Lifelong Battle Against Weight

The Life-long Battle Against Weight

Rock Springs Retreat Center / February 8, 2023 / rockspringsrc / 0

A personal story from RSRC Founder, Kris Intress

We have created a culture of judgment and blame associated with a number - our weight. In today's society, there is immense pressure to fit into an 'ideal' body type that can have damaging effects on our mental health and self-esteem, leading to a greater risk of depression, anxiety, and even eating disorders. With obesity being classified as a disease, recent years have seen an unprecedented rise in healthcare costs resulting in perhaps the largest epidemic we have seen in modern history. However, it is important to note that obesity does not discriminate; anyone can suffer from its effects, regardless of age, sex, or socioeconomic status. I'd like to share my story about how weight affected me, the owner and founder of Fit Farm and Rock Springs Retreat Center, and my family, including my parents, who were intelligent and successful medical experts.

Growing up in a house with complete dichotomy was not only confusing but also a true insight into the challenges the human mind and genetics affect our mental state. My mother was obese and fought weight issues her whole life, always on a diet and with very low self-esteem. The scary part was she ate very little and tried every diet. My father, conversely, was a stress eater and had an addiction to food. Consequently, my brother and I also struggled with weight issues. This was the exception in the '70s and '80s. I was dubbed "Chicken Fat Kris" growing up. My brother was "Tuba Bob." I tried every diet as a young person and had very low self-esteem. I lost 75 pounds in high school and never regained it, but there is not a day that goes by I do not look in the mirror and see that young, struggling teenager.

My mother, after years of failure in her mind, chose to take an unprecedented approach and have bariatric surgery during a time when the surgery was considered rare. She required injections for the rest of her life, and as the years went by, she slowly gained back most of the weight. In her final days of life, diagnosed with terminal cancer, I remember her looking at me and saying she was finally at her goal weight! She was being consumed by death, poison, and pain, yet this still weighed on her. My mom was a psych nurse turned therapist, a Colonel in the US Army National Guard, and Mensa IQ, but weight ravaged her life. My grandmother would always tell her, "It's OK. You have a great personality; someone will appreciate that," but she could never escape the pressure of her weight.

My father took extreme approaches, having his teeth wired shut, starvation, and crazy "soups." It was all or none every diet. He would lose 150 lbs, gain 180 lbs, and start the cycle all over. His demons lived with him every day. As a Vietnam war veteran, he returned to the states and completed higher education. As a PA, he continued to earn his Ph.D. from a prestigious university, retired as a Lt. Colonel, and has run and owned very successful medical organizations. Still today, he struggles with severe obesity and his addiction.

My parents were both extremely well educated, and still, this was their ongoing daily, all-consuming challenge - intelligent medical experts with life-long battles. There is no simple answer. What we do know is eating right and exercising is, and always has been, a good formula for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We are a society that has lost all perspectives of moderation and portion control. As we gain unhealthy weight, exercise and activity become increasingly challenging, creating a spiral of effects. Far too often, we wait until we reach a point when our weight is associated with serious health problems to seek help.

There are places in the world built to help in this journey - a safe, judgment-free zone away from all the day-to-day distractions. Places that help with creating good habits, education, community, and fitness. Most importantly, a safe place to set personal goals and help achieve those goals. This is why Fit Farm at Rock Springs exists; to positively impact lives and help others take control of their health, wellness, and happiness. If you are seeking a sanctuary with like-minded individuals who share in your goals, we are here to help no matter where you are in your journey.

–– Kristin Intress, Founder of Fit Farm and Rock Springs Retreat Center