The power of vulnerability during weight loss

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.
Brene Brown

Brene Brown talks about the power of 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.



7 Comments on “The power of vulnerability during weight loss”

  1. […] blown up to apocalyptic proportions in the media: the notorious Bloomberg soda ban, which sought obesity solutions. Whether or not soda is good for us was never really in question (care to take a wild guess?), but […]

  2. Evie says:

    Hi, Nell – I have looked at your blog a couple times this last year and find your sharing to be so honest. I was scrolling through your entries and was so pleased to see this post. Today while walking I listened to a podcast of Krista Tippet’s “On Being” interview with Brene Brown. Vulnerability is key to so many aspects of life. I became aware of your blog through NWW and Brenna’s (my daughter) blog “Eating Simple”. Wishing you continued strength and courage! Blessings!

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  4. p says:

    Hi Nell,

    I was going to mention this awhile ago — Have you ever thought of changing the name of your blog? It may have been reflective of you at one point (physically), but doesn’t seem to be you at this point (you look fantastic). Thus, you’ve changed (or have been in the process of changing) one aspect of your life, and I’m wondering if changing the name of your blog will start to send a new message to the way you think about yourself and your wonderful accomplishments (all the good you’ve done for you and your family and your readers)? Just a thought. Happy Holidays to you, too. Pati

    • That’s a really good thought. Thank you for that!

      I have thought about it, but I am still so entrenched in maintaining, and I am still gaining and losing. I feel like I will have to manage my obesity as if it was a chronic condition, so it will always be with me. So I think maybe one day I can let it go, but for now I am still very much living with fat. I also take a very positive look at the title as an “and I live with fat by eating it to be healthy and lose weight!”

      Thanks for reading!

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