Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The New Year's resolution about losing weight

I spent an afternoon recently talking with a friend who is sad and angry that she can't lose the weight she wants to. Last summer, she did a very low calorie diet and lost the 15 pounds that she'd been wanting to get off. Then she had some family difficulties and other issues and within a month, she had those pounds back. Another friend reads widely in obesity research and she forwarded several articles about the brain changes that seem to happen to people who lose weight under starvation circumstances and how they almost always gain it back. And I thought about what torture that is for us--to starve ourselves to look differently and a great sadness came over me.

What if the inability to lose weight and keep it off (with normal amounts of effort) just isn't possible for some of us? What if it is a physical limitation like inflexibility or one leg shorter than the other or nearsightedness or hearing loss? What might happen if we just accepted it as that? Could we give up the sense of failure that so many of us carry around? Could we accept that we might still go on longing to be thinner and accept that too, the way I still long to drink alcohol sometimes and I just accept the fact that that longing will come and go.

What might happen if we showered ourselves with acceptance instead of more discipline, more strategies, more resolve?

So as a step in that direction, I did not put weight loss on my list of goals or wishes for 2012. I put being healthier instead.

No comments: