Someone commented today about the title of my blog. She said that my blog title made her sad because "no one should think of themselves as a failure".
I would like to comment on this.
First of all, let me be clear on a couple things.
To begin with, I have never considered myself to be a total failure. I have always seen myself as being successful in most areas of my life.....as a wife, a mother, a friend, a mentor, a teacher, a person, etc. etc. etc.
I have accomplished much, worked hard, grown, become a better person, and been loved my many people, regardless of my weight losses or gains.
I've led different kinds of support groups, planned community events, talked to government officials about things I was passionate about, I've given speeches to groups of women and also to mixed crowds, I've been the main pianist at church (even though I am only a passable pianist), I've sung in public (even though I am not a good singer), I've sat on community commitees and contributed positively to them...........I could go on, but I won't.
In the most important areas of my life, I have been a success. My man loves me more today than when he married me. My children are well adjusted, intelligent, confident adults who are all (but one) happily married. None of them veered far off "the path" as we negotiated their teen years together. All have a relationship with God, their Father.....they are each other's best friends, and they all have good relationships with their dad and myself.
So, be assured, the title of my blog in no way says that just because I have been fat for most of my life that there is nothing of value in my life or in me.
The fact remains, however, that I have been fat (or thought I was fat) since I was a girl. Even when the problem was simply that I was shaped differently than my tall, gangly best friend, I saw myself as fat. My vision of myself did not change as I got older, in fact it got stronger. And, since the way we see ourselves has more power over us than the way others see us, I began to actually become as fat as I thought I was. Then I became even fatter.
I began to diet, to try to lose the weight, to gain control over my eating habits and my ever increasing size when I was only 14. You know the story.....you deprive yourself, you lose weight. You go back to eating "normally", you gain more than you lost. This cycle continues over and over. Soon, you begin a diet or even "a lifestyle change" only to quit a week or two down the road.
When I look at myself in respect to weight loss over the last 36 years, I have failed. There is no other way to say it. I have failed in all my weight loss efforts up to December 2007. Therefore, since this blog is ABOUT weight loss, I have been a failure. I see no reason to avoid the word just because it is unpleasant.
But now look at the second part of the title........My title claims that I am on a journey ...from being a failure (as far as weight loss goes) to being a success.
I have made a decision. I am NOT going to fail at this attempt to change my physical appearance, my health, my self image. I WILL be a success in this area - just like I am in the other areas of my life.
My title also acknowledges that this is a journey....I cannot just say to myself "I've succeeded" or "I am a success" or "I am not a failure" and be there. There is a process, choices to make, bad habits to break and new habits to cultivate. Some days will be successful, some days will be a dismal failure. BUT I will continue on to the goal....to finally succeed in this area of my life.
I understand that if I tell myself on a daily basis "You're no good, you're a failure" that I will become just that...in the same way that I convinced myself that I was fat and then became fat. I am not doing that. I am simply saying that I have been a failure and I am making a choice to change that - to become successful at being healthy.
I make no apologies in calling myself a failure in my title - if I wasn't a failure in this area, I wouldn't be working on losing weight at this time of my life.....I'd have conquered my weight issues years ago.