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Friday, December 28, 2012

Ask DrFran: Weighty Issues


Dear DrFran: 

I’m asking you this question, because I know that you know about mental health and self-improvement. If you don’t think it belongs here, could you just answer me privately, because I really need help with this.

Second Life is a perfect place to hide from the realities of daily life, and to avoid confronting problems. I am morbidly obese. While I have seen a few overweight avatars, they are usually for fun and laughs, because people who are fat are funny to most folks. However, my avatar is quite hot, and that’s how I want it to be. I say all this as an introduction to what I really want to say, and because it’s almost 2013.

Every year I make a resolution to lose weight, and every year I last for a few weeks before I am binging again. After the first binge there is no way that I could hate myself more. Yet, no matter what I do, I can’t tolerate the thought of never having another piece of chocolate or French fries.

I have tried all kinds of weight loss schemes, and no matter what I do, I end up going back to the old foods. I eat them for comfort, for peace of mind, and just because I like them. Help me to stick to my resolution this year. Help me to look more like my avatar. Thanks.  

Broken Promises


Dear Broken: If I were talking to you in First Life, I would never disclose personal information, but since we are virtual I will tell you this: I have maintained a large weight loss for 27 years, and I never, ever, ever make New Year resolutions.

Before you say: She must have tremendous will power, let me tell you also that I have horrid will power. What I do have is both the desire to remain slim along with some tricks that help me to keep from binging.

First of all, I don’t allow myself to think about not having French Fries ever again. I do the same thing the folks in Alcoholics Anonymous do, which is take things one day at a time. Instead of never having chocolate sundaes, I tell myself that I won’t have one today, and that if I want one tomorrow, I will deal with that then. Then tomorrow comes, and I say I won’t have one today. So far, this has worked for me.

Second, I got together a support group of women who wanted to lose weight, too. We connect on the phone, in text, or in person, to share how we are doing with our food plans. When the food is calling me from the kitchen, I get on the phone and vent my frustrations. Usually, my friends and I come to the decision that no food is going to change the way I feel in a meaningful way. In other words, a box of cookies is not going to bring back the guy who dumped me, or get me a better mark on a school paper.

Third: A food plan is a necessary tool in any weight loss program. After all these years I still follow pretty much the same food plan I started with 27 years ago! I never call this a diet any more. What I have is a plan for eating and living. I did go to a nutritionist in the beginning. Over time I have added and eliminated some foods from what I eat. How do I know what to cut out? That food that “calls” to me from the cupboard or refrigerator, it has to be removed from my food plan. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to accept that, but I really want to remain healthy more than I want to have what I want when I want it. Usually, my need to have something NOW is a warning that it’s not good for me. That goes for food, drink, men, etc.

I know you are saying: Big deal, you’ve been skinny now for a long time…what about someone who has been fat for so long? I will quote the philosopher Hillel, and ask: If not now; when? Please Broken, obesity is surely a killer. My parents recently moved to a retirement community, and I was surprised that all of the residents were of average weight or less. It took me a while to realize that obese people probably didn’t live long enough to make it to one of these communities.

So, while you are at your Second Life New Year festivities, resolve to make no resolutions, and begin the year by saying: Just for today I will eat in a way that is good for me.

I find also, that logging into Second Life instead of eating can sometimes fill my desire for food. I use Second Life as a distraction and weight loss tool when I am obsessing about sweets. I wish you all the luck in your endeavors. DrFran

If you have a question for DrFran Babcock, please send her a notecard, or you can email at: DrFranBabcock@mac.com

PS: Photo Credit. The photo was shot at: Sirenes et Moineaux Patisserie, Alchemy Immortalis (49, 39, 65), an amazing build.

DrFran Babcock

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