Very happy to have made some sort of contribution to your efforts.
I had consistently experienced the difficulty of I guess for lack of better expression - "being content to be following the Zone" for some time because of what you have to identify clearly as good old "peer pressure" - that thing we are ALL influenced by to one degree or another on a daily basis - It's real, it's there, and it has to be dealt with.
I DID feel uncomfortable in the face of negative comments to one degree, however innocuous, of my diet habits, phsical activity, and thin appearance.
In this situation it is VERY EASY and QUITE NORMAL to consciously or at the least subconsciously develope the impression that it is YOU that is ABNORMAL.
[ I have a background in counseling ]
For the average person this is typically quite disturbing whether they realize it or not - usually they don't overtly realize this.
Now I had slowly over time, years, accumulated an awareness that obesity had become a true EPIDEMIC : identified as such by the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.
One day the light bulb went on for some reason :
I'm surrounded by, intimitaly co existing with, sometimes eating three meals in a day plus snacks, with people who don't care in the least about what they shovel down.
THEY are the MAJORITY.
It is truly sad/unfortunate but this is the REALITY that I face, you face, anyone trying to maintain a sensible diet and appearance and fitness faces - on a DAILY BASIS.
WE are IMMERSED in this environment every waking hour.
Once I saw "the forest for the trees" it really turned my satisfaction/serenity with following the Zone completley around.
It all crystalized before my eyes : Negative comments, UNENCOURAGING comments, an ABSENCE of encouraging comments, a general absence of SUPPORT, is reality.
Now this is coming from someone with a background in counseling !
Wouldn't you think I would have recognized what it was that was "getting under my skin" ? !
This is why I ultimately realized how difficult it was to IDENTIFY - this feeling of "isolation", or, "abnormality" - which NO ONE is comfortable with.
In "Counseling 101" you learn that a huge step forward toward solving a problem - is first being able to IDENTIFY IT.
I see this "problem" being consistently encountered by people that are relatively new to the Zone - let's say in the first 3 - 9 months. That seems to be where this "bump in the Zone road to success" rears its ugly head. Unfortunatly this is IMHO when the Zone "newbie" is most vulnerable :
Their new eating "habits" are barely established and they typically have not established any networking with others "in the Zone".
To me - it is the "make or break" period where staying or not staying "in the Zone" occurs - a critical period.
So when it seems that someone is at this "crossroad" - to sum it all up - when you can help them IDENTIFY why they are encountering these difficult to put your finger on - but very powerful, feelings of "social discomfort", I firmly believe that if you can IDENTIFY for them what the problem is - their success rate in dealing with it is greatly increased.
I have from time to time thought of proposing/establishing The Zone Intervention Team that would spring into action when a Zone "newbie" fell into "the danger zone" !
[ Am I going a little too far ? Am I "over the edge" now !!! ]
Alchaholics Anonymous has been very successful at helping people through "the danger zone" of abstenence and key to this is a cadre of members who on a moment's notice will "support" someone in danger of "falling off the wagon".
I'm not proposing something quite so dramitic but maybe a group of "Zoners" ready to take the "newbie" out for a nice "Zone" meal at a local popular restaurant to show them that it can be done - and ENJOYED - and - most of all, THEY ARE NOT ALONE AT ALL.
Here's some facts I ran into just yesterday. I like to think I am quite aware of the "obesity Epidemic" but here's this thing called :
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Obesity Education Initiative
which is part of the U.S.Dept of Human Services
I had never heard of this !
Here's the full poop about it : http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/oei/oei_pd.htm
Here's some interesting excerpts :
The first "Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health," published in 1988, declared overweight and obesity to be one of the most prevalent diet-related problems in the United States.
In 2001, the "Surgeon General's Call To Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity" noted that overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions among all population groups
According to data from the ***1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an estimated 64 percent of the adult population is overweight or obese.
*** note as of 1999-2000
guess what ? It's gotten WORSE since then !
I can't remember the "current" figure for % of overweight population - but it's now higher.
In other words, something like SEVEN or EIGHT out of ten people are overweight.
"We are like Flounders swimming in a sea of Salmon"