Weight Loss Support - The emotional issues of weight




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ChallengeMe
01-31-2008, 11:28 AM
Hi y'all. I really hope I'm putting this in the right place.

I spoke to my therapist recently for the first time about my weight issues. She suggested in part that I find a support group/message board/chat where I could talk to other people about some of the stuff I'm feeling.

So here I am.

This was all prompted by a visit to my endocrinologist regarding the type 2 diabetes I've had for 5 years. To get it under control I need to lose weight and start an exercise program. I've tried many times but have never made anything stick. It isn't because I don't have the knowledge or the so-called 'willpower' (I quit smoking, drinking and doing drugs years ago, cold turkey) but I've never been able to get weight under control.

At the highest point I was 367, I'm 323 right now and have been there steady for the last 4 years. I can get down to about 318 and then I just start to panic. It seems stupid and I don't understand why I'm afraid to lose weight.

I discussed it with my therapist and the only conclusions I've come to are that:

--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight I won't be able to maintain the weight loss and thus fail;

--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight my husband won't be attracted to me anymore (he does not like skinny girls);

--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight since I have so much to lose that when I'm done I'll have skin everywhere and be a mess. I'm also afraid of surgery to correct it;

--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight I still won't look like the ideal picture in my head and will be ugly.

There, I said it. :o I'm thoroughly embarrassed and don't know what to do, where to go from here. Please help.


Smiling_Sara
01-31-2008, 11:34 AM
Welcome Challenge! Let me tell you that you are in the right place for all sorts of support. I think the biggest gift we can give ourselves is to be healthier, thus letting us live longer and experience more things. Good Luck to you. We are all fighting the same fight! :hug:

nelie
01-31-2008, 11:38 AM
Welcome to 3FC!!

Your high weight and mine are really close. I too have had emotional problems with losing weight. I get to certain stop points and I have to muddle through them. Right now, I'm at yet another stopping point which I am fighting to get past.

1) Losing weight helps you learn the techniques that you need to maintain the weight. I have learned so much in the past few years with my weight loss. I will never go back. I believe the same will happen to you.

2) You can stop losing weight whenever you want but how do you feel at your current weight? Wouldn't it be best for you to lose the weight? Would it help you feel better about yourself, be healthier, etc? Yes I am sure you love your husband but we often need to do things for ourselves and figure other things out later.

3) Don't worry about the skin. There is no one that can tell you how much loose skin you will have but all I will say that it is better than having the excess weight. Loose skin gets better with time as well. Surgery can also do wonders if that is a path you choose.

4) Do you expect to look like a Victoria's Secret model? You do need to establish a realistic view of what you will look like. No one has a perfect body and even models need to be airbrushed to look like they do in magazines. If you can imagine yourself, thinner and wearing nice clothes, I think that would be realistic. If you expect to be a swimsuit model or have a body of an 18 year old, then maybe you should rethink your goal view of yourself.

Where you go is you take one step at a time and you will get there.


midwife
01-31-2008, 11:41 AM
:hug:

I'm so glad you posted. Your honesty is a first, important, MAJOR step!!

Change is a big deal. Changing our outsides and our insides by changing habits is a BIG deal. I think it is really normal to have anxiety and fear. Fear of the unknown can be particularly paralyzing.

A lot of my clients are afraid of labor. They are terrified to go through it because of what they have heard. But the reality is that each person's experience is different and unique.....and for a lot of women, labor is not as bad as they had imagined.

In the immortal words of Han Solo, "I don't know. I can imagine quite a lot."

Our imaginations and our fears can be far far worse than reality. Still, we must take those steps for our health.

You have lost some serious weight so far, and I congratulate you! You may have loose skin (you probably will!) but check out the pictures in the goal forum. Some of those people have loose skin too----but they look amazing, and more to the point, their health and self-esteem are through the roof.

Naming your fears is important. Moving forward despite fear takes courage, and you have already shown amazing courage.

Stick around and post often. This is a journey best made with support and friends.

:hug:

tkglenn
01-31-2008, 11:46 AM
Hello. I can relate so much with you. You are not the only one on board---trust me. I'm afraid I'll fail as well. I have been on a weight loss program before did great on it then wasn't able to maintain the weight and gained alot back. I'm now regretting it. My husband also doesn't like skinny women. He likes us chunkier females. I don't know why but he does. I sometimes worry he'll lose alot of attraction for me. When I lost all that weight, he tells me now that I was disgusting at the weight. I can be that weight but just not that skinny (meaning be thick but with muscle and be toned----not bodybuilder type). I have had 4 children and I too worry that when I lose weight, my skin will just sag. I am at my heaviest I've ever been and I have a fear of losing weight. And don't worry about looking ugly. Have you seen the before and after pics on here? let me tell you....WOW. Everyone who has lost weight, look at least literally 10 years younger. Their faces glow and just illuminate. They have this wonderful sparkle in their eyes. It's just awesome. Just remember, try to move past your fears. I have alittle. I just keep pushing on. I need to think about my health over the way I'm gonna look. Of course I want to look good too but my health is just alittle bit more inportant. Good luck and I'm here for you.

Lovely
01-31-2008, 11:52 AM
Hey there & :welcome2: Challenge!

Everyone here has issues with weight & losing it. Not always the same issues, but issues none-the-less. I'm glad to see that you're going to a therapist to work out some of the things going on.

There's no need for embarrassment here. At 3FC, many "bare all". It can be a great first step (or even 50th step) to weight loss.




--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight I won't be able to maintain the weight loss and thus fail;

The only way we truly fail is if we don't try at all.



--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight my husband won't be attracted to me anymore (he does not like skinny girls);

Have you spoken to your husband about your fears? He may not like "skinny girls", but that doesn't mean he won't love you. Nor does it mean that you & he think of "skinny" in the same way. Maybe you're thinking totally different things. Ask him! Not to mention, I for one, do not know what I'm going to look like once I've lost all this extra weight. I might not be "skinny" but just an average woman :) Maybe I'll even still have some junk in the trunk. Really... no idea.



--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight since I have so much to lose that when I'm done I'll have skin everywhere and be a mess. I'm also afraid of surgery to correct it;

I'm most likely going to have some extra skin hanging about my skinnier body once I've lost the weight. Once again, I don't know how much. I don't know if it's really going to affect me anymore than my fat does now. I just don't know, and won't know until I get to where I want to be. I've actually discussed this with my fiance, after reading about it & everyone's reactions to their own extra skin on the boards, and he said "Wait until you get there to see how you feel. What's the point in worrying about it now?" I agree.



--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight I still won't look like the ideal picture in my head and will be ugly.


This is something that goes deeper than weight loss. I'm no where near my goal right now, but I do not consider myself ugly. Sure I get excited thinking about losing weight & being able to wear smaller sizes, but I don't think that it will cause me to gain a beauty mark or something. If you recognize that you may be expecting too much of weight loss then now is the time to get realistic about it.

Losing weight won't make me into a super model. It won't erase scars, stretchmarks, or extra skin. It won't change my hair or eye color. It will not solve all my problems.

It will, however, allow me to move around much more freely. Give me more energy. Make clothes shopping more fun ;) It will allow me to feel healthier!

Only you can change how you feel about things. Continuing to talk about it may help. :hug: Regardless of what happens, we're all here to help.

NotTheCheat
01-31-2008, 12:37 PM
:hug: I totally understand.

First of all, this isn't a black and white thing. There is a huge difference in being 350 pounds vs. 200 pounds. Just because you decide to lose weight doesn't mean that you have to get down to what other people consider an ideal weight. I am not necessarily advocating this, but it is a decision you need to make for yourself. I actually split from my boyfriend because I wouldn’t promise him that I wouldn’t lose too much weight. He couldn’t deal with that and it exposed other issues in our relationship. You need to face this with your husband as well and decide what will work for you first and both of you second. Well, at least that is my opinion.

The thing I notice about your reasons is that they are most based in vanity. I am not saying that vanity is unimportant – we all want to look good. But, what about being able to do the things you want to do? What do you want to be able to do in your life? For me a big part of it is travel. I don’t want my weight to stop me from getting on an airplane or climbing up Machu Pichu. I have never been able to lose because I want to look better. For me, it just doesn’t click. I think this is because I am basing my attempt in something negative. I don’t like the way I look, so therefore I have to change myself. I am telling myself there is something wrong with me. Instead if I focus on trying to be as fit and able as possible, I bring positive energy to the attempt. For me, when I feel down or bad about myself, my first reaction is to eat. Negative self thoughts don’t spur me on to try harder, they only end up getting me down. It turns into a vicious cycle of bad feelings and eating that is really hard to break out of.

The fear thing is another huge factor. I think we can fantasize that our lives will be perfect if only we were X number of pounds. Well – that is just rubbish. Sure, there are going to be a bunch of things you won’t have to deal with, but it won’t make your life perfect. I love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFmVj5BXCxM

We can also use our weight as an excuse as to why things don’t work out in our lives. “That guy doesn’t like me because I am fat,” or “They didn’t hire me for that job because I am fat.” Fat gives us a scapegoat to blame for everything that goes wrong in our lives. Without it, we might just have to face the fact that the guy just didn’t like us or that there was someone else more qualified for the job.

For me this is as much if not more a mental and emotional journey then a physical one. I invite you to join us over in the 300+ area.

pamatga
01-31-2008, 02:29 PM
When you are having that panicked feeling at a certain weight, what are some of the "irrational" thoughts going through your mind? The next time that happens, grab a pen and paper and start writing them down. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. Just get those feelings out. Later, maybe even a week later when you are feeling either calm or neutral reread what you wrote. I am sure that you will gain some insights in why/how you feel that way.

Here is something that you need to repeat whenever you feel overwhelmed:

FEAR IS NOT FACTS FEAR IS NOT FACTS FEAR IS NOT FACTS

For years, I too was afraid to lose weight because I had been sexually abused as a young child and adolescent. Yes, I did have therapy for that and other things as well. However, being thin haunted me. I just couldn't deal with it. So, I shelved losing weight. I maintained a high weight for a couple of decades. THEN, I hit the age of 50 and it seemed like suddenly, my health was showing signs (not crisis yet but noticeable) that the good health that I enjoyed in my earlier years (or so I thought at the time) was being compromised.

Now, I have a new FEAR: living a life visiting doctors, taking pills and being sick! THAT does NOT sound appealing to me at all! So, I got on the stick and decided to diet even though I too have a lot of fears. I agree with the rest of these ladies: deal with it when it presents itself---and guess what, it may never happen either!

There is a quote I read in one of my recent forays into diet books that has really stuck with me "What has your fat done for you?" We all focus on what thin will do for us but fat has served us in one capacity or another or we wouldn't have had it hanging around for so long.

As for relationships, a lot of things change relationships if you are in them long enough: finances, sex, weight gain/lose, friends on either side, in-laws-his/hers,jobs, etc. If you are both committed to each other then you will be able to weather whatever comes your way including weight lose. Find out what your DH considers a "skinny girl" and be 10 lbs heavier than that. I also would probe to find out if what he means is not necessarily physical size or beauty but an "attitude". Maybe, he had a past girlfriend who was vain or haughty and treated him poorly. When I was a "skinny girl" I was shamelessly vain and at times I was downright cruel to some of my boyfriends. Why? I was young, insecure and it was the one thing I felt that I had some "power" in: making someone else feel worse than I felt inside. I am not proud (and am instead rather ashamed) of that time in my life but this might be what your husband is refering to.

Thank you for sharing this with us. We are here to help. :hug:

ChallengeMe
02-01-2008, 12:03 PM
Thanks y'all. I feel so much more at ease now.

I would say that I do have an unrealistic body "ideal" that I really need to work on. Losing weight is not going to get rid of every scar and I keep thinking it will. I'm fine with my stretch marks, just not some scars I have from various injuries over the years. I think, why lose weight, show off fit muscular legs when they are covered with scars that haven't faded even after two years? Stupid I know.

When I say, "--I'm afraid that if I do lose the weight I still won't look like the ideal picture in my head and will be ugly." I don't think I'm ugly now, actually I'm quiet please with most of myself. I fear that as I lose weight that the parts I love will disappear. I have one sister who is 5'9" and weighed about 155-160 lbs. She was gorgeous at that weight. She dropped down to about 125 due to jaw surgery and she looked a mess. She's back to about 140 and is still just not as beautiful as she was. This probably sounds stupid. :^:

I don't make the mistake of confusing self-image and body image. They really are two different things to me.

JayEll
02-01-2008, 01:16 PM
Hey, ChallengeMe, :wave:

Body image is a strange thing--I understand what you're saying about how if you lose weight you might not like the "new you" as much--I think a lot of folks wonder about this, especially if they have always been bigger.

The main thing, though, is health. Everyone's body is going to change as they get older. Things will start to sag, wrinkle, and so on. People have accidents, or surgeries, or other unforseen events. Hair turns gray. And so it goes. So it's not as though if people don't lose weight, they will stay the same.

But so many disease conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and other mobility issues, sleep apnea, and so on, have a so much higher risk for those who are obese. Really, there's not a lot good about being in that category, and it doesn't get easier as one gets older.

I hope you can decide what you want to do--not just on the basis of your appearance and attractiveness, but also for having a hopefully long and healthy life.

Jay

PaulaM
02-01-2008, 04:17 PM
Don't be embarrassed to say anything in here. I've only been here about a week but reading everybody's stories has helped me immensely. This is the first place I have EVER told my weight, not since I weighed about 127 lbs! Since I'm twice that now I never thought I would do it. It is very freeing. You can do anything! Just keep checking in here and getting inspiration.

Heather
02-01-2008, 06:44 PM
As another person who's been around 300 pounds, I can relate to most of those fears!!! I think those are pretty normal fears actually, if that helps.

For me, the fear of gaining it back or the sagging skin was finally overwhelmed as I realized I was not going to be able to lead a very active life if I kept going along as I was. Even then, it took a while for me to take the plunge to actively try to lose the weight.

I do have some loose skin and I have no guarantees I'll keep the weight off. My boobs are a lot smaller than they used to be (and a lot saggier)... but my life is immeasurably better in so many ways that I can undeniably state that losing the weight is worth it for me!

jellydisney
02-01-2008, 08:06 PM
You've gotten some excellent responses here. Honestly, my best advice is to try not think about the outcome so much. Come up with an organized daily plan, a way to achieve better health. Baby steps! Have a goal, but realize that it's going to take a while to get there. Just like with a financial goal where it takes time to save money -- It takes time to lose weight. You won't lose all the weight at once, so why worry about what life will be like at your goal weight?

Do you think anybody on this board (or in this world) is 100% happy with the way their body looks? I know I'm not. But I do know I am much happier than when I was heavy. Think about how much better you will FEEL when you lose the weight. I remember having a lot of difficulty walking and climbing stairs when I was heavier. Now I can climb the 6 flights of stairs up my apartment building and every time I get to the top I'm proud of how far I've come. You can do it! Best of luck!

PS -- Don't worry about the husband -- men are not as picky as you think :)