Dissent of the Day (Title borrowed from Andrew Sullivan)

In response to my previous link: Family Insights: It’s Not Enough to Want It, a reader writes:

“It’s easy to judge people when you’re on top of your game.  I hope none of the people you reference in this blog ever reads it.  Things aren’t always so black and white.”

Ouch. But totally true.

I was not trying to be judgmental; I was just noticing differences in people and their orientations towards weight. I do know people who simply don’t care (and, in many ways, they seem happier than those of us who do). I also, however, know people who care but who don’t do anything about it (and they, in many ways, seem the least happy). I also know people, family members included, who are unhappy with their weight, yet have real physical limitations that prevent them from achieving their goals. I also, however, know several people, again, family members included, who have mental blocks that prevent them from achieving their goals. Or time commitments. I also know people — myself, included — who are compulsive (maybe to a ridiculous degree) about food and exercise and therefore have made calorie counting and exercise as an important part of their lives as going to work, paying bills, or cleaning the cat box.

Part of the question — for me — is why do some people care about their weight and others not? Why do some people who care do nothing, while others at least attempt to do something?

The point that I was trying to make (to myself and to whoever that might be reading) is that if you want something — anything, whether it’s related to weight or not — you have to 1) have a clear and specific goal, 2) have a compelling reason and 3) take massive and sustained action.

I’d also like to note that I don’t consider myself to be at the top of my game. I have crap days like everyone else. I eat junk, I stress eat, and I’d love to be able to run five miles or do a single pull up. The reason I started this blog was to chronicle my ups and downs and to share my thoughts and reflections on weight, fitness, and maintenance with other people who are doing the same. It was also to keep me honest and to remind myself of what I know is true.

I apologize if my previous post was offensive. The anecdote about my cousin was only used as a set up for something that I think is absolutely essential for meeting goals, whatever they may be. It was a reminder to myself as much as it was for anyone else.


3 comments so far

  1. […] to a dissent from a reader, it’s also occurred to me to add that you don’t have to want […]

  2. 100lbs on

    Hi. I found you through a link from a comment on my blog (thanks for linking me, BTW).

    I spent yesterday morning going through some of my old journals from years past, looking for clues, and one of the things I discovered is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. That is to say, I have tried to lose weight my entire life. I wanted to lose it pretty darn badly. My efforts were sometimes misguided, but they were serious and sincere, and they always ultimately failed.

    I don’t know what made the difference this time, that I could lose 130 pounds and more or less keep it off. Did I want it more than I had before? Not necessarily. I suspect that, after all this time, I finally figured out what worked for me, what was sustainable, and what I was *willing to do* on an ongoing basis.

    We can’t get inside other people’s heads, so to say that someone else doesn’t want it enough … well, that does come across as insulting, even though you didn’t mean it to be. I think your clarification makes much more sense, especially the massive and sustained action part.

    Best of luck to you!


    • KJ on

      Thanks for writing Cindy!

      I tend to be edgy in my inner voice. I would never had said that to someone even though it might have occurred to me in the moment. Unfortunately, judgmentalism is a family legacy. However, it is true that people have to know what works for them (which, I think I have found at this particular moment in time, though I realize that it might not work for me forever) and they have to be willing to keep looking and keep trying new things when what they’ve been doing is no longer working.

      As noted, I am a professional social psychologist and I have long been interested in questions pertaining to obesity and identity. Part of that post was really about a question that interests me: why do some people not care while others do? I didn’t care that I weighed 232 pounds at age 15 until the moment I stepped on the scale at a Weight Watchers meeting. I was actually pretty happy then, until that moment. Then I became fixated on weight and my life has never been the same (and not only in good ways). In fact, after that defining moment, I would hazard to say that I liked myself a lot less and developed tremendous self-loathing for my body. I am also interested in what it is about those people (like you, for instance) that keep trying new things until they find something that works whereas other people have the desire, but don’t or can’t do anything about it. Ironically, what I really do want to do is to “get inside people’s heads”, as I firmly believe that it’s more about identity than self-discipline.

      And congratulations on your tremendous accomplishment and your willingness to share your experiences with the world!


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