“Follow Me” and change
I was very excited this week to get to see a documentary I am featured in about sustained weight loss. It’s called Follow Me, and it features 12 people who have lost a significant amount of weight and have kept it off for 5 years or more. I am honored to be a part of it. You can visit the website and see a trailer for the movie at www.followmefilm.ca
What I particularly like about the film is that it features a bunch of different approaches to sustained weight loss. But they all have one thing in common. We each had to change our lives.
One of my biggest problems with losing weight when I was still eating sugar, was that I wanted to do what I had always done, and have it be different. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was not eating so I could eat later. The reward was the same. Just less often. And someday. Until I couldn’t wait anymore and I ate again. And I couldn’t put it off anymore, and it went back to being the norm, not the exception.
I could never stop eating sugar when I was eating sugar. I could never *want* to refrain, because I craved it. My brain and my body told me I needed it. And when I first *really* gave up sugar I experienced a lot of physical and emotional pain. The cravings were intense. The feelings I had been numbing with sugar were overwhelming. I was cranky. I felt high from not being high. I had to cope without my primary coping mechanism. Like learning to swim by being thrown in the lake and told “don’t die.”
But I did learn to “swim.” I learned a new way to live. And it was a life I never knew I wanted. But I did.
One of my many (many) problems with the fitness/diet/beauty industry is that so much of what it is advertising is something that will do the change for you. Hell, even the medical industry is selling that. Take these “vitamins,” they will melt away fat. Drink this shake, it will make you want to eat less. Get your stomach removed/constricted. It will make it impossible for you to overeat. Except it doesn’t. Not even the medical/surgical solutions. I have met people who have stretched themselves a new stomach after gastric bypass. They are not the solutions they promise to be. (Oh great. Now, I am going to be singing Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina all day…)
I am not saying that surgery is necessarily “bad.” Eating as a coping mechanism worked for me until it didn’t anymore. A gastric sleeve might save someone’s life. But if one’s problem is eating, like mine, and weight is a symptom of that problem, I don’t think anything outside of oneself is going to help.
And I am not saying that anyone “needs” to change their eating. I want to be friends with fat acceptance, body positivity, and fat pride. I want to make this a conversation about choice.
But I hated being fat. And I *wanted* a solution. And I was doing all sorts of self-harm and acts of self-hatred in order to try and wrangle my body into a certain shape and size, hoping that one of those awful, painful, and shameful things would be the solution to my self-loathing. And none of them were.
But finally I found a real solution. One that doesn’t require sustained starvation. One that doesn’t require hating myself into submission. One that is abundant, delicious food, plus a body I actually love, and love to live in.
So I am honored to be part of this film, Follow Me. I am honored to talk about the fact that sustained weight loss is not a fictional fairytale. That it can be done. And that it’s not about being special or being a specific kind of fat person. That it’s about choices and change. And that if you want something else, there is a way to have it.
Thank you for your post. I am fortunate enough to be a part of Tony’s group in Toronto. I am so looking forward to seeing the documentary. I have followed your blogs for several years now. I gave up sugar in all its forms over 5 years ago. I am very interested in what your boundaries are. What foods do you not eat?? I have lost around 100 lbs and now I’m stuck. I need to lose more but my head and my body are not cooperating. Would appreciate any advice you could give. Thanks.
Thank you for reading and for your comment! I really appreciate it!
I don’t eat any refined sugars, grains (except wheat germ in small portion controlled quantities) or most starches. I read labels for ingredients. I eat fruits and vegetables , but not high-sugar ones like bananas, cherries, grapes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, or peas.
I don’t know what you mean when you say you “need to lose more weight.” I don’t know if your doctor said so, or if you would just rather be thinner. I have been all sorts of weights since I got my eating under control. My experience is that sometimes my body decides on a weight and that’s what I get. I can try to eat less or lighter, but I’m usually unhappy about it and don’t necessarily lose any more weight. There are exceptions. I need to be careful around soy nuts and soy nut butter. They definitely make me gain weight. But I love my food. And I make sure I love my food every day all the time. It’s how I stay committed!