Losing Weight is My Biggest Failure
Closing ThoughtsOpinion

Losing Weight is My Biggest Failure

I never lost a pound I didn’t gain twice, but this time it’s going to be different.

Allen H. Lipis
Allen H. Lipis

In 2006, I kept a daily diary of my weight loss for nearly one year and lost 21 pounds. Now, 18 years later, I weigh more than back then. The reason: I love to eat food that is fattening. Once again, I am focused on losing the weight I have carried on my body for decades.

I can tell you some of the daily thoughts I had back then. I am convinced that the mental attitude I had about eating did make a difference whether I succeeded or failed, not just day by day, but moment by moment. Here are just a few of them:

Day 1: I lay in bed for two hours thinking about it. Do I really want to make this commitment? There are a lot of new possibilities, a chance for me to live my word, a chance to wear old suits, some never worn; a chance to be the person I fantasize about. It’s a chance to be like the 20-year-old swimmers I saw yesterday at Emory University. Every swimmer there was slim, trim, and in great physical shape.

Day 2: Water is one main key to good dieting. It makes up most of your body weight, so losing liquid in exercise or urinating can produce fast, though short-term, results. Funny, I need to drink a lot of water to lose a lot of weight.

Day 8: No one cares what I ate yesterday. It was so important at the time. When I look at the chocolate cake or the piece of candy or the ice cream at the moment, it seems so critical to have it then. But later it is only a memory. Looking back, the food seems so impersonal – it was food I could have eaten or passed up. Yet, at the time it was critical to eat.

Day 20: This morning I put on a pair of pants I could not wear three weeks ago because I was too fat. I think I am getting a little ahead of myself in terms of wearing smaller-sized clothing in my closet, but it did feel good to put the pants on and find that I could actually wear them without the waist hurting me.

Day 23: Every day is a new day for weight loss. Treat every day independently of the past, regardless of your successes or failures. Treat each day as though it was the start of a new diet, without the baggage of having failed before. Why does the past have to influence my attitude about dieting today?

Day 30: Yesterday, I knew I was in trouble. Why should I read the scale and admit it openly? The answer is that failing to admit it, I don’t have the possibility of changing. The admission of a breakdown provides me with the opening to change back to a rigorous weight loss program. It presents the opportunity to see my problem, cut my losses, start anew, create a solution, and get back on the weight loss plan quickly.

Day 37: Is losing weight really worth it? Is being thin or just thinner worth the price? In fact, I don’t know how useful losing 30 or more pounds will really change me. It is what I make of it – what I say about it.

Day 74: I’m staying in Hershey, Penn., so the hotel provides Hershey bars to all guests. I’m not hungry now, but I could eat something. I thought about that Hershey bar as soon as I received it. It was free. In fact, I have two of them, one from another guest who passed it up. I haven’t reached the point yet of passing up free Hershey bars. The Hershey bars are in my briefcase. I know they’re there. Unfortunately, I can’t get the thought out of my mind. The candy bar is immediately available. I could eat it. No one will know. I love chocolate and this is the chocolate capital of the world. I like this Hershey bar. It is almost talking to me … or am I talking to it? It beckons me based on my memory of how satisfying chocolate can be. In the past, the temptation would have been overwhelming. I would have eaten both candy bars within half an hour of going to my hotel room. At least I can say I’ve been here for over an hour without touching them. And I have plenty of room for dessert.

The Bottom Line: No one is here with me to offer me a Hershey bar, no one is suggesting I eat it, no one really knows I have a candy bar right now. And yet, the Hershey bars talk to me across a 40-year history. It has a silent conversation that I have created inside myself. The Hershey bar stands for all the temptations I face in living up to my health program. It presents a picture of how easily I can dupe myself, how easily I can rationalize eating stupidly.

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