SAMUEL MOORE-SOBEL: Battle of the Bulge

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I am overweight.

I have just recently come to this realization, despite the fact that my doctor continually references my weight in relation to the BMI scale. Rather passive aggressively I might add, although somehow subtle enough to mostly escape my attention for the last year. A fact likely quite frustrating for the doctor.

Warnings have been provided by a few others, some commenting on a perceived uptick in the amount of food I have been consuming as of late.

Despite these tell-tale signs, I failed to readily detect the nearly forty pounds I have added to my waistline over the preceding twelve months. Until I was no longer able to fit into my pants. An embarrassing state of affairs, except that no one had to know before I wrote this column. Regardless, only after my inborn sense of frugality was offended did I begin to take notice of my rather dramatic change in appearance.

My struggle with weight is not a new one. I have spent the last several years making feeble attempts to attain a normal body weight in comparison to my height. Twice I have lost more than forty pounds through sheer force of will, adopting a rigorous self-imposed exercise and diet regiment that left me feeling more energized than ever before. Twice more, I have found a way to gain all of that unwanted weight back and more, struggling to maintain the habits previously forged.

Recent estimates suggest nearly 160 million Americans are either overweight or obese. If true, this would mean that about the half the country faces the same battle I am currently waging. So many of us work hard to achieve our goals, all while facing large obstacles looming in our path. We all have different stories. Genetics may play a part, as does metabolism. Even emotional health has a role. For this battle has implications extending far beyond our physical health or appearance.

Any physical change can be a symptom of something far deeper. My first weight gain – over fifty pounds in high school – was a result of a number of factors cascading all at once into an effective catalyst. My active lifestyle abruptly hijacked by an accident that stole my face, mandating the need for years of surgeries with months of recovery attached. Exercise gave way to the need for medications, pills serving only to contribute to my ever expanding stomach.

Many of you likely have a similar story. An accident, a breakup, a death in the family. All contributing to an inability to live life as once before, giving birth to a struggle lasting for years afterward. Making us feel hopeless in the face of such adversity. Filling our heads with negative self-talk, convincing ourselves that we will never achieve the physical appearance we see only in our dreams.

How easily we can become trapped in a vicious cycle, believing the lies we tell ourselves, unable to break free from the artificial jail cells so easily constructed. Ironically, this turn of events can make it that much harder to face the truth.

Yet a battle cannot be won by refusing to acknowledge its very existence. Confronting the parts of ourselves we wish to change is the first step towards becoming the person we desire to be. Hiding behind shame or self-pity will only sink us further into the abyss, rather than pushing us towards reaching previously unforeseen heights.

So yes, I am overweight; and yes, I could list plenty of legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons explaining the reasons behind my current reality. Yet after much consideration, I have decided to turn over a new leaf. To adopt a plan of action, determined to take responsibility for my diet in order to achieve a slimmer waistline. Attempting to lose weight incrementally, with the hope of maintaining once the desired level is achieved. I hope those of you finding yourself in a similar position will join me in doing the same. For I believe, just as I always do, that victory is well within reach.

Samuel Moore-Sobel is a freelance writer. To have words of hope delivered directly to your inbox, visit www.holdingontohopetoday.com to subscribe to his blog today.