Friday, January 8, 2010

"Failure" Is Not An Option

After working out for three days in a row, my muscles were screaming for mercy and my husband suggested I take a little break. So I took yesterday and tonight off and will then work out tomorrow and Sunday. We're going to a friend's party tomorrow night, so I figure it makes sense to work out before and after, and get in some Weight Watchers Activity POINTS.

Now that I'm trying to get back in shape, I've been watching a lot of those morbid obesity programs on Discovery Health, which they seem to run on loop. I think for some, these shows are a version of a modern day circus side show, "Come see the fat lady!" But for me, they're a cautionary tale. Right now, I almost AM one of those people who's bedridden and can barely move. I'm lucky because even though it's difficult, I CAN walk and weight train and at least function in day-to-day life. It wears me out way more than it should, but I know that if I keep up my workouts, I'll start to feel less of an effort in doing things.

One of the shows that especially caught my attention was an interview with THE BIGGEST LOSER's Season 3 winner, Erik. Since the show has ended, he's gained back a good portion of the weight he lost and has been very open and candid about his journey. To his credit, he's trying to get back on track, which I why I don't see him as a "failure" at all. To me, a failure is when you completely give up the fight. He hasn't yet. Gaining back the weight obviously isn't healthy, but it doesn't mean that he's a bad person or a failure. It just means that he has to start over.

For the record, I have very mixed feelings about the show, BL. I think it's great that these morbidly obese people lose so much weight, but the way they do it scares me. Granted, I'm not a doctor and I'm hardly an endorsement for weight-loss success, but I've read enough fitness magazines and articles and have spoken with enough fitness experts to know that a) you're supposed to work out until you "feel the burn," not until you feel significant pain b) losing weight rapidly can be dangerous and c) you need to find a workout regime that you ENJOY and that fits into your life so you keep on doing it. d) You need to start out SLOWLY. Shipping off these folks to a ranch for however many weeks where they work out for hours and hours a day (while being screamed at, no less) just seems so unrealistic, as does the incredible losses they manage in such a short amount of time. It also frightens me to see these huge men and women running and jumping (again, while being shrieked at. I swear, if Jillian or Bob screamed the F-bomb in my face, I'd kick 'em). My knees and back hurt just watching them and I really wish that someone would do a show where they showed APPROPRIATE exercises for the obese.

Anyway, Erik admitted that once the limelight died down, he had trouble staying on track and maintaining. This is something that concerns me, too. When you lose weight, there's a certain "high" that comes with seeing the numbers drop, getting compliments, etc. But what do you do when you get to the "end?" See, that's the problem -- there is no end, and that's why, I think that maintaining is going to be even more difficult than losing the weight. Also, given my past with eating disorders, I'm a little worried that I'll start going in the other extreme just to see the numbers go down.

This is why I'm trying to learn to eat "normally" now. I'm still struggling to accept that having treats in moderation is okay and that this doesn't have to be an all or nothing course. Hopefully, by the time I reach a point where my body is healthy, my mind will be, as well.

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