Last week we received the following letter:
As a child and through my teenage years I did not struggle with weight and was active in many sports including different sports at various times. I was not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination though. I went to work as a salesperson when I graduated high school and had terrible eating habits, this was paired with a combination of no exercise and a medication that I was taking that causes weight gain – which caused me to gain 100 lbs. in approximately one year and had major implications on my life.
I stayed at this weight of 335 pounds for ten years for the most part, with the exception of the yo-yo dieting that so many of us go through. I managed to lose up to 25 pounds at times but always put on more than I lost in the end. I tried many different methods, but never acknowledged what I knew to be true. What I knew is that I had to eat healthy, exercise, and make good choices to lose weight. I was sometimes able to create this in the short term, but did not create a sustainable lifetime change in how I approached food. I often used rationale and excuses such as “it is the medication’s fault that I am so big.”
After I began my Master’s Degree in Counseling, I forced to look at myself and my life in a different way. Of the many things I had to look at was my relationship with food; I still wanted a quick fix and looking at reality was hard for me. I finally started to use some of the tools I have learned, mostly from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to motivate myself and change my relationship with food. I then learned of The Beck Diet Solution, and using the tools that I learned I was able to lose weight in a healthy way and stay motivated.
One of the most import lessons I learned while reading The Beck Diet Solution was an effective method to find my true motivations. Some of these motivations were setting a good example for my young daughter, and being able to hike and do other fun physical activities with my friends. As a result of my work and practice, I can now do many activities that I could not before and the compliments always feel good, too.
I have lost 75+ pounds so far but this is not my biggest accomplishment. My biggest accomplishment is that I have completely changed my relationship with food and I no longer need to eat all the time. I no longer make excuses about my medications causing weight gain, or any other rationales or excuses I used to use. One note that is always interesting to me is when people ask how I lost all the weight, I tell them by eating healthy and exercising and they are always so disappointed. This gives me a strange satisfaction as it reminds that I am strong enough to do what I thought I was not able to do, not so long ago.
Garth G. from Arizona
One of the things we found very interesting from Garth’s letter was his comment that people seem disappointed when they find out he lost weight through diet and exercise. This speaks to what we have often found, too – that many people still want and hope for some type of magic pill that they can take or some type of magic combination of foods they can eat which will finally enable weight loss. We find that holding onto this belief holds dieters back because it prohibits them from fully committing to a diet and exercise plan because they keep thinking, “there has to be an easier way.”
Another common element from Garth’s letter was his discussion of how he used to make excuses for why he was overweight and for why he couldn’t lose weight. While these reasons may very well be legitimate (Garth’s medication did, in fact, make him gain weight) that doesn’t mean they have to stand in the way of weight loss. Certain things may make weight loss harder, but that doesn’t mean, as Garth found, that it’s impossible.
We give Garth so much credit for getting himself to stop making excuses, stop waiting to find a magic bullet, and just getting started. And look where it got him today – over 75 pounds lighter and a new outlook on healthy eating and exercise.
Congratulations, Garth! You should be so proud of your success.