Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Long Awaited Oprah Discussion


When Oprah gave her big confessional it was everything I thought it would be. A dramatic narration that didn't come anywhere near breaking the surface of her actual issues. I don't care if Oprah reveals those publicly or not but I do think giving a cavalier gloss over and saying she needs to "love" herself more, as she schedules herself an evening manicure, is a bit simplified and not necessarily helpful to the millions of viewers who tune in for actual help and guidance.

I was watching this episode with my mother which was interesting since she and O have a fair amount in common in this department. There have been many times when my mother has stopped working on her weight and claimed "I just want to be healthy I don't care how much I weigh". Well that's really nice and kumbaya of you but it's also a lie. I think some people might actually fall into that category but I doubt a single emotional eater does. If you are an emotional eater your weight is a reflection of unprocessed feelings. There is no possible way for you to be *happy* and *healthy* and significantly overweight for your body. The very fact that Oprah is still battling her weight means she is at a minimum emotionally & psychologically unhealthy. So I'm not buying it... physical health is only half of the battle. If Oprah had said "I just want to be happy and whatever weight that is is fine" that would have been one thing and I would have stood behind that message whole heartedly.

Like my mom, I believe Oprah has an internalized negative self image (probably from her early sexual abuse) that tells her she isn't worthy of having it all. It is this internalized view that keeps her from being able to maintain a healthy weight. It isn't because Oprah wasn't valuing her physical body enough (as she claimed) or making enough time for herself. Those are just symptoms of the internal voice that is working hard to keep her from succeeding in every area of her life. It doesn't matter if you are my mom, or the one of the world's most famous women, it doesn't matter how successful you are in every other part of your life, if you feel badly about yourself you cannot be completely happy. Loving your toenails isn't the same as loving the inside part that is truly broken. And I left the episode feeling like Oprah just didn't get it. She needs to schedule a therapy appointment not a manicure.

We've all got some issue...I haven't met someone yet with a perfectly healthy confident self esteem. Self sabotage is rampant. It's one thing to lose weight it is another to keep it off. It isn't that the process of dieting became harder it's because your inner voice, the part you had to overcome, comes out of hiding. It's always there in the background but when you are losing weight (and really getting the ball rolling) you have so many successes it's easy to mute out the message or believe you have finally proven it wrong. Once you're at maintence level the loss stops and you have to keep going without all the weekly slaps on the back. That's when the voice gets louder. Just one temptation makes sense... you've earned it... look how well you've done (that's the voice talking). And then you're on the path of self loathing one more time.

But it isn't all futile. I really like how Bob Greene kept saying "you never figure it out". That's just it. You're never cured. You have to always work to identify that negative internalization and figure out for yourself why it is there. Knowing doesn't make it go away though. It just makes it easier to tune out. It makes it so that when you give in to temptation you can acknowledge that you are doing it, not because you deserve the reward, but because you are giving into a self sabotage. And that knowledge starts to give you strength to reach for the real reward... and that is loving yourself (manicure or not).

13 comments:

Mary Poppins said...

oh, a friend of mine's little sister is on dietribe. i too, was taken by the title, but since i don't have cable tv, i haven't been able to see it. too bad it's a flop.

Mrs Furious said...

Well I didn't think they did enough to get us engaged in the story. Plus it's like a poor man's biggest loser. I was hoping for more of something.

What was interesting is that all the women were pretty heavy compared to typical BL female contestants... and yet they didn't look as big. I don't know if it's because they were in regular clothes or because their trainer is a giant or what. They seemed much more *normal*.

Kiki said...

Just an addendum to the body conscious thing everyone is going through right now...the Gap workout capri's are 30% off and the yoga pants are also 30% off and they come in lengths. I'm buying the capri's for my trip to San Diego so I can workout in the gym in the hotel...

I didn't mean to sound like an ad and its not like you're shopping or anything...

I love this video, its one of your best!!!

Heather said...

Fantastic insight.

I whole-heartedly agree with (and unfortunately relate to) the self-loathing aspect and the inability to just freaking be happy. I'm really working on this part and unraveling this whole tangled mess before I dive back into my next "diet." I'd rather wait a few weeks and do it permanently this time vs. doing it half-way over and over again. I'm also really trying hard to figure out what I'm really hungry for and what my deal is -- I posted today about this.

Your conversation with your mom was really interesting and well, evolved. Nice work!

Staci said...

Can't watch the video yet but, wanted to let you know I voted yesterday...wish I had 10 computers I could vote from. :P


Have a great day!

Marie said...

Loving the "I'm a pumpkin"...I think you should call Kid in for a STAT consult. She'll have everyone fixed up in a minute!

Glad your mom's there to help...look forward to much more Mom Furious this week!!!!!!

Jennifer said...

I love your mom! lol. I didn't necessarily agree with what you were saying at first about keeping your body fat so that you couldn't like your insides. But the more you talked, the more it made sense. You will never be completely happy until you fix what makes you unahppy. Simple, yes. True none-the-less. If your body makes you unhappy and you can't stop yourself from eating and not exercising you won't ever reach that happiness. Because once you reach that happiness .. what then? Then I can't use my fatness as an excuses for all the bad things that happen to me.

Oh the drama of it all. How did we become like this? As a people, how did people get to be like this? Why does weight seem to always determine our self-worth? I truly deep down believe that I am not good enough because I am fat. Period. Truth. Why? I don't know. I don't think I deserve a husband because I am fat, I don't think I deserve that great job because I am fat. Therefore, if I don't get either of them .. its not my fault. Its my weights fault. lol.

How does one get past that mentality? I do not know. I wish I did.

Mrs Furious said...

Jennifer,
Yes that is precisely my point. I don't think thinness will make my mother (or anyone else) happy... I think if you are heavy because of emotional reasons (as she is) you cannot be happy until you take care of that symptom/cause of your unhappiness. Easier said then done.

Renee said...

Great video....Love your mom and the discussion about Oprah...very insightful....what a great relationship your Mom and you have too! Hope you are asking/getting help and starting to feel a tad bit better?!?!

P/F said...

I can totally see your mom's point about weight being protection.

And I don't know that any of us with 'issues' can ever look back and say that they're resolved. I think that we just have work to do on the new issues they've transformed into.

Mrs Furious said...

P/F,
true. I think knowing what your issues are and being "cured" are too different things. You're never cured from any of it weight or otherwise it's just learning to deal with it better.


Renee,
I got my period yesterday and godammit that is making the whole thing worse!!! I'm hoping the pain level will go down when it's over!


Marie,
pumpkin... I know... hilarious

Julie said...

I had gastric bypass surgery 3 1/2 years ago. For me, it was the best thing I could have ever done, and I would do it all over again in a second. I had been overweight my entire life and it just got worse in my adult life, diet after diet. I would lose 10 pounds and gain back 20. I think it is so hard when you are really fat and you really can't visibly see the results of your efforts. After I had my first child I just decided that I didn't want to be his "fat mom". All I could envision was me at his football games, sitting in the stands and being HUGE! For me, the surgery has been a blessing because it has given me the tools I needed to be able to eat less. I was 243 before surgery and I am now 145. I did not exercise at all to lose the weight, but now I love working out and running and seeing the results in my body. However, that being said, I have never felt this frustrated or concerned about how I looked. In some ways, being fat was easier because it was what it was. I used to get so mad when a "thin" person would complain about being fat and needing to lose weight. I just didn't get it...but I really get it now. I am an emotional eater, but at least now I am aware of it.

Sorry for rambling on, but I thought I should share.

Mrs Furious said...

Julie,
"I used to get so mad when a "thin" person would complain about being fat and needing to lose weight. I just didn't get it...but I really get it now."
That is really interesting.

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