Weight Loss and Marriage: The Schow’s from Alpine, Utah

Weight loss can affect every relationship in your life, from even the most casual acquaintances, to best friends, to co-workers, family members and even spouses. The effects can be positive or negative.  I feel blessed in that I feel my weight loss has not come between me and my friends, acquaintances or co-workers or family.  It has opened doors of conversation that were not present prior to my weight loss.  I feel it has enhanced most relationships and added new dimensions to others.    This isn’t always the case.  Some that I know have lost best friends and even spouses over their weight loss.

Elizabeth Bernstein, who writes the Bonds Column for the Wall Street Journal,  looked closely at the effects of weight loss on marriage relationships.  The Schow’s are one of her case studies.

Jarom and Betsy Schow have been married for over 12 years and their biggest marriage/relationship conflict was centered around Betsy’s weight.  But the Schow’s marriage improved in the face of the wife’s weight loss.  Weight is a difficult subject in any relationship and even rougher in a marriage. Jarom had often said things to Betsy like “That’s not made for your size, Sweetheart” in an effort to get her to change her outfit.   Yes there were arguments, many.  Betsy stopped going to family dinners with Jarom and slept in separate bedrooms. She obsessed about her weight but nothing changed.

A turning point came one night after Betsy threatened divorce and didn’t leave but she kept on obsessing about her weight.   Jarom felt if he could calm her down and get her to feeling better they could work toward a resolution.  One night her husband quietly said to her as she was talking obsessively about her weight yet again “Turn off your thinker and go back to sleep.”  This seemed to change things for Betsy, she stopped extreme dieting and instead focused on watching her portions and getting some exercise. She even began to take up running in time.  After she lost 75 pounds, they began hiking and biking together.  Betsy noticed that her excess weight wasn’t a focus point in their marriage any longer.  She felt she had made the issue bigger than it needed to be and Jarom and Betsy, together, they felt they had been given an opportunity to change the discussion. Before they were in an endless loop of ‘I am fat.’ ‘No, you aren’t” and now they could discuss things from a much more calm place.   Mrs. Schow stated, “As I started to fix myself, I stopped fighting myself, so I stopped fighting him, too.”

 We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.
Joyce Meyer

 

Love 17

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Weights & Balances (Year 3 Issue 1) June 3, 2015

June 3 2015

Weights and Balances (Year 2 Issue 43) – March 25, 2015

March 25 2015

Just “ONE” Wish…

This is the time of the year where we all wish just one work out would whip us into shape!  One meal would make us thin!  There are some other “one” wishes I would love to have come true, one pill would cure-all cancers, one meal would feed all the hungry, one house would be a home to all the homeless and one prayer that would unite people of all races, cultures and languages to live in peace and harmony.

Once we reached a certain age, we learned that just wishing doesn’t make anything happen.  We must put some action behind our wishes and dreams to make them come true.

“A dream is a wish  your heart makes”
 

We all know that popular Disney song but we know as with anything in life, we have to work for it, and weight loss is no different. If you are trying to set your mind on losing excess weight and becoming healthier for the approaching next year, it does begin in the head.  Wishing you could do it is a start, a small start.  I suggest approaching your weight loss and greater health just as you would any major purchase.  Get on-line, read the consumer reviews, read all you can about nutrition, exercise and weight loss.  Ask friends and acquaintances what they would recommend or what has worked for them.

I might not be a friend or an acquaintance but I will share with you what has worked for me. I have lost over 120 pounds living the Weight Watchers Lifestyle.  I will not kid you, it is not easy but it is simple.  The basics of eating right and moving are the foundations of Weight Watchers to which you add: proper portions of foods, more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, more water, and some fun type of movement (exercise).

You aren’t leaving behind doughnuts, pizza, candy, pastries and bread but you will learn that by eating those in proper portions and in moderation you can enjoy all the things you love and learn to love how great you are feeling. I like the phrase from one commercial, what will you gain when you lose?  Greater health is priceless.  You can’t buy good health and this is a treasure worth pursuing!

Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
The first thing you need to get into your head is that diets do not work!  They are a temporary solution for a permanent problem.  A lifestyle change is the path to success and permanent weight loss and greater health.

Another good thing to get into your head from the beginning is that losing weight will not:  make you happy, make you beautiful, make your marriage work, make you have more friends, make you popular, make you a fashion/swimsuit model nor will it cure depression or emotional issues.

Healthy weight loss will:  help your total health, change how you look, change how your clothes fit, open you to new experiences and opportunities, make every day things easier to do and enable you to make some internal changes.

At some point, you will have to face what is eating you–tempting you to eat poor food choices or improper portions. This is not easy and takes: time, patience,  brutal self-honesty, and lots of brain-sweat equity.  How can you go about this aspect?  This might involve; journal-ling your feelings before you eat, or after you have binged, or some time with a professional counselor.

Many years ago, I went to see a counselor and he said something to me that puzzled me a lot for a long time.  He said that based on my personality I had to work very hard to stay overweight.  Through the years, I have started understanding what he meant.  I had used being overweight as a wall/protection between me and other people.  I had created my own self-fulfilling prophecy, I felt that I was going to be rejected by people (men in particular) and I did whatever I could to make sure I would be rejected (on my appearance alone) and I could say “see I knew (he) didn’t really like me, I was right.”  Being right has been very important to me through the years.  This has been a tough one, to accept and learn that I did not need to be right about everything!  It was ironic really, I was so “right” but yet so “wrong” about myself!

The last few years, I have spent a lot of time journaling about things going on in my life, my thoughts, feelings and anything else I wanted to write about.  I started noticing some common threads and started learning some new coping mechanisms.  The journaling has helped me to see that “if hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the answer” and to hour by hour test myself (hungry or something else) to keep on the healthy track.

I would encourage anyone who wishes to be healthier to spend time inside their own head, perhaps with the guidance of a professional to learn new strategies for dealing with emotions, food and people.

Food is not the answer

Weights & Balances (Issue#49) – May 14, 2014

May 14 2014

The Visual and Intellectual Disconnection in Weight Loss

“Seeing is believing!”  This is a very familiar idiom.  Can we always see things accurately?  Do we perceive what we have seen correctly? Do we always interpret what we have seen correctly? Honestly, no we do not! Why? Because some of us have perception/interpretation issues.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

What is body dysmorphic disorder?  There is a phenomenon called “Phantom Fat” (body dysmorphic disorder) which happens to many people who after having lost a tremendous amount of weight and reached a normal BMI, still see the obese person who they used to be.   There seems to be a great amount of “lag time” between what we see and what we know.  The mind-body connection has been broken/interrupted.  Some people adjust while others never adjust and see themselves as they are now and regain the all the weight they have lost.  Research has proved that changing body image is much more difficult than changing the physical weight on the scale.

My Self-Diagnosis

When I started this voyage of greater health and weight loss; I hung a pair of jeans that I had not been able to wear in a few years on my closet door.  I tried to squeeze into them and they were at least six inches from being able to be buttoned or zipped!   I KNEW when I could fit into that pair of jeans; I would feel thinner, accomplished and healthier.  Before I knew it, I was wearing those jeans and they became so big, I had to put them into my donation stack!  But how did I feel?   No different really.  I was happy but I didn’t feel any different!  This can be a real problem for people losing weight if they do not feel any different.  Physically, I was feeling so much better.  My energy levels were getting better, but I didn’t feel  or see my body any different than I had at the beginning.

I had a picture taken of me back in January (not my choice!)  when I first started Weight Watchers and put it alongside a picture where I had lost 20 lbs. (again not my choice) and then I asked a co-worker to take a current picture of me.  I had just reached my 50 lbs. lost milestone.  I added my new picture and put it beside the other two.   What did I see?  I could not see the difference between the first picture (before) and the current picture (during) after having lost 50 lbs.   My co-worker said to me, “What do you mean you can’t see the difference?  There is a huge difference!” I looked at her and shrugged my shoulders; I could not see the difference.   Below are the pictures I referred to.

2013 Progress

Despite what I haven’t been able to see in those pictures, I have kept focused and lost more weight since then.  I will soon reach my 75 lbs. lost milestone and I will take a new picture and to put beside the previous pictures.  That will be an interesting comparison to say the least!

I have read there are ways to overcome the body dysmorphic disorder and found some of the ideas/suggestions interesting.  Apparently some people have a “light bulb” realization that their bodies have changed and are different and for others it comes much slowly.   I think I am one of the “slow” learners in that regard.   I will try some of the suggestions and see if any make things “click” for me.  Here are some great suggestions for overcoming the body dysmorphic disorder:

Wardrobe Switch

One night at a family gathering, a woman’s sister, who is of average size, came up with an idea. She asked to switch clothes with her sister.  She told her sister that she felt they were the same size.  The sister put on her sister’s clothes and much to her surprise, they fit!  That was mind-blowing that her tiny sister’s clothes fit!  She found out she and her sister were exactly the same size.

Lotion Therapy

“Lotion therapy” has helped many to connect their head to their body. Lotion therapy is very simple, each day you gently apply lotion to your whole body.  This instills a person to “feel” their body, take care of it and give it respect. This re-connection of the head and body has prompted many to want to address her weight issues and to help them to truly know what size they are.

Tracing Shape/Size Exercise

A dance therapist who works with clients who have body dysmorphic disorder, pairs people off in her workshop. She tapes large sheets of paper against the wall and asks them to trace their partner’s body shape/outline.  They trade places and the other person traces their body shape onto a large sheet of paper.  When they both step away from the paper and see the outline of their body shapes they are often truly surprised by how small their shape really is.

Magazine Pictures

To help get a more accurate picture of yourself, ask family and friends to cut pictures out of magazines of real women who are your size, to point out in crowds women’s bodies that resemble yours.  When you look at the pictures, repeat this phrase:   “This person is similar to me” several times.  This will help your mind to embrace your new body shape.  Seeing a stranger who has a similar body type/size will not trigger your emotional associations of seeing a picture of yourself.   This helps to free your mind to accept your new body shape/size.

Spinning

As children we often spun in circles until we felt a great sensation.  The physical act of spinning helps your body to become centered and aligns your body’s energy axis.  Throw your arms into the air, look toward the sky and spin!  This exercise is believed to help your mind and body connects in a different way and allowing your mind to embrace your body and enjoy the feeling of being disconnected within.

Walking in the Dark

Turn off your lights and close your eyes and walk around the room.  When you’re walking in the dark, you cannot rely on your eyes – or current picture. You’ll have to rely on your memory of the room, conscious and sub-conscious, and will have to have heightened senses to keep from falling over or banging into things. This will jog up your brain and your energy fields as well as you start sensing with your whole body. If you can do for about 10 minutes a day you’ll find yourself being more aware of your current body, not your previous mental image.

Walking backwards.
The connections between body and brain, front of the feet and heels, front of the body and the back all come alive because of challenge of walking backwards. This actually corrects blocks in the energy field in your spine and neck which are usually around if a person’s current body image and sub-conscious body image isn’t the same.  (I do the elliptical backwards at times which I know engages different muscle groups and makes some muscles work even harder so this sounds reasonable!)

Hand Coordination exercises

Every time you do something that requires both the sides of your body to match each other, you are supporting the two sides of the brain in connecting up, and when this happens what follows is that the sub-conscious brain is connected with the conscious and helps body image to get corrected.

I haven’t tried these suggestions yet but I plan on trying each one of them and see what differences I notice/feel for each.   Here is one I have experienced:

 Retail Therapy

If you are having a hard time believing what you see, it is suggested that you go out for some retail therapy.  Not to buy but to get a clear idea of the size you truly are now.  Find something you like and select a size you feel would fit and head to the dressing room.  Many have reported that they grabbed a size they felt would fit and ended up with something two sizes smaller to get it to fit properly.  It is thrilling feeling when you try on something you thought would never fit and it fits!  Earlier this year, I took a pair of size 16 pants (no “W” in front of the size) into a dressing room and thought I know these will never ever fit me and then when I pulled them up and zipped and buttoned them I was amazed!  The pants were too snug to wear to work but I knew I was close to being able to wear that size, a smaller size than I had worn in a few years!  (that size 16 pair of pants that I was so excited to wear are in the stack of clothes I can no longer wear – too big– I am preparing to donate!)

Inspiration Clothes

I keep “inspiration” clothes hanging on my closet so I can keep pushing forward to get into the next size, etc.  It all started with that pair of jeans that I mentioned earlier.  I have found “inspiration clothes” to be an excellent tool for me in my weight loss! This year that first pair of jeans, several pair of pants, another pair of black denim jeans and a new pairs of pants have hung on my closet door and have been able to join the clothes— inside my closet!

I currently have a green dress hanging on my closet which I keep eyeing that I want to wear for my birthday in five weeks.  We shall see how close I come to accomplishing that goal!  I know I can get my body into the dress now, but it fits like an extremely snug sausage casing!  I feel ten more pounds and it should fit fine.  If all goes well I will be posting a picture of me in that green dress soon!  It might be for New Years instead of my birthday but either way, it is still good!

Continuing Frustrations

The other side of this coin is that I “know” those inspiration clothes are smaller than I was wearing previously but as I get into them, I start thinking, “Oh this must not be as small as I thought it was!”  I have talked to others who have experienced the exact same thing.  So I know I am not alone in this.

I am not sure what will be my “light bulb” moment, but I know it is coming!  I know research has shown that those who can align their body image with reality are more likely to keep the excess weight off; I want to keep all my excess weight off, be active and be healthy!  I will give a good update on this in the future, hopefully soon!

UPDATE:  (12/04/2013)

I promised an update and here it is!  I have now lost 77.4 lbs and took a new picture, and I CAN see the difference!   I have been trying to see myself differently and most of the time I do see myself differently but I am a work in progress!  Last night I was laying in bed and could reach around (a victory in itself!) and I could feel my the back side of my rib cage.  It isn’t buried like it used to be!  I am now less than 10 pounds from what I weighed when my dad died in 2007 which is another major accomplishment!  Goal and lifetime, here I come in 2014!

2013c Progress