What do you want to "REPRESENT"

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hi Spark Friends!

Well, my weigh in shows maybe a half pound loss but I have decided not to move the ticker to reflect that because I want to make it a pound before I do that. Not that this half pound is not significant because it is very much so. But, I want to move the ticker hopefully a bit more next week all at once.

SO, I had an exciting day yesterday. I was a guest in the audience of the Oprah show. It was a show about Comedians. The guests were Monique, George Lopez and Dane Cook. They were all terrific. I found Monique to be especially personable, approachable and so very down to earth. She actually gave me a big hug. It was so sincere and warm. I am a tad bit disillusioned about my perception of Oprah. I have always thought her to be a warm, fun, caring and very approachable person. I so respect all the good she does for others. However, I believe she was having an off day possibly. She looked GREAT! I am sure it gets pretty mundane and rigorous to do the show two times a day 5 days a week. So, I will leave it there.

Anyway, what I wanted to discuss was something that I heard that I thought might be of interest to my spark friends. I was sitting in front of a woman( a very overweight lady) who made a comment after Monique said something and it bothered me for many reasons. Here is the scenario.

Monique talked (off air to the audience) about her recent weight loss. She told us a story about how she convinced herself she looked "hot" at 272 pounds. I don't remember the exact words she used but what she said was that she was in the bathroom after a shower and was nude in a mirror thinking she was looking all that! Her husband came in and said something to the effect of baby, you know I love you right? She said yes I do. He asked how much she weighed. She said she proudly answered baby all this woman is 272 pounds and felt comfortable in her overweight body. He then said to her that he loved her very much and because he loves her so much he wanted to have her around forever! She said it hit her then that she had been living in denial and was living with a situation that could endanger her life and take her away from her kids and husband way to early. She has an older child and smaller twins.

She said she decided to do something about her weight at that moment and began to live a healthier lifestyle. She wanted to become healthy for herself and her family. She is very proudly down to 212 pounds now and continues to make progress. She looks AMAZING and realizes how being healthy is so important.

So back to the very overweight lady that sat behind me. After Monique shared that story with us. The lady behind me yells "hey Monique you still gotta represent us big woman". "Hey Monique don't desert us, you gotta represent" I was dumb founded with her words. I turned and looked at her and I said maybe we should all represent her new lifestyle for her. She just looked at me like I had two heads or something. SO I am thinking to myself, okay Miss Overweight and in clear denial who clearly does not want to change her lifestyle. Lets see what list of things an unhealthy overweight Celebrity actually represents. So here are my thoughts......

An Unhealthy Lifestyle
Poor eating habits
Poor health
Lack of energy
Lack of motivation
Lack of exercise
Endangered health

I am sure there are so many other negative things that are represented but you get where I am going with the list. So this woman behind me clearly feels justified in living her unhealthy lifestyle by seeing other overweight people and especially a celebrity being unhealthy and overweight. She must feel like she is in a mix of some of the greats! I wish I could have talked to this lady and reached her. But, in a studio audience was definitely not the place or time. But, I will say, Monique "gets it" she seemed determined and committed to getting healthy. She was so proud of her progress and I told her when she hugged me that I was so proud of her progress as well and that she was doing a fantastic job. She is an AWESOME lady!

That lady behind me reminded me of the ways I used to justify my being overweight too. We have all done that somewhere along the way. Before we "got it". It may have not been in the same way but it was doing the same thing she did. We all lived in denial like she is doing and making ourselves believe we were okay being overweight and unhealthy. When deep inside we were not okay with it. That lady is no more okay with herself being overweight and unhealthy then any of us were. It is my hope that she will think about the story Monique told (being such a fan of hers) and make some changes for herself. I'd like to think she will decide to become a healthy more fit person too. So she can enjoy her loved ones for many years to come.

So, the message here for me and that I wanted to pass along is lets not be okay or settle for being overweight and unhealthy. We don't want to "represent poor health" Lets do what Monique has done and make some positive changes in our lives and do something about being unhealthy. Don't wait or put off for tomorrow what we can do today! Lets be good to ourselves and treat our bodies well. Lets "represent" a healthy lifestyle together!!

Together we WILL succeed!

Happy Mothers Day to all the Spark moms and have a wonderful weekend everyone!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I saw part of that Oprah episode today. You're so right about so many things. When I finally 'got it'... it was like someone finally spoke to me in a language I could understand. I've heard the stuff about why people are overweight for years. I've heard all the stuff about how to stay healthy and why it's so important. But one day... it's like someone finally spoke to me in English... or finally turned on the lights! It was amazing. Something in me just felt so determined to make myself healthy and determined to get my life back. I just found my 'fight' again, and I'm determined to stick to it. I want to have people be inspired by me. For many years I refused to put on a bathing suit or even go to the beach. I'm hoping to change that this summer. So many people... my boyfriend (at the time), my Mom, and others... would all say "there's lots of overweight people on the beach, you won't stand out, you'll fit right in". But they didn't get it. I was skinny most of my life and I knew how great if felt to be on the beach in a bathing suit and be part of the sexy crowd. I didn't want to be part of the overweight crowd. I want to look good, but only if it means to be healthy as well. I want people to look at me and want to be healthy like me. I don't want people to look at me and think that I'm just a person who eats too much, or doesn't have will power, or any of the other negative things that the world thinks about overweight people.
    4268 days ago
    You are sooo right! I have been overweight most of my life and I was never really okay with it. I believe anyone who says they are is either lying or fooling themselves And of course the extra weight brought on a lot of health problems, too. The thing is, do we care enough about ourselves and our family and friends to do something about it? Used to, when I would "go on a diet" my husband would say he liked me like I was. "Just that much more of you to love" was his favorite refrain, and I do believe he loved me anyway I was, but I also think he would have worried less and been prouder if I had been a healthy size.
    4272 days ago
    I love your blog, Donna! And I think next week's scale readout will be a good one for you. That's my prediction and I'm stickin' right by it! :)

    Gee, this woman in the audience was way out of line. It's not usually an audience member's role to confront those on stage, or at least that's my perception of it. I thought she was inappropriate, and naturally, I stand with Monique (and her wonderful husband!) and you in believing that what I want for myself is better health. For me, that necessitates weight loss and greater fitness. Thanks for some provocative thoughts here! - Sara emoticon
    4272 days ago
  • LISA1316
    What a great blog...u always motivate me just when I need it! emoticon for turning around and saying maybe we should represent her new! I could definitely see you doing that I would have loved to be the lil angel on your shoulder to see her! WOOHOO DONNA for representing your new lifestyle and sharing it with all of u!
    4272 days ago
    You motivate me!
    4273 days ago
    i'm with you alllllllll the way to the bitter end on this one, donna. denial is so incredibly powerful in such a negative way. self-defense, self-destruction, being afraid of failure (again?), all of things have such tight holds on so many people, almost paralytic for some, like turtle shells around that vulnerable, unprotected creature inside. well, this turtle is growing OUT of her shell and is molding that soft, mushy, stuff inside into an attractive, efficient, marvelous "machine" that will serve her well for the rest of her life. it's amazing when i think how powerful positive thinking is. i probably sound like some cult freak or something, but i know i'm a better person for it, all the way around. and hanging out and rubbing elbows with positive peeps does my heart, and every other organ, good. thanks for your wise words. nancy
    4273 days ago
    Oh Denial, that river in Egypt I was sooo fond of rowing upon. I think we set up false dichotomies for ourselves. Fat or pretty. Skinny or ugly. Fat or Mother Theresa. There are some beautiful fat people who are complete gifts to this world, doing great work and looking fabulous. [I was never one of them being ordinary looking and completely selfish.] It is hard to be a fat woman in this society. Hard. And sometimes you want it NOT to be the complete statement of who you are. You want someone to represent fat positive. You want to be positive about the positive things in your life.

    I'll bet the audience member doesn't believe she can lose weight and keep it off. I bet she's lost the same 20 pounds 10 times. I bet she wishes she was several sizes smaller.

    I think Monique is incredible to love herself as a fat woman and to be honest about her health and willing to change. That's representing!

    Thanks for yet another thought-provoking blog, Donna. You continue to inspire and amaze.

    4273 days ago
    this is a very inspiring food-for-thought blog, donna! i often wonder how many morbidly obese people are fooling themselves into thinking they're happy the way they are, because it is still easier than changing things and getting healthier. i know you can be a happy and healthy overweight person (perhaps not morbidly obese, though) as well as a very unhealthy and unfit skinny person. and i somehow agree with that lady that overweight people need their "representatives" too. we're much too fixated on "skinnyness" and tend to forget the healthiness. think of the sexy voluptuous dove girls ad being such a hit. lots of "proper sized", un-skinny women recognized themselves there and felt represented in the fashion and advertising world for once.
    there is, however, a line between being at a "normal", slightly higher than model-sized but healthy weight, and the weight that puts you at an increased health risk. and i know that i myself have been fooling myself into believing i was just a healthy, happy "chubby" girl while i was at over 200 lbs and clearly NOT happy, healthy and fit.
    so i think the only kind of "representation" that helps those of us are people who show they have actually improved their health by getting to a more reasonable weight.
    thank you again for giving me something to think about! emoticon
    4273 days ago
    Great blog Donna! So much to think about. I know I will be!
    4273 days ago
  • no profile photo CHANGE4FREEDOM
    I enjoyed your blog Donna! Thanks for sharing!

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    4274 days ago
    What a wonderful blog and story to tell Donna. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts on this situation and that woman's remarks. Very selfish indeed.
    4274 days ago
    Right on, Donna! I was in denial for so long I had a condo there and had to get a passport to return to reality. Looking in the mirror, I focussed only on my face & hair. If they looked OK, I was fine. Saw a picture of myself at work and freaked - that blob was me?? No way! There is a real difference between "carrying a few extra pounds", "a lot to love", "comfortably padded", and being unhealthily overweight. I'm proud of Monique, Queen Latifah, and Valerie Bertinalli for being proactive in geting healthier. Poor Kirsty Alley has gained back over 70 pounds - I heard on the radio today she shrieked when she stepped on the scales for the first time in months.
    4274 days ago
    Awesome blog as always! It is great to see different points of view.
    4274 days ago
    Thanks for a great blog - inspiration when I need it most!.. I can truly hear your voice saying "Okay, Miss Overweight and in clear denial..."

    You're almost to your goal!!! You rock!

    4274 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/7/2009 10:30:32 PM
    I really enjoyed your blog!!

    Thank You it made me stop and think and reavaluate my process!! Also what I want to "REPRESENT" to myself , my family, and the world!
    This was a great Bolg!!
    4274 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4228914
    Reading your blog I think back to 2007 and my mindset of my own health (or lack thereof) and what my resolve was and how it developed.

    I too remember looking in the mirror and accepting who I was and not having the strength to change what I had become.

    Part of it was laziness.

    Part of it was something inside of me that didn't want to let go of the alcohol.

    Part of it was that in what I knew I had to do, was changing my lifestyle. I wasn't comfortable with myself, but I was comfortable being lazy about it because it meant that I didn't have to change one thing or challenge myself to anything to make those changes.

    I knew how I felt. I could hardly perform any task without becoming winded and working up a great sweat doing simple things like putting on my shoes and walking to the mailbox, or walking from the parking lot to go to work, or just walking through a store to do a little shopping. I wasn't comfortable with what I couldn't do because of my morbid obesity, but I was comfortable being there and not doing anything about it...for a while.

    When I started to change, it was because I knew that if I didn't I was going to die. Paradoxically, I was begging for death for most of 2007. Depression was also a major player at keeping me mired in the clutches of being so unhealthy. At the time and in retrospect, I didn't represent anything or want anyone to represent me. I was miserable.

    All through what I've done, I never wanted anyone to represent me or my situation. I knew that if I was going to succeed, I had to change my lifestyle. I knew the path. I knew the choices to start to follow that path would not be easy. Part of beginning to accept those choices was to renounce my laziness and start doing for myself the things I needed to do to become healthy.

    In this woman that was sitting behind you, I get a picture of a person that is desperately grasping onto anything she can to validate her lifestyle and resist the things that she needs to do to change. Changes are never as easy as living with the status quo and not doing anything at all. The basis for the resistance could be a number of any different things or situations...but it all comes down to one thing.

    How do you represent yourself?

    Good, thought provoking blog Donna.

    4274 days ago
    a very good can love yourself the way you are and still resolve to change and try to make it better. i prefer to be healthy. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    4274 days ago
    Great blog Donna!
    4274 days ago
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