Diet coaches normally caution people to be aware of their self-talk. It’s understandable. Most obese people have gone through years of being depressed about their condition, and self-talk can actually make things more depressing, that is, if all you give yourself are negative messages.
But, there is something akin to dishonesty when we do not take a serious look in the mirror and come to terms with our obesity. If we have people telling us that we look just fine, and that so-and-so is much heavier than we are, it has a way of making us think that we’re not in quite the poor shape we actually are. This helps us postpone doing something about improving our health, namely, taking diet seriously.
Doctors, too, are reticent. Once known for their brutal honesty when it came to speaking the truth about a person’s health, today, it seems, they are less apt to bring up unpleasant subjects that might upset us. My doctor of almost 20 years has never told me I am overweight, though I am (or was) about 80 pounds too fat. Instead, year after year, he just prescribed my blood pressure medicine, sent me to a sleep clinic to get treated for sleep apnea, told me I could use certain over-the-counter drugs to help me sleep better, and had me check my blood sugar regularly and send him my reports. Nothing has ever been said or done to help me eliminate the problem at the core…to lose weight by eating healthy.
Like alcoholics, obese people are willing to surround themselves with sympathetic others. We create a network of codependents that feed off one another’s self-congratulations and shallow encouragements.
I do not believe that withholding the truth from ourselves is ever a good idea. If we can deceive ourselves, we simply forget what the truth is…and the truth is that we are eating ourselves into an early grave or a quality of life that really sucks. I know, I’ve been living there for years.
As people have started complimenting me every day on my weight loss — people who never spoke to me much before — it is easy to pat myself on the back and think the journey is over. In the past, this is always the time I stopped being careful…I felt good, looked good, and I was wearing nicer clothes.
But, this time, I can’t let that happen. When I look at myself naked, in the mirror, I still see sagging pockets of fat around my arms, my man-boobs, and my sagging, big fat butt. It’s much smaller than it was, but I have a long way to go.
The difference between honest self-talk and self-denigration is that honest self-talk can lead to honest action to alleviate the problem, while self-denigration mires itself in self-pity, listening to the network of codependents chirp about how we look “just fine.”
I say, to hell with looks! Looks will come on their own time. Give me better health! I want to live a long life, a happy one, one in which I can still bend over and put on my boots without having to hold my breath in. I want to live! I want life!
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