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15
NOV

Red in the Face But Not for Long

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss at 1:20 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Obese ManNothing motivates quite like shame. A brief moment of public humiliation can knock a bad habit right out of you. When I, for example, was told by a homeless man, sitting amidst a pile of rubbish no less, that I would never get a man if I didn’t stop dragging my feet, I stopped dragging my feet. It wasn’t so that I could “get a man” but so that I could avoid being heckled . . . for that reason at least. That being said, it’s no surprise that a hefty dose of embarrassment can inspire even the most resistant of dieters to change their lives.

Tim Welch and Dr. Chris Balgobin, who were recently featured on CNN.com and in the New York Times, are perfect examples of this. Welch, 5’10”, had steadily gained weight for ten years, reaching, at his peak, 262 pounds. After becoming increasingly ashamed of asking for bigger and bigger pants sizes and having a face-reddening, homeless-man encounter (much as I did), he joined Weight Watchers. Similarly, Balgobin had been large all of his life. At 5’6” and 304 pounds, he felt he couldn’t adequately counsel his overweight patients on the merits of diet and exercise, having never tested them himself. He used a patient’s dramatic weight loss to inspire his own. Welch lost 87 pounds, Balgobin 120. They now view their bodies and their success stories as sources of positive inspiration rather than shamed motivation.

Why am I telling you this? Aside from the fact that achievements such as Welch’s and Balgobin’s are impressive and certainly notable, I am hoping to show you that even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished. Both of these men had settled into unhealthy lifestyles, accepting their large waistlines, believing that change was too far out of their grasp. It took embarrassment and a great deal of convincing to turn their lives around. But you don’t need that. Learn from these men. Don’t wait for a stranger to call you “big guy” or a patient to eye your bulging belly doubtfully. Use the people that have gone before you to inspire your own life changes. They could do it; so can you.


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