Endure to the Middle:  A personal search for hope against the dismal odds of obesity recovery

In 2012 I reduced my bodyweight by 25%, only to be faced with the painful fact that few people who lose weight are able to maintain it. Cross-sectional statistical surveys have found 20%, while a prominent European twin study found 6%.  Though if a person can make it through two years, the chances become fifty-fifty. This my chronicle of two years in weight maintenance, trying to find out whether that fifty percent comes by learning or chance.

The largest theme in this odyssey is the idea that unlike weight loss, weight maintenance is more about cognitive and emotional regulation than lifestyle techniques. I go on a quest for a definition of mental health that is based in wellness and not the absence of symptoms. This led me at the age of 43 to return to college, with the hope of someday being able to help people with conditions like autism and addiction.

I’ve used a variety of techniques for different disorders over the years, 12 step recovery for emotional eating, cognitive behavioral modification for OCD and anxiety.  Tools of general interest include self-care for attitude and incremental self-theory for motivation.

The final chapters bring me to a class on the DSM 5 which radically reclassified both autism and addiction. I explore a model of personality that was developed for the the DSM but which was deemed too revolutionary for full inclusion, partly because it is based on wholeness rather than symptoms. The compelling why that for that so long eluded me finally crystallizes from my darkest days of hospitalization over two decades prior.

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