Thoughts on the “quick fix”

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with a women who was looking to get a pedicure that did not incorporate oils into the service. Immediately I asked if this was due to allergies, to which she responded “no it’s diet related”. Huh? How does that make sense? Curiosity getting the better of me I asked her which diet she was referring too and she excitedly started to tell me about a diet that uses a pregnancy hormone (HCG) to help “suck away” her fat cells. She continued to tell me that the HCG hormone is “prescribed” and that she lost 7 lbs in the first week. It took quite a bit for me to not say to her that this was completely nuts. To ask why a women would want to screw with her hormones, that already seem to be in constant flux and can so easily be thrown out of balance leaving us at times feeling sleepless, restless, bloated, grumpy…need I go on? After this conversation, I thought of my own brush with a fad diet…that was very unhealthy and I’m pretty sure left my body worse then when I started.

It was ten years ago, shortly after my wedding and I was having a hard time finding one wedding photo of myself that I loved. Side note – I was about 40 pounds lighter then I am now, and so the “love yourself” adage means so much more today. Wasted so much time worrying about that number on the scale. At that time I did not exercise and did not know anything about nutrition beyond…”low fat”, and salads are better then then burger. All I knew is that I had steadily been gaining weight and couldn’t fit into clothes anymore. I was so unhappy and uncomfortable in my body that I decided to join an expensive weight loss clinic. I was desperate for something to work and thought that since the clinic advertised as “medically supervised”, that it was safe and that they knew what they were doing. Thinking that all I needed was to get the weight off and I could sustain it for the foreseeable future. As you may have guessed it didn’t really work out for me that way.

A little about what I remember about this clinic…it may have since changed. I was given a list of foods that I could eat, and from that list how much of those foods I could eat in a day. I’m going to tell you that the list was very short…only certain vegetables and fruits were allowed as an example. I remember apples were ok as well as mini Bretons (about 12 per day). They never did tell us the number of calories we were having, but looking back I think it was less then 700 per day. I was to come in 3 days a week for a weigh in, get a shot in the butt of B vitamin (I think), and to hand in a urine sample to be tested. If you “failed” your urine test they would take away a food until the next visit. This was usually the apples I so desperately loved during that time. I did this for about 4 months, lost 30 plus lbs and was “happy”. I could not afford the maintenance package they offered and so happily left the clinic with fewer pounds on my body. I could not tell you how quickly I gained it back…but I did, and then some.

What I know for sure is that these types of “quick fixes” will not work long term. One reason is that they never teach you how to live outside of their “system”. If you think about it, what is the benefit to them if they teach you how to maintain a healthy lifestyle beyond their supplements, meal replacements, carbohydrate inhibitors, and shakes…absolutely nothing. People who participate in the “quick fix” will return after they gain the weight back because if it worked the first time, then it will certainly work the second, third, or fourth time they give it a try. Must have been their fault they gained the weight back right? It drives me nuts that these types of businesses are allowed to operate, and that people are still investing and believing in the quick fix. However I understand, I understood where that women was in her mind and why taking a pregnancy hormone to lose weight seems like a good idea. I think perhaps that sometimes people have to try these things to realize there is no quick way.

So when you finally come off the “fad diet and quick fix” train, it is so important to surround yourself with a good support group that will encourage you to stay on the path to better health. A good nutrition coach will be invested in your journey and in you. They will want to see you succeed because your success will also be their success. Make sure you find someone that you can connect and work with….because this stuff is hard, very hard. You will be changing the way you live and you will need someone that understands this, who has been there and who can walk with you through it all.