Obsessions with weight / body image

Will it ever go away?

101 to 119 of 119 messages
18/05/2010 at 11:12

Dan, the fact you're considering counselling is positive in itself. You don't have to be broken to get mended - it might be just what you need. And despite all the good advice from runners on here, maybe a neutral person could be the answer?

DISCLAIMER: i've never been to a counsellor

18/05/2010 at 11:48
Okay, I'll give you my personal weight gain loss story.

I've always been very fit and into sport. I played rugby league semi-pro level, ran 70+ miles a week for as long as I can remember; did the Royal Marine Commando course at 17, was a PTI at 20 and never weighed much more than 11 Stone 7.

About 7 years ago my heart got sick Atrial Fibrilation. This meant that my RHR could be anything up to 230BPM sitting still and sometimes this could last for over 24 hours at a time. I had to restrict my exercise for the first two years I had it and do nothing at all for the last year. I was put on pills which made me lethargic, dizzy and even sleepy. I didn't change my diet (Apart from cutting out the booze) though, I was so bored I started eating stuff like chocolate and pork scratchings - stuff I'd never usually bother with.

So, imagine the consequences - I went from 11.7 to 17 stone plus in 18 months. The frightening this about this was I couldn't give a flying one. I'd always been a vain bastard in the past and liked the fact I looked liked I'd just walked from a 'Men's Health' cover shoot. But I had more urgent things to worry about and as they say in Heat Magazine "I'd really gone to pot belly land".

One day, my consultant cardiologist told me that she could fix me... and true to her word she did. Five months later I was still gaining weight - I'd lost the urge to exercise, could not be arsed, I'd much rather play a computer game or read the latest Rebus book than trouble my self getting breathless and sweating in a gym.

What had changed? Had I suddenly become lazy? I had I developed the greedy gene? Had my morality been compromised? Was I upsetting the finger pointers and guardians of the nations health consciousness by being fat and not giving a shite about the fact I was fat (I'd love to think I was!).

The problem was - I'd lost the habit of being fit, I'd left behind the motivation and I couldn't care less.

So, what changed to get me back into the fitness fold? Well, as my health improved and I came off the 'numb' pills my libido came back - with vengeance... and I found it was difficult to pull at 17 plus stone (Though not impossible). After a fruitless night in a Newcastle night spot I decided it was time to get to some sort of fitness.

Boy, was it tough at first! At 20 I could yomp 35 miles a day carrying 100lb worth of equipment - but nothing was as difficult for me as my first run at 17 stone. I was the fat man in the gym... lazy fat bastard who should get off his arse... I ate all the pies... I was wobbly bob the blob... I'd exercise wearing thick black hoody tops so nobody could see me wobble. I heard all the comments... saw all the disapproving looks... endured the sniggers... and the shouts from teenagers in cars.

And I nearly gave up - a dozen times or more... and I craved all the foods I never even thought about before I got fat. One day I thought 'Christ... if this is hard for me... what is it like for someone who has never exercised?'

Now, I'm at my target weight - I think... I've not weighed myself for months but the jeans still fit and last time I tried I pulled.

This is one of the reasons I don't use terms like lazy and greedy... because I wasn't and to be honest not many overweight people I know fall into those two categories so neatly... and If they do - I want to know why? How did they get to this place?

Sometimes I wish I was still overweight - so I could raise one fat middle finger to the moralisers and condemners and say 'This is me - fuck you'
Edited: 18/05/2010 at 11:52
18/05/2010 at 12:20
Danowat - were you overweight when you were young/a teen as well? I think self-perception would be easier to adjust for someone who has been overweight for just a short period of time vs a lot longer. I think perception of others based on their size is a different issue to that, but possibly having a link...
Edited: 18/05/2010 at 12:20
18/05/2010 at 13:04
Corinthian wrote (see)
One day I thought 'Christ... if this is hard for me... what is it like for someone who has never exercised?' Now, I'm at my target weight - I think... I've not weighed myself for months but the jeans still fit and last time I tried I pulled.

 Bloody hell, that's quite a story!

How long did it take to lose the weight? (Though is managing to pull in Newcastle a good measure of fitness )

To add to what Little Ninja said, which I think I agree with, do you think it is also easier to lose the weight if it hasn't been there that long?

18/05/2010 at 13:07
* Frodo * wrote (see)
 (see)
To add to what Little Ninja said, which I think I agree with, do you think it is also easier to lose the weight if it hasn't been there that long?
Yes definitely because you throw in stuff like body set points for weight and hormones like ghrelin and leptin, and that's just the physical side of things.
18/05/2010 at 13:27

I might need a bit of further explanation here, LN - do ghrelin and leptin act in a negative feedback loop like insulin/glucagon? And is it that obesity is linked to an insufficiency in either hormone or is it a lack of sensitivity to them?

Brain hurts...

18/05/2010 at 13:30
(double submision of previous message - don't ask!)
Edited: 18/05/2010 at 13:30
18/05/2010 at 13:35
Frodo - It took me about 18 months - but I had a couple of relapses, one due to a bad shoulder injury which meant I couldn't run for 6-8 weeks.

I threw away the scales at about 8 months into the weight loss as I found I was becoming obsessed by them - all I know is the size 30 waist jeans started to fit again about 4 months ago. Last time i weighed myself about a month before I was 12 stone 8.

But it was not easy... not by any measure.

Some of the work I've done in the past has been along the lines of motivation, action planning, goal setting, target achievement, confidence building etc

That really helped me.
18/05/2010 at 13:44
Frodo

WIthout looking it up - perhaps LN will be along to correct me in a min.

I believe Leptin is your satiety hormone and becoming insensitive to leptin can be a cause of obesity in some people - however leptin supplementation ( from what I have read) has not yet been shown to really curb obesity in most overweight people - unless you have a very very severe problem - not too many folks exist with this but those that do are not just overweight - they are morbidly and amazingly obese.

Ghrelin is your hunger hormone.

As to their exact interaction - I would need to get the books out to refresh my memory.
18/05/2010 at 13:47

Corinth, can identify with a lot of what you've said.

I have always been big, ever since I can remember.

18/05/2010 at 13:50
Frodo - Not sure about the former but re the latter, I believe i'ts more about resistance. Alas at the end of the day, it's still our responsibility what goes in our mouth.

Danowat - All the more reason it's going to be harder for your perception to change. It's a lifetime of thoughts and habits you are dealing with.
Edited: 18/05/2010 at 13:50
Nam
18/05/2010 at 15:15
Siance wrote (see)

DISCLAIMER: i've never been to a counsellor


hmmm... I am one and wouldn't see one.  Go figure...

edit: to clarify...

I think we're "over-counselled", well some sections of society are.  I mean does every pissy little thing require going into therapy these days?  It's a question of degrees isn't it. 

If a child abuse victim develops patterns of self-harm as an adult for instance, by all means professional intervention is necessary. 

But what on earth is wrong with admitting you've been a bit of lazy so-and-so, have let things slip, nothing more meaningful than too many generous helpings of food whilst not moving very much... and now you need to have a word (with yourself!) and get your arse into gear if you want to change this?  That's not necessarily pathological in itself is it?? 

If of course you've become a calorie-counting control freak who literally can't think of anything else then perhaps that's another issue, but I think too many people about "normal life stuff" suggest you need chat time on the sofa?  I mean how did generations before us manage when "therapy" wasn't something you suggested for every little thing?  In the long-term, does it limit our ability to cope with anything on our own if we thing everything requires formal counselling?

Edited: 18/05/2010 at 15:26
18/05/2010 at 17:13
Nam wrote (see)

But what on earth is wrong with admitting you've been a bit of lazy so-and-so, have let things slip, nothing more meaningful than too many generous helpings of food whilst not moving very much... and now you need to have a word (with yourself!) and get your arse into gear if you want to change this?  That's not necessarily pathological in itself is it?? 

If of course you've become a calorie-counting control freak who literally can't think of anything else then perhaps that's another issue, but I think too many people about "normal life stuff" suggest you need chat time on the sofa?  I mean how did generations before us manage when "therapy" wasn't something you suggested for every little thing?  In the long-term, does it limit our ability to cope with anything on our own if we thing everything requires formal counselling?


But isn't that also a reflection on society too? Once help and support could be found close by, but is that not less so in modern society?

When I lived in London and couldn't have told you the name of a single neighbour. When I separated I was living alone with the nearest close friend or family member over two hours drive away. And yes, I did it for myself (not just the weight loss, but the other confused emotional stuff too), but that would have not been the case, or possible, for everyone. (I'm just a stubborn minded so-and-so)

I think it is a fine line. I for one would not want a return to Victorian repression, but I don't want a Jeremy Kyle/American chat show share-for-all either. A balance of "deal with it" tempered with compassion for those who need a helping hand.

And isn't it true that once you have been through counselling you can acquire skills that you can transfer to new situations, thus improving your ability to cope?

19/05/2010 at 09:39
hello..i can identify with you as i have very negative body image. i have an unhealthy relationship with food. i too got unwell and stopped exercising and due to medication i put on weight, i then took up running last june starting with a mile jog/walk. i completed my first 10k in oct 09 in under an hr..i have done a half marathon, many 10ks,5ks,and  a 10 miler. on the bmi scale i am clased as overweight but i have low body fat and am slim but athletic build.  i have been seeing counsellors on and off for many years as i have a mental illness which involves me hating myself and my body. BUT running has giving me a positive outlook and i can say it probably saved my life - yes i will never be an elite runner but i get out there. i now have to look at food as a means to allow me to run and i do still worry about how many calories i eat. I struggle every day with my body image and illness but i know i have wasted a lot of my life being this way including long stays in hospitals. counselling is working for me at the moment but it is an individual choice..and its nothing to be ashamed of, but saying that its all confidential. best wishes..
Nam
19/05/2010 at 10:04
* Frodo * wrote (see)

But isn't that also a reflection on society too? Once help and support could be found close by, but is that not less so in modern society?


Counselling is not meant to be, should not be and can't ever be a substitute for any social relationship whether it be partners, family or friends. 
19/05/2010 at 10:20
Corinthian wrote (see)
This is one of the reasons I don't use terms like lazy and greedy... because I wasn't and to be honest not many overweight people I know fall into those two categories so neatly... and If they do - I want to know why? How did they get to this place?

It's very easy.

I was in a happy relationship, good job, no problems.  I'd moved in with a man with a good appetite.  I like to cook. 

So I cooked, and we ate.  I would make a pudding with dinner every day, cakes now and then.  We'd go out for a curry probably once or twice a month.

I didn't belong to a gym, and at that time did no exercise beyond walking to the station and the occasional bike ride.

So over a period of a couple of years the weight crept up and up. 

I didn't mind being overweight, actually.  My partner seemed to be quite happy with me as I was.  I didn't feel unattractive - I liked having boobs!

I was eating way too much - it was mainly home-cooked reasonably healthy food - just in amounts that were much larger than I needed, because I enjoyed (and still do) good food.

19/05/2010 at 13:33
i agree that years ago we would have gone to family/friends for help but sometimes (as in my case) it was too big for those close to me to deal with.  i get upset when a very good friend who is stick thin and a good runner hints (without being nasty) that im not the correct weight for a runner, i can now enjoy some food but i do get obsessive about exercise - recording calories,logging distance/time etc. running gives me self esteem (my running club is very friendly) and crossing a finish line in a race is something i wouldnt have thought i could do this time last year. i sometimes hate my body so much i self harm (not lately) but it has been very serious - so i show physical evidence of my body hatred all the time..(i am honest about it i have no choice) what angers me is these so called celebrities moaning they are overweight being a size 10!! (makes me feel obese as i am a size 10/12) my illness sometimes makes me see things in a different way, but everyone is different and it is scarey that a lot of people seem to hate their bodies.
20/05/2010 at 08:33
Body hatred - I wonder where it comes from? It certainly exists and in people you would never imagine have this problem.

I can think of two examples of women I've known who had huge problems with body hatred and both of them wouldn't have looked out of place on the front cover of RW.

My own theory is body hatred is part of something much deeper going on... but perhaps I'm complicating things?

Wilkie - sounds about right. Funny how domesticity and happiness in one area of your life can lead to problems in another area!
21/05/2010 at 22:14
Gosh, this post is sooo about me. I lost 4 stone and have been size 8 since last year. I lost it mainly due to running and very restrictive diet. I hit my target weight of 8 stone 7 pounds and stayed like this for some time, now I am 3 pounds heavier and it's seriuosly bothering me. I constantly inspect myself in the mirror and feel unhappy with my looks. I exercise excessively on top of that running, hating rest days (today). I think that it will never go away, this feeling of guilt, pretty much constant, because if I put this weight back on I still feel guilly as I know how it feels to be slim. I am tired of this constant thinking about my body image but I accept it will never go away. I just will have to live with it and work for this weight never to go back on.

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