Monday, September 15, 2008

Re: the title of my blog

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 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 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 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 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.


Anonymous said...

Of course you don't need to apologise for what you call your blog. I personally don't see you not having previously been able to lose weight as 'failure'. I mean, obviously it is in the strictest sense of the word as you've failed to accomplish something you set out to, but it depends on how you define the beginning and ending of your weight loss 'journey'. If you see it as continuing throughout each of your previous weight-loss attempts and for as long as it takes you to reach your goal weight, then you haven't failed. You've been trying again and again until it clicks into place and works.

I do wince though at someone terming themself a 'failure', and I did think it was sad that you said you've been hating yourself for 38 years, but I see now that you're referring only to the physical side of your self.

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, as far as first impressions go, I thought it was kind of sad too. I understand you don't see yourself as a "failure" in the strict definition of the word, but at first glance its kinds like 'ouch'.

But I get what you meant now. You can call you blog whatever you want. I understand what you meant.

I kind of went through the same thing with the title of my blog. It used to be "Battle of the Bulge", but I started to feel like that was kind of negative. I wanted to be positive, so I renamed it, "A Gym Rat's Tale". Words can be very powerful tools. I feel like its something I must now live up to... you know what I mean? I am speaking it into existance! =)

Karyn said...

Shanna...I know just what you mean about having to live up to your title. I'm working at doing the same thing. I am succeeding and soon, it will be evident to all because it will be showing up on my smaller body.

Roaring Lioness....I understand what you are saying about defining the beginning and ending of the weight loss journey. I had come to the place, several years ago, where I vowed to never diet again because I felt that all the calorie deprivation, etc had just messed up my metabolism. i basically gave up on losing weight and decided to learn to be happy with who i was at the time. So, in terms of your definition....I had come to what I decided was the end - and I had failed. In the intervening years from then till now, I actually did learn to like myself more. Maybe that is why when I really got going on this new "diet" (I hate using that term) I actually believe it will happen.

Anonymous said...

You are totally succeeding, Karen, and it is already evident!! =) Look at your pictures already, you are doing an awesome job. I always look forward to reading your stories.

Keep on succeeding, you big failure you! =) LOL

~TMcGee~ said...

I know this is an old post but I just had to comment. Reading about the success you have had with your 5 children just thrills this mother's heart. I'm still in the "nurturing and molding them" years (I have a 7 year old and a 3 year old). To read how they have a relationship with not only their parents but with God as well just makes this journey I'm on not seem as daunting. I often worry about the future years and if I will fail my children but I know I can't view the future that way. Ultimately, God is in control, not me and He loves our children more than we do. Anyway, just wanted to comment on that. Have a good one.