By now, many of you have likely seen at least a clip of the YouTube video posted by Robert, a 23-year old man who weighs over 600 pounds and says he made the video in hopes that it will go viral and that he can get some help to lose weight. At one point during the video, Robert lists the kind of help he’d like to receive: “Nutritionist, personal trainer, Dr. Phil, Biggest Loser, anything — anybody you know” in hopes that “Eventually someone will see [this video] and maybe then I can get some help.”

As someone who once tipped the scales at over 450 pounds, I feel deeply for Robert — and I can relate to not only his desperation, but also to his labored breathing as he tries to get his message across. And much like Robert, I remember a time when I felt like the answer — the help — needed to come from some outside source that was beyond my reach. In fact, from when I first started gaining weight during the first grade, to when my electronic scale would register only “ERR” (short for ‘Error’) when my weight spiraled past 450 pounds post college, I continually looked for answers on the outside. Yet not unlike Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” the real help — the real solution — came when I realized that the answers had been inside me (and within my grasp) all along.

Until someone is really ready to face the hard facts and the challenging work that losing excess weight requires, no amount of outside help can really do the trick. And this is because there are no tricks. And believe me, I’ve tried most of the so-called quick fixes. As I continued to fail and continued to gain weight, I’d always blame these attempted solutions. “Nothing’s working,” I would proclaim to anyone who would listen — usually while I was downing a whole package of cookies or eating a meal that surely equated to a serving size for 4.

If it seems like I’m dispensing a little tough love for Robert, I am. That’s because sometimes tough love is the best — and most useful — kind of love. Those people who might pity Robert or think his plight different from anyone else who wants to get healthier is more inline with an enabler, rather than a motivator. The ways to lose weight are actually pretty simple: Eat less. Eat healthy. Move more. Add drinking enough water, getting plenty of sleep and lots of positive self-talk to the regimen and you’ve got a winning combination of “Help” that can transform anyone’s life — even Robert’s.

I shudder to think where Robert could end up. While he might be a good grab for TV ratings, unless he makes a real decision to do it himself (no matter what diet program he chooses), he might never know true success. Add to that, quick fixes often result in quick re-gaining of the weight. Taking off and keeping off the weight require constant work. And as with any great success, much of the work must come from within.

Upon seeing Robert’s video, The Today Show’s diet and nutrition expert, Joy Bauer, posted some terrific tips. Joy’s suggestions are as simple as they are brilliant: 1. Start walking — every day. 2. Cut your portions in half. 3. Wipe out liquid calories. It’s possible that at first pass, Robert might be put off by the simplicity of Joy’s help. And yet that’s the beauty of getting healthy (and well). It’s not rocket science. We know what works. It all comes down to wanting it enough to commit to it. And no, it’s not going to be easy. But it is going to be worth it.

Robert’s plight serves as a good reminder for the rest of us. What is it we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t accomplish or what goal is it that we tell ourselves we can’t we reach because we don’t have the “Help” that we see as missing? Sure, there are many different ways that outside help can enhance our lives and assist us in reaching our goals (health related or otherwise). But we’ve got to not only be open to help, but open to committing to it — not to mention committing to finding the strength that’s waiting inside us, ready to be tapped and ready to help us be the very best that we can be.

Here’s hoping that Robert finds what he’s looking for — and that he realizes the real help he’s asking for has been within his grasp all along.

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5 Responses to “Where does real help come from?”

  1. Teresa Fischer says:

    I have to admit when I saw this and when I see add for shows like My 500 Pound LIfe (or whatever the title) I start at a point of disbelief and anger. I am sure the anger is directed at myself because of the deep shame of being fat that I have felt for so many years. The disbelief is: “How did it get that far?” “Why didn’t you stop eating and start exercising 250 pounds ago?” See, I’m the smoker who just quit and I have all the answers! Okay, you can call me out on my bullshit! When I hear it in my head or see it on the page, I realize just how narrow my view is and how unforgiving I can be of others and of myself.

    I have lost and regained the the same 30-60 pounds at least 5 times over 20 years! I was a great “dieter” but then I’d quit the diet and the weight would creep back on. The piece of the puzzle that was missing for me (and not necessarily for others) was WHY/HOW. Why and how did I overeat – that puzzle got solved in therapy. I ate to medicate my sadness or relieve my anger/frustration AND I did it mindlessly. I did not pay attention to what and how I ate. Now, I do. Am I perfect? Nope but I am AWARE and I am able to stop eating and sit with my feelings now. Not always a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening, but certainly it is healthier.

    Weight-loss requires a resolve from within – a decision to treat oneself better. That requires one to feel worthy. Getting out from under the layers of shame and self-hatred is so painful and difficult. Few people ever talk about that – we just see the before and after and it looks like “magic.’ It’s not magic. It is work – physical, mental and emotional work and it isn’t straight line – there are ups and downs in the journey because it is hard to turn off the negative tapes and often very hard to love yourself. And if that isn’t enough to deal with, you’ve got to completely change your eating habits and get physical. It starts from one simple (but often difficult decision) – to take care of yourself because you deserve to live a healthier life. You have to make that decision each and every day.

    Checking in on this blog and your articles is so helpful because it comes from an “I’ve been there” place and a place of love. Thank you! The external help is important. I hope that Robert finds that seed of love within to get him on his journey to health. He has a wonderful community here that will support him along the way as well. But, it starts deep down inside the individual – it is there within each of us. We have to find it and hold on to it.

  2. Sharon says:

    This makes me sad to watch. I think he is just asking for support, which we all need. I am in the low 200’s and I sometimes feel like it is hopeless at times to even try to lose weight. Depression sets in. I commend him for “asking” for the help, but you are right Gregg…he is going to be the one that will decide on whether or not he is going to change the way he eats. It is a little more expensive to buy the produce and stuff, but he is buying 2 pizzas and a 2 ltr of soda for a meal. I don’t think it will be that much more $ if he can eat clean. What’s that you say? Practice what you preach? Yeah yeah…I know….I gotta get going on this again. I am making my chicken thighs as we speak. :o) All I can say to you Robert, if you happen to be reading this….buy Greggs book. It is eye opening…and it doesn’t have to be as hard as we have all made it out to be in the past. It is quite simple really….no processed food…PERIOD. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients….hmmmm…lets not put that in our mouths. I have been there done that. It’s really kind of inspiring to watch his video to get me back on track to practice what I just preached.
    Have a good day!

  3. Gregg says:

    I love your insights and shares, Teresa and Sharon. We have all been where Robert is. And except for our constant efforts, tries and lessons learned, we could be back to where Robert is. Knowing this can be sobering. But it can also be freeing. Teresa, you are such an eloquent writer and your sharing resonates on such a deep level. And Sharon, we are with you every step (every bite!) of the way. Your resilience is showing, my dear. Keep at it. And remember we not only applaud you, we support you — during every moment of the day! (And perhaps a little more when you’re making cakes — ha!) 😀

  4. Sharon says:

    I love to read your posts, but don’t always have time to reply. I love to read what Teresa always has to say. And Gregg…you are so funny and to the point. Something that we all need to hear. I hope I am able to help someone along the way with whatever I may have to add to any subject. I am now unemployed, except for my cake business…that really is kind of starting to take off. I am crossing my fingers waiting for a reply with a reputable company. Heres hoping. But in the meantime…I am getting depressed and wondering how we are going to pay our bills. I might not be able to buy everything that I would like to for my meals, but all I can do is get moving and let portion control help me out with this. I will do the best that I can with what I have to work with. I have a class reunion coming up in June again(25 years)…and I am using that as my motivation to get on track. My best friend has lost 23 #, and she keeps going. I am so proud of her. I wish we lived closer (2 hrs away), so we could be workout buddies. I am not telling anyone that I am dieting now like I did the first time that I started the diet. The good thing is…is that I can bake and decorate my cakes, but not feel tempted to eat any of it. Yay me!! LOL Now…off to make some Chocolate Chai Latte Cupcakes. 🙂

  5. Gregg says:

    Believe it or not, Sharon, your posts are helping people just like Teresa’s are. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re all in this together. I love having a forum where we can all share and realize none of us are alone in this. You are an inspiration, my dear. How many of us could hope to successfully diet while running a baking operation? (Oh, and don’t think I’m not drooling when thinking about the Chocolate Chai Latte Cupcakes!) I appreciate your comments and posts so much. Keep ’em coming! (And please give your friend a pat on the back for getting rid of those 23 excess pounds!)

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