Common Weight-Loss Misconception Solution: Advocate for yourself

advocate for yourself -the 10 principles

Common Weight-loss Misconceptions Solution: Advocate for yourself

  • Do you advocate for yourself?

  • Life is messy; embrace it

  • Find out how to advocate for yourself

This post gives a solution to five common weight-loss misconceptions:
Advocate for yourself

All five misunderstandings were captured in a short diary entry written by a 13 year-old.
Rebecca courageously shared her weight-loss struggle
on the Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids Podcast.
To get the most out of this post, read Common Weight-loss Misconceptions Intro
(where you can hear Rebecca’s Diary entry)
& Common Weight-loss Misconceptions #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5.

Do you advocate for yourself?

Common weight-loss Misconception solution:

Advocate for yourself

Adult Rebecca reflecting on her 13 year old self:

“What really struck me… was how desperate I was to be found out. I was so ashamed of my secret but at the same time I was desperate for help. I just couldn’t deal with it on my own anymore. But I didn’t know how to ask for help.”

Problem:

Shame leads to secrecy and secrecy allows misinformation to go unchallenged. Then small problems become big problems. And big problems fuel shame.

Shame creates a vicious cycle that makes it harder and harder to advocate for yourself.

Kelly Clark

When you don’t talk to other people it’s easy to get the wrong end of the stick. I kept my weight-loss strategies to myself for years. It wasn’t until I opened up that I discovered a lot of my weight-loss strategies actually set me up to fail.

I wanted to write this post to encourage you to advocate for yourself. Find out why you should feel proud instead of ashamed. Then it’s easier to share your struggles.

advocate for yourself - secrecy - the 10 principles

My experience

When I was struggling with an eating disorder I burnt all my diaries. I pretended to have the flu so I could stay home alone. Each book was ripped apart and thrown into the fireplace. It was New Year’s Eve and I was trying to draw a line in the sand to mark a new start. I knew I’d regret it, but that was the point. I wanted to do something irreversible; something that would push me to try harder to stick to my (self-defeating) diet. This result would make losing all the stories, poems and artwork I’d compiled over the years worth it. But of course, upping the anti didn’t work.

Willpower was never the problem.

Believing I lacked discipline made me feel ashamed. So I wanted to keep my weight-loss struggles a secret. Isolating myself with misinformation made everything worse. It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds because I didn’t open up.

Sadly, I’m not alone. Lena Dunham and Rebecca, among countless others, avoid asking for help when they need it most.

I’m too embarrassed to tell them I want to lose fat… I didn’t want to tell her anything. She would think I was stupid.
-Rebecca from the GRTTWaK Podcast

Both Lena and Rebecca wrote about their weight-loss struggles in a diary at an early age. And both their entries highlight the misinformation they had about weight loss. Rebecca had body image issues all her life and went on to have an eating disorder in university. Imagine if any of us had shared our (mis)beliefs with someone nonjudgmental? Imagine all the time we would have saved and all the energy we could have put toward something we care about?

A stitch in time saves nine
Thomas Fuller

My first of many turning points happened during my first year at university. I went to the student health center and spoke to a doctor. She matched me up with a psychiatrist who helped me break down misunderstandings about eating and exercise; by then I’d been preoccupied by trying to lose weight for about five years. I’m so thankful I could get that help. It was the start of me understanding what was going on. Then I could make informed decisions and get healthy.

Asking for help at the Student Health Center was the first time I experienced how powerful it is to advocate for yourself.

My recovery
It took about as long to get healthy as I’d been sick. For five years (all of high school) I developed a complicated relationship with food and then for five years (all of university and teacher’s college) I started talking to different people and getting various pieces of information that helped me unpick all the tangled misinformation I’d collected. It took 10 years again after that to understand what had gone on! When I finally understood I no longer felt ashamed. And that’s when I started writing this blog.

Good news
The good news is that if you understand someone else’s journey you can save yourself a lot of time. I never spoke to anyone who had experienced an unhealthy relationship with food, so I didn’t understand a lot of the things I was experiencing. For example, I didn’t know that binging and purging could develop into a coping mechanism for stress. Learning from people’s mistakes speeds up your recovery.

advocate for yourself - learn from others - the 10 principles

Solution: Advocate for yourself

I am not a doctor, but I lived with an eating disorder for 10 years. Now, with seventeen years of healthy living behind me, I want to share the information that would have helped me when I didn’t understand how to: advocate for yourself.

We need to encourage people to share their experiences.

Pretending everything is ok to protect (or impress) people around you, doesn’t help anybody.

Life is messy. Learning is messy. Becoming the best person you can be is messy. Finding yourself in a difficult situation is part of being human and figuring out who you are.

When you accept this truth and understand overcoming obstacles gives you strength, knowledge and empathy you’d otherwise not have, it’s easier to advocate for yourself. It’s easier to say, “Hey, I’ve got a problem. Can you help?”

advocate for yourself - got a problem - the 10 principles

You can break the cycle of shame, secrecy, big problems and more shame by opening up with someone you trust.

Get to the heart of the issue. Then you can educate yourself, break down misinformation and build healthy habits.

Getting started

advocate for yourself - educate - the 10 principles

Find someone you can speak to as openly as a diary entry. Or write a diary entry about what’s going on and share it with someone you trust. Together you can figure out the next steps.

Advocate for yourself by educating yourself. You can:

  • ask for help
  • explain what’s going on
  • learn from other people’s mistakes
  • make a doctor’s appointment if necessary
  • read; do some of your own research

Here’s a good place to start. Consider reading and discussing the 5 common misconceptions that follow with someone who has your best interests at heart. When you understand why these approaches to weight loss work against you, you’ll be able to turn your attention to more constructive weight-loss strategies.

advocate for yourself - When you lose weight - the10principlesCommon Weight-loss Misconception #1:
Life will get better when you lose weight
It’s important to make losing weight a health goal you work toward rather than where you base your self worth. Focus on real beauty: your interests and how you use them. Read More

advocate for yourself - Weight-loss goals - the10principlesCommon Weight-loss Misconception #2:
Keep your weight-loss goals secret
Secrets isolate you with misinformation and turn small problems into huge hurdles. Being honest moves mountains quickly!
Read More

advocate for yourself - Daughter has an eating disorder - the10principlesCommon Weight-loss Misconception #3:
If you think your daughter has an eating disorder, don’t intervene
Don’t wait to be asked for help if you think your daughter has an eating disorder. You can prevent an eating disorder from escalating if your loved one has the opportunity to open up. Make yourself approachable, learn together and build in accountability. Read More

advocate for yourself - Weight-loss strategy - the10principles.comCommon Weight-loss Misconception #4:
Your weight-loss strategy is right
Stop blaming yourself and look at your weight-loss information. If you’re having trouble reaching and maintaining a healthy weight it’s time to try a new weight-loss strategy. Educate yourself! Learn what healthy eating and exercise look like and get a strategy to turn present habits into healthy habits. Read More

advocate for yourself - tomorrow will be different - the 10 principlesCommon Weight-loss Misconception #5:
Tomorrow will be different
Tomorrow will be different if, and only if, you do something positive today. Read More

 

advocate for yourself - misconceptions - the 10 principles

Troubleshooting: Advocate for yourself

If you speak to someone and don’t get his or her support remember, that is a reflection of them, not you. Don’t be silenced. Speak to someone else. Keep reaching out until you find someone who will listen and help. When you find the right person it will make your relationship stronger.

Summary: Advocate for yourself

advocate for yourself - coming of age -the 10 principles

Is an eating disorder a coming of age story?

An eating disorder is a coming of age story because overcoming a difficult obstacle makes you more equipped to tackle future situations. Rather than feeling ashamed and being silent, be proud of yourself for being proactive. Advocate for yourself.

If I could go back in time and talk to myself I would tell that young woman that it’s ok. It’s going to shape who you are.
-Rebecca from the GRTTWaK Podcast

If something is going on in your life and you’re not happy about where it’s heading, advocate for yourself. Effective problem solving begins with communication.

People all around us have eating disorders and suffer in silence… It would be my hope that if anyone out there is suffering and doesn’t know what to do, that they know they’re not alone and there’s lots of support groups out there…
– Rebecca from the GRTTWaK Podcast

Talking with others helps avoid common weight-loss misconceptions. Opening up is a sign of strength–not weakness.

When you advocate for yourself it will be your first turning point toward health. No matter how difficult you think it is to reach out, it’s worth it. Embrace vulnerability! Be open! It’s ok if you cry. Don’t let another day slip away without connecting with someone who will listen to what’s going on in your life.

Many thanks to Rebecca. By being open about her experience she has helped others understand why you should advocate for yourself–a choice that speeds up recovery.

Focus on healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

Next Steps:

Think of three people you could speak to about your experience. Decide who you’ll speak to first and plan the next steps together. Sign up for my weekly blog post (below) and you’ll receive one of the best strategies I learned. It will help you build healthy eating and exercise habits—or reach any goal.

Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

Advocate for yourself. It’s all about embracing the power of vulnerability.

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Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it

Do you remember a time you decided to advocate for yourself, or a time you didn’t?

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By | 2017-03-29T16:20:08+00:00 September 30th, 2016|Connect|3 Comments

About the Author:

Hi! I’m Kelly. I lost weight when I stopped dieting. And I got my life back. Here’s more about my turning point and why I’m passionate about sharing what I learned.

3 Comments

  1. Carole October 11, 2016 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I love the Java location for the first photo! Another great blog Kelly – keep up the good work x

    • Kelly Clark October 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Was great to go to Java 🙂 Love watching all the action on Queen Street.

  2. Alex Hope November 2, 2016 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Great (and refreshing!) content layout, thanks for putting in the work.

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Never Miss A Post Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it.
Never Miss A Post Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it.