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Obese and I Don’t Do Anything To Help Myself

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I will be 50 this year. I weight 400 lbs. or more. I am seen by society as lower than a child molester. I hate the way I look. I can hardly walk and breathing is difficult when I walk.

I don’t understand why I don’t do something to lose the weight. If I hate how I look, shouldn’t that be enough to go on a diet an exercise? I have a gym membership but I never go. No one I knows goes to this gym so I don’t have a work out partner. I once lost 80lbs but gained it back and more. What do I do? I am miserable.

I don’t go places like I use to because of space concerns, people saying things about me which I say thimgs back and have been in numerous verbal arguments. What do I do?

First and foremost it is important to examine your attitude. We can’t choose our life circumstances but we can choose our attitude towards those life circumstances. The tone of your letter gives me the impression that you are harshly critical of yourself. The harshness and negativity is very self-defeating. Think about this question: Does self-denigration lead one to feel more or less motivated to achieve their life goals? I believe the answer is less motivated. Consider this line of thinking: “I should be losing weight but I am not. I did lose weight and I gained it back. This is proof that I can’t do it therefore I should just give up.” That is an example of how negative thinking can lead to a negative outcome. It only makes situations more difficult. The same holds true when it comes to achieving other life goals. Negative thinking is a barrier to a healthy and happy life. It is important to find a way to eliminate your self-deprecating attitude.

Secondly, it is important to be practical and realistic. Some have likened weight loss to drug or alcohol addiction: it is a long road and there will be relapses along the way. In both cases, relapsing is a speed bump on the road to success. It is not a reason to stop trying; consider it part of the process. Losing weight is not simply a matter of going on a diet. It generally requires a lifestyle change but one that is manageable and not overwhelming. This change will not happen overnight. Patience is essential.

Guidance is also a necessary ingredient to pursuing your weight loss goals. My third suggestion is to seek outside assistance from a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or a therapist who specializes in helping his or her clients achieve weight loss. You may benefit from seeing all three types of professionals. You need to explore who will provide you with the best and most effective guidance. It is easy to fall back into old patterns and habits. Having outside guidance can help you remain focused and on track.

Finally, you may also want to consider joining a support group, in-person or online. Support groups provide much needed help. Joining a support group would also prevent isolation.

Don’t give up hope. Everyone has life struggles. Your unique struggles are with weight. It will not be easy to overcome but your health and happiness are worth the effort. I wish you well. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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