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In college, we had to read about people shown pictures of gum disease. These were photographs of rotten gums and crooked stained teeth, and the idea was to see how these images would affect the way people cared for their own teeth.
One group was shown mouths only a little rotten. The second group was shown moderately rotten gums. The third group was shown horrible blackened mouths, the gums peeled down, soft and bleeding, the teeth turned brown or missing.
The first study group, they took care of their teeth the same as they always had. The second group, they brushed and flossed a little more. The third group, they just gave up. They stopped brushing and flossing and just waited for their teeth to turn black.
"This effect the study called "narcotization."
When the problem looks too big, when we're shown too much reality, we tend to shut down. We become resigned. We fail to take any action because disaster seems so inevitable. We're trapped. This is narcotization.
- Chuck Palahniuk, "Dear Mr. Levin"

Today after work I called The Midwest Center for Weight Control. I am going to their free informational session on Thursday evening.

As some of you know, my parents went on a very monitored and controlled liquid diet starting in January. When I saw them earlier this month, I was amazed at the weight they had lost and how energenic and happy they were. They were the slimmest I had ever seen and also the happiest I had ever seen (of course, their eldest boy getting married might have helped with that). Over the past 6 months, Mom had emailed us explaining what was going on and what they were doing. At the wedding, she told me more about the science of her body and what the fast was doing. I was amazed and inspired by their success of each losing somewhere around 70lbs. When I got back, I started looking for similar programs here in the cities.

I think we can all agree that I am fat. This is not me fishing for compliments or anything, but a statement of fact. In truth - I am obese, and probably have been for half of my life. I have never been a skinny person. It is safe to say that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. I have an unhealthy lifestyle. I need to reboot my system. For the longest time I just resigned myself to be fat. When you are as overweight as I am, it's hard to stay motivated to loose weight. It becomes daunting, frustrating, and it's so easy just to resign and stay fat. In short - narcotization. Thanks to Chuck, I understand why I haven't been successful. After talking to my parents, they shared the same feelings that I have.

The program I am looking at is very monitored and very controlled. It's not just "drink this shake and don't eat" but has doctor visits and classes. I will learn more about this at the meeting on Thursday. I wouldn't be starting this program until September if I choose that this is right for me.

So why tell all you about this? I just want you to be in the know. I will be writing more about this, especially if I choose to join this program. The reaction to something so drastic usually makes people worried, concered, apprehensive, and also skeptical. As my friends, I want you to know that I am safe. If you have any concerns, please voice them now. Your questions might not be ones I have thought of, and I can ask them at the session on Thursday. Of course, this is also a HUGE step in my life, a big change in who I am, and I would appreciate more support than anything distructive or condesending. Just keep that in mind before replying. This isn't easy for me.

Posts about the program and my progress will be filtered to those who would like to be in the know. Comment if you would like to stay in touch on this subject.

I am nervous, I am worried, but I am also frustrated with being obese. I don't want to be skinny, but I don't want to be fat anymore.
::applause:: yay for meg! good for you! :-D

i have the same problem--for a long time, i resigned myself to being overweight, too. seeing as i'm making a huge life change by moving to arizona, i'm thinking that that might be the best time for me to buckle down in a serious way as far as my (un)health habits are concerned. reading your updates will, i'm sure, help me to figure out what i might go through in my own journey toward better health, not to mention that it's reassuring to know that i won't be alone.

i'm cheering you on! best of luck to you, and don't worry so much. you'll do your best, and you'll see results, and you'll feel a whole hell of a lot better--i know it. :-D
There's so much to learn about human bodies and how they process food - which is not the same from person to person. And I like that it is monitored by doctors.

I just need something BIG to push me into one direction and keep me going.
You're gonna need more closet space. When I lost a bunch of weight, i had to get all new clothes, but I couldn't get rid of my "fat" clothes because I was afraid I'd put all the weight back on. But maybe I should have gotten rid of everything so I wouldn't have the thought of failure looming over my head.... I just finally got rid of them a week or two ago, about 4 years after dropping sizes. But maybe that's just me and my pack rat nature.
Eventually I'd like to buy my close off the rack. I don't remember the last time I could.
I say: Go for it!

I have nothing but respect for people who have the guts to take a good look at themselves, see what they don't like, and decide "right, I'm going to sort this shit out".

I could do with a bit of that myself, TBQH. I think I'm going to steal that Palahniuk quote, and think about its implications for me...

*sends shiny encouragements*
oooooooooo shiny encouragements. I shall bottle them and put them on my book shelves.

I think the Palahniuk quote is great. The whole essay is great, actually. But he really put a finger on what I feel sometimes. It's true about a lot of things - it's deffinetly how I saw my depression until I just got sick of being sad.
I know just how you feel. Sorry if this is long, but I just want to tell you about my own efforts in losing weight (and lots of it).

I used to be almost 300 lbs and hated how I looked and felt. In January 2003 I finally became fed up enough with my weight to do something about it. I made a promise to myself to get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year; what the Body Mass Index would call an healthy weight for my height.

The most important thing to remember is that your net weight change is simply caloric intake over caloric expenditure. Fad diets complicate things way too much. You just have to exercise off more than you eat.

So it follows that you should have a low calorie diet (lots of fruits and veggies for snacks) and get lots of exercise if you want to lose weight. I found it worked AMAZINGLY to keep a diet journal, in which I'd record everything I ate, the amount and type of exercise I did. This way, I wouldn't be able to make any excuses, and if I cheated, I had to write it down; it helped me be completely honest with myself.

I made sure to weigh myself only once every Sunday--I decided if I didn't notice immediate results I'd probably give up. I also charted my weekly weight in my journal.

What I found was that I did my absolutely best--mostly to keep my journal blemish-free day after day. When, after a couple weeks, seeing not only a loss in weight, but an increase in energy and a decrease in appetite, I definitely found the motivation to keep going. Plus I'd find new ways to get my exercise, like biking to work and to my friends' houses.

In mid October, I was at my goal of 200 lbs, and I kept it all off for almost a full year. The hardest part was definitely getting started. After a month or so it was simple to keep going.

I've put on some weight since then (overeating and lack of exercise), but I still keep in excellent shape and feel healthy. I gotta get myself back on the diet soon and stay on it.

Anyway, I hope at least something in there can be helpful to you. If you're serious about it, stick to it! Just takes the willpower to stick with it. Good luck, Meg!
What I have found discouraging about exersize is finding something that I can do that won't leave me a cripple in the morning. With my ankle progressivly getting worse, it's been harder and harder to find something that I enjoy that doesn't hurt me. Nothing is more discouraging than walking just a couple of blocks in hopes of starting easy, only to find out that it causes pain.

Tai 'Chi, however, has been a godsend.
Swimming is a wonderful exercise for people with joint and back problems - I imagine that the same would apply to you and your ankle/foot problem.

I also remember hearing that ellipticals are supposed to help with joint problems from impact - but I don't know if it is the impact that causes your pain or weight bearing.

It's awesome that you've decided to take control of this - lots of good luck wishes from me. (And if you find a nice place to swim - I might want to join you)
I may have expressed concern over your dieting choices in the past (some parts of South Beach are very medically iffy, but I won't dwell on that =) ), but I really like that you are getting into this for all the right reasons, and I wish you luck. I'm glad you are not pointing at your body as unhealthy, but rather focusing on your food choices and lifestyle. Too many people focus on the body and make unhealthy choices because those unhealthy choices will cause them to lose more weight.

This type of program sounds really good -- much better than a "diet." Something like this could really help restructure your relationship with your body (the food you put in it, the exercise you do, how you feel about it no matter what your weight is, etc.). There are a few things you might want to think about, though:

-In addition to doctors, will you be working with nutritionists and personal trainers as well? Many doctors don't know all that much about nutrition and exercise, and I have heard of many people getting distressing advice from their PCP which turned out to be completely wrong.
-Will the focus be on weight loss, or overall health? Will they be measuring things like blood pressure and cholesterol levels on a regular basis (these things are more important to health than absolute body fat percentage, or certainly BMI).
-How personalized is it? I know with your foot many of the recommended exercises must be difficult, but there are of course things you can do which will aggrivate it less or not at all (however much I loooove running and looove seeing friends get into it, I know that would probably be the worst possible activity option for you). I know you like Tai Chi, and that's awesome, and I know you swam in your youth (still do that on occasion?)...would biking be an option as well?
-Do they treat BMI as the gospel? You probably already know my opinion on this, but it really really aggrivates me when health "professionals" do this. It's so black and white and all-encompassing, and people are SO different. What is unhealthy for one person may be healthy for another. Plus, it's not accurate if you're muscular! My estimated BMI (I say this because I haven't weighed myself in forever, and I'm judge guessing my weight by how my clothes fit me) is in the upper part of the "ideal" range, but it estimates my body fat percentage as being a few points higher than the army body measurements do (not that these are even all that accurate).

Good luck to you. I would love to hear how things are going for you in regards to this (although I reserve the right to opt out later if it gets to be triggering for me, but I don't think it will).
Oh! And I almost forgot...my mother lost a LOT of weight on her own, without a program (although she did talk to a few knowledgable people along the way) and eating pretty normal foods. Much of it was originally a focus on lowering her blood pressure, but she did definitely take steps to lose weight healthfully as well, and has maintained for a few years. If you want to talk to her about it, I'm sure she would love to share what she's gone through and what she knows.
I would like to hear more. I had no idea you were obese. A very monitored, controlled liquid diet combined with nutrition classes does sound like the most effective solution.

This is a huge step and good for you for taking it -- not because I believe that fat is a prison to be escaped but because you are taking charge of what you see as a problem.
Kick ass, take names. Anything Tiff or I can do to help, we will!