Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keep weight loss a secret?

I remember when I made the decision to go on Optifast.  It was an incredibly difficult choice at the time because I had tried so many times to lose weight and things were just not working.  I felt like I was on this downward spiral of deplorable health that was only getting worse, so I was feeling a little hopeless that I would ever be anything other than the weight I was at the time.  In fact, I was pretty sure things were going to get worse.  I prayed that God would show me a way to something better.  Given the level of poor health I was at, looking back now, I realize I had to hit rock bottom before I was desperate enough to do anything that was laid out before me. 

Eventually that led me to Optifast.  I knew going into this that people were going to judge me, I just knew it.  I mean, how ridiculous does it sound that I would lose weight by just drinking liquid and eating no food for months on end, perhaps the better part of a year or more?  Even just typing that out right now makes me chuckle.  Talk about the epitome of hair-brained schemes!  Yet, when you get to a point in your life when it is just you and God, you extend your hand out to keep from drowning.  So, I quietly took action and hardly told anyone outside of a few friends that I trusted. I was sure people were going to judge me, try to convince me that what I was doing was stupid or somehow stand in my way.

As I began Optifast, I soon realized that the best approach for me was to be open and honest.  I didn't need to tell the world, but I did need a support system that would love me through this process.  I can't say strongly enough how important it is to be in the company of people who want to lift you up in their caring for you.  It is never until you are in a storm that you realize how many people you have in your life that have your back, no matter what. 

My process of telling others was starting with a few people at a time until I felt comfortable enough letting others know what I was doing.  I remember in the beginning making my shakes in the staff lounge at work.  People would walk by and ask me what I was putting in my "smoothie" and that would engage us in conversation.  Some people would take that opportunity to give me their full support, while others told me of the way they felt I should lose the weight (meaning, unsolicited advice).  I would smile, say thank you for the information, and then continue blending my shakes.  Over time, I came out of hiding and started posting on Optifast's Facebook page as I was progressing.  It's a public page, so any of my friends could see it.  In time, I met other people who are on the same journey as I was and established an even bigger support system, as well as developed new friendships along the way.  Some of my most trusted friends now are those that I met through Optifast.  I then started posting pictures of my progress and, all of a sudden, I found myself surrounded by smiling people who are my biggest cheerleaders.  I can't emphasize enough how invaluable this has been to me as I have walked through some of the most difficult and joyous days of my life.  If I was keeping this all secret and doing this on my own, I think I would have a much more challenging time being successful on this program, or any other for that matter.

Trust is a difficult thing thing for me.  I would guess it's not easy for anybody, but given the hard things I have been through in my life, it is even more amplified.  I have one hundred percent trust in God, so I had to just walk forward without the benefit of sight, knowing I was going to be taken care of and that I had nothing to fear in this process of letting other people know what I was going through.  Has it been worth it?  Oh my gosh, I can't emphasize enough how wonderful it has been.  Not only do I have great support through my family and friends, but I have also had people who weren't necessarily close with me come to me in support as well.  I am greeted by so many smiles these days and really have been enveloped in love.  Even sharing this blog with people has been an evolution of sorts.  In the beginning, I didn't tell many people in my life about it because it is highly personal.  I mean, I post my weight on it!  To an overweight person, that's like giving out your social security number.  I had so much shame behind that number - 417 pounds - that I could hardly say the number out loud let alone give people access to this blog that prominently displays it.  How could I face them the next time I saw them, knowing they knew a truth I was keeping secret?  That's the thing with secrets though ... they can kill you.  And this secret was definitely killing me.

If you are a person that has been keeping your weight loss journey a secret out of shame or trying to protect yourself from judgements you are sure will come from other people, let me just say to you that you will find most people completely supportive, even if they don't entirely understand your process.  The proof will be in the pudding (okay, I had to use a food reference, but you get my point).  To my friends who read this blog in support of me, let me just say you touch my heart tremendously and I will love you forever for the encouragement you give me everyday.  Thank you for being a person I can trust.


A.P. said...

I am on day 12 of Optifast. I am pretty open about it on Twitter, a little bit on Facebook. My close family knows, and a few good friends at work know. I've written and re-written a blog about it so far, but instead I'm just reading and commenting here :) I've read a few of your posts, thank you for sharing your experience.

Kathy said...

Congrats to you on twelve days. Hopefully you've made it to ketosis already and are feeling better than the first few days. It's great that you can have the support. In time, maybe you'll get to posting more on your blog, even if it's just for your eyes only. Writing on here has made a world of difference for me in dealing with things that come up in my life or even celebrating the joys, too.

Optifast Loser said...

Kathy, I did not really tell anyone either until the weight loss began to show. I love the support I get from my friends but to me it feels so wonderful to get support from people I don't know. You are an inspiration to all of us going through this process. Keep up the wonderful posts!

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