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Perpetuating The Myth

By Holly

So hey, here’s a weird thing about losing weight — once people notice, everyone wants to know what The Secret is.  And you would think that all I’d want to do was sing from the heavens all the things that are contributing to my success right now, wouldn’t you?  But instead do you know how I really feel?

Irritated.

(Disclaimer:  I just looked at the calendar and you know what, there might be another reason for this irritation, but I’m going to ignore that for now and try to explain how I feel like a rational person anyway.  If I’m being irrational, I’m sure the anonymous trolls of the internet will let me know and then I will just blame it on biology to make myself feel better.  Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.)

First to clarify, I am not irritated at anyone who is complimenting my progress.  Sure it feels a little awkward when you are at work and you have multiple people making comments and it feels like everyone is assessing your body and OHMYGODSTOPLOOKINGATME, but since I was actually sitting in my cubicle at work that I had this next epiphany,  I’m going to let it slide.

You see, in my professional life I am all about efficiency.  I’m always trying to find better and faster ways to get things done.  There is nothing that drives me crazier than when people over engineer their work or push paper to look busy and then get praised for “Putting in long hours” or “Really committing to a project.”  FULL BODY EYE ROLL, I can’t take it.  I am firmly in the camp of Work Smarter, Not Harder and I take a kind of a sick pleasure in taking tips and tricks that others have shared and making them work for me.   Why reinvent the wheel, right?  Well when it comes to weight loss, I think it is about time that this damn wheel gets reinvented.

We’ve all read a generic article that explains that weight loss is simply eating less and moving more.  And honestly I have spent years belittling myself over the fact that I was obviously unable to do either of those things since I had so much weight to lose.   But at this point, now that I have lost over 60 lbs, I’m ready to call bullshit on that over-simplification.

I have spent the last 10 years of my life exercising pretty regularly as well as watching what I eat.  Sometimes to the point of obsession.  I’ve also spent the last 10 years slowly gaining weight and becoming someone who had a triple digit weight loss goal.  Obviously this has been a source of frustration.   Sure I wasn’t perfect 100% of the time back then, but you know what?  I’m not perfect 100% of the time now and now I’m getting results.  SO WHAT’S GIVES?

Ah yes, what is that Secret again?

The Secret, I think, is that I kept trying new things.  Sometimes it was fad diets.  Sometimes it was aerobics classes that made me look like an asshat.  Sometimes it was fasting.  Sometimes it was eating everything in sight.  But I kept trying to gather information about my health and my body.  I kept trying to find something that worked for me — because newsflash:  EVERYONE IS NOT THE SAME.

The human body is complex, and although there are basic systems and things that we all share, the other factors that go into how our bodies process food, why we store fat, how our hormones respond, what part insulin plays, what type of genetic expression we carry — all of those things are different in everyone of us.  ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.  For me, what has given me results is CrossFit and a Paleo diet.  Is that going to work for you?  Who knows — I’m not saying that this is right for everyone but this is what has been right for me, and my body, at this particular time in my life.

So why do I feel irritated?  Mostly, I am irritated that I spent so much time trying to follow this bullshit conventional wisdom.  That I though less of myself because my body wasn’t responding exactly the same way someone else’s was.  But even worse than that, I feel irritated that even though I know better, I think my answers about The Secret are just perpetuating the myth.  When someone asks me what The  Secret is, rather than launch into this whole crazy diatribe that I’ve given you, I usually just censor myself and say “Oh I just tweaked my diet a bit and I have a new workout regimen.”  I mean, both of these things are true.  But every single time the words come out of my mouth I see that thought bubble forming over the other person’s head and it says, “Oh ok, she is now just eating less and moving more.”

And I hate that. I don’t want to perpetuate something that I now know is bullshit. But I don’t really know how to make it stop.

This weight loss thing sure is a trip!

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6 Responses to “Perpetuating The Myth”

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for Bodies in Motivation » Blog Archive » Perpetuating The Myth [bodiesinmotivation.com] on Topsy.com Says:

    [...] Bodies in Motivation » Blog Archive » Perpetuating The Myth bodiesinmotivation.com/2011/02/perpetuating-the-myth/ – view page – cached So hey, here’s a weird thing about losing weight — once people notice, everyone wants to know what The Secret is. And you would think that all I’d want to do was sing from the heavens all the things that are contributing to my success right now, wouldn’t you? But instead do you know how I really feel? Show influential only (1) $(‘#filter-infonly’).change(function() { var el = $(this); var url = document.location.href; var checked = el.attr(‘checked’); if (checked) { document.location.href = url + ((/?/.test(url)) ? ‘&’ : ‘?’) + ‘infonly=1′; } else { document.location.href = url.replace(/[?&]?infonly=1/,”); } }); [...]

  2. Liz Says:

    I once heard the ability to lose weight compared to the ability to learn. There’s SO MANY DIFFERENT ways to teach someone and to learn – I have dyslexia, so I had to learn to read and write differently than others, but I still did it; some people are visual learners and need pictures, not words, etc … so many different ways that it strikes me as so weird that there is ONE WAY, AND ONE WAY ONLY to lose weight. Doesn’t it make sense that it has everything to do with the specific individual?

    Anyway, um, so: yes.

  3. Courtney Says:

    First, I am SO proud of you! You’re truly motivational.

    Second, I went through something very similar about 3 years ago. I dropped about 65 pounds in 6ish months, and everyone wanted to know How. My standard answer was, “I stopped eating and started exercising.” Or, if I was feeling like a bitch, I’d say as gravely as possible, “Starvation.”

    But you’re right. It is irritating. I think what irritated me the most is that after spending years trapped in a fat body, I worked my ASS off to trim down and have a little self esteem. It pissed me off that I did the trial and error method for years, which was hard and grueling, and everyone else wanted to piggy-back off my work when something finally worked. Or, they wanted an easy answer like, “Oh I started taking the stairs and parking further away.” No one wanted to know The Secret once they realized they’d have to put a little work in. That was beyond irritating. It was infuriating.

    For the record though, The Secret for me was also a CrossFit-ish workout regime and a reduction in processed foods. So i’m totally with you on that.

  4. Julia Says:

    I love this post and can totally relate to your irritation. But I think most people ask the question without wanting to know the real answer. My usual reply is “rigorous attention to diet and exercise,” because that’s always true no matter where I am in my trials and errors, and sounds harder than “eat less move more.”

  5. Fun Stuff To Read Because It’s Friday « Holly Would If She Could Says:

    [...] really relate.  I actually wrote an entire post over at Bodies in Motivation about the way weight loss conversations can turn real irritating, real quick.  Over the last year I’ve been asked by a million different people about what my Weight [...]

  6. The Secret To My Success: Prologue Says:

    [...] at Bodies this week I’m talking about how I feel.  What else is new, right?  Specifically though, how I feel when people ask me what The [...]

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