Monday, December 13, 2010

Change of Direction or...Overwhelmed by the Weight of It All

Those of you who are still dropping by my blog have no doubt noticed that I am blogging less and less often. There are basically two reasons for my lengthy absences: life and the fact that I am edging closer and closer to a complete change of direction.

You may have also noticed the complete revamp of my blogroll. Gone are the overtly dieting blogs. I'm sorry to have removed these blogs from my blogroll. If I chose them in the first place, it's because I really liked the writers behind the blogs and in fact, I continue to feel the sincerest good wishes towards these bloggers. And yes, I do still read them from time to time.

You'll notice that most of my blogroll is now made up of IE (intuitve eating), HAES (health at every size) and FA (fat acceptance) blogs. Every person on the face of the earth has a unique point of view. I am no exception. I therefore don't necessarily agree with every single word in the blogs I suggest, but they are much closer to my way of seeing things than the dieting blogs.

Yes, the good ship NewMe is slowly taking a new direction. After spending almost two years in the diet blogging universe, I realized that it's really not for me. There are many reasons for this change of heart.

I think I really started to feel uncomfortable with the diet blog world a few months ago when I ran across a blog that lots of fellow bloggers/readers were raving about. I started reading it every day, in fact several times a day, and I read all the comments too. I became addicted to this blog...and really not in a good way. It was filled with hate and disdain for anyone who was not following the extreme path towards weight loss that this blogger had chosen. It was filled with profanity (and believe me, I have been known to let fly with a few choice words from time to time) that I found unnecessary, demeaning and debasing. But what disturbed me by far the most was how the readership (filled with pleasant, serious bloggers I also read) followed the writer's lead with nary a peep. It was as if they actually couldn't see all the hateful blather before their eyes and instead concentrated solely on the writer's stellar weight loss achievements. And indeed, these achievements are amazing (and I imagine still are, though I have avoided reading the blog for awhile now), though I believe that they are totally unsustainable.

I realized that we are all looking for a miracle and that miracles don't exist. Make no mistake about it: I include myself in this group and it doesn't make me glad at all.

As I went cold turkey from the hate blog, I discovered Debra's Just Maintaining, a blog that in my opinion, really tells it like it is. Although Debra is one of the favoured few who has lost a substantial amount of weight and kept it off, she has no illusions about how hard both losing and maintaining are, and she is well aware of the fact that the vast, vast majority of people just can't keep the weight off.

What has particularly impressed me about Debra's blog is the amount of research she puts into her posts. Her meticulousness on the research front has actually practically stopped my own blogging dead in its tracks. I just don't feel that I can make any statements without backing them up with copious research, as is the case for Debra. So Debra, I owe you a debt of thanks for your amazing blog, but sometimes I feel you've set the bar so high that I can't imagine jumping over it myself!

And finally, my own personal experiences with weight loss since I started blogging, coupled with the research and reading that I have done, have increasingly led me to see the whole issue as so vastly complicated--both on a physiological and a psychological level--as to be virtually impossible to tackle.

The plain truths, like "calories in-calories out" are not so plain and certainly not so truthful; the role that gender plays in weight loss is truly frightening (the female body, which is naturally less muscled than the male body, is by definition at a disadvantage in the weight loss sweepstakes); the extent to which we in North America are surrounded and tempted by terrible food; the extent to which we learn to both crave and fear all foods (both good and bad) in this upside down world; the amount of hatred and self-hatred when it comes to being overweight....

...the weight of it all is overwhelming.

Like one of my favourite bloggers (you know who you are), I too "think too much". It is both a blessing and a curse.

I continue to stumble along, fighting my own weight demons and sometimes even fighting the demons I see around me. Stay tuned.


  1. Wonderful, heartfelt, intelligent post here, NewMe! Thank you for expressing these thoughts so articulately.

    To carry this conversation a bit further...I don't think I could be a responsible weight loss attempter, or even a caring person, if I did not embrace HAES and the fat acceptance movement. I don't think anyone fully (or even mostly) understands the complex physiological aspects of obesity and weight loss. YET. Maybe someday.

    In the meantime, I will do what I can within good reason (& within the limits of sanity, I hope!) to maintain my weight loss, knowing that I too could be struggling again any day. Well, any minute. :)

    I hope you will keep blogging. Share your insights, ideas, and feelings as you desire. I will remain a loyal reader, although a somewhat anonymous one.

    Take care of yourself; you are unique, you know. You share many interesting ideas and you express them well. Also, I really enjoy reading your views on all these issues, not simply your intellectual perspectives but your feelings too. :)


  2. Thanks, Rebecca! I really enjoy your insightful comments too!

  3. Hi, NewMe. I wrote to you by email, but I also want your readers to know that the LAST thing I would want is to scare you off the internet. Keep offering your perspective and insights to the world. An open and ever-evolving mind is a thing of beauty. The world needs more NewMes, not one fewer.

  4. Hi,
    Well, not sure if my blog got deleted (I am okay with that). I have always said that beautiful people come in every shape and size. Beauty, in my world, is defined by attitude. I know a lot of thin and big people that are "ugly" to me because, they never smile, never tell a joke, never volunteer their time, never share anything. Beauty is so complex.

    Hang in there. I am seeing non-scale victories but, the scale is still not nice to me!

  5. I think this is a good direction for you, (and thank you for mentioning me!) because it is clear that there are a lot of toxic people out there in the world of weight loss. The level of cruelty and judgement is shocking, and it really is best to withdraw from it. The people behind those blogs, even when they use real names and pictures, are still "hiding" from the consequences in that I sincerely doubt any of them treat people as poorly in their "real lives" as they treat them on-line. The one you are talking about, and I know who it is, could only behave so abominably in person if the individual were wealthy and self-employed. Freedom from direct social censure causes some people to display their worst, especially when they feel empowered to do so by the support of people who are generally of better character.

    I still read some blogs, obviously, I subscribe to yours, and I think that Debra's blog is good but relatively overly concerned with research and biology. I think that the agenda there is to somehow lay everything at the doorstep of biology in a manner which I find sterile and of limited utility. I'm all for fat acceptance, but not through sifting through medical research and trying to take an approach which is reductionist in nature. We are biochemical machines, but we are also more than that. We can use psychology to alter biology through time. Ignoring psychology (and she generally does do so) is leaving out a huge chunk of the process which relates to food and health.

    That doesn't mean her blog isn't of value, but rather that it has its place, and no one should attempt to take that place but rather find their own perspective. You don't have to "live up to" her blog. You just do what you want to do and there will be inherent value in that.

  6. Almost Gastric Bypass by any chance? I commented on one of his posts and asked him whether he 'got off' on the failure of other people to lose weight. He then proceeded to misrepresent me (and get my gender wrong) based on reading and miscomprehending my weight loss blog. He also took some time to think about the answer to my question.

    I've read at least one post from over a thousand weight loss blogs over the years. He is the most unpleasant and hateful WL blogger I have come across.