Saturday, December 29, 2012

Permanent Weight Loss Requires Discipline, Commitment, and Exercise

Dear Tazi,

I am extremely obese and am not happy with the way that I look. I am barely five feet tall and weigh over 330 pounds. My weight is causing me medical problems such as asthma and diabetes. I tried taking up smoking because I have been told it speeds up your metabolism, but all it did was aggravate my asthma. I want to change but do not know how.

Every year around this time People magazine prints an issue about people who have lost half of their body weight and now look like beauty queens. My goal is to one day be featured in that annual article. I just don't know where to start. I have considered getting gastric bypass surgery, but I do not want to have to give up food completely. I tried the OptiFast diet and it did not work for that reason. I also hate exercise. It bores me, and the thought of going to a gym is upsetting; I am afraid that all the other people will stare at me because I am so huge.

Do you know of any way that I could lose weight without all of the discipline required to do so? I know this sounds lazy, but I am not. I am just scared of being judged and getting easily discouraged because I am not progressing as quickly as I would like.

Big Bertha

Dear Big Bertha:

If you bother to read the articles in People magazine that you reference, you will notice that a proper diet and regular exercise are a large part of how those profiled lost the weight and kept it off for good. I doubt that you reached your current weight overnight, and it is going to take several months to lose it. This is just the cold reality of the matter. You will have to be disciplined enough to stick with a long-term diet and exercise regimen if you are serious about reaching a healthy weight.

Your first step should be in the direction of your primary care physician's office. He or she will be able to direct you to a qualified nutritionist who will teach you how to eat healthy, control your diabetes, and still lose weight at the same time. S/he should also order blood work to make sure your weight gain is not thyroid related. As for joining a gym, I suggest that you research local fitness clubs in your area. Many of them may offer programs tailored to the extremely obese and could be exactly what you are seeking. Furthermore, professional trainers specialize in working with people who need to lose 50% or more of their total body weight. Your local YMCA or Jewish Community Center is a great place to start your search.

If you are completely against joining a gym at this point, your home and neighborhood provide opportunities to exercise. The stairs in your house make for a great manual StairMaster and neighborhood parks make for excellent places to go walking. In time, you will find you enjoy the way exercise makes you feel and will become less self-conscious as the extra pounds start to fall off of your body.

In order to be featured in People magazine, you will have to keep the weight off for a minimum of one full year, so you will have to remain committed to your new disciplined lifestyle if you wish to see your dream realized. I wish you all the luck in the world! Please keep me updated as to your progress.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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