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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.
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)