future former fatties

FAQs Answered

1. Did your parents struggle with weight?

My dad was always a chubby man. Okay, he was downright fat most of his life. He was adorable fat debonair gentleman. My mom modeled wedding gowns for a period of her life. Marriage and babies put weight on her over many years. Now, she looks fabulous by eating whatever she wants, but small portions.

2. How much do you think your culture plays into your weight?

Like most if not all cultures, everything centers on food. My culture is no different. Most people of my culture are not obese. As a matter of fact, like any American (all of us come from somewhere) we love to eat, but with that said, the Mediterranean diet is very healthy. Most people I know in my culture are average and or could stand to lose twenty-five to thirty pounds. But the majority are not obese. My family genetics seem to predispose my family and extended family to be overweight and suffer from obesity.

3. Has your weight affected your children?

In more ways than you can imagine. When they were school age, my weight embarrassed my children. As they grew up and into their adulthood, the poor example I set caused them to struggle with their weight. Only one of my children has not struggled as much as the rest of us. He has always been able to maintain a very decent healthy weight.

4. Were you in your right mind when you thought about writing your book?

Truthfully, when I set out to write my book, I thought I would bring to the forefront the epidemic proportion of the disease of obesity by using self-deprecating humor. The transformation into memoir came as I wrote the story. The story needed to be told first hand and be relatable. I wanted to empower people to believe in themselves no matter their size, and for them to know their value as humans is not determined by the size of their waistline. To do that, I opened up my life, my struggles, and my pain.

5. Do you feel your honesty, and putting it all out there will make a difference, and why?

First off, I must be absolutely insane to admit all my dirty little secrets about my binge eating. Because of my willingness to be so honest, I feel I can make a huge difference in the way people see themselves, in the way we accept ourselves for who we are versus what we look like, and in the way, perhaps, the medical field approaches the disease of obesity. This struggle with binge eating, food addiction, and the ramifications of obesity has grown to epidemic proportions.

We can’t fix a problem until we admit it exists. So long as we are in denial, we do nothing functional about it. I believe that by being very honest and unafraid to admit I have a serious problem to the world, maybe others will come to the same realization and face their need to do something about their weight. We need to find a cure for obesity and the causes that lead people to use food for self-medication.

6. You say that obesity is an epidemic. Just how bad is it?

Seventy percent of our beautiful nation is too fat. Imagine if the various diseases caused by obesity could be nearly abolished -and they can if science and medicine find a way to treat obesity. Solving the obesity problem, or at least getting it down to much smaller numbers, could nearly eradicate type 2 diabetes. Heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, strokes are just some of the diseases caused by obesity that could be drastically reduced. Kidney failure and blindness brought on by type 2 diabetes would considerably diminish. There are certain types of cancer that stem from obesity. Science and medicine need to work harder to help people, and they need to understand the underlying factors that create a genetic predisposition to not being able to control one’s appetite in the first place. Obesity should be in this nation’s top ten diseases for which to find a cure.

7. What ancillary impact does obesity have on our lives?

Obesity doesn’t just affect our physical well-being. Obesity affects our emotional well-being, our economic well-being (many people I know have been passed by for jobs because of their size), our self-esteem, and obesity holds us back from the freedom to choose the life we want to live. Instead, our bodies figuratively chain us in place. We deserve to live life and be free to experience it as a healthy person.

8. You have had bariatric surgery, lost a great deal of weight, and kept it off for many years before gaining a lot of it back. You speak in your book to being emotionally driven to eat. How much of a role do you believe emotion plays in weight problems?

Emotional eating is huge. Ask anyone who struggles with their weight as to why they have a weight problem. Rarely will you hear, "I just love to eat."  Usually, people will say they are emotional eaters, stress eaters, and that they are addicted to sugar and carbs. Us fatties say these things not because we are looking for an excuse. It is because emotional type eating is a true problem.

From the time we are small children, we are taught that if we are good, we will get a reward, and that reward is usually in the form of food. "Stop crying, and I will give you a cookie." "You can do it! Go peepee on the potty, and I will give you candy." We are taught that food is comfort and reward. "Eat all your dinner, and then you may have dessert."What drove me to gain weight after bariatric surgery was being hit with a hard emotional situation in my life. It was more than I could handle at the time.

What did I do? I reverted to what was ingrained in me, formed by habit, needed by emotional instinct to sooth and comfort myself. I reverted to old methods of coping, eating to make me feel better. The only problem is food made me feel better for a quick moment while putting weight back on me. I tried to stop myself, but my coping skills were weak, and my habitual addiction to using food as a coping mechanism was too strong. Now I am learning to find my way back to a healthy weight, and I am learning to find healthier ways to cope with my emotions.

9. Do you believe that without a ‘cure’ for obesity, you will be able to lose  weight and keep it off?

I honestly don't believe a cure for obesity will happen in my lifetime from a medical standpoint. However, I do believe in me, and I do believe in you! Look, I know I stink at losing weight and keeping it off, but I also know I have done it before, and I have kept it off for at least five years. If I can do it once, I can do it again. I truly believe it comes down to several things

  1. Believe you can do it.
  2. Recognize your triggers.
  3. Find new and positive ways to handle those triggers.
  4. Love food, enjoy food, but love your health more. Remember food is a momentary high, and food will not solve your problems. It will only create another problem.
  5. Allow for cheats. Remember, just because you choose to live a healthy lifestyle does not mean you cannot enjoy occasional foods you know don't serve your body well.  With binging you are trading health and a great fulfilling life for a momentary food high and depression over weight gain and being unhealthy.  with small cheats, you are enjoying.
  6. Know you deserve to feel great about your body. I learned in Weight Watchers at age fourteen that "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels". It isso true.
  7. Self talk yourself out of major cheating. Even if you have to sing it out loud, yell at yourself while you are driving past that fast food place you so desperately wanted to stop at, do it. Yell it, sing it, and praise yourself when you keep on moving in the right direction. We are heading for Health City in the United States of America.

10. What is the best advice you ever received about living healthily?

I think the best advice I have ever received about living healthy came from Aaron Snyder who suggests taking one moment at a time. Tell yourself you can get through the next hour, and it will eventually lead to getting through the day, which will lead to getting through a week, and eventually getting through months. This will lead to success. It will lead to making changes slowly that will be relevant and long term. Taking a moment at a time will build character and inner strength, and will teach us to cope with our addiction, putting us into control over our health and mindset instead of allowing and falling prey to the nagging influence the power food has over us.

11. What is the best advice you give to others?

Again from Aaron, be patient and prepared. Be patient with the process of losing weight. We did not gain it overnight (although it may seem so), and we will not lose it overnight (I wish).

Be prepared. Be prepared by planning ahead. Clean out your fridge and cupboards of foods that feed your negative cravings and replace those foods that are enjoyable and healthy. Be prepared by planning your meals, and have ready made snacks available at all times to get you through the moments that are difficult. Be prepared to be kind to yourself if you slip up. You are human, and losing weight is hard. Just get back on track as soon as possible.

Be prepared to know you are going to have to find new ways to cope. Food cannot be an option. Change the relationship you have with food, and you will change your life.

12. Regarding to health and weight, where do you see yourself a year from now?

I see myself much healthier and much thinner. I have several goals to meet. I am taking one at a time.

  1. I want to kick my addiction to sugar and foods that contain white flour.
  2. I want to lose twenty pounds, keep it off, and then aim for the next twenty pounds, and so forth until I reach my goal weight.
  3. I want to start exercising regularly everyday. I know if I only would get started, even if it is five minutes a day, twice a day, and take my time and build up to thirty, maybe even forty-five minutes, twice a day, I will feel incredibly healthier, younger, and more able to do much more everyday because I will have more energy. These are my goals.
  4. I want to take a picture of myself today, and a picture one year from now, and I want to see me beaming in the second picture because I have accomplished my goals a year from now.