A Letter to Obesity Sufferers

Dearest,

Liz, Dave, Axlam, Michelle, Steph, Angela, Darius, Ryan, Jessica, Mel, Priyanka, Terrell, Sua, Heather, Kelly, Luis, Jill, Heidi, Nicole, Jason, Sofia, Isabella, Mike, Aasiya, Shanice, Becca, Camila, Rachel, Kimberly, Imani, Julie, Chris, Brian, Rahul, Nia, Jeremy, Alexus, Sakima, Valentina, Sara, Lisa, Aaliyah, Daniel, Chad, Amy, Jennifer, Mathew, Tanvi, and all the unnamed afflicted…

We see you are suffering.  We are sorry you are in so much pain.  We are sorry you have to live among people who may insult you at any moment. We are sorry your joints ache.  We are sorry people think you are lazy. And most of all we are sorry you don’t like yourself.

We talk with a lot of people who suffer from obesity.  They want what you want.  They want out of this body and into a new one fast.  Like tomorrow… or at the latest in 30 days.  They want to know if we can help them to lose 20 or 30 pounds a month.  They want to know what pills can help them get there.

And we have to tell them.  “I’m so sorry.  I want to give you a quick solution.  I want to give you hope right now so you will feel better.  But I cannot.  It is going to take a long-time and is going to require changing a lot of habits to change your body.”

At this point 95 out of 100 people don’t return to us.  They go to the latest bestseller swing diet, the nutrition stores who will sell them speed, perhaps a trainer who will put them in a boot camp that will be murder on their joints.

This makes us sad.  Yet this is just what our industry thrives on.  It wants you to lose weight fast and then gain it all back again (plus about 10% on average) so it can sell you the next miracle in a year or two.  The industry encourages you to hate yourself (over and over and over again).  But you don’t have to buy this nightmare anymore.

Please listen –

You are not lazy.  You have a disease.

In other words –

It’s not your fault.

Some combination of genetics and social conditioning produced your disease.  It is not lack of willpower or gluttony or weakness.  You really can’t help it.  You are not guilty.

We do not judge you.  We know, if you really had the power of choice, you would not choose to have this disease.

Are there ways out then?  Is there any hope of recovery?

Yes.   And the first step is to be open to the following possibility:

You are already OK, as you are.

This is a radical statement coming from the owners’ of a fitness business.

But we know there is some deep part of you that is not even touched by the insults.  There is some part of you that is totally at ease even with the joint pain.  There is some part of you that is so radiant by itself that it really doesn’t need the acceptance of society, the fitness industry, your friends, or even your family.

Are we saying “Just let yourself go”?  Sort of…  But not in the way you think.

Your disease is fueled more than anything else, by your own self-hatred, your own feeling that things are not ok.  This is what forces you back to the fast-food joints, the junk-food, the late-night refrigerator fests.  Things are definitely not OK.  And this is so painful that you will do anything to feel satisfied, if even for a moment.

So experiment with letting go of the part of yourself that produces this fuel of self-hatred.  Then you will begin to get to the root of the problem.  And the moment you are open to the possibility that things are just fine the way they are, everything will begin to change (including your body).

But you won’t need it to change to be happy.

You don’t have to wait.

You don’t have to wait until your body changes.  Be happy now.  Body changes may come in a month, a year, ten years, or never.  In any case, you have the right to feel good right now.  Even as you read these words.

You don’t need to lose 50 pounds first.  You don’t need to go on a diet first.  You don’t need an elaborate plan first.  You don’t need to eat something first.  You don’t need to find some guru to save you.  You’ll never find what you are hungering for in these places.

Look elsewhere.

Find nourishment in your breathing and the simple movements of your life.  Doing the housework, or walking the dog, or talking with a friend can be extremely satiating activities.  The more you find deep satisfaction with things the way the are, the less you’ll try to relieve your dissatisfaction with calories.

We love you.  We hate to see you suffer.

Forgive yourself.  Forgive meanness.  Breathe easy.  Love life.  Maybe you’ll start to lose weight.

But even if you don’t.  Is happiness such a bad consolation prize?

Please Take Care of Yourself,

Amber and Jesse Walker

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