The world outside

Friday, January 6, 2012 Permalink

I was reading an (Australian) Women’s Health Magazine while away at Christmas and came across one of those articles about celebrities that I usually skim or stay away from. You know the articles I’m talking about…. one of those, ‘how I look so fabulous’ type things and the celeb in question was an Aussie woman who started in TV as a weather girl before getting a few more gigs and now hosts a couple of national programs.

Natalie GruzlewskiDon’t get me wrong, the woman in question, Natalie Gruzlewski, is undeniably beautiful (and actually seems quite nice and down-to-earth). She and a few supermodels are some of the only women I’ve seen look good with long straight hair parted in the middle, worn the same way: day in, day out. But she seriously rocks the look, that’s for sure.

Anyway, usually I ignore such articles as the celebrities in question eat so ridiculously healthy that I can’t help but wonder what else they’re repressing with all of that self-control; or they purport to eat ‘what they want’ which is generally a big fat lie.

I skimmed this article keen to see whether Ms unpronounceable-surname was a vegan, vegetarian, no carbs after 2pm or no carbs at all kinda gal. But all of that aside, what caught my attention was her statement that her weight doesn’t fluctuate. WTF?! Shut the front door! Etcetera. I was taken aback as the concept seemed foreign to me. Ridiculously novel. Staying the same weight. Always. Imagine that?!

So I pondered on it a bit more and I realised that I needed to remind myself that there’s an entire world of people out there who DON’T have issues with their weight and whose weight and body shape stay the same. So while their eating and exercise habits may move about a bit, it’s never enough to invite the pounds to stay en-masse or send the kilograms packing.

In fact, I realised that I KNEW people like that. People who just always look the same. People who can wear stuff they wore five, or ten years ago. People whose weight fluctuates just a few kilograms now and then. Good god!

oceanIt was a reality check I needed. For the past 25-30 years my world has constantly been about dieting and exercise or about food and eating. It was all-consuming in my late teens and early 20s as I suffered through anorexia and bulimia, before manifesting as a simmering discontentment with life and years of yo-yo dieting.

I realise that obsession has perhaps increased over the past year with my focus on my recent weight-loss program. As I’ve said before; the program’s great, but there is a bit of a groundswell of cult-ish behaviour around it. I don’t quite know why and I don’t think it’s the fault of the program’s leader or its administrators. I can’t remember Weight Watchers or other programs being similar… although possibly the advent of online forums and Facebook pages (etc) means that WW members are running rampant as well.  And given that I’m prone to jump on board that all-or-nothing bandwagon, I realise I got caught up in it for a while – losing track of why I joined in the first place. And it’s been, quite possibly, to the detriment of other things.

Just a week or two ago I sent a weight-loss related tweet to someone on Twitter that I follow because of my interest in writing and blogging (I have two accounts but it gets murky!). They must have thought I was some sort of nutter, or wondered what I was trying to tell them!

the world outside the window..My world has become quite narrow. The writing blogs I used to follow have gone by the wayside because I’ve been focussing on diet-related ones. But given my recent New Year’s goals – particularly those related to my writing and work/life balance – this pondering has been a timely reminder that there’s an entire world out there that doesn’t revolve around ‘smashing’ out exercise sessions or counting calories. And… I think it’s time for me to re-engage with that universe.

In practical terms and in line with some resolutions I’m supposed to set for Weight Wars’ Happiness Online project: I have FINALLY set up Google Reader (and thanks for the encouragement Karen from Waisting Time!). And not only have I added the 40+ lifestyle / weight loss related bloggers I follow and comment on regularly…. but I have also added the writing (and blogging) blogs I once so diligently read.

I started last night, and you know what…. it seems there’s an entire world outside, and I just need to rediscover it.

Does anyone else tend to forget there’s another world out there?
Has anyone else let other interests slide because they’re too focussed on diet/nutrition and exercise?
18 Comments
  • lizzyaimee
    January 6, 2012

    ABSOLUTELY! My world had shifted 100% to the “healthy life is the only life” mentality and it nearly cost me some of my dearest friends, and found me hanging out with some very competitive over the top health nutbags (okay maybe a tad harsh) – and thankfully hubby pointed out to me that I was in fact one of the crazy ones myself and that I needed to relax a little bit! He also told me (very kindly – he wasn’t being an arse) that I am not Michelle Bridges and people are not joining her program to get advice from me! Hahaha! Just the reality check I needed! Good luck finding the balance – I am getting closer… I think?! xx

    • rockafellaskank
      January 6, 2012

      Ha! Sounds like the reality check was what you needed!

      I have been thinking about my blogging a lot recently and the fact that I’m not really a weight loss / diet / exercise /healthy living blogger. I am just blogging about my life, which has focussed on that for the past 8-9 months. I’m a bit stuck now how to extricate myself out of that world / blog into something more mainstream. Forced myself into a bit of a corner!

      Deb

  • Liz Nelson (@leanlizzy)
    January 6, 2012

    Hi Deb,
    I think it’s really important to have a life outside of that whole weight loss/diet/exercise blah blah blah triangle. Healthy living should enhance your life and the quality of activities outside your health activities – that is for certain!

    xx

    • rockafellaskank
      January 6, 2012

      I like to think it’s kinda something that just happens in the background… just something you do. Not ALL that you do!

      Deb

  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    January 6, 2012

    At one time I absolutely was defined by whether or not I had gained or lost weight…that was IT! It’s all I cared about. And this was pre-blog. I was a member of eDiets and posted quite frequently on eDiets message boards in a blog-like manner. I lost 55 pounds and became an eDiets “success story,” then went on to be on the cover of a weekly women’s magazine with an article inside, then did an eDiets commercial. And then I regained. It was then that I started blogging with the intention of seeing if I could get off the diet bandwagon and learn to accept myself. It was an experiment to see if self-acceptance would lead to weight loss (and it did…photos are on my blog under the *Results Not Typical” tab). I started opening my up my world a bit…wrote a book, too. Although you could call me a “weight loss” blogger, I consider myself to be so much more than that.

    Anyway, I remember at one point writing a blog post about this very subject…about all the energy and time women put into obsessing about how they look and how much they weigh and what if some of that energy were put into other pursuits?

    • rockafellaskank
      January 6, 2012

      I can’t even imagine what I would have done if I wasn’t ‘dieting or NOT dieting (binging)’ all of these years!

      Deb

  • Julia @ Boyfriends Make You Fat
    January 6, 2012

    Yes! I put as much effort into my dissertation as I do my blog, I’d have two PhDs by now.

    • rockafellaskank
      January 6, 2012

      Yep, I just said to Karen below, I don’t know what I would have done with my time, energy and mind if I wasn’t dieting or NOT dieting all of these years!

  • Karen@WaistingTime
    January 6, 2012

    Oh you made me laugh! I know I am wayyyy too focused on this world. The “healthy living” or whatever we call it place. I think about what I’m going to make for my next meal. What I’m NOT going to eat that I shouldn’t. Sigh. I need a life!

    Glad you are liking the reader:)

    • rockafellaskank
      January 6, 2012

      Loving Reader. Am currently at the hairdresser with my new laptop and accessing Google Reader to catch up on blog reading! Very easy – cos usually I open the same ones again and again and forget which ones I’ve checked etc.

      Deb

  • Amy
    January 7, 2012

    Hi, I just added your blog to my google reader a couple of weeks ago so first time commenting! My husband and I were discussing 12WBT not half an hour ago and saying how cult-like it all is. I think Bridges does perpetuate it a bit, whether intentional or not. I’ve done the program and have found that it’s just not for me – too intense, too much competition between members (and too much of me comparing myself to everyone else and coming up short!).

    I think I’m starting to find a balance between sitting on the couch and being a fully-fledged gym junkie, and that’s working for me right now. I use her cookbook all the time but I get annoyed when she says things like “This chicken curry that I have with no rice is something I only have as a treat meal, or maybe after I’ve done 2 hours of exercise” even thought it’s all of 360 calories. I find her quiite obsessive and I think it transfers to the members, which leads to the cultishness of it.

    Well, I’m just rambling now 🙂 But I did want to say that I’m enjoying your blog!

    • rockafellaskank
      January 7, 2012

      Thanks for commenting Amy. The post I linked to in the blog (about moderation) actually had the highest number of comments I’d previously received and I got a lot of comments via Twitter from those struggling with the program. I just can’t work out why it’s so full-on… but the Facebook pages etc just go crazy – let alone the Forums. I’ve met some great people through the program (in person and virtually) and can see its benefits, but I think I found that – on some level – it can be a lonely place if you’re not doing it with others or regularly going to training sessions. First round I did, but second round I made it to less training sessions and felt a bit like an interloper when I did go (same with the local end of year party)… through no one’s fault, but I just had been to less things than others and felt like a bit of an outsider.

      Some of my OTT obsessiveness I mention in the blog post, is because of my personality – I do realise that. Glad you’re starting to find some balance and that it’s working for you!

      Deb

  • snowangel12wbt
    January 7, 2012

    I’ve never really thought too much about the “cult”-ishness of the 12WBT program but I do agree that it does exist to some extent and that there is alot of competitiveness out there and comparison to others. I found myself making this mistake myself in my first round and it wasn’t until I backed off from the forums and discovered a lovely group of people on twitter (you being one of them) that I was able to find a way of making 12WBT work for me.

    There is no doubt that I have become somewhat obsessive about my weight loss and exercise but it is also something that is extremely important to me and I know that I need to stay very focussed to achieve my goals. My first round was all about the forums, my second all about twitter and this round is probably going to be a bit more introspective with my blog. I definitely love the support network that comes with 12WBT but I feel that I have drifted away from it a bit and found my own little network (twitter family) that is smaller, easier to manage and more “me”. Like you said it’s all about finding that nice balance that works for you.

    • rockafellaskank
      January 8, 2012

      I agree and COMPLETELY backed off from the Forums in my second round. The Qld Facebook crowd is pretty full-on as well. Every time I log onto Facebook I can see that there are 20+ updates (I no longer get the notifications thankfully). I can pick and choose what I read but some of the people are a bit OTT. *Sigh*

  • skinnygirlrobbins
    January 8, 2012

    I can totally relate to that! I think part of it is just that I can tell I am so close to where I am going and then…what? What will life be like when I am no longer either the fatty or trying not to be the fatty? (Actually have a blog post in the back of my mind about this)

    • rockafellaskank
      January 8, 2012

      I suspect it could be an anticlimax (though one I’m willing to endure!!!!). I’ve been THIN thin before and recall being paranoid that people (men) liked me BECAUSE of the way I looked. Plus I was constantly nervous about putting on weight. (I was anorexic at the time though, so not exactly ‘normal’ in my thinking.)

      Deb

  • Marion
    January 9, 2012

    Hi Deb! Well, I really understand what you’re saying. Weight and fitness is only one aspect of life. I really get depressed and crabby when I focus too much on weight in particular. Ask my family, they would all be nodding their heads in unison.

    I think your writing is very skilled and interesting. So I truly hope you pursue your writing goals.

    Happiness involves being happy with all aspects of your life. I’m constantly surprised at how low of a priority my looks/weight really is regarding my overall happiness. Good health, on the other hand, is pretty far up. Writing and advocating is important to my self-esteem. Many days, I sort of hate my job, but I love that I have the skill to professionally write and advocate, even though it is stressful. You will be happier overall if and when you write, even if it is articles that you are not paid for. You have many things to say.

    🙂 Marion

    • rockafellaskank
      January 9, 2012

      Thanks Marion – for your comment AND for the encouragement!

      Deb

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