Determination and Hope: Profile of A Weight Manager
At 282 lbs., Kerry became a client in my Dover, Ma practice when seeking to end a long history of losing and re-gaining weight. His lightning quick wit and Hollywood charm, coupled with an articulate twist of a phrase, belied his world of pain. Underneath a glib, master-of-his-world exterior, was a man suffering mightily.
While Kerry presented a particular challenge (a wine connoisseur replete with internet address, Sommelier), I knew he was ready to take on the work of behavioral and psychological change. He stood ready to give his best. He was determined to defy the odds, becoming the unusual exception: a man, in his second half of life, fit and of a healthy body weight.
Perhaps you are reading this post because you have begun to worry about your weight or the weight of another. Maybe you find you have given up?
Kerry and I chose to tell his story as a special inspiration and message of hope.
From my perspective as a clinician, Kerry represents all that is truly possible once a client decides to engage fully in a process centered around a committed, coaching relationship. Kerry was ready to act on what truly mattered to him, that which results in weight loss and self-managing a better, healthier, longer life.
Looking at the consequences of one’s lifestyle takes courage. Kerry took the first step, deciding it was time to stop avoiding. Bravely, he came face to face with the fact that his diet and lack of exercise was as likely to debilitate or kill him as it had his entire family. He put himself under my care, ready to find a new sense of control, a new life. . Kerry engaged whole-heartedly in our work to change, a project requiring learning to take care of his life in new and different ways.
Today, 70 years young and a very fit 178 lbs., Kerry has a backpack full of strategies to protect his weight and health. He has learned how to brave daily physical activity, no matter what. Incorporating walking with friends and family has become his norm and remains a major change and element of his success. He has built “a muscle” to learn skills that lead to satisfying, healthy eating. Most important has been (and continues) accepting that in order to succeed in this endeavor, former assumptions require constant challenge.
The work of weight and health management is more nuanced than learning willpower or adopting good ideas. Kerry’s success required turning defensiveness into curiosity, trading stubbornness (resisting facts) for determination (using facts), relinquishing arrogance (he would say) to engage in a trust-filled, often humorous process.
As a result, this startlingly strong and healthy man is truly the “last one standing”. He is the oldest living member of his family. Tragically, all were lost to preventable illness associated with being overweight.
This story is not over. There are no days off as Kerry continues to live in a world where weight regain is predictable and overweight is a global epidemic. Yet, I’m betting on Kerry. Why?
When interviewing for this blog post, Kerry shared a decision:
“I will do whatever I have to, to be how I am now.”
This is a guy who is going to win.
Mariah Riess MSW is a lifestyle change advisor and coach working with clients who seek a change in lifestyle related to weight and health.
In addition, as a certified grief counselor, Mariah supports with love clients with serious illness, and those facing their own death or that of another.