So you like your privacy. You don’t want the world to know you’re concerned about your weight. You don’t want to share your feelings with anyone about your eating habits, least of all a roomful of strangers. No, you don’t want to go online and help charge up a bulletin board full of well-meaning folks. You just want to work quietly on your own, whittling away at the extra pounds. Is that too much to ask?
Of course not. Privacy is your absolute right. The Skinny Daily Post got its start among friends who prefer anonymity. It was a newsletter for people who didn’t know one another, a little email chain for friends and buddies of mine who know how hard it is to work at fitness and weight loss and sustain that loss over a long time. What works for you works for you. If privacy works for you, then be private about it, by all means.
But what if it stops working?
Oh sure, at first it was fine to hide away, cut back on portions, step up your movement without notice from family or friends. But after awhile, as the weight slipped off your weight loss began to slow down. The slower weight loss goes, and the more people notice, the more vulnerable you feel, vulnerable to criticism and vulnerable to temptation.
You’ve reached the hard lard, friend. With fewer pounds to go and several weeks or months behind you, the going can get pretty tough, and maintaining your privacy and weight loss even tougher. Now people want to know HOW you lost the weight, and despite your success, you’ll meet people who will criticize your method. Now people set you out as an example. Now people study what you’re eating. Now it’s hard to hide.
But you can get what you need now without submitting to group hugs, criticism, finger pointing. Here are a few ways to pump yourself up without exposing yourself to the elements:
Lurking is internet-speak for hanging out at a bulletin board or chat area without signing in or posting. Public boards actually encourage this behavior among new visitors. Lurk before you speak. Get to know the online neighborhood, the regular posters, the sense of humor, the inside jokes. By lurking online at 3fatchicks.com or lowcarb.ca, weightwatchers.com, or dwlz.com, you’ll find plenty of people in your boat who are asking questions and getting answers, commiserating and fuming over life during a sustained weight loss effort. It is frustrating, alright. No sense denying it. You’ll find like-minded men and women here, and the kind of comfort that comes from understanding you’re not alone. There is wisdom out there on those boards to help you out of tough spots, too.
Subscribe to a few newsletters. The Skinny Daily Post, of course, is available by email subscription, but try also Sally Squires of The Washington Post’s Lean Plate Club, which has an interesting chat on Tuesdays. I like Dr. Andrew Weil’s daily emails, if you can get past the vitamin ads. Sign on at drweil.com.
Pay weekly visits to a nutrition and fitness website or two, like coolrunning.com, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Nutrition Action Health Letter, cspinet.org/nah.
Curl up with a few good books. You’ll find Marion Nestle’s “Food Politics,” Walter Willett’s “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy,” and Kelly D. Brownell’s “Food Fight” make good reading when you’re busy fighting for your health. It’s just a great feeling to know these folks are in your corner, you know?
Your body log. If you’ve been following my column, you just knew I’d get to it. This is the introvert’s best friend. Your journal, your one true buddy, where you can dare to dump without any concern for revealing too much. Skim “Journaling” entries at The Skinny Daily Post for hints and help on keeping a Body Log, and some writing assignments to help you get started.
Of course you can do this work on your own. But know, too, that if you’re ever ready to work with other people, it’s not hard to find a counselor, weight loss physician, or welcoming community of folks who completely understand how to maintain privacy while working on weight management.