Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When The Weight's Not A Matter of Willpower

I love watching weight-loss reality shows because of the inspiring before's and after's.  Sure, there are factors at work that the average gal has no access to in real life:  8 hours at the gym, you're own big-name-star personal trainer, diets custom-tailored and prepared by reputable specialists and an unlimited budget.  Still, I get caught up in the sweat-and-tears of the process, the coming to grips with how they allowed themselves to get into the state they find themselves in, and find myself sharing in some of the euphoria of seeing goals reached, lives changed.

But what about the ones who just don't seem to "get it"?

I watched a show last night where the contestant (who was being coached over the course of one year by a successful weight-loss specialist) didn't stick with the program.  In spite of having terrific resources at his disposal, he just couldn't change - there were too many emotional reasons controlling his appetite.  Food had become a drug for him.  It was heart-breaking for the trainer and devastating for the contestant and his family.  I LOVED the fact that the show didn't pitch this episode in the trash.  Instead, they showed the trainer compassionately telling the contestant that there was nothing more he could do for him.  He advised the guy to get treatment for his food addiction (and this guy was MAJORLY addicted to food), and took him to a treatment center.

I found it interesting that there were no follow-up pictures of the guy, smiling after shedding an incredible amount of weight.  Instead, at the end of the show, the audience was encouraged to seek help, if they were suffering from an addiction to food by seeking out a local chapter of Overeaters' Anonymous.  They said that the contestant was seeking help and continued to work toward recovery.  Isn't that more like REAL life than many of those other shows?  It's not necessarily flashy.  It doesn't launch the guy onto the cover of any national magazines, but it's about as real as it gets:  Getting healthy can be hard.  Getting healthy takes work.  Often, it's a long slow ascent up a steep hill that you've gradually slid down over the course of a lifetime.  It involves putting one foot in front of the other and s-l-o-w-l-y making progress forward in increments.

What can you do today to improve your health?  Odds are you don't need to "just try harder".  Maybe there are things that need to be rooted out - emotional reasons behind why you treat yourself the way you do.  Do you need support?  Have you tried lots of different methods for help, yet find nothing works?  You don't need to try another diet (diets don't work!) or toughen up your "resolve" or willpower.  Do you feel that you are truly addicted to food?  If so, I encourage you to seek out the support of a professional (like a holistic health coach) or your local chapter of Overeaters' Anonymous.

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