Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Oprah Effect, or is it affect

I actually looked it up and I still don't know which is correct. Maybe both in this context.

Oprah recently admitted to having gained the weight back that she had lost. As a comedian commented, she didn't really have to make the announcement. When you gain weight, it's not a secret.

I had a bit of a connection with Oprah since we ran the Marine Corps Marathon together. OK, not together; she was in the front with her entourage, I was in the back with a few friends. But, I've always admired her for taking on the challenge of the marathon knowing that there would be cameras to capture her every step. By the way, her time that day was over 30 minutes faster than mine.

But, I've also admired her for her honesty about her struggles with her weight. As someone who also fights a daily battle to find the balance between the food I want and the food I need, I get it. Food is not nourishment for people like us. Food is love. Food is comfort. Food is medication. Food is evidence of success. Fat is where it's at.

Her question, though, is what got me; "How could I let this happen again?". How indeed. How could I?

We've moved in the last month and as I was unpacking boxes that haven't been opened in 8 years I came across photos from "the early days". The days and years when being active was brand new, when I would have done anything, eaten anything, taken any supplement, that I believed would have taken 10 seconds off my 5K time. But that was 15 years ago now. I've changed.

As I wrote in a recent column, running is like an old friend now. I look forward to spending time running. I'm comfortable running. I'm relaxed, I'm at ease. I'm happy. And I'm slow. But the truth of it is that I am also heavier than I've been in years. MORE importantly, I don't seem to be willing to do anything about it.

I've said for years that we need to see our bodies as tools, not ornaments. If we can do what we want with the body we have then how that body "looks" is probably not important. I still believe that. But, the other truth is that while I can do what I want to do with the body that I have, I'm not happy with what it looks like.

So. like Oprah, I'm going to try to go back in time. I'm going to try to find that seed of motivation that will help me. And, like Oprah, I'm going to start asking myself what I'm really hungry for when I reach for something to eat.

Wish me luck.


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