Friday, August 14, 2009


"I do believe that people do not change. A cheater will always be a cheater, and a winner will always be a winner." - Tony "The Anti-Jared" Posnanski


Change is one of the most constant, yet controversial things in life. Change can evoke a lot of different feelings in people, and can result in a lot of different things: Fear, Hope, Excitement, Worry, Fresh Outlooks, Healing, Illness, Success, Failures, etc.

I was reading Tony's blog this morning, as I do with many blogs daily. I was making my way through today's post when I came across the above mentioned quote; I stopped.


"...People do not change"

I immediately felt the urge to discuss that notion (as you might expect, given the name of my blog), so here we go:

The first thing I want to say is that obviously there are elements of each of us that are just who we are and cannot be changed. But I don't want to talk about those; it's not at all relevant to this discussion. I want to talk about exactly what the above quote does: the belief that in life there are successes and failures, cheaters and winners. Once a winner always a winner; once a failure always a failure.

The next thing I want to do in order to discuss this topic is to briefly review my weight problems and weight loss history:

I've been heavy my whole life, but I became morbidly obese in my teens. Below is a breakdown of the major weight benchmarks in my life, and my weight loss efforts around them.
  • 350 lbs by 16 years old. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 50 lbs.
  • 420 lbs by 19. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 50 lbs.
  • 430 lbs by 21. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 50 lbs.
  • 550 lbs by 23. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 178 lbs.
  • 580 lbs by 26. I walked, ate healthy, and lost 75 lbs.
  • 667 lbs by 27. I've walked, eaten healthy, and have lost 75 lbs so far.

So, a couple things to deduce from that history.:

  1. Like most fat people, I know how to lose weight. I'm pretty damn good at it actually. Now don't get me wrong, I have also lost some weight here and there via a number of "quick and easy" efforts: Isagenix, Atkins, etc. But again, I know how to lose weight, as does virtually, well, just in case there is anyone who does not, here's the answer: burn more calories than you take in. Got it? Good; now you can understand why there are hundreds of thousands of books trying to help the masses understand that mystifying, complex equation: how to lose weight. I digress.
  2. Like most chronically fat and obese people, I have been unable to sustain weight loss for any significant amount of time and have generally ended up regaining the weight that was lost and then some.

So, I am trying to lose the weight again. But wait, why bother right? I've clearly shown I am the kind of person who is always fat. After all, like the terrible "Fat Peoples Rights" movement says: "Most people gain back the weight they lose", and thus, why keep trying? Why not just accept myself for my fatness and pick up the "progressive social movement" of Fat Empowerment! "You must put calories on Menus! You must give me two plane tickets for the price of one! You must stock your business with huge chairs for me to sit in! No? DISCRIMINATION!!! LAWSUITS!!!"

I digress.

Here's why I'm not stopping: Change.

I know enough about life to recognize that, obviously, people CAN change. People can change both for the worse and for the better. A sober, responsible person can become an arrogant, abusive drunk halfway through their life. A repeat juvenile offender can become a law abiding, family-having, positively-contributing member of society for the remainder of their adult lives.

I also know enough about life to recognize that true, individual change comes from within; that it is intrinsic. It HAS to be.

I can even can tell you what kind of change is the best, or at least, my personal favorite: Redemptive change.

Don't believe me? Here are a tiny sampling of books and movies that are about people changing, and again, even better, redemption through change:

Books: The Bible, numerous other religious texts, Les Miserable, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Crime and Punishment, A Tale of Two Cities, Faust, The Brothers Karamazov, A Christmas Carol, The Count of Monte Cristo, East of Eden, etc.

Movies: It's a Wonderful Life, The Pursuit of Happiness, The African Queen, Good Will Hunting, Beauty and the Best, On the Waterfront, Groundhog Day, Remember the Titans, Ben Hur, etc.

If change is possible, and can even be beautiful, then why haven't I been able to keep the weight off? Well, here's my thought: I changed the outside.


Over, and over, and over, and over.

But, I never changed inside.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you my experience:

I never kept the weight off and generally gained even more weight because I put food first, inside. That's what I cared about most. That's what I thought about most.

I didn't get to the point that I could barely walk by helping others.

I didn't get to be a depressed, morbidly obese stroke-risk by putting my family and friends first.

I didn't eat 11,000 calories a day being upfront and honest with my loved ones.

I didn't get to 400 pounds, 500 pounds, or 600 pounds by being selfless.

So, I am trying to lose weight again, and this time, for life. To accomplish that I will continue to do whatever it takes: take control where necessary, let go of control where necessary.

Most important I will continue to change. Change the way I think, the way I act, and consequently, who I am.

Because if I don't change what's inside, the outside likely wont stay changed.

I pray to God that this time I change who I am.

Because who I've been would die young; a selfish, grossly obese man.


  1. I absolutely believe people can change but they have to want it. Someone else can't force us to change, we have to do it for ourselves.

  2. Wow. Another powerful post. I too could benefit from focusing outward instead of inward.

    My favorite movies are those that give second chances--many of the ones you mentioned, A Christmas Carol, Groundhog Day, Family Man, A Wonderful Life. . .

    I'm sure you have many good traits inside you that you just need to uncover and strengthen . . .focus on being your best self, not on loathing yourself.

  3. I can totally relate to this post. I've lost hundreds of pounds in my life and always gained them all back because I'm always looking for the "end of the diet" instead of the real solution. I still can't even wrap my head around how much of me I really have to change before I'll ever be successful. I'm still trying though because some part of me knows that it CAN be done. I know I'm worth it...just gotta start believing in myself and stop being my own worst critic.

    Plus, I mean, I like Tony as much as the next gal, but if David Bowie says we can change, then who the heck are we to argue?

  4. I use to always say "people don't change" but in the past few years I've changed my thoughts on that. I'd like to think I have changed myself on the inside as well as the outside. I do think it has to be for ourselves though. I also think we've not changed ourselves and stayed changed because we didn't (don't) love ourselves enough. We have to believe in the person we are and know we are good and that we can do anything we set our minds too. We have to have faith in ourselves. It's about feeling like we are worthy and good people. We have to stop being our own worst critic like Tricia said. I do think you can change because you want it enough. I really loved reading this post and I look forward to reading more. Wish I could give you a hug *smile*. I believe in you.

  5. Great post!

    I have lived long enough to see real life people conquer their own demons and change in wonderful ways. Alcoholics turned sober, irresponsible people turn into pillars of society, the workshy into great employees, shallow thinkers into philosophers, the afraid into fearless.

    Believe me, changes CAN be made.

    Isn't that what Cognitive Behavioural Techniques are all about? Hmmm, something to look into maybe.

    You are right though, changing the body is the easy part, changing the mind is hard, but not impossible!

  6. Powerful post. I guess I believe people can change...bit true change is very rare because it takes incredible strength. Sometimes that strength can come from desparation or a horrible event, but it has to take root even after the crisis (let's say 75 pounds lost) has eased, and we're just back in our old groove.

    I sure hope change is possible. I think it can for some.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to respond to the "people don't change" post. I was mad at myself for posting a reply to it rather than disagreeing with him. It's a ridiculous, cynical, negative and arrogant thing to say. People do change. They do it all the time.

    Even if I haven't lost much weight (this time), I have changed in major and fundamental ways over the years. Most of the people I know have also changed, some for the better, some not. Some change in subtle ways, some make sudden life-altering change or are the victims of sudden life-altering change.

    Since Tricia already hit the Bowie song, I'll cover the Rush.
    Plus ca change,
    Plus c'est la meme chose,
    The more that things change,
    The more they stay the same.

  8. Don't listen to those people who say that fat people can't maintain weight loss. It's a big stupid lie. Just because some people can't doesn't mean everyone can't. I used to be obese, and I've kept the weight off for five years. Even lost a little more within the last two years because of "lifestyle change", AKA "I don't eat crap".

    You can do it, dude.

  9. You have changed. I can see that in the tone and the content of your posts. The problem is that you, and pretty much every other habitual dieter out there, have made so many attempts in the past to change the outside and didn't focus at all on the inside. The inside is where real change happens and until you can do that then the outside is going to reflect that imbalance.

    I've changed too. It took hard, painful work. I'm still not done yet but the foundation is there to succeed.

    Great post! You've given me a lot to think about.

  10. What an inspirational post. Thanks for saying what you said. It is what I needed to hear today for sure. You inspired change in me too.

    I pray that you accept the wonderful person inside of you. You are absolutely worthy of a new, healthy life.

  11. I agree with you. I changed my inside - the way I think, how I look at things, my perspectives, priorities and attitudes - and it changed my life.

    I don't see how we can take this transitional journey without encountering change somewhere along the way.

    The dials along the continuum of self confidence, etc ... do shift. I am me, but I am better.

    We can change if we want to. Change is constant. That is one thing we can not change. :)

  12. I changed on the inside after reading blogs...yours was one that had a profound effect on me. I changed in an instant, and I changed for good.

  13. This is great. Sounds a lot like I've been learning about myself. That's why diets don't work unless you change your life. It's easy to change the outside. But until you deal with what brought us to that point in the first place, it's easy to go. Once you change the inside, there is no going back.

  14. What a great post! I absolutely agree that true change is possible, and it comes from INSIDE. I have lost over 100 lbs several times in my life, only to regain it and more, til I topped out at 460. This time, I lost slower, but for the first time in my life I didn't regain, because I have been doing the HARD work on the inner me.

    You are asking all the right questions now, and it looks like you are finding answers that are truthful. I pray wisdom on you!! Blessings! Loretta

  15. I stumbled over this page and I'm sure glad I did. What amazing insight. Thank you for sharing. Sounds like you are doing amazing!! I'm going to bookmark this page and check back to see how you're doing.