Change or Die

12 Feb

This is going to be part book review, part big excitement about the new book I am reading, so here I go.

I finally finished Feast.  It was decent but not fantastic.  The writing was a little academic for the average person, so unless you’re really into anthropology, you might want to leave it behind.  There were also kind of a lot of typos.  It sort of felt like I was reading someone’s thesis which, now that I think about it, I probably was.  Overall, the book was pretty interesting in terms of the development and evolution of the human search for food, but I was underwhelmed.

Verdict: C+

As of last night, I have moved on to this book:

 Alan Deutschman’s Change or DieIt must be a decent read, as I had made it through the first ninety pages already by the time I got off the bus this morning.  I didn’t even sleep, which I always do!

The book begins by saying that nine out of ten people, when told that they must change their habits or literally DIE, will not change and will, in fact, die.  It goes on to say that most people are NOT inherently lazy and they really DO want to change, but they don’t have the right tools to make the change.  People understand what they need to do, but not how to work those facts into their own mindframe and life.

Deutschman says that people can change if given the right tools, and then talks about several different cases in which people have made major, amazing, significant, and often life-saving changes and then also managed to maintain the changes over at least five years.

I like his writing style.  It is approachable and easy to get through.  He doesn’t weigh the book down with lots of technical terms or theories.  Instead, he presents his ideas in clear, concise fashion with powerful examples.

This morning, rounding a corner in the city, I hit on what, for me, was a total revelation in terms of my own attempts at change.  Deutschman said that change can be terribly difficult for some people because it can invalidate everything that has come before.

If you have never struggled, time and again, unsuccessfully, to make a change… then you are probably not going to understand how this might work for someone.  However, here is how it made sense to me.

If I lose this weight, if I manage to get down to a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle, then I prove to myself that I CAN do this.  Sounds good, right?  Nope.  Not for some people… not for me.  Let me explain…

If I CAN do this, then why didn’t I do it before?  How could I, a smart girl, manage to continue to make stupid and harmful choices when all along I possessed the ability to do something about it?  How could I have let myself be so weak, so unintelligent about something so important?  Now those years I spent fat are a waste, a horrible reminder of my own weakness and stupidity, and I don’t know if I can deal with that.

Now this is the thought process spun out to its extreme, but there is an element of this process in my weight struggle all the time.  I think of it as self-sabotage.  If I succeed, somewhere inside I realize that then people will see only me, really me, and what will I hide behind?

Man, delving into weight issues is a fantastic way to start feeling a little neurotic…

Anyway, this book is exciting to me.  It is making me feel like answers are forthcoming, like this might really be the time that I make the change, stick with the change, and become the fabulously healthy person that I deserve to be.

I am still considering talking to a nutritionist, though I have discovered that I am apparently too healthy for insurance to cover it…..  You have to be suffering from something like high blood pressure or chronically bad cholesterol to have it covered.  All the same, I may go because it would sort of be like food therapy for me, and I think that is exactly what I need.  Unfortunately, it means sitting down and working out a budget first to make sure it is something we can afford.

Wouldn’t you think the insurance company would be jumping at the chance to pay for the (relatively) small cost of a nutritionist, especially given my history with weight issues, rather than waiting for me to need heart surgery or diabetes treatment?  Well, no.  American healthcare is all about the power of modern “fix-it” medicine, not preventative health.

P.S. — in case this post needed to be any longer… I got on the treadmill again this morning!  I am very excited by the prospect of weighing myself on Friday!

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One Response to “Change or Die”

  1. irunwithscissors February 12, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Yay for treadmill! And boo for the american health care system! they suck!

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