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What's the hardest thing you've ever done?

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Old 09-06-2012, 11:38 AM   #16
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This is such an interesting post and has left me pondering for days.
I'm going to continue to ponder while I reflect upon my own experiences.
What has been the hardest? Losing weight? I don't think so. Maintenance? That has certainly been a challenge.
Growing up in an abusive family and coming out a healthy person with a strong marriage and family?
Years of infertility and miscarriages?
Caring for my dying mother and father after they abused me mentally and physically for years?
Raising two children with all of their quirks and issues-- including Tourette Syndrome for my older dd, high giftedness for both dd's but particularly my younger (which has its own set of issues), depression for both of my dd's....

It's all hard. But overall I'm still an optimist and I think I have an amazing fulfilling life. I am thankful that my body is strong and healthy now. I will continue to contemplate the hard.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:50 AM   #17
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Hands down, it's been raising kids (still in the trenches with kids ages 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 7) and marriage struggles.

The weight loss, working on maintaining, making the commitment to a lifelong lifestyle change was and is difficult, but no where near as difficult as the other.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:37 PM   #18
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Hands down, walking away from my destructive family. I was on a sinking ship and only had two choices: go down with it or leave the rest behind and choose life. I made the more difficult of the two choices, life. Most people don't get past life situations like mine (mother and brother were and probably still are heroin addicts).
Nothing will ever be as difficult as making that decision. It's still difficult now, more than 10 years later. And I suspect it will be difficult to live with all my life. But I'm alive and healthy and it's worth it when I consider the alternative.

Edited to add: weight loss and maintenance are cake walks in comparison. But I'd gain back all the weight if it would save my family from themselves. Don't have to worry about that however, because it wouldn't.

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Old 09-06-2012, 04:04 PM   #19
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The most difficult and hardest thing that I've done was living my life as a morbidly obese person with all the hardship that comes with it: mentally and phisically...I am starting to recover... Slowly...
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #20
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My two hardest are:
1. Recovering from a crushing depression after returning from Japan, where I lived for over a year and had a short-lived but life-changing romance.
2. Gaining control over my anxiety, which is focused on my kids (now teens). Definitely a work in progress.

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Old 09-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrismon View Post
The most difficult and hardest thing that I've done was living my life as a morbidly obese person with all the hardship that comes with it: mentally and phisically...I am starting to recover... Slowly...
This is true for me too. I have had some hardships to overcome and had major achievements, but when I look back it's the obesity that stands out for me. Losing weight this last time was straight forward and maintenance is a struggle, but nothing compared to being obese (particularly as a child and teen).

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrismon View Post
The most difficult and hardest thing that I've done was living my life as a morbidly obese person with all the hardship that comes with it
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendoodle View Post
This is true for me too. I have had some hardships to overcome and had major achievements, but when I look back it's the obesity that stands out for me. Losing weight this last time was straight forward and maintenance is a struggle, but nothing compared to being obese (particularly as a child and teen).
Me too. I consider becoming successful in my career, despite growing up in an abusive family who continue to resent every success I've ever had, as a major achievement - but like goldendoodle, looking back, overcoming obesity stands out for me. Growing up as an obese child and teen affects us deeply and makes us different from others.

I may look normal, but I'll never be "normal".

Reading this thread, I notice a common theme of dealing with difficult family issues. Maybe that has given us resilience, or maybe dealing with our weight has made us resilient, but either way - we're survivors!
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:32 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post

Reading this thread, I notice a common theme of dealing with difficult family issues. Maybe that has given us resilience, or maybe dealing with our weight has made us resilient, but either way - we're survivors!
I've often noticed this commonality. I think some of us deal with difficult childhoods/ circumstances by overeating. I know that I did. I also ate to celebrate good times. The sadness, the happiness, whatever. I had to learn to not tie food to my emotions. Very difficult to do and I'm definitely still working on it.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by traveling michele View Post
I've often noticed this commonality. I think some of us deal with difficult childhoods/ circumstances by overeating. I know that I did. I also ate to celebrate good times. The sadness, the happiness, whatever. I had to learn to not tie food to my emotions. Very difficult to do and I'm definitely still working on it.
Yep, I'm there too. And so is DH. We tend to unfortunately reinforce the bad habit in each other. I am now really making an effort (for DH's sake more than mine as I'm "normal" range BMI and he's obese) to stop us when we start down that road.

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Old 09-08-2012, 06:32 PM   #25
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I wonder if you will get different answers from people whose highest weight was about 30 pounds over what's considered healthy and people whose highest weight was 100 pounds or more over what's considered healthy.
And just to enlarge on this point, I'll bet you'll get different answers from people who were overweight/obese during their childhood and teen years and from people who didn't start gaining weight until their adult years.

Which is why I find Charlotte Anderson's comment (below) ill-informed and a bit hypocritical. I haven't read The Great Fitness Experiment for years, but as far as I know, Charlotte didn't grow up fat, and has never had a serious weight problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neurodoc View Post
I subscribe to a blog called The Great Fitness Experiment (Charlotte Andersen the author is both witty and wise as well as a good writer) and she wrote a post about a woman (unnamed) who is apparently also a research scientist and "a rising star in her field" who apparently states that losing 100 pounds is the hardest thing she's ever done. Charlotte then goes on to state that while she doesn't doubt that this woman means what she says, she also thinks it's rather sad, especially that she also assigns it more importance than her degrees, her research or her ties with family and friends.
We all know that when we meet people for the first time, they are not judging our professional qualifications, or the quality of our friendships and family ties, but our appearance (weight).

To borrow a term from the Fat Acceptance movement, Charlotte's opinion that the research scientist's feelings are "rather sad" smacks of thin privilege.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:55 PM   #26
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I suppose I'm in the "not that much weight to lose" range. Not that 20-to-25 kgs is a breeze, but it could've been twice that amount, so I won't complain too much about it.

Losing weight wasn't really hard when I look back on it. What I truly found hard was coping with the frelling ED it triggered. Now *that* took years, counseling (when I could afford it), and a lot of self-confronting to finally get to a point when I mostly don't resort to food when I'm unwell. Compared to that, eating like a normal person feels really easy now.

Other more difficult things involved getting back to college while holding a job (part-time, but job all the same, and my timetable wasn't always accomodating, which meant a lot of time lost in commuting). I was frightened just as I was thrilled, thinking that at 27, I'd be the "oldie" who'd be last of her class, due to missing the first year on top of it. It was my third change of career already, and it wasn't an easy choice to make. Besides, aiming for a national competitive exam, where failure can happen even with average grades, I had to give it all to do the best I could, and then hope it was enough.

...And since I'm doing it again, only with a full-time teaching job *and* for a harder exam level, I suppose I'm just a glutton for punishment.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:13 PM   #27
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It is quite sad that our culture demands that we (especially women, but men too) assign our physical appearance more importance than our degrees, research or ties to our family and friends.

... and if by chance we are obese and do assign more importance to anything other than weight management then we're considered even "sadder," and often are belittled, ridiculed, and sometimes even shunned by those who find us so sad.

And I do wonder what makes Charlotte Andersen ASSUME that this researcher she writes about truly values her weight loss above her degrees, her research or her ties with family or friends. Did the researcher actually SAY this, or is Charlotte just assuming (based on her own biases).

If she is assuming that the researcher values the weightloss above all else, just because she's said it was the hardest thing she's ever done - that isn't enough evidence to support the conclusion.

Even though weight loss is the hardest thing I've ever accomplished, it is NOT the most valued accomplishment - not by a long shot. In fact, to succeed, I had to actually learn to place LESS value on the weight loss. Valuing it less than I was taught I was supposed to, actually helped make it doable.

I didn't lose weight by valuing the weight loss, I lost weight by valuing the health and fitness that the better food and exercise choices brought to me.

Ironically, I didn't get a whole lot of support for that from anyone (other than my hubby and my doctor). Instead I got a whole lot of criticism when I said I was going to focus on health and activity instead of weight loss. I was told to my face (or behind my back) that I was one of those Fat Acceptance, Heath At Any Size "nutcases" who believed they could be healthy at 500 lbs just because they ate a few vegetables and swam a couple times a week.

Difficult doesn't mean more valuable, it just means more difficult. And if any of us value our weight loss above more important things, it's because we've been taught to (or to at least act like it to fit in).

I've gotten a lot more positive attention for my weight loss than I ever got for my degrees or my positive relationships with other people. I also got more financial reward for writing computer code than I did when I was actually performing a much more valuable service to the community in my work in law enforcement and substance abuse counseling.

I never have valued weight loss as highly as I felt I was "supposed to" based on the feedback I received from others, and that's probably largely why I never acheived it until my health and very life was in jeopardy - and yet I received a surprising amount of negative reaction to valuing my health and life above my weight. To the point that one doctor was actually quite disgusted with me because I wouldn't choose wls, despite increased risks of death and complication because of my specific health issues.

When I mentioned the risks, the doctor actually said "I'm not worried about the risks... we can find a doctor willing to do the surgery."

His attitude was that since fat was obviously a fate so much worse than death, what did I really have to lose?"

Our society values money and appearance more than relationships, and those of us who reject those values are often punished for it (and apparently if we do not reject those values and believe the garbage we're taught, we're punished again... or at least looked down upon with pity by the likes of Ms. Andersen).

When you're very fat, you can't win. If you don't treat weight loss as if it were the most important thing in the universe, you're criticised and looked down upon, and if you do treat it as if it's the most important thing in the universe, you're criticised and looked down upon.

The hardest part of morbid obesity is learning to look out for your own needs before giving a fig about anyone else's, but humans are social critters and that's a lot easier said than done. It took me more than 30 years to learn to put ME first and to stop apologizing for it.

Sometimes that means putting my weight loss first, and sometimes it means NOT putting my weight loss first - but either way it means doing it for myself, not because someone else thinks my priorities should be different than they are.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:01 PM   #28
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For me losing 145 lbs was unbelievably hard. It's in a very different category though than getting my college degree or being with my dad as he died from pancreatic cancer. I can't make comparisons to these experiences.

It was most similar in difficulty to overcoming an addiction. Even that is slightly easier in the long run though since once I was done with it I never had to put anymore energy into it. Maintaining my loss is an ongoing effort but I try and strike a balance with it. It's just one part of me that I manage from day to day.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:59 PM   #29
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Kaplods - as always - makes some great points, but these stood out for me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
And I do wonder what makes Charlotte Andersen ASSUME that this researcher she writes about truly values her weight loss above her degrees, her research or her ties with family or friends. Did the researcher actually SAY this, or is Charlotte just assuming (based on her own biases).

If she is assuming that the researcher values the weightloss above all else, just because she's said it was the hardest thing she's ever done - that isn't enough evidence to support the conclusion.

Even though weight loss is the hardest thing I've ever accomplished, it is NOT the most valued accomplishment - not by a long shot.
You're quite right - "hardest" is not the same as "most valued".

And as for that doctor who pressured you to have WLS - what the heck?
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:49 PM   #30
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Rather than trying to paraphrase, perhaps poorly, what Charlotte Andersen said, here is the link to her actual post: http://www.thegreatfitnessexperiment...ight-loss.html
As you will see, the statements about weight loss being not only the hardest, but also the most significant thing the scientist had ever done are apparently taken directly from her biography.

I agree with many of the above posters that there are different kinds of "hard," and that an experiential "hard" like surviving a dysfunctional family (with no end in sight) or maintaining a low body weight for years is different from a temporary/goal-oriented "hard" like getting a Master's degree or losing 100 pounds. And of course, losing 200 pounds is probably harder than losing 50.
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