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Ignore It and It WON'T Go Away

Posted Oct 30 2009 4:56pm

By Lynn Haraldson-Bering

When I was a kid, my mother’s advice whenever I’d come home upset after some boy teased me was, “Ignore him and he’ll go away.” Unfortunately I applied the same advice to a lot of worrisome things in my adult life, including my weight. When I paid attention to it for a few days, I’d actually lose a few pounds, but soon after I’d ignore whatever diet I was on and just hope the pounds would magically go away.

When I began my rapid 100-pounds-in-four-years weight gain in 1999, I was afraid to ask the doctor, “Why am I gaining so much weight?” Maybe I had some dread disease or maybe being on an antidepressant, that’s just how life was going to be from then on? Instead of asking the question, I ignored the weight and hoped it would just go away.

If it’s not edited out, that’s one thing you’ll hear me say on Monday during my “before story” on the Today Show when I’m inducted into the Joy Fit Club. 

I was one of several people featured in Joy Bauer’s book, “Joy LIFE Diet,” published in January. Joy Bauer is a dietician and nutritionist and is regularly featured on the Today Show, especially twice a month when she inducts someone who has lost more than 100 pounds through diet and exercise into her Joy Fit Club. On Monday, I will be the latest inductee.

My segment will air during the 10 a.m. hour, called the “Fourth Hour” of the Today Show, but not shown in all markets at 10 a.m. For instance, in Pittsburgh it airs at 2 p.m. and in Minneapolis it airs at 11 a.m. I’m sure it will be on the MSNBC website at some point and I’ll post a link to it when I find it.

Anyway, back to what I was saying before about ignore it and it will go away. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but surprise, surprise! Excess weight – especially hundreds of pounds – doesn’t just go away. It takes complete and total concentration and commitment, which I was able to accept and envelop once I stopped ignoring the problem.

I have a history of ignoring problematic issues, particularly as they pertain to my body. Take last Saturday for instance. I was painting the hall stairs and my knee popped. As you know, I have severe osteoarthritis in my knees and they need to be replaced, so it’s a common thing to have one of them pop out of place. But this time was different. The pain shot up to my right glute and stayed there for days.

I was afraid I had a bulging disk or had developed more arthritis or bone spurs. For days my mind went wild thinking, “What could it be?” I dreaded another “You need surgery” diagnosis. (To-date, I’ve had eight surgery diagnoses. It would take me years to recover if I had them all! LOL) But rather than ignore it and hope it would go away, I got curious and began by seeing my chiropractor. Twenty minutes later, she had a spot-on diagnosis: I had an inflamed tensor fasciae latae muscle that was pulling the tendon on the outside of my thigh, thus causing the knee joint to dislocate. She did some (yow!!) massage and ultrasound, showed me some stretches, and told me to massage the muscle and tendon with a tennis ball and Styrofoam roller a few times a day and apply heat to the area.

Twenty-four hours later, I’m a new woman. I slept well last night, not only because the pain had subsided, but I was emotionally relieved that I didn’t have to solve the problem by going under the knife.

Isn’t it usually the case that what we fear is more daunting than what is real? I knew the last time that if I was going to lose weight, my attitude and many of my behaviors had to change or I’d gain it all back. Ignoring that reality and allowing those feelings to sit in the periphery of my mind made the concept more scary than it turned out to be in real life. Once I faced my fears head on, and dissected what it was I really wanted and what was important to me, I was able to lose weight. Same thing with my tensor fasciae latae muscle and a few dozen other things in the last few years. I’m trying to be confrontational tonight, too, as I anticipate the whole Today Show thing on Monday. “I won’t say something stupid. I won’t say something stupid,” is what I keep telling myself. Again, the future is scary. The unknown is unnerving. But just knowing that is a huge step in the right direction, the direction of change.

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