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Old 09-19-2007, 02:04 AM   #1  
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Default Feel Like a Failure and a Fraud?

Recently, both in real life and here on 3fc, I have been a part of some discussions where people on this weight loss journey have been discussing how they feel like they are failures or frauds.

The reasons are many, but seem to boil down to issues such as not being able to stick to plan, not being able to lose, losing weight and then gaining it back, etc. You know, important stuff! But it's stuff that tends to stop people from posting, or drive them away from 3fc entirely!

I can really see why people feel that way, but I hate the fact that we tend to view ourselves so negatively! Why is it so easy to see our failures and so hard to see the successes?

So, let's talk about it. Do you feel like a failure or a fraud? Why? When you look at yourself objectively, should you, really? What's going on here???
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:27 AM   #2  
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At the risk of sounding haughty, I feel like I am disappointed in myself for not following through consistently in areas that I am well educated in. I know better. It's hard to forgive myself for being human. I don't feel like a fraud but I know I have failed myself by getting as over fat as I have, regardless of injuries and things beyond my control. The last 50 pounds were (at least in part) in my control and I didn't control myself. I over ate and drank. I didn't exercise enough.

It's humiliating to know that in "real" life, people dislike me, judge me, think less of me, discount me and my knowledge or think false things about me just because I have more fat on my body than my frame should have.

It can be overwhelming.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:32 AM   #3  
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I was just thinking along similar lines last night. There are so many ways in which I'm a failure and a fraud. The voice pops up: "63 pounds? You're barely a third of the way to goal! Do you really think you can keep this up? And that wacky natural, whole fat foods plan of yours - your weight loss has already slowed, sure it's from being a lot more lax about counting the calories but still - with it slowing, makes you think it's going to still work in 50 pounds? 20? Other people are doing it faster, better, righter!"

Really, it could go on all day if I let it. You know, thinking back to the REBT thread, I think that's the beast voice (that's what they call the negative commentary in your head. Supposedly actively identifying and naming it allows you to distance yourself from it).

I'm also faking everything, along the principle of "fake it til you make it." I'm faking knowing what the heck I'm doing. I'm faking knowing what to eat and when, faking tracking it, faking confidence and trust in what I'm doing. It's actually feeling quite a lot better than not faking doing nothing.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:53 AM   #4  
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I sometimes feel like the freak for liking myself, at least as much as my friends and family who aren't overweight seem to like themselves. Why does the freak, not feel like a freak? Why do I feel more normal than I am? Self-esteem and confidence, or denial?

Maybe because I am as intelligent, creative, funny, caring and compassionate as I think I am? Maybe not. Maybe because I always did well in school, and had at least an average ability to make friends and have successful romantic relationships. Maybe because I had parents who, even when they badgered me about my weight, made sure I felt loved and wanted, and equal to anyone else. My younger brother and I were adopted as infants (not biologically related), and in our teens, my mother had two children "the old-fashioned way" as we say in our family. We always knew we were adopted, but my parents made sure we understood that we were their "real" children, not somehow artificial kids or an artificial family because of it. My sisters, weren't treated any differently, or loved any more than we were (well, we joke that my youngest sister could do no wrong in Mom's eyes, because she was a little clone of Mom and the youngest, but what family doesn't have the "baby" stories).

Even as small children we were encouraged to have an opinion and speak our minds (it might start an argument, but it was pretty much acceppted to do so).

As a child, I hated being fat, but I don't think it was with any more passion than some children hate having red hair, freckles, giant ears, or having to wear glasses.

Dieting has a way of making you crazy, I think. I can't say I've never felt guilt, self-loathing, failure.... but it was not because of the fat, but of the failing to live up to unrealistic expectations in dieting. The negativity wasn't productive, it only made me feel hopeless and helpless. I wouldn't ever tolerate anyone treating me the way I was treating myself, so when I realized it I stopped. At first, that meant stopping dieting (somewhere around 1989), and even a bit of a quiet fat activist (well maybe not so quiet, as I had a dieting Cinderella satire published in BBW - I've posted it in my blog here, as I still feel strongly that crash and extreme dieting contributed far more to my weight gain than it ever did to weight loss).

I have a master's degree in psychology, and I understand how hard any change is. And as a probation officer, I was amazed at how similar my struggles with my weight were to people trying to make all sorts of changes in their lives, whether it was giving up an addiction, or unhealthy relationships, or holding down a steady job. If I could work with these people with patience, understanding, and without prejudice, distaste, or judgement, I figured I owed myself the same respect.
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:57 AM   #5  
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OH what a timely post. I feel like both.

Fraud - I have a degree in Public Health. It's not good to have a degree in something that has the sole purpose of protecting the public's health and then be obese. So not good. Where I currently work, we have to have nutrition training yearly (we are responsible for the diets of adults in group home). So to spice it up they had a team contest and an individual contest - the winner got a Target gift card. My team won and I won the individual contest. I KNEW people were annoyed that I won. How on earth did that fat woman win?

Here I KNOW what needs to be done and have not followed through so many times. I know changing behavior is hard. (That's the other thing about Public Health, they LOOOOVE behavior change models), but you'd think with my knowledge I'd have a handle on it.

Failure - I work and work and work and don't lose. It's frustrating. I don't even tell people I am trying to lose weight anymore because it never sticks. I am sure they think "uh-huh." I've tried so many plans. I just don't know. It should be a good thing that I've lost 30, but instead the little voices say - you've still got a hundred to go.

Like Luminous I'm faking it until make it. Faking liking to exercise. Faking liking to keep track of my intake each day. One of these days it won't be faking anymore.

I know the goal is to focus on health and fitness and not the scale, but that's the other little demon voice. You weigh HOW much? Instead of WOW - you can walk 5 miles now!

It'll be very interesting to read what everyone says. Most everybody in my circle are not obese, so they don't really get it.
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:09 AM   #6  
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Great thread!

I do not understand why we focus on the bad and forget about the good. I wish I did! I am so happy that I have lost the weight I have, but instead all I think about is how on earth will I get the rest off. Is this something ingrained in those of us who have been heavy all our lives? I just don't know.

I do know that I do better when I show up here...and better when I am posting. It keeps me from bottling it all up inside. Even if I have nothing of value to add....I am gonna show up!!
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:10 AM   #7  
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This is so much a state of mind and a factor of what attitude I am allowing myself to have on the day.

I have lost over 90 pounds. That is HUGE. When I think about is subjectively like I am now I can recognize that it is an amazing accomplishment. Yet often I donít feel like it is that great because I feel like I could have done better. If I look at it in terms of weeks, I have been attempting weight loss for around 87 weeks. Having lost 93 pounds, that puts me in at just a little over a pound a week. That isnít that impressive a rate per week. The thing is, IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN NOTHING which is where I would be if I wasnít trying at all and thinking my slower rate wasnít good enough.

I know there have definitely been times when I have been at my slowest that I have felt very much like a fraud coming here. How can I give people advice when I am not doing it myself? That feels very hypocritical. I think as larger people we are highly sensitive to people giving us constructive advice that is hollow. In the same way I donít feel like someone who has 20 pounds to lose can fathom what it means to have 200 to lose, reversely I donít feel like I can fully participate when I am not walking the walk.

That said, I also understand that losing a large amount of weight is a very complicated thing. So much of it is mental. How do you measure making mental progress? It doesnít always translate to the scale. Some people are totally ready to go full steam ahead once they start and lose consistently over a period of time. For me it hasnít been like that. I have had to battle demons as they come at me and I know that I will have to continue to do so. I have to constantly remind myself not to compare myself to anyone else, but support them as best I can Ė because that is how I want to be treated in return.

Once again I need to remind myself that this is LIFE. This isnít some isolated incident that is happening outside of my everyday reality. It is intertwined with everything I do. It is not only the times when I am on track and on plan that are about losing weight Ė it is the whole of it. I can think that it is only the times when I am at the top of my game and that I am on plan that count, but both perspectives Ė the ones from the peaks and the ones from the valleys - are both valid and important. They are all part of the journey.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:14 PM   #8  
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This is a wonderful thread and I can relate to everything people have posted thus far.

When I was younger, my motives for losing weight were different. My sensitivity to feelings of fraud and failure was unbelievably high. That lead to the "all or nothing" mentality about food and diet.

I'm 44 now and my beliefs and self-worth are more balanced in reality. I see all the successes in life and I know I can do anything I set my mind to do(except for weight loss). The fraud and failure feelings aren't there like 20 years ago. I have been careful not to set myself up with number goals by certain dates because I see that as an old pattern.

Today my motives for losing weight have to do primarily with health, whether physical or mental. Of all the things in life I've set out to accomplish, weight loss has been one that has eluded me.

Since my journey began in April 2004, I have lost 110 lbs. That's over 170 weeks! Because I've avoided time goals, the weekly number doesn't really phase me.

The things that frustrate me are... when my little sis gleefully announces she went on WW core and lost 10 lbs in one week (she has 60 lbs to lose). That's when the tediousness of my journey gets to me. It's not that I don't want her to be successful, it's my frustration at my body!!! I'm genuinely happy for her, but angry that my body doesn't do that. (BTW, funny story about that ... my sister's scale needs a new battery and I haven't heard if that was a real loss or not). I get frustrated at people who are 3-4" shorter than me, who are heavier and they are getting into sizes that I can't fit into at the moment AND.. they aren't into exercising as much as me. It's a difference in build and body.

My body and I have been at odds all my life. I get frustrated when I put so much mental and physical effort to lose just a half pound a week, but one bad day of eating can reverse that in a heartbeat. Because I am trying to lose weight, I feel as if my body won't allow me to be human and have bad feelings (especially those not being sequestered by copeous amounts of food) or a bad day every now and then. This sounds so silly written down, but it's truely my frustration at the moment. Again, it's not one of failure or fraud, just frustration. As I've heard so many times lately, only if I quit trying all together, I have failed.

Thanks for the great thread,

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Old 09-19-2007, 12:47 PM   #9  
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Hi Heather,

Great idea for a thread. As you know from the weekly thread I've been feeling down on myself lately. My problem is that I really do want to carry on losing the weight. I can see why I should, how much better a lot of things will be when I do and I REALLY do want to never be overweight. My problem is that even knowing those things I just can't seem to stick to my diet anymore. If I could just say OK, maintain for a while, enjoy your new size then it would be great. But I don't enjoy it, I still feel really fat, heck, I really AM still overweight. I still fall in the obese category. So WHY can't I carry on dieting with all the willpower I had last year. Why am I struggling. Why am I such a contradiction? I wish I had the answers to these questions, maybe then I wouldn't feel such a failure.

That was lovely being able to get that off my chest. And can I just say that despite feeling so BLAH I am NOT going to give up. Big hugs to all that have already posted about how they feel, and big hugs to all that are reading and would like to post but can't put it all into words.


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Old 09-19-2007, 02:04 PM   #10  
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Heather, this is a wonderful thread.

and Ammi I feel EXACTLY the same as you! Since that "magic" 100 mark, I've had almost ZERO motivation or determination, even though I really do want to lose the rest! WHY?

Do I feel like a failure? Yes, a bit. I know I've lost 100 lbs. But the fact is 70 of those were lost the first year. 30 the second (or close to the second). I'm well into year 3 of this and I haven't lost any to speak of. In fact, I recently went to the doctor and I'm up to 230 again. (Does that mean I can no longer say I've lost 100? I suppose so.) I've gained six lbs since my lowest of 226. I have 40 more lbs to get to my initial goal of my driver's license weight of 190, which I haven't changed since I was 19! If I could lose 70 in 12 months - WTH has it taken me 19 more to lose 30? Why am I not exercising? Why am I eating ice cream at 9 p.m.? Why am I still FAT?

Do I feel like a fraud? Yes, a bit. I'm still saying that I'm working on it...but as I said before - I'm apparently not. I make excuses. I'm stressed. I'm busy. I'm tired. I'm rushed. I'm too stressed to worry about food. I too tired to get up in the morning to work out. My husband's hours (he get's up at 5p.m. and goes to work at 10 p.m.) prevents me from cooking healthy meals. And every lb that goes on or doesn't go off makes me feel like I don't belong here where people are really trying.

So....should I feel that way? Not as a failure, no. I do really believe that the only way to fail is to not try. I am wearing missy sizes for the first time in something like 10 years. (And then it was only for a few months after a loss and before a gain.) My gain has been relatively small and I know how it happened. I'm in better shape than I've been in years. I still look at food and think, "Boy! How fattening is that!" Even if I choose to eat the wrong things sometimes, I think about it and that's new, and different, from before. I have changed, permanently, and that's not failure. As a fraud? The fact is I HAVE had a ton of crapola dumped on me lately. I may be making some excuses - but I'm not lying about it. I just have to try harder to figure out how to overcome the obstacles that have popped up!

I agree with what everyone else has said...we tend to judge ourselves too harshly. I think as long as we don't give up...really give up, and go back to our "old ways", we're actually way ahead of the game.

Last edited by Lilion; 09-19-2007 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:38 PM   #11  
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Great thread and OMG--talk about feeling like you're talking right to me. I've 130 lbs. since August of 2005-- I felt so good and so proud of myself. Then I hit a dreaded plateau and I stayed at the same weight for something like 6 months. I was depressed and angry and I started to "cheat" by eating McDonalds and stuff that I KNOW is not good for me at all. I just stopped caring and I ended up gaining 15-20 lbs. back. Why did I do that? Why did I let myself do that? So okay, I got re-motivated and what happens? I still stayed at the same weight! I was getting more and more depressed and I could feel my stomach rubbing against my thighs as I tried to do ANYTHING. I decided to have the tummy tuck even though I'm far from my goal weight--and I honestly believe that it was the right decision for ME. It might not be right for someone else, but it's the right decision for me.'s the I feel like a fraud and a failure because part of me knows that having the operation was an "easy" solution. I was able to lose 25 lbs. in one afternoon. Fine, so I have a little pain and discomfort for a few weeks, but that's still a lot of weight to lose all at once. for me right? How do I still keep posting and trying to help other people through their journey when there is a part of me that believes I took an "easy" way out.

Don't get me wrong--like I've said before--this was the best decision for me and I would do it again--but I still feel like a fraud. I am planning on going back to the gym and re-starting my work out plan once my doctor gives me the okay, but what if I can't do it? I'm really afraid every day that this really isn't enough of the motivation that I need to keep going.

I love what Luminous said about "faking it" so that's what I'm just going to keep doing. I'm going to "fake it until I make it" and just keep trying every single day. I think that's all that any of us can do. So if faking it means that today is a day where I listen to my rational mind and do not go to McDonald's I'm happy. Most days I don't give in to the temptation and that's what I'm going to focus on. And you know what Chickies? If that is all that any of us do on most days that means that we are not frauds, we are not failures and we are going to get to our goals because we aren't giving up totally. That's how I'm feeling, anyway.

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Old 09-19-2007, 02:47 PM   #12  
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What a great thread.

Until last week I have actually been away from here for quite some time.
The reason being is that I did feel like a failure. I joined 3FC last year and was able to lose 40pounds and then BAM. Something happened and I regained all the weight back plus some.
I was so embarassed and so disappointed I felt like how could I give my feedback or advice when I couldn't even stick to plan.

Well no more pitty party, I am trying extremely hard to forgot about what is already done and move on to what is next.
It is very hard to concentrate on only the good. But I am doing everything possible to not revert back to only picking out the bad.

Thanks to all of you that have shared your thoughts, your accomplishments thus far are very motivating to read about.
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Old 09-19-2007, 03:04 PM   #13  
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When I hit a weight of 179 and was technically no longer obese, it was as if all motivation to lose more just vanished *poof* Mentally I was not in the losing game. That was last November. I did manage to lose 5 or 6 pounds between November and April and then promptly gained 8 back! Going back into "obese" was a wakeup call, and I have been a little more focused since June.

I think these kinds of ebbs and flows are common for people who have so much to lose -- unfortunately, it's not like we hear those stories all the time. The media tends to publish the miracle stories and that is just not the way the majority of people do it. Luckily, we have lots of other models here at 3fc!

Here's a sobering statistic. Doctors consider weight loss to be successful if someone loses something like 10% of their body weight and keeps it off for 5 years. (I'm not sure on the exact numbers so don't quote me on that).

Think about that for a minute. If you started at 300 pounds and manage to stay at 270 for 5 years you are successful!

We should NEVER EVER forget that this is hard. Really hard. We want to measure success by reaching certain goals. I'm not trying to say we shouldn't try, but perhaps we should look at it from another perspective. Coming back. Not giving up. Maybe that should be incorporated into our definition of successful.

I don't have a lot of answers, but I do know that this is a mental journey as much (if not more) as a physical one. And I don't think that negative feelings of failure are very helpful. Course, that's easy to say, isn't it??

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Old 09-19-2007, 03:10 PM   #14  
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Something that very much put it into perpective for me is the show, The Biggest Loser. You watch that show every week, and see losses up to 30 lbs, and you think wow, look what people can do in one week if they have no job, no family responsibilities, 24 hr access to a spa-quality gym and personal trainers, and someone else to do all of the shopping..... I bet I could do that too, if I had all of that going for me, even without the huge prize money.

Well, guess what? You'd be wrong. I just found a site that lists the show's "real" weigh-ins for the show's first there seasons

and only one woman, and a few of the men EVER lost more than 3.5 lbs in any one "real" week during seasons 1 - 3. Yep, that's right! If you look at the numbers, the real weekly losses are like .75 - 1.5 for the women, and 2 - 2.5 for the men. Those 12 weeks of the show are actually 8 months or more of "real time." Looks like even under the most ideal circumstances, these people can't do much better than we can at home.

So back to reality, weight loss is very hard work, and only in our "dreams" is a consistent 2lb weekly loss ever going to happen.
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Old 09-19-2007, 03:38 PM   #15  
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Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
I just found a site that lists the show's "real" weigh-ins for the show's first there seasons

and only one woman, and a few of the men EVER lost more than 3.5 lbs in any one "real" week during seasons 1 - 3. Yep, that's right! If you look at the numbers, the real weekly losses are like .75 - 1.5 for the women, and 2 - 2.5 for the men. Those 12 weeks of the show are actually 8 months or more of "real time."
I'm speechless. I honestly thought they were on that ranch for three months!

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