A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Dr. Carol Sisco:
My Diets Defined Me
I used to think that being thinner would be the answer. Starting at age eight, I lost weight on high protein diets. As an adult I became a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and made goal weights on the Medifast, Rice and Structure House diets. In my youth I competed nationally in tennis, basketball, field hockey and crew. Later, I hiked the Grand Canyon, completed distance running events, and diligently walked 5000-10,000 steps daily in large part to not gain weight. However, only once was I able to maintain my goal weight for two years—the point which the body adjusts to a new set point. Currently, I am six months into maintenance.
Thinner Means Happier For Me How Do I Do It
I continue the ongoing process of changing my life—guided by wanting to remediate the emotional and physical pain associated with my weight. I have incorporated tools that I learned through previous weight loss efforts, as well as developed new tools and approaches, to maintain my wellbeing. Most important, I have embraced the conviction that my compulsive overeating is an addiction and that I have an addictive relationship with food. What this means in practical terms is that I accept my predisposition to obesity. However, accepting this condition does not free me from the responsibility of my recovery.
My 5 Steps To Facilitate And Maintain My Recovery
- Staying close to my eating program (The Rice Diet). This means weighing daily, eating a low sodium diet, exercising in ways that burn calories, keep me strong and fit, as well as decreases stress. Keeping in touch with the program staff and maintaining the promise that I will return to the rice house if my current weight exceeds my goal weight by 5 pounds.
- Continuing my public discussion of my recovery. In the past I have always dieted in obscurity, feeling embarrassed about gaining weight and ashamed of my appearance. Embracing the 12-step program concept that “our secrets keep us sick”, I decided to take the shame issue into my own hands. From the onset of my recent treatment, I began sharing my recovery with family and friends through social media. The ongoing support has been amazing.
- Celebrating how good I feel and how grateful I am to be ‘lighter’. The lightness is not just my weight. My mood is lighter; my energy is higher. I smile every time I can fit into clothes. I decided at my highest weight not to hide in baggy clothes. I dressed in size appropriate clothing no matter what the label size. Once I could let go of my embarrassment about wearing larger clothing sizes, I felt less self-conscious and more self-confident about how I looked.
- Sharing hope with others. My internal ‘fat’ person drives me to encourage friends and family to describe and discuss individuals by what they do or say instead of their weight. Too often fat is used as the leading descriptor for individuals in our society. Too often “fat” people are treated as less competent or invisible. Some people treat me differently today. They are more interested in me and want to engage more than they did at my heaviest weight. Some tell me that I am too “skinny” and encourage me to eat. As many people with weight problems know this sabotaging behavior can be disastrous and the “kiss of death” for maintenance of recovery program.
- Remembering that my wellbeing is my responsibility. I am the only person who I can change—not politicians, friends, family, colleagues or any other people who think my weight defines who I am.