It’s a Weighty Issue: The Journey

Dr. Kate Marshall


The other day I was talking to a friend who was trying to motivate herself to lose weight.  “I’m going to tape a wedding picture of me on the fridge so that each time I want to overeat, I’ll think about how gross I am,” she said.   She was ashamed that she had “let herself go.”

I wished to support my friend’s spring intentions,  but wondered how resurrecting a picture of herself taken forty years ago could help, since she had tried this approach before with marginal results.

In the next few months, I will offer occasional posts about weight concerns and body image.  This  is a complex topic and I am in no way providing a comprehensive or exhaustive view of the range of issues or antidotes. 

In my practice, each person’s individual history and circumstances as well as previous successes and mishaps are taken into account in treatment planning.  As always, I welcome your feedback and comments!

My Journey

Many years ago when I lived on a small farm in rural Ohio, the ritual of diet and makover would arrive each spring.  Not more than 1,000 calories, absent all kinds of foods including rice, pasta, and the tasty whole wheat bread that my parents made, the “diet” was what I lived for and with for the next six months.  I went through grapefruit, soup, Atkins, and inventions of my own.  

My motivation was high as I knew that I would become desirable, beautiful and popular, all qualities that an awkward, shy unpopular fourteen year-old girl yearned for.  Miss America was my ideal.  Over the next few months, I would lose my twenty to forty pounds and get my new school outfit, only to discover that shyness and social awkwardness don’t disappear with weight.  Six months of penance and restraint followed an equal number of months of unlimited foraging. 

When I went to college I managed to slim down to a weight far below what my body wanted.  In  eight months, I regained eighty pounds.  It took a number of years to rebalance my life and I’ve learned several hard lessons along the way.  

Take a few minutes to reflect on your life.  What has your journey been like?  What have you learned? 

Kate, 197-204 lbs

  Authentic Images

Kindling and sustaining motivation is one of the keys to managing a balanced and healthy weight profile.  Maintaining  commitment is often about believing that we can accomplish our goals, and that the day-to-day trade offs are “worth it.”   

Pictures that motivate, promote our deeper value system and speak to our reasons for healthful living.  The evolve from the “inside out.”  Sincerely rendered but shaming images such as my friend’s are coercive and often lead to broken resolutions.

What images are inspiring and motivating for you?  Do any of them lose their impact over time?

Additional  Tools

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis can also be useful for stimulating and consolidating our possibilities, motivations and intentions.  Affirmative self-talk and practical visualization can also be effective means for increasing commitment.  These and many other tools can help translate the imagined into the tangible work of our lives.

In the end, my friend kept her wedding picture in the album where it belonged, and began to fashion a new picture of herself as a healthy empowered fifty-something woman.  You go girl!

One Response to “It’s a Weighty Issue: The Journey”

  1. Aspen Marks Says:

    Thanks for writing this. I do need to quiet down and ask myself a few questions on my own goals. I move too fast thru my life to really pay attention to what it is that drives me to emotional eating and other unconcious