Melissa looked at her blobby figure in the mirror while chewing on the last of the candy bar. She sighed and thought, “If only I were slimmer… then I too would be out there looking at dresses to wear for the prom.” On the heels of this thought, followed tears and soon she was reaching for the packet of chips that her mother had tried to conceal at the back of the cupboard. She crunched through the packet lying in front of the television while browsing through her laptop. As she heard the door open, she rushed to hide the remnants of the chips packet under the cushions on the couch.
Surprisingly it was her dad; he never came home before 10 in the night. It seemed so odd to see him at home at this time. She simply gawked at him as he walked in looking tired and worried. When he spotted her, he smiled and said “Hey! How are things with you? Got any cool apps lately?” Melissa loved the fact that he never nagged her about her weight like her mom did, though she knew her mom meant well.
Somehow, that day as her father looked at her lovingly, she could feel the tears welling up and soon she was sobbing. Her father rushed to her, awkwardly patted her back and asked, “There, there, come on darling there is no need to cry. Come tell daddy what the matter is” So saying he sat down on the couch next to her. Melissa could not stop sobbing and her father simply sat there looking at her until she finished. Once the tears were out, the whole sorry tale came tumbling out. Melissa told her father the whole sorry tale. She said that since she was fat, none of the boys had asked her out to the prom. In addition, her mom had been nagging her to lose weight and her elder sister Felicity had even offered to go jogging with her.
Her father listened patiently while she poured the story out. He offered her some tissues to wipe her tears and simply sat there for a while. After a few moments of silence, Melissa was forced to say “Dad, I want to change my life really, but I really don’t know how to go about it.”
Her father sat there for a few more minutes and said “Melissa, do you really want to change your life? Why do you want to do it and who is stopping you?”
On hearing this, Melissa looked up in surprise and said, “I want to change my life because I want guys to look at me and think I am cute. In addition, I want them to ask me out. As for changing, do you think that I have not tried?” By now, she was really angry. She felt her father was not listening to her at all. Hadn’t she poured her heart out just now?
He dad smiled and said, “So you want to change for some silly boys who cannot see how special you are? In addition, how is eating candy and chips in front of the TV helping you change?
Melissa just sat back and stared. Soon she saw the logic to what her father was saying and soon she saw what he was trying to actually tell her. She should not want to lose weight for some stupid boy! In fact any weight loss program that she should start should be for herself. As her dad looked at her face in reaction to what he said, he knew it was the right time to teach her a few things about wanting to change and actually changing and how to get started.
The lessons were simple, but they had to be said:
- The first thing about change is that you must really want to: In this case, Melissa really did not want to change as she felt that if a boy wanted to ask her out then he should do so for the person she was and not for the way she looked. She always felt that once a boy was ready to look beyond the exterior, she would change for him. That is an entirely wrong approach to take.
- You must want to change for the right reason: As Melissa sat there; her dad explained that Melissa should lose weight not for some silly boy or so that her mother would be happier about it but that she should lose weight to feel better about herself and most of all because it was the healthy thing to do. Once she was clear about why she should lose weight, things would start becoming easier.
- Then you must look at yourself and find out where things are going wrong: Once you are sure why you want to change, it is time to be brutal in assessing yourself. Her dad pointed out that though Melissa cribbed a lot about her weight she still kept on making the wrong food choices and that she hardly got any exercise at all. She will have to acknowledge that she was not eating right and that she would have to start on some exercises.
- Then you need to take the first step towards change: Her dad told Melissa that she would have to start making some changes in her diet and that she would have to start exercising. This may be easier said than done but Melissa would have to take the first step.
- Keep at it no matter how hard it is: Her dad also told her that losing weight may not be as easy or the results as quick as she wished but she would have to keep at it no matter what. He said that the results would come as long as she stayed on course.
- Be a master of your own change not a slave to what others think: Her dad pointed out that once people realized that Melissa was on a weight loss program, they would be throwing in their advice and opinions. However, Melissa would have to stay strong and be the master of her own life instead of letting others impose their opinion on her.
Melissa was now very clear about what she had to do instead of thinking when I think of my life, I want to cry, she should start taking steps in the right direction.