Losing 20 Pounds in 30 Days: Part 4 — Going It Alone or With Support
Continued from Losing 20 Pounds in 30 days: Part 3 — Earliest Indicators of Weight Gain to Come: Diet & Exercise Add Weight
Before I explain why I fired my family doctor right before I lost 20 pounds–and yes, your doctor works for YOU, in case you missed that–I’d like to touch on a couple of other subjects: 1. Why going it alone in a health regimen may be better than having “help” but isn’t the preferred way and 2. Whether we should blame our parents for the food choices they made while we were growing up.
I’ve seen it happen to many people, almost exclusively women…the diets and failed diets and the attempts at regular exercise and the failed attempts at regular exercise…the years of struggle with weight, only to get near a goal and be undermined by those closest to them.
About a decade ago, I watched a close friend get within 2 pounds of her goal of a 50-pound loss and nearly have to become a hermit to make it. She was so hurt! After 2 years on a nationally recognized weight loss program and one-hour-a-day of hard exercise, all those people who originally urged her to lose weight turned into her worst enemies–or worst tempters, as the case was. Her family and friends suddenly began trying to tempt her with pizza, alcohol, and lots of junk food. She learned from her sponsor that this was all perfectly normal–grown children would suddenly see mom as a threat and best friends in need of a little toning would be overcome with jealousy. Her trusted levels of support would become insecure in their own body images and try to sway her when she was readiest to celebrate her hard work.
Lack of support isn’t just a matter of personal insecurities raising their ugly little heads among your supporters. There are also the people who seem to think you’re an idiot when you say you can’t or won’t eat certain foods for health reasons you have that they don’t.
I went through this for years with a former in-law who loved to cook–and expected me to eat it. When I began turning down her goodies, it became a struggle for control. She would lie to me about certain ingredients–my daughters sometimes reported later what they’d seen her put into the food and that she got a kick of my eating her “health” food and loving it and how it wouldn’t hurt really me. Except, now that I’ve done this detox diet, I know that some of the ingredients she pretended weren’t in her treats really were harmful to me. They gave me headaches, congestion, bloating, asthma, upset stomach, weight gain, and sometimes rashes. Only I didn’t have any idea and I’d trusted that she hadn’t used certain ingredients, so I didn’t connect the foods with the reactions. But hey, my ex-in-law got the benefit of an ego trip so who am I to argue? She will never ever make another “healthy” food for me.
It’s not quite as bad as the birthday girl’s mom who defies the parents of the kid with a peanut or dairy allergy, shrugs it off as over-protectiveness, and then feeds the food-sensitive kid something that will send him to the ER before the birthday party is over. Still, I have no use whatsoever for people who intentionally sabotage a restricted diet, whether it’s for “vanity pounds” or a matter of life or death within the hour or something in between. Lying about what you feed a person is unforgivable–and yes, I’ll talk later in this blog about what the food industry and restaurants cover up. I have rarely spoken to my former favorite uncle after he years ago tricked me into eating venison and I knew in the first bite that it was not steak. I am still angry when I think about his guffawing over convincing me to eat it, his sheepish grin to see if I’d know something was amiss with that first bite, and my parents looking guilty for going along with his lies. Yes, I knew the difference, and no, I did not appreciate it. I put it right up there with stories of restaurant workers who have spit or pissed in a patron’s food or medieval tales of poison slipped into the banquet fare.
Not that intentional or unintentional sabotage are the only forms of killing a good diet. The biggest diet-killer for me was always the extra work. Not really the prep time for my meal’s restrictions. Some diets do require more prep but for my detox, many of my healthy meals have been ready in 10 minutes or less. During my 2-decade marriage, my spouse and I took turns cooking (he had 3 dishes and I was more…experimentive). If I was on a diet, the only way it would work was if I cooked all the meals. He either didn’t offer or didn’t know how to cook for whatever was on my diet. The extra work to cook my own dishes and for the entire family eventually became so time-consuming that I gave up my diet, especially if I had achieved my weight loss. Why stick to a great style of eating for my own needs if I was forever burned out on the extra food duties?
Part of my success with this detox diet has been that I have gone it alone. I didn’t want loved ones weighing in to question my intelligence at applying a diet they knew nothing about or one that was different from theirs and would only create extra work for them. Been there. Too much energy spent defending my food needs as reasonable. I either wanted total support or for no one to know. I told almost no one what I was doing and planned the first two weeks of my detox for a time when most of my co-workers were out for the Christmas season. I mentioned it to my daughters, who were really quite supportive during a time when they were both home and used to holiday excursions to lots of restaurants with Mom. I felt a little guilty that I couldn’t take my older daughter out to dinner when restaurant food is a big deal for a starving college student. I did have to mention a couple of times to my younger daughter (in the pic above from several years ago) to clean her own dishes because, regardless of other reasons, it just wasn’t fair for me to have to scrape cookie dough remnants off a plate before putting it in the dishwasher! My daughters are old enough now to make their own meals without me having to cook twice as many meals to accomodate them. The worst of the problems is that every now and then, I have to smell chocoloate chip cookies baking in the kitchen, beckoning to me like a hag with a poison apple….
The other person I mentioned my impending diet to was a “person of interest” in my life, right before he was away for several weeks. He was super supportive and the very first person I discussed my plans with. When he returned, I was half-done with my detox and down 13 pounds by that time. He was super supportive in ways I have never known from a friend or family member: looking up food info for me, downloading spreadsheets for me, sending me links with info he’d researched on some side-subject I was interested in, propping me up if a favorite food caused me grief, trying my experiments for himself, and just generally cheering me on all around and making me feel like an adored queen for my triumphs.
So to an extent, I “went it alone” on this adventure, but I got some great support, too. The biggest difference in the support was that with previous diets…in a time of previous people in my life…I had a guy showing up to eat and talk healthy foods instead of bringing junk food into my house, someone urging me ever onward instead of challenging me to defend why I needed to do my diet instead of his, someone boosting me up instead of telling me I’d just fail this diet or gain all the weight right back. I got real support, wonderful support.
That’s the way it should be. And if you don’t get that level of support, then I think it’s definitely best to “go it alone.”
Continued…. Is your diet your parents’ fault? Have you screwed up your own kids already? And why, oh, why did I fire my family doctor?