Watching the movie “The Founder,” in which Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, the mastermind behind the mega-successful McDonald’s hamburger franchise, gives a rare glimpse into the very moment America took the fat road.
It comes about one-third of the way into the movie. Kroc walks up to the McDonald brothers’ hamburger stand in San Bernadino, California and, before he finishes paying, is handed a paper bag containing his order.
He’s amazed. “What’s that?” he asks.
I received sad news today… a woman I first met on social media, asking for help to lose weight, has had serious complications from surgery intended to alter her stomach’s ability to hold nutrition (gastric bypass surgery).
After years of pretending she was concerned for her health, I watched her dip in and out of diets, always despondent when they didn’t work. She embraced (and had personal evidence) diets were never going to work, but she preferred to keep “trying”, rather than face herself.
Am I surprised? No. Not really.
This is the saddest part of my work as a professional weight loss coach.
I’ve helped hundreds directly with coaching and thousands through my online programs, but not everyone wants to lose weight, and lose weight permanently.
Anne (a pseudonym) gave me permission to share her story with you.
She called me for help, but never quite signed on to begin a coaching relationship. Or a class.
She had a million excuses.
Actually, she was waiting for something to force her to act. (We usually wait for something ominous to force our hand – by then, it’s too late.)
Anne wanted someone else to take away her excuses. The rock-and-roll and in-and-out of diets seems comforting after a while, always living in the future, living in hope with no action.
Of course, hope with no action is fantasy.
Anne knows that now.
Really, she didn’t want to change. Most of us don’t!
Many people cling to the thinnest shred of any possible reason NOT to take charge. It’s a big step. They know there are no excuses available after they begin to work with me – they sense I teach an ultimate form of RESPONSIBILITY. (After all, I teach a class in responsibility called Own Every Bite!)
I get it.
I could not have seen my own weight rise to 242 lbs., if I didn’t have to work through the same shit everyone else has to work through to get to a point of change.
And I’ve had more than one potential client decide not to pursue coaching or healing their food addiction, clinging to their “safe” world of food-as-problem-solver and food-as-soothing-agent, and wind up right back in my office a few years later with a breast cancer diagnosis or diabetes (excess weight is a major contributing factor to both). Even then, they don’t quite see the connection of what they have created in their bodies, but their doctor told them to get their act together.
I don’t really want to see you in my enLIGHTen Your Life! Mastermind Class or as an individual coaching client when your doctor sends you… I want you to show up BEFORE that… when there’s still time for you to make positive change and ALTER the path you are traveling, a path that leads to poor health, body breakdown, and loss of power.
I want to see you when you recognize you have choices and are choosing health and self-care over your old martyrdom story of “everyone else comes first.”
No job, no relationship, and even the kids don’t come before your health. If you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you can’t help them. You won’t be there to help them.
And you’ll have given them a piss-poor example of how to manage life if you can only cope by stuffing your face.
No, you are not hiding that from the kids either. They know fat. Just like they know if you secretly drink, or drug, or cut yourself.
Believe me, I was once in your shoes. I walked that walk, until I got a new one.
Here’s what I think keeps most of us from receiving help:
It takes some real humble acceptance to recognize and admit we need help, or need to learn a new way to cope.
We often feel, if we avoid getting help, we’ll solve fat alone, and no one will be the wiser to what we’ve been doing or (worse!) what we’ve been thinking about ourselves. Because we feel a lot of shame about our physical condition.
Here’s what I think encourages us to move beyond addictions:
Somewhere, deep inside, you have to know you are worth more than the scraps you are getting in life. After all, if you were getting what you truly need, there would be no drive to augment life with excess food.
- That boring job, with the stress and headaches? Yes, you can do better.
- A terrible parent or relative who constantly judges and puts you down? Yes, you can find supportive, loving new “family.”
- The ungrateful children or siblings, who don’t understand your needs? Yes, we all need to be understood and loved. It’s possible.
- A spouse or partner who doesn’t hear, see or revere you? This costs a fortune in esteem.
- The toxic relationship you’ve forged with yourself, where you berate or excuse (or both) yourself for your choices and habits… it’s time to release it.
Overeating is about making up for something, stuffing real feelings, hiding.
We all need to love ourselves enough to choose to live differently.
Non-Diet Weight Loss Tip #13
Quite often, clients tell me their bodies have gone beserk and are putting on fat at an alarming rate.
Well, yes and no. The body is NOT a fat-making machine.
When assaulted by poor eating habits, excessive dieting, fasts and cleanses, or any other fad… it seeks to regain balance.
Part of my real-world research as I lost over 90 lbs involved following naturally thin people around. Asking questions. Posing challenges. Discerning habits. My merciless stalking, if you will, produced a wealth of information I had never learned in my food addicted upbringing.
Naturally thin people are not thin because they are smarter, stronger or have more willpower than other people. They are thin because they have developed habits that serve THIN, instead of making FAT. Here are the top six:
1. Never Eat Unless Hungry – Naturally thin people know hunger cues, and see them as signals for action. Without the green light, they don’t eat.
2. Stop Before Full – Naturally thin people never feel stuffed or uncomfortable. They feel a satiation cue which stops them right before they are completely full. Their connection to their bodies is strong, and they honor the feedback they get from their physical body.
3. Waste Food, Not Waist It – People who never struggle with their weight don’t worry about throwing food out when they are full, whether that means a to-go box, or the trash can. They know that refusing to “waste food” means “waisting” it, which is just like carrying your garbage around on your body for everyone to see.
I cringe when I see her tiny hard body. I’m filled with disgust for her negative influence. She may be unaware, but she has many robotic ambassadors roaming the world in influential places – movies, media, fashion, music.
And she’s at it again. She’s a perpetual iconic figure who continues to regenerate, and live in our brains, and make us very fat.
I’m talking about Barbie.
Yes, the doll.
Here’s the latest Barbie to hit the market, ripe for holiday buying by moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cousins and substitute Santas everywhere.
I was once fat. Many people prefer another word but I like “Fat” and, since it was mine, I figure I get to call it any name I want.
In the year 1996, I weighed 242 lbs.! That’s quite a bit of fat, no matter what you like to call it. Like most people, I wasn’t fond of my fat. I desperately wanted to change it, and I had tried for over 20 years to solve fat. My first diet was at age 10. And, when you try to solve something for 20+ years, and aren’t successful, you get pretty pessimistic about the whole damned project.
The way I saw it, Fat got in the way of finding a career I loved. It got in the way of relationships. It affected how I felt about myself.
And, by 1996, I was seeing it pretty much as UNSOLVE-ABLE!
This wasn’t just an obstacle – it was the biggest obstacle of all time in my eyes. No matter what I had tried, and I had tried every diet, intervention and exercise modality known to wo/man, the excess weight always came back.
Like a stalker!
Like it had FAT GPS!
And I thought I was the only one in the world who had this problem!
Continue reading »
Continue reading »
For someone who battled fat and won, long-term, I learned there are many misconceptions about how excess weight is lost. Unfortunately, what we don’t know can cause great harm, with long-term effects.
Naturally, we want quick results and, with no shortage of diets in the world, it’s very tempting to grab onto a diet for weight loss. Unfortunately, that leads to the condition we now see in our culture: DIETING FATTER every year.
But the human body is resourceful and intelligent, and it perceives a diet as an assault. Let me explain why.
The popular movie, The Hunger Games, is raking in the profits after capitalizing on the word-of-mouth from readers of the popular teen book and a boatload of publicity.
I wish I had come up with this name for the book I am writing. The Hunger Games – doesn’t it sound like a self-help book for pulling yourself out of food addiction?
Well, here are some REAL Hunger Games we play. Which one’s your favorite?
1. Diet/Avoid Food All Morning and Binge the Rest of the Day
This is the surest road to excess weight. I did it for years. I thought I was “saving up calories” for the rest of the day and exercising my willpower muscles, but I was creating more hunger and programming my body to store fat faster and more efficiently. I was also losing touch with what real hunger felt like and teaching my body I would not respond to its natural hunger cues.
2. Plan Days/Events/Activities Around Eating
OK, my bad on this one. It’s still my favorite example though. I used to choose an Overeaters Anonymous meeting because it was near one of my favorite restaurants. Since I was the one doing it, I can cop to it now. It’s so counter-intuitive, it’s amazing. Many of my clients tell me they hit goal weight in Weight Watchers and have already planned their “reward binge” or mapped out the directions to the nearest fast food restaurant. Yeah, it makes no sense, but it happens. A lot. It’s a sign nothing has changed.
Do you choose events or movies because you like a restaurant nearby? Does “being in the neighborhood” sound like a good excuse to hit a favorite type of food? Or do you say, “Who knows when I’ll get a chance to eat this again?” That’s not a real reason to eat, just a Hunger Game.
3. Eating as Entertainment (Food Focused or Foodcentric Lifestyle)
When you get together with friends, family or a partner, is your main focus eating? A movie is entertainment. A bike ride is activity. Eating is functional. It’s the gas station. Fuel. It can taste great and transport your taste buds, but if it’s your main source of entertainment, it’s time to branch out and see more of life.
4. Fear of Hunger
Many of my clients stash food in their cars, offices, gym lockers, computer cases and bedrooms so they will never be without a fix. What’s so scary about being hungry? Well, it’s usually not hunger we really fear, but the needs underneath. These needs, often subconscious and unexplored, are darker and usually created long ago, in childhood. However, it doesn’t matter if it’s unlikely to happen (running out of food or not being able to get to food in our society???), fear loves to run our behaviors.
5. I’ll Fix it Later
This is my favorite. We live under the illusion, reinforced by the diet industry, that choices today are unimportant because we have the ability to fix our weight later. Have that rich, fat-laden five course meal and promise to run every day next week to make up for it. Turn into the drive-thru – it’s OK because you’re going to the gym tonight.
This is simply untrue. Dieting rarely works, and reinforcing this negative belief (or LIE) of the “quick fix later” just makes it feel true. The truth is, once fat is processed, it’s more difficult to remove and resists dieting and excessive exercise. In fact, the longer you work out, the less fat you will burn every minute.
Understanding how the body works is the key to ending the Hunger Games in your life. Being consistently healthy is simpler and more effective than playing games too.
If you (or anyone you know) is ready to end the Hunger Games in life, share this post with them and check out my next enLIGHTen Your Life! class starting soon! Click here for information.
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