Accountability

Personal Accountability

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Accountability

An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

Anyone who has had success, great or small has been accountable. Not to someone else but to themselves. This personal accountability is what carries successful people through life. It is so easy to place blame on others or to give up because it is ‘too hard’ or complicated. To be the devils advocate it can also be ‘too easy’ for some. When you take a person who is a ‘do-er’ and put them in to a position where they see no outlook of growing beyond it they will give up and no longer care. This type of sabotage will rob them of their personal accountability which will also affect their quality of work and their life.

My Personal Accountability

I bring up the issue of this because long-term and successful weight loss by the WLS patient is directly related to that type of accountability. As much as I’d like to blame other things for me becoming obscenely obese the fact is that I was the cause. Sure, I had plenty of existential factors such as an ending to a relationship that shaped me, financial burdens I thought too heavy to bear, depression, etc. Even with all of that I was the one using eating as a coping mechanism and I was the one who tried to eat himself to death. I spent almost a decade doing this to myself and I’m open enough to admit these things. I don’t hold things back when I speak here because it’s my little piece of the pie. Where I can postulate or share things as I evolve as a human. I won’t go back to that. I’ll fight and hold myself accountable until I draw breath no more.

Denial

I would be remiss to point out that the process to holding yourself accountable is much like the Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief. We’ve all heard about the five stages of grief or loss but how is this applied to the obese person?

Speaking from experience I know that denial is profound. You deny yourself the right to have a healthy and enriched life because when you hit that rock bottom point you think there is no way you can bounce back.

You can’t touch your toes when you bend over, that’s okay, you didn’t need to touch your toes anyway, I mean, who needs to be able to do that? So what if I can’t ride on a roller coaster because I don’t fit, I never liked them anyway!

Those are the types of things we push off as no big deal and we deny that there is a problem with us.

It’s the world, yeah! The world is making me that way!

No, it isn’t. The world is a cruel place with cruel people and there always will be people who are judging others by their looks, their weight, what salad dressing they use but the world does not make you, make me, eat that third cheeseburger. The world did not make me eat that whole pint of Ben-n-Jerry’s ‘Everything But The…’ it was my need for comfort that made me do that.

Food tastes great and it makes me feel good! So I’m going to eat it, all of it. I will eat, all the foods!

But hey, those extras burgers or that pint of ice cream isn’t bad. I’ll have just a bite, maybe another. It’s not like anyone will notice. It’s not like anyone will care. I don’t have a problem, but I do. I did. I still do, I always will…

Anger

It’s easy to be angry because it’s a primal and uncomplicated emotion. It’s also something that a person overweight deals with daily. Anger at others, at the world, and most importantly at themselves. I’ve been there, I’ve done it and I won’t do it again.

I’m so fat, I just want to hide so no one can see me.

This anger doesn’t just come from people saying things or how they look at you. I truly believe most people want to become better and that the anger stems from hopelessness or frustration because the will of the person falters. We are stronger when we have encouragement and support from loved ones, but what happens when we are blind to it?

I have no one. Who would support a fat ass like me? I’m worthless.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and been happy with yourself? Some people are, some aren’t. Some eventually become happy and some just never will. It makes you angry and frustrated when you work so hard and don’t see what you expect.

Look at me, I’m ‘fugly’ and I will be alone for the rest of my life. No one could love this…thing.

I’ve lost over 300 lbs…I’m determined. I can win and do anything I put effort in to. I still get angry at myself.

Bargaining

Have you ever tried to make a deal with the devil? Meet me at the crossroads and I’ll make you famous, all I ask for is your soul. What do you need it for? You can’t be like Faust and pledge that kind of wager. It never works out well for you.

I’ll start my diet on Monday (but it’s Monday today), next Monday.

We often try to bargain with a higher power in hopes that they will listen and bless us with more time to change. We ask for things that we could have prevented to be gone from our lives even though we knowingly caused them. We are being held accountable for our actions by our inaction. It’s never easy admitting that I caused myself to gain so much weight. It’s downright uncomfortable but bargaining never worked, it always allowed me to go deeper in to the rabbit hole Alice.

God, please help me! Help me lose this weight and I will be the best man/woman that you created! I’ll eat right, walk in your image and pray multiple times a day, doubly so on Sundays!

You can’t bargain with your life. We are only given one life to live. Bargaining with it is literally going all-in. Our prayers aren’t always answered because that higher power wants you to succeed for yourself. To overcome obstacles and prove to yourself that you can do great things when you try. Can you imagine how the world would be if that higher power gave you everything the moment you asked for it?

If I have just a bite or two it won’t be as bad. I can walk later and everything will be fine.

Bargaining with your inner-self will never work and you won’t get anywhere with it. Holding your inner-self accountable will, when you bargain with that part of yourself you’re really just acquiescing to your true desires. Until your true desires are to be healthy and to eat better, just one more bite will always be just one more bite. I still bargain with myself, but these days its about other things in life. I’m done with bargaining to be healthier, I’ve beat it.

Depression

It’s no big secret that Obesity and Depression are like peanut butter and jelly. It’s a self-feeding cycle and unless you can get past the depression you’re going to go through the ‘cycle’ over and over again. Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression – Rinse and repeat. This chain is the heaviest to bear and very few people beat depression on their own.

I’m sad, hurt, worthless; Why bother with anything?

Don’t hide in your room with curtains that block out sunlight. Did you know that sunlight increases serotonin levels in your body? Researchers from the Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne found that levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, memory, and mood—are lower during the winter than the summer. What does that mean to you? Hiding away will not solve anything!

What’s the point? I’m going to die before I’m 40 anyway.

When you get so down that you are rock-bottom it can seem like there is no hope there but there are people that can help. Sometimes all it takes is to ask. It’s not in the nature of an obese and depressed person to ask for help. We naturally assume no one will because of our weight, how we look, etc. Just one step, no matter how small, is all it takes. “Please, help me.” Three words, so heavy and yet they are the key to freedom of this burden that you don’t have to shoulder alone.

I’m not even going to try. It’s pointless, I’ll never lose the weight.

If you can’t hold yourself accountable and take that step, just that one step, you’re going to go in to the cycle again and again and again. You have to get to the point where you are willing to change, be that from therapy, the faith you have in God or the support of your loved ones. You must do it. I still worry I will fail and become depressed.

Acceptance

Accepting that you have a problem is not the same as admitting that you have a problem. Admitting you have an issue usually comes during your bargaining, “I know I can’t stop eating but I’ll work out tomorrow.” that is admittance. To accept a problem your thoughts are similar to, “I know I need to lose the weight. I need help and I am going to get it.”

No mom, I’m okay. I just want a little bit. I’m not sick, just trying to change.

When you accept that you have a problem with your weight and make changes to get better you will find all kinds of cool things out about yourself. I went from being the guy who just wants to do his work or be in the background so that people aren’t looking at me and judging me because I am a large person, to the guy who walks in to the crowd and begins shaking hands with anyone, striking up conversations and commanding attention and presence. It feels amazing to me and yet, it’s a normal trait. To me, it’s special but to the world, “Hey, that guy is pretty nice.” and there are plenty of “nice” guys. It’s normal and that is Okay.

I’ll go for a walk today, yesterday I did 2 laps, today I’ll try 3 or 4.

Hold yourself accountable for long-term weight loss. The moment you stop you will backslide an it is such a slippery slope. Our bodies love sugar and anything else that isn’t good for us. For the post-WLS patient, you, much like me, know how easy it can be to “test” the pouch or to have a nibble here or there all day long. Our bodies crave bad things and we must be strong enough to tell ourselves no, often.

A year ago, I couldn’t walk without losing my breath. Now, I can run…yes, I can run! How awesome is that?! Usain Bolt up in the house! What what?!

Accept that it is a problem and then change it. Look for support, seek it out because there are people out there that will help you. They have been through it. They don’t want to see others live that way. Society does not make it easy for us but unless we hold ourselves accountable we will be held accountable by our circumstances. I’ll never be a shut-in again and neither should you.


This was written over a series of days. I’ve tried very hard to move past all of it because I won’t ever be that person again. I had this conversation with my sister, I’d rather not be on this earth than to go back to what I did to myself. I hold myself accountable for everything I do and accept that sometimes I make poor choices and that it is okay if I falter as long as I work to correct it. Having a firm foundation for support was/is the most important part of being able to survive the poor choices and realization of the choices I made. Seek help if you need it. There is always someone, even if it is a stranger, willing to help.

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Scott Dunn

Handset Engineer at Carolina West Wireless
Scott Dunn is an avid fan of gaming in general and all things technology. He is also a post-op bariatric patient who is enthusiastic about sharing his experiences with the world. He lives in a beautiful place in North Carolina surrounded by majestic foothills and rivers.

He has a dog, cat as well as a large immediate family consisting of several brothers and sisters.

He grew up in the golden age of Nintendo and has loved gaming and sports ever since.
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