This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
Let’s be honest. If you clicked on the link to this post because you were hoping for that ever-elusive final piece of the puzzle for fast and permanent weight loss, you’re going to be as disappointed as you’ve always been at every other article with an equally promising clickbait title. Because the truth is that there is no one simple trick that will help you manage your weight. Weight management is a long, constant battle that we work at day in and day out, with no shortcut to results.
There is one small piece of the puzzle that I can provide, which can be the difference between success and failure. Can you guess what it is?
That’s right. The secret to lasting weight-management is having a support system in place.
When I shared my obesity story a couple of months ago, I was flooded with emails from other women who were so sad to be able to relate to what I have gone through. Many women saw themselves in my story, relating to having partners who shamed them, hid them away and tried to force them into being thinner. They had never shared their own struggles with friends or family, and in many cases, they had been driven to extreme measures to lose weight, simply because they felt so alone and had no idea how to fix what they thought was wrong.
Understanding obesity as a disease instead of as a moral failing is the first step in making positive changes. But more than that, it is almost imperative to find your own support system to help you through your self-doubts, self-loathing and self-harm.
So often, I have tried to make lasting change only to find myself “falling off the wagon,” so to speak. One small personal failing could make me give up all together, and I’d end up back at square one or worse! But in time, I learned that it was okay to mess up once in a while. No one is perfect all the time. The trick is to keep going – to reach out and ask for help and let others lift you up when you’re down.
One thing that I took from all the emails that I received is that many people who struggle with obesity lament a lack of support in their lives. Either their partners are not very helpful, or they don’t have friends or family to lean on, or in some cases their support systems weren’t all they thought they were.
It is heartbreaking when we feel all alone, but the truth is that we don’t have to be. In this day and age, we are able to reach out for help with a few clicks. Countless facebook groups, forums and websites exist for exactly this purpose, and it can be a real boon. One such amazing resource is the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) Community, which (per their website) is a non-profit organization that exists to serve the needs of every individual affected by obesity.
The mission of the OAC is to elevate and empower those affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support.
In my previous post, I asked my readers to take a survey, and the results were really telling. There were well over 1,000 responses, and they showed that the experiences and concerns of people with obesity are very common and often shared by many.
- 52% said that their weight had been a concern for longer than a decade
- 48% said their biggest health concerns were cardiovascular disease
- The most common roadblocks to successful weight management were reported to be too much stress (57%), lack of time to exercise (56%), and inadequate sleep (48%), all of which add to the risk of cardiovascular disease
- More than 60% of respondents said that they have spoken to their healthcare providers about weight management and only 34% felt validated and supported.
I think it’s important to understand that making meaningful positive changes can begin with very small, sustainable changes in behavior. Involving others in our healthy behaviors can make them more fun and positive experiences.
One thing I am looking forward to as the weather gets warmer is hiking with my kids, going for evening walks with my local friends and cooking healthy meals with my husband. While these things sound like normal, everyday life, they are each their own form of support.
When I decided to work with Med-IQ, I was so grateful for the opportunity to re-learn how to see my own personal journey in a new way. Obesity is not a dirty word. It is a health issue like any other, requiring hard work, determination and a lot of help to overcome. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. I am so happy that I can help them spread this message to other people like me – those who do not want to be defined by how much they weigh but by their contribution to the world.
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