Right now on Twitter, there is a conversation going on between educators about whether or not it’s important for children to love to read. Specifically, for those children where reading proficiency is hard won. Usually, I don’t involve myself with squabbles like these – I have my own point of view and it influences how I teach reading and it is working. But it felt like a teacher/researcher I admire a great deal was being misrepresented and I “chimed in”. I would totally understand if you were thinking, “I don’t care about teaching reading, I am interested in finding ways to motivate weight loss. Why is she prattling on about this?” Bear with me, I’ll get to the point.
More often than not (sadly) educators will refer to children with reading delays or difficulties as “struggling readers” or worse, just plain “strugglers”. For some, the approach to remedy reading delays involves drilling letters and sounds, and strict adherence to the kinds of texts children are allowed to have. It’s typical, in these models, for children to have no choices as to what they read, and teachers are instructed to “follow the script”. If I use this model to frame my weight loss journey here is how it would go: they would call me, a “struggler” and “Weight Watchers” would be the scripted program for me to follow. They would say, I cannot plan my meals, or shop for myself – clearly (since I’m a struggler) I’m not ready to do it on my own. They would tell me it doesn’t matter that I hate this process, it’s kind of like just taking my medicine, and that I should trust them and not myself. Intrinsic happiness and joy are inconsequential to my successful weight loss.
If this was the kind of energy that surrounded me in my weight loss journey I would weigh 600 pounds. I don’t think I could stand it and I know I would fail and be miserable. This Twitter conversation has helped me to make a powerful connection. I should do for myself what I do for my students. Here it goes:
- I will acknowledge what is hard for me on this weight loss journey and I will find opportunities for love and joy to be present in those moments – because I am working hard to improve.
- I will give myself lots of opportunities to find the best way to make Weight Watchers work for me. I will do this through ongoing reflection and engagement.
- I will keep at this every day because I see myself as someone who knows how to lose weight.
- I will continue to build myself up using a positive perspective because I am worthy of achieving my goals within the context of self-love and joy and not disatisfication and struggle.
There are many ways to be successful there is not “one” correct way of learning how to do anything. So how do you want your journey to go? Do you want limitations and restrictions or do you want empowerment and choice? I have chosen the latter and I think I am all the better for it.