulge because we can. When we set out to lose weight and get healthy we are going against society norms. The fickle media also sends us the message that thin is perfection, and normal is not. It’s a mixed bag to be sure. Eat, but don’t gain weight. Indulge, but stay a size 2.
How is it possible to stay focused and have success when we are bombarded with conflicting messages on an hourly basis? It’s not easy.
One way to stay focused on your own path would be to shut yourself off from all media outlets, and don’t listen to the opinions of friends and family. You could unsubscribe from the paper, turn off the television, don’t use the internet. That would help, but then you would still see the messages in stores, on billboards, and hear them from your friends. No, shutting ourselves off from the world isn’t the best way to achieve our goals.
For me, staying true to my goals involved learning to discern the false messages from the true. I had fallen prey in the past to the message that low-fat equaled healthy. The last time I lost weight, I set my own goals, and disregarded what the mass media and society was saying about weight. I set goals for myself based on my own personal needs, and developed a realistic weight loss plan that was sustainable.
When choosing to lose weight and improve your level of fitness you are saying to other people, “I’m different. I’m set-apart. I’m not normal.” (As I was writing that sentence, I was reminded of a great post that Dr. J did on being normal.)
It’s not easy to stand up for yourself and say, “I’m not going to have that value sized meal. No, I will not partake in every food item on the buffet. Yes, I’ve got to exercise today.” It takes courage and conviction and commitment.
I had friends and outsiders criticize me for exercising six days a week. They scoffed at me and told me that exercising was unnecessary. These were the same people who couldn’t have walked a nature trail without getting out of breath, even though they were average sized. I endured the barbed comments when I chose not to eat dessert at church functions, and I stayed strong when the commercials told me that the more chocolate I ate the happier I would be.
Standing firm on my own convictions of what was right served me well. Going against the norms of society time after time gave me the courage to keep standing up for myself. The messages I heard were often times false and not encouraging. But the messages I was telling myself were positive and true. The interesting thing is that over time, some of those same friends who scoffed at some of my decisions were the very friends who ended up changing their own lifestyles because of my example. Little by little we can not only make changes for ourselves that go against the tide, but we can also help change society. Diane