(Trigger warning- weight, BMI and numbers discussed here)
When someone over the Internet promises you that they can help you lose weight, click away. Click FAR, FAR AWAY!
There is not one person who can guarantee you weight loss. Do you know why? Because they don’t know you and they’ve never seen you and they have no idea what is going on with your body.
Here’s the thing- I’m putting this blog post right out there to the billions of people in the world who might happen to read it. But what if I were to guarantee that I could help you lose weight? Or what if I told you the opposite, that there was no possible way you’d ever be able to lose weight? What if I told you I had all the answers? If I told you any of these things, I’d be wrong.
But then, why would I do that? Why would I possibly tell you that I had all the answers to your weight loss woes? What would make me think that I could promise or even guarantee you weight loss?
Well, perhaps I’d lost weight and I thought I could help you too, or maybe I’d read a lot about weight loss and I thought I was an expert -except for the fact there are no actual experts on weight loss, if there were, well then we wouldn’t all be out there spending millions looking to lose weight, it’s all very mysterious. The real truth is, I don’t know what you weigh, I don’t know what you’ve tried but most of all I don’t know what your body wants to be like. So I can’t promise you weight loss (I mean, not that I’d even want to, I think you’re perfect Love!)
Let me give you some concrete examples here:
Example 1: Kristi & Alison
Kristi is a client of mine who desperately wants to lose weight but also can’t seem to stop obsessing about food. She eats an egg and an apple for breakfast, a small green salad with some chicken for lunch and broiled salmon fillet with green beans for dinner and maybe a small glass of red wine. She can’t seem to get her weight under 145 pounds. She’s 5’2″ and according to the (very flawed) BMI – she’s considered “overweight.” Every day for years- Kristi has been eating basically the same thing. She’s petrified of cheese, she won’t touch bread and she spends at least an hour a day at the gym. She really wants to lose 20 pounds. She’s met with multiple trainers and weight loss gurus who explain to her what she’s doing wrong, “you need less carbs! you need more kettle bells!” Sometimes eats just steak and water for like 2 weeks straight. She loses maybe 1/2 pound but pretty much stays right around the same weight, she blames herself. She feels guilty, she feels ashamed, she feels like she’s doing something wrong. Kristi’s best friend Alison eats a bowl of honey nut cheerios every morning for breakfast. Later she’ll have a latte and a cookie, lunch is usually a burrito or some Pad Thai or whatever is easy takeout around her office and dinner is pizza or pasta or nachos or whatever. Allison exercises once in a blue moon, but it’s really not her jam. Allison also weighs 145 pounds, but she’s 5’7.” Which puts her BMI in the “normal” range. Kristi wonders why she has to work her ass off to be “slightly chubby” (her words not mine) while Allison does virtually nothing to stay at a weight that feels comfortable to her.
What happened here? Let’s dissect this. Kristi’s body type was and always has been more curvy. The truth of the matter is that Kristi could probably eat the same way as Allison and her weight would not change dramatically. Kristi’s extremely healthy body wants to be 5’2″ and 145 pounds. I say extremely healthy because LOOK THERE, look at what her miraculous body did for her- her metabolism slowed waaaayyyyy down so that she would maintain the weight that is healthy for her. Now Alison’s body is also most likely at the weight that is healthy for her and so despite the fact that nary a green vegetable passes her lips (really get that girl some broccoli) she still maintains a weight that is “socially desirable.”
So this is the big problem – when someone promises you weight loss, there is just no guarantee that your body will comply. Your body might also need more calories than someone else’s body or more carbs so when you dramatically reduce these things– what happens? You binge- you don’t want to binge- you just. cant. not. Your body really needs more because you were meant to be who you are.
Example 2: Stacy & Lori
My friends Stacy and Lori are identical twins. Real identical, not that Olsen Twin fraternal twin business, these girls used to be ONE ZYGOTE. Anyway, Stacy does Tae Kwon Do three days a week, she’s a second degree black belt and she can do like 500 push ups in a minute. She bikes all over San Francisco and has two kids that she pushes up and down those hills in a double stroller. She’s vegan too, did I mention that? Her sister Lori is different. She’s not a vegan, and she lives in the suburbs, so the most strength training she gets is lifting her kiddos up into their SUV. There’s no bike, there’s no pushing strollers up hills for her- she shleps her kids around town in a Honda Pilot, they go to pizza parties (Lori eats pizza). So the verdict? What are Stacy and Lori’s bodies like?
They are exactly the same.
They share clothes. They go shopping together and one tries something on for the other and then turns around so she can see how her butt would look in it. Their bodies are EXACTLY the same, because they have the same DNA. And Stacy is always exercising and fills up on mung beans and raw foods. Lori is never exercising and eats a lot less restrictively. But they look the same.
Summer Inannen recently wrote a post on Refinery 29 about how Paleo basically stole her life. And that’s really the thing, Someone can tell you that they have all the answers to your woes, that they can help you lose weight, that they can help you be naturally thin, that their answer is the best answer, that the food they are telling you to eat will give you tons of health, vitality, energy, help you lose weight, feel amazing and look years younger. But really, the answer is in your DNA. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat well. You should try to eat well. You should eat lots of yummy, high density nutrient foods that your body wants and that feel good in your body. But only you know what that is. So eat, see what feels good in your body. Give your body lots of love and respect.
Don’t let anyone else tell you that you’re not doing it right or that you’re not doing enough. Anyone who tells you that has no idea about what your body needs. It’s not that I think people have nefarious intentions or that they even believe that they’re lying to you- but case after case has proven that even the most famous, highest ranking, highest paid, smartest weight loss guru can’t force your body into submission and make it lose weight if it’s where it wants to be and it’s healthy. You know what I’m saying, right Oprah?
Your body knows what it wants to be and it will tell you what it wants and what it needs. Listen to it, focus on feeling good and feeling healthy rather than changing the way it looks. So go now, eat, be strong, be happy, be kind to you.
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