Skinny Daily Post


From time to time, I’m given to reflect on why exactly it is that I do what I do with this whole weight management thing. After all, despite having no real authority or expertise, I voluntarily place myself out there in the world as a ‘role model’ and draw specific attention to myself, my journey and my experiences.

As I was out doing my standard 9-mile Sunday run today, I was thinking about the fact that the first 40 years of my life I spent 95% of the time overeating and 5% of the time starving myself. I’ve only had five years of healthy eating, and even then I have my lapses and challenges. If anything, my main experience in life with food and eating has been what NOT to do!

So why do I feel qualified to lead a weight loss support meeting or write a column on weight maintenance? I think its mostly because of my ego. And I don’t think of that as a necessarily negative thing. I have a strong desire to feel as if I can help others and to feel that I have something valuable to contribute.

Every now and again, a member in one of my meetings has said something, or a reader has sent an e-mail that makes me feel embarrassed, insulted, or hurt. At times like that, I reflect on my Mother.

When I was a kid, my Mother was a politician. She started out in the League of Women Voters, then became a town councillor, was eventually elected mayor, and finally served in the state senate. None of these jobs paid anything worth mentioning, and they involved long and gruelling hours. But she loved it.

Whenever someone challenged me and said ‘all politicians are corrupt, there must be something that she is doing wrong’ I would say ‘My Mother has the purest motive of all. She’s not in this for the money. She’s not in this for the electoral campaign. She’s not even in it for the power. She’s a politician because she likes to be in the spotlight, she likes to be a part of something, and most of all, she likes to stand up as a valuable role model and leader in the community.’

Ironically enough, my Mother has a thicker hide than I do, and she’s much better at handling the critics. But she has taught me that its okay to put oneself into the forefront, warts and all, and still feel able to say something worthy and helpful.

An unexpected part of all of this for me is that by putting myself out there I have come into contact with lots and lots of amazing people that I never would have found otherwise. There are many wonderful, funny, insightful, caring and warm people that contribute comments to the Skinny. Each week I work in meetings with dozens and dozens of people who inspire, educate and motivate me.

It may be my ego which gets me to write this column and pretend to be an expert. But the payback is fantastic, and I feel the richer for it. I was recently listening to a former newspaper columnist who used to write about his life in Paris, but decided that as soon as he began saying and doing things with the express intent to turn them into story ideas, he decided to come back to the U.S. I respectfully disagree with that guy. For me, the opportunity to make new choices, see the world in a different way, and to engage myself fully in the process is the whole point.

So, thanks. If it weren’t for you reading this piece today, I might be sitting in the kitchen scarfing down a box of oreos.

5 thoughts on “Vanity Fair

  1. Greta says:

    The beauty of having you as role model is that you understand the struggle. If you were “perfect” or suddenly transformed into a “natually thin” person you’d lose your ability to inspire. The struggles and successes that you post are inspiring because we have been in your shoes. I am glad that you take the time to write an article here almost daily that I find so inspiring. Thanks for sticking your neck out. You do the equivalent of writing a daily column in the newspaper while having a full time job and not getting paid for the writing. I appreciate it.

  2. stretchy says:

    Being thin in the time of dieting adds a weird pressure to what you do. Many people don’t want to hear the truth. The truth is that if we give up we will very possibly gain back those many , many pounds. I know for me it would be devastating to carry that burden again. It made me feel old and sad.

    Some days it is hard to exercise “vigorously” and journal what I eat. When I see it as a lifestyle, it is much easier. I don’t question it, like cleaning house or working, it is simply another “must do”.
    When I see it as a diet, it becomes a prison I must escape from via snacks.

    Your posts shine little beams of light into lots of dark corners.
    people benefit from your thoughts and confessions. You are brave and it is wonderful that your ego is strong and healthy.

    Your “In a Mirror…” post made me see how clothing sizing was actually upsetting me. I didn’t realize the negative impact it was having on my body image. I won’t let clothes depress me any longer, now that I am able to laugh about it a bit.

    Your posts make me think.

  3. Debbie says:

    For a long time, I would only remember to read your articles sporadically…but lately, it is one of the very first things I do! Thank you for taking the time to share your trials and tribulations, it’s so nice to know that there are others on this journey to a better lifestyle!

  4. london slimmer says:

    I enjoy your posts, too, Jonathan, and especially like the idea of a website devoted to weight maintenance, rather than weight loss.

    I’m on maintenance and when people notice that I’m careful about what I choose to eat and (almost) always go for the healthy option, the steamed dish, the veggies, the salad without dressing, etc. they are always amazed and the response is, “But you don’t need to diet – you’re so skinny!” For me, though, I do need to diet, not in the sense of taking in fewer calories than I expend (I maintain on 1,950 a day), but in the sense of monitoring what I eat. I have a history of overeating and need to be always vigilant around food. I AM skinny (112lbs), but only because I’m careful! Maintenance can be difficult and boring and sometimes I mistake myself for that naturally thin person who can eat the three chocolate cakes. Your website is one of the things that helps me to stay on track.

  5. Laurie says:

    I am thankful for your ego. 🙂 I love reading your articles and many things you write really hit home. You are never boring and always hold my attention. There are so many weight loss/diet sites out there, but few that deal with the whole weight maintenance issue. I hope you keeping posting articles for a long time to come. I am never bored by anything you write.

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