Monday, March 11, 2013
I ran across Yoni Freedhoff's blog the other night and this is a quote from one of his posts that blew my mind. He's the founder of the Ottowa Bariatric Medical Institute. It bodes well since I have not suffered very much over my year of weight loss.
It also makes me think a lot about a phrase I keep hearing about how maintenance is harder than weight loss. I wouldn't say that is wrong exactly, there is at least one way it definitely is harder. I was trying to find a blog from the summer and came across a mention that I had gone over my weight loss range but was still in the maintenance range. And I thought "That's right, there was this little safety zone in case I went over." I didn't use it very often, but isn't that something. And I had already forgotten in in the 3 months since I reached goal.
Here's the important question, does "harder" mean "suffering"? Some of the things I do as a matter of course seem horrible to my husband. Weighing calorie dense foods, forgoing cheese... uh, that's all I can think of at the moment. I guess working out everyday would once have seemed horrible to myself. I don't think of them as suffering because they are choices I'm making, I weigh calorie dense foods rather than avoid them. I forgo cheese to enjoy something else. I exercise so my calorie needs don't gradually shrink with each passing day, and so that my heart and joints get stronger. I exercise instead of argue about politics on the internet. Win/win!
Was untreated obesity not suffering? The Greek underworld was bounded by the river Lethe, which people drank from to forget their lives which could only cause suffering. When I was obese I spent my days trying not to think about it, trying to forget what I knew I should do. Suffering is not in the absolute experience, but in our perception of events.
I've often compared the daily process of lifestyle change to some other endeavor, like mastering writing, playing the piano, or learning a language. All of these things are hard, but few would consider them suffering. Suffering is helplessness and compulsion; failure and guilt. A healthy lifestyle can be a joy, experimentation and discovery and liberty. (LIberty, for me, doesn't mean do whatever you want, it means participation in self-governance.)
Dr. Freedhoff's blog: