Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Being an advocate for yourself

A wise person once said/wrote, "What you focus on, expands." Don't ask me who wrote or said it - I searched the internet and I couldn't find anything definitive.

The fact that there doesn't seem to be one owner of the phrase doesn't make that statement any less true.

Perhaps it is this simple truth that is attracting me to blogs (and the authors of them) when they write about their own advocacy. The ones that are lobbying for their own health - mentally, physically, or spiritually really spark something in me. I could point towards Lesia or the Bariatric Babe for two examples of physical health advocates, but for the sake of this post, I'm going to focus on the mental health aspect when it comes to food.

I've been keeping Krissie's (at Questions for Dessert) recent post as unread in my Google Reader for many days now - because I love re-reading her current mindset on why she is eating the foods that she is. THAT mindset is something that I'm striving for and towards.

It's such a different approach than I think many of us have when it comes to food and losing weight.

I'm finding that I'm an advocate of myself and my own health - especially when it comes to food and my desire to be a more healthy weight.

Take yesterday for example. I did go to the Weight Watchers meeting, as planned. In the line to weigh in, I talked with Susan, who is a lifetime member many times over. Recently she met her goal and made lifetime again a few months ago. Since then, she has been steadily gaining - to where apparently she is now outside her 2 pound grace limit. She is now once again paying a weekly fee.

She said to me yesterday, "Gosh! I don't know what is wrong with me! I just can't keep the weight off. I feel horrible. Why can't I succeed? I'm starting to wonder if it has to do with something up here." And then she pointed to her head.

Yes, Susan. It IS all in your head. And YOU have to be your own advocate - someone who says no to the bags and bags of potato chips in one sitting NOT because you're out of points for that day, but because YOU are worth not putting that crap into. She's not alone though. How many years did I not get that the problem with me and food had so much more to do with my mind? I've been there. And just so you know, I've eaten bags and bags of candy, chips, or anything else I could get my hands on and then hated myself afterwards. Believe me, I know what it's like.

Yesterday's topic at the meeting was eating out and how to do it successfully. My leader focused on the "Set Points" idea which is basically where you get to eat as much as it takes for you to be satisfied of one category of food for a set number of points (it eliminates a lot of the counting and measuring that sometimes can baffle the best of members). Someone in the meeting said, "So you can eat all the meat you want for only that many points?" and our leader had to again explain the difference between eating everything you want and eating what it takes to be satisfied.

By the blank faces in the room, she's got a long road ahead of her if she wants people to "get it."

The thing is, it frustrates me. That almost all of the people in that room didn't seem to understand what they're doing to themselves when they say that they're lazy, fat, or stupid because they're gaining weight on one particular week. I want to shake them all - and then hug them like crazy.

I want to say to them what a good friend of mine said to me a few years ago when I needed to hear it most: "Life is beautiful. You are beautiful. Your life is beautiful."

I can't say that I've had it this healthy mindset for long...and if you've been following me for any length of time, you know that what I'm writing is true. I mean, jeepers! Just look at the links to my past blogs from above...I was saddened to read how I used to feel. For YEARS I had the "diet" mentality that I couldn't have foods because they were bad for me - or that my self-worth was dependant on what I put in my mouth.

The thing is, now that I feel like I have self-worth? I am much more discerning what I will put into it AND what I will do with it.

This is the only body I get. I'm gonna' take care of it.


Margie M. said...

First of all...belated Happy Birthday wishes, Anne. I had wanted to post a comment yesterday but the day got away from me as we are here with relatives right now. I hope your day finished up as terrific as it seemed when you wrote your post.

Sometimes it does seem to take freaking forever to get it through our brains what is best for us. Not conforming to someone else's standards or methods....but what is best for US. I like what you wrote today about the folks in your WW group looking back with those blank faces. I see that a lot at meetings when I go. Hopefully, something will go "ding" in their brains and that lightbulb will pop up over their heads. Eventually maybe.

Have a great day!

Margie M. writes at:

Weighting Around said...

I don't think I'll ever recognize the fact I am satisfied until I am actually full and realize satisfaction had already come and gone! So do I get a shake or a hug? Think the hug would help....

happyfunpants said...

Weighting Around: I'm so with you on that! I have a hard time judging my own stomach - I hope I'll be able to get what being satisfied means sooner than later.

My shake/hug reference was due to a member talking about when he doesn't eat the way he "should" (his word), he feels like he is lazy, fat, stupid, and horrible. Again, his words. And I just really dislike that self-talk. How can you be your own advocate when you're putting yourself down?

It took me next to forever to get that I don't want to put myself down...and I hope that everyone in that room gets that THEY are fabulous, just the way they are.

happyfunpants said...

Also, I'm all about hugs. :)

The Babe said...

I love this! I'm a big fan of personal advocacy (obviously) and I love to hear you claim your own rights! You go girl! (Can I even get away with that?)

The Bariatric Babe

Misspudding said...


Sam said...

I love this post. I have not been an advocate for myself this week. It's funny because I have had lots of deep thoughts about myself, weight, and life. But my behavior has not lined up with it. I decided to jump on and read some blogs for some inspiration and your post totally hit it. I need to remember that I'm in this to honor my body, not to just "diet". Thanks for the reminder!

P.S. It makes me REALLY happy that someone writes blog posts as long as I do! :)

Kris said...

I also love hugs! And, I really like hugging you!!! Wish I got to do it more!

Laura said...

Awesome post. Really gave me something to think about. Something I've tried to really pound into my head, I'm worth NOT putting that crap into, but in the moment when there is a bag of Cheetos in front of me, I can't manage to remember that.