Posted in Blog Posts

My struggle with body image – Part 5

By Marlene Sexton LMFT

Date: January 30th, 2019

I left off last time telling you about my past decision to lose some weight. I restricted calories, avoided fat, skipped meals, deprived myself of tasty foods, and expected fast results. Never mind that the results were temporary AND unhealthy! Most, if not all, of my weight loss in those days was water and muscle.  

Refusing to go back to my old dieting ways, I now promise myself:

I will not count calories or points, 
I will not weigh myself several times a day, 
I will not deprive myself of certain foods, and 
I will not beat myself up for any “failures.”  

So, how am I going to drop some pounds?  

Well, I challenged any thoughts long ago that being overweight was a personality flaw. I dismiss any notion that heavy people are just undisciplined or “lazy”, and I know that any quick weight-loss program that promises long-term results is a lie. But, despite years of on and off dieting, I knew nothing at that time about obesity as a disease.

Fortunately, as a partner and behavioral therapist at Three Health, I have access to Medical Director Brandy Wiltermuth’s medical expertise. I already knew that my old way of dieting did not work to sustain weight loss, and most of what I thoughtI knew was old and faulty information at that!  

Brandy has the courage to take on the diet industry and tell the truth: The only way to lose weight and KEEP IT OFF is through individualized, medically-driven, holistic programs that treat the mind, the body, and the spirit. Everyone is different, and every patient requires an individualized program based on his or her personal medical conditions and profile. 

“Dieting” is not a one-size-fits-all program!  

Brandy’s experience in the science of weight loss is deep and insightful. She drew charts to help me understand how macronutrients work in mybody, making it easy for me to understand what works and what doesn’t work for mybody. There is a big difference between being told what I need to eat rather than what I can’t, and Brandy designed an easy-to-follow nutritional plan for me to follow. 

I was adamant that I love my social lifestyle and traveling, and she listened. In fact, I have no desire to curtail any activities; therefore, she has helped make it easy to go to restaurants and friends’ homes for dinner.

I was also adamant that my “dietary needs” not be obvious, and they aren’t. I have been following this plan (not to the letter and, yet, no guilt), and I have lost about eight (8) pounds in a month. 

While my “self-care” program worked for many years, time does not stand still. Just as my thinking had changed over the years, so had my body. Again, excess weight is not a personality flaw!  

As a partner at Three Health, and by following Brandy’s guidelines, I truly understand that everyone’s life situation is totally unique, which is why it is important to understand each patient’s lifestyle and situation. What I learned first-hand is that each person’s bio-metrics, medical test results, and medical condition play a huge part in healthy, sustainable weight loss.  

I don’t ever want to go back to the days where I put myself last or feel my needs are not important. As I have said before, I vowed I would never treat myself the way I did in my teens and twenties. I changed my self-talk, which changed my self-esteem, and now I practice self-care in all areas by including this new way of eating. 

I am taking care of myself by getting the right medical and professional advice for myweight issue because this nutritional program is unlike any “diet” I have ever been on. My health is one of my most valuable assets (as your health is to you), and I feel I am protecting it by losing weight in a healthy way, both physically and emotionally. You can do it too. 

Until next time, take care of yourself and yourbody’s needs,

Marlene Sexton LMFT

Posted in Blog Posts

My struggle with body image – Part 2

by Marlene Sexton LMFT

Date: January 11th, 2019

In my previous blog, I discussed the dynamics that lead to my “very diminished,” aka non-existent self-esteem and body image. Writing that blog was difficult because it meant going back to a time 45 years ago that was confusing and painful for me. You see, I have come a long way since then, and I worked hard to put it all behind me and make it just part of my story. However difficult it was, I am also proud of myself for creating a life I wantto lead, and I am here to tell you it can be done. 

Long ago, I saw a meme on Facebook that simply said, “Being overweight is hard, and losing weight is hard. Choose your hard.” I wish I had seen that decades earlier! I would have applied it to many of life’s difficulties, including those that were not weight related. 

Here is more of my story:

I was in my early twenties. I believed I was not good enough, and I should be grateful if anybody paid any attention to me. It did not matter to me how they conducted themselves, what their values or beliefs might be, or even what goals they had. If they liked me, I liked them and despite any red flags, I would fit them into my life. Looking back, I can see I had a high tolerance for poor behavior.  

What I know now but didn’t know then was “like attracts like.” To put it in more dynamic terms, we attract people who confirm our beliefs. In other words, if I don’t feel good about myself, I will attract people who (a) don’t feel good about themselves, thus giving us something in common or (b) they also don’t feel good about me; again, something in common! 

My self-loathing not only manifested in the company I kept, it prevented me from taking care of myself. Oh, I showered and dressed well (at least by 70s standards) but, frankly, that was so I would not offend others. I allowed “friends” to stand me up on commitments they had made, and it was “no problem” if they called for a favor (e.g., rides, bail, shoulder to cry on) at two o’clock in the morning. I skipped meals to help others, I ate junk food to appease, I put my own plans on hold to cover for co-workers so they could do something fun, and so on. There seemed to be no end to my “generosity” and need to please!  It felt good to be needed, but it came with a steep price. For starters, I was exhausted. Exhausted from taking care of others, but also exhausted from feeling so bad about myself.  

Honestly, I am not sure if I had a weight problem then or not. The number on the scale said I was “within the range” of a healthy weight and despite pictures that show otherwise, I was certain I was overweight and unattractive. (We now know BMI is not accurate in determining a healthy weight). But, back to being exhausted. 

I saw others feeling good about themselves and practicing self-care, but I didn’t know how they got there. Despite my early interest in psychology, I felt as if self-worth was out of reach. I believed profoundlythat we are products of our environment and we don’t have much control over our lives—things just happen. I thought others were “lucky” to have life go their way; I also held absolute beliefs, using words such as always, never, everybody, and nobody, to describe my life. I didn’t know I had options until one day I decided I could “try” to make improvements.  

I started reading articles on self-esteem, and I came to understand that what we say to ourselves matters. I made it a goal to stop criticizing myself. I listened to my self-talk and challenged my negative descriptions. This did not happen overnight, but with practice I could catch myself in a negative spin and challenge or stop my thoughts. My goal was to quit saying things to myself that I would not say to a friend. Then I decided that I would stop negating compliments and simply say, “Thank you.” 

Soon, I began augmenting compliments. If someone said they liked my blouse, I would get out of my comfort zone, risk being thought of as conceited, and say, “Thank you. I saw it and really liked the color.” I realized the world would not stop spinning if I were kind to myself. My confidence grew and, soon, my friendships changed. I started attracting more confident, functional people into my life, and I realized I could “keep up.”  I saw myself as more valuable and worthy of good things. And good things came.  

In the next blog, I will share with you how the subconscious works and how to tap into your strengths so good things come your way, too.

Stay tuned.

Peace and good health!

Marlene