‘Obesity Is a Tricky Thing’

18 Sep

rosieWe like to have fun here at I’m Skinny, Now What? Talking about boobs and butts and bikini shopping is all part of the journey.

But what we can never forget is that for many people, weight-loss is a health issue. There are men and women out in the world right now who, if they don’t get on the path to weight loss, it will mean the end of their lives.

Rosie O’Donnell came back as a host of “The View” this week. What no one expected was the drastic weight loss. For nearly 20 years, the 5’6″ actress-comedienne held more than 200 pounds on her frame. We’d gotten so used to seeing her that way, I don’t think it crossed any of our minds that she could look any different. It certainly didn’t occur to her—until she had a heart attack.

The block in her artery could have killed her. It should have, according to her doctor. Weight loss would be the only way to prevent another scary instance. But losing weight the way I and many others have didn’t work for her.

I preach a lot about diet and exercise here. I am a firm believer in its benefits. But when you’ve become so comfortable in your weight, it’s extremely difficult to break bad habits. It took me months to get my mind around the task I was about to take on. And then it took another few months to start the journey. For Rosie, she tried weight loss the old fashioned way for nearly a year without good results. So she decided to take the surgical route.

I am not a doctor, and I don’t know Rosie. But I know desperation. A year in, and I probably would have thrown in the towel, but she took the next step and took charge of her health. In an interview with “Extra,” she says that since the surgery a little over a year ago she’s lost about 55 pounds.

A few things Rosie said in her interview touched on some things that I hope gets across to everyone on their journey.

“I haven’t gained since I started losing. Sometimes it’s only a half a pound in the whole month, but that’s okay ’cause it’s going down.”

And it is okay. It’s okay to take control of your health in a way that works for you. For some of us, it’s strictly dieting. For others, it’s hitting the weights. Those of us, myself included, trying to lose a pound or two for beach season may never understand the what the severely obese have to go through. We can offer support and encouragement, but the journey is their’s to walk alone.

“I’m so not used to the new body that it’s hard for me to even buy the right-sized clothes when I go to the store.”

When I got got in beast mode with my weight-loss journey, I had tunnel vision. I knew how much I wanted to lose and what parts of my body I wanted to work on. I knew what kinds of foods I wanted to limit or restrict from my diet. What I didn’t know was how to dress myself. If you’ve been a certain size for a long time, you get used to shopping a certain way. Rosie was buying extra larges when she needed mediums. It wasn’t until a friend took me shopping that I realized my 12s were too big and I needed 8s. Weight loss is as much physical as it is mental. It takes a jolt of reality wrap your mind around your progress.

“There are reasons people become big. It’s protection. It’s layers of protection.”

You may have heard this before, but life is hard. There are people with metabolic issues who can’t lose weight. There are people with depression issues who eat to hide or comfort their feelings. There are more reasons for people to gain weight and have it stick than there are people in the world. But when you reach the point where you realize what you’re doing is not good for you, you’ve taken a major step toward an active role in your health. When you realize that the protective layer you’re hiding under isn’t doing you any good, then you’re on the road to a better you.

photo courtesy of Rosie.com

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