The power of vulnerability during weight lossPosted: November 25, 2012
What bugs me the most about the talk around weight loss and health (in the media, etc.) is the tone of certainty. It is the Jillian Michaels and celebrity spokespeople telling the person who has been struggling with obesity for years things like, “You can do it. I know you can do it. Here's how you do it. It's all up to you.” There is no room in this world for uncertainty, and most importantly, for vulnerability.
Dr. Brene Brown, in her popular Ted Talk The Power of Vulnerability, talks about how feeling and being vulnerable leads to great courage. And the growing number of us who have to contend with obesity need great courage. Why? Because it takes courage to take risks that lead to change and weight loss–risks like giving up certain food rituals and being OK with imperfection in our eating.
For example, I was really invested in my Friday night pizza-dinner ritual (and the cold-pizza-at-midnight ritual to follow). I was really afraid to give this up. It was comfortable and familiar, and I loved it. I felt very vulnerable at these moments when I knew that, to progress in losing weight and getting healthy, I had to make a change and say goodbye to a ritual. The vulnerability was a way for me to work up the courage it would take to make real and lasting changes. I did this over and over again as I lost the 90 pounds.
It also takes feeling vulnerable to be at the end of your rope, having tried everything under the sun to lose weight, and begin again. To realize that in order to lose weight, we have to challenge all of our assumptions about how to do it.