On the weight loss site that I am on, there is a discussion going on about obsession versus vigilance when it comes to those of us that have lost a lot of weight. The question is where does one draw the line between being "obsessed" with activities related to maintaining our weight and not regaining and where is it simple vigilance?
Many times I - as well as others on the site - have heard from acquaintences, friends and even family members that we are "obsessed" with eating right and/or exercising. What does that mean? Personally, I believe that obesity is a disease. It is a disease for me that I have not "cured" but rather I'm in remission from it right now. I have not yet met anyone who was truly obese who lost the weight and now doesn't have to take measures that "normal" people don't have to to maintain the weight loss. Maybe they are out there, but I haven't met them yet.
So I guess I compare this to the diabetic who has to check his or her sugar and check labels for sugar content. Or how about the person with Celiac Disease? Are they "obsessed" when they check to make sure something is gluten free? I worked with a woman whose daughter had a severe nut allergy. So before she would bring something home for her she would ask, ask and ask again - "Are you SURE this does not have nuts in it?" Is that obsessive or vigilant?
I told a story on the site about last summer. Marc and I were on vacation. We were in a touristy area and there were ice cream stands all over. I had literally not had ice cream in over a year - and I LOOOOVVVEEE ice cream. I began crying - yes actually CRYING - because I wanted some ice cream SO BAD but it was not "allowed". I did not see it then, but now I can see it for what it is, my friends, obsessive and unhealthy. If my standards are so rigid that I break down in TEARS over a food?
On the other side of the coin would be wanting to know which restaurant we are going out to eat so that I can check the menu and calorie counts of some of the dishes. THAT is being vigilant. It doesn't cause stress and drama and fear, it is just part of the management of my disease.
The same goes for exercise - I am vigilant about making sure that I exercise daily. But when I get to the point where I am having severe anxiety or can't adjust my plans? That is obsessive. I am slowly getting better about this!
I have to remind myself, sometimes several times a day, that I worked HARD to lose this weight. I don't ever want to gain it back. But I also don't want to be so focused on NOT gaining that I lose sight of the whole reason for losing weight in the first place - to have a better life!
What are your thoughts on obsession versus vigilance?