One afternoon, I picked my daughter up from work and took her to the gym for her group training workout. My regular workout sessions are in the morning, so I walked on the treadmill while she worked with our trainer, Scott. When I went to fill up my water bottle, I noticed a man working with Scott I hadn’t seen before. Mike looked to be in his thirties and weighed somewhere near 400 pounds.
Good for him! I thought.
I’d weighed over 330 pounds for 15 years prior to 2001. During that time, a friend introduced me to Scott, who offered me a free session. Although I felt too fat to be allowed in a gym, Scott was kind and made no judgments. When I left, I felt terrific! But I couldn’t go back. In my mind, gyms were for normal sized people.
I was proud of Mike for not letting his size stop him from taking steps to improve his health. A few days later, I went to the gym for my regular group training session. Scott’s eyes lit up when he saw me.
“I’ve got something I want to show you. You’ve got to see this,” he said and strode to the back of the gym. I followed.
Scott brought out three sheets of white paper and told me that, Lara, a trainer at another gym, had given Mike a diet to help him lose weight. Scott shook his head in exasperation and showed me the list of “food” items that were unlimited. It included diet soda, seltzer water, salt, pepper, and mustard. Ketchup without high fructose corn syrup was also acceptable.
“Can you believe that?” Scott said.
“That’s all?” I asked. “That’s not even food. Vegetables aren’t unlimited?”
The daily diet on pages two and three included egg whites and lean protein plus veggies but almost no carbs.
“I know Lara,” Scott said. “She’s a bodybuilder. This is a bodybuilder’s diet.”
Although the disclaimer stated that the diet was for entertainment purposes only, Lara charged Mike $175 for the privilege of her “Nutritionist” knowledge.
I was so mad. I felt like a crime had been committed! To maintain his current weight, Mike likely had been eating over 5,000 calories a day. If he started eating the highly restrictive diet of a bodybuilder, he wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long. Worst case, he’d end up in the hospital. Whether she realized it or not, Lara had given a desperate man three sheets of hope for $175. She’d robbed him of his money and of his dignity. In all likelihood, when Mike failed to follow the diet, he’d blame himself, not the trainer. He’d kick himself for failing to have enough willpower or discipline to succeed at yet another diet.
I took comfort knowing Scott would talk to Mike about it and help him understand how dangerous it was for him to follow a diet that didn’t include a gradual reduction in calories over time. While a bodybuilder diet may work for Lara, Mike needs help and advice tailored to his specific needs.
Which begs the question: Does my diet fit me?
Between 2001 and 2006, I did the Weight Watchers point system and lost 142 pounds. At that time in my life, the WW diet fit me well. I needed to get my eating under control and lose weight gradually. I also needed the support system provided by weekly WW meetings. I balked at being weighed every week and convinced them to let me weigh in once a month, but the diet was just what I needed at that time in my life.
I’ve thought of doing Weight Watchers again, but it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t fit me anymore.
Although WW helped me achieve a healthier weight, I still wrestle with compulsive eating, especially when I’m stressed, tired, bored, busy, etc. Sure, I lost a bunch of weight, but I’m still not happy in my food life. Me and food have a love-hate relationship, and the conflict is bringing me down!
ENTER MY NEW FAVORITE PROGRAM!
I’ve hesitated to share this, because it may not be a good fit for you right now. If you ask yourself, “Does this program fit me?” and the answer is no, please allow for the possibility that it may fit you one day in the future.
A woman I’ve never met responded to a statement I posted on a Facebook page focused on supporting members with their weight loss challenges. Here’s the exchange:
Pam: Hi, I’m new to this group. My goal is to make significant gains in taking control of compulsive, mindless eating by May. It is my most persistent health challenge.
Adrienne: Hi Pam! I can relate to your goal since I’ve struggled with binge eating for years. If you’re interested, the book Intuitive Eating, has really helped me to get a lot of it under control. I still have my moments, but they are progressively getting better every month.
If I have the chance to meet her someday, I’ll give her a BIG HUG and tell her how much Intuitive Eating has changed my life. It isn’t just a good fit, it’s a PERFECT fit!
Here’s a couple lines from the book that have helped me:
“The most obvious way to heal cup-is-half-empty thinking is to consciously catch each or your negative statements and replace the words with more positive ones.” —Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Here’s more, but I put it in my own words:
Don’t use food to take care of you. Instead, become acutely sensitive to the nurturing, positive voices inside you that tell you are noble, great, courageous, determined, faithful, and fearless. Discard the layers of negative voices that have buried your goodness so deeply.
I’ve embedded a link to the book on Amazon. You can use the Look inside↓ feature to read enough of the book to know if it’s a good fit for you.
I’ve done the diet routine, and it helped. I’ve had to restrict gluten due to an autoimmune disease and still mourn for giant soft pretzels. I’ve turned to food for consolation only to feel like a guilty failure afterward. This is the first time in 40+ years that I’ve felt at peace with food and with myself. My journey has been anything but linear. And I have learned A LOT.
I KNOW you can find peace in your journey as well. As we focus on discovering the answer to “Does this diet or program or idea fit me?” your journey and mine will be tailor made just for us. The most difficult part may be letting the journey take the time it needs to take in order for us to make the discoveries that will lead to long-term peace and happiness.
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