I have the tendency to get sucked into TV shows. Not “The Bachelor” – I hate that show, passionately, and so that’s not one of them. My latest? “The Biggest Loser.” Sure, it’s contrived, and I get a kick out of the dramatic faces everyone pulls while they’re watching their competitors weigh in. Shock! Dismay! Disbelief! And then they show the person being weighed, and they crumple into a sobby ball of disappointment… and then go to commercial before we see the actual number on the scale. But let me share some of the things I do enjoy about the show, and why it’s personal to me.
We’ve all heard that the human body can and should only lose about a half pound a day in order to be healthy. On the show, they’re losing anywhere from 2 to 29 pounds in a week. That’s not something we can naturally expect to accomplish here at home—we don’t have kitchens fully stocked with healthy food and two hyper-obsessed trainers focused on us all day, every day—but what it does is show us that anything is possible. We don’t have to feel stuck with the status quo—we can reach for, and achieve, more.
I like watching the people who have the most to lose, who are the most out of shape. I see them struggling to exercise, barely able to keep going on the treadmill, and then getting their burst of energy and doing more than they thought they ever could. When they step on the scale and see a loss, they know they’ve earned it, and it shows all of us that it doesn’t matter where you’re starting from—you can make changes. It will be hard at first. No worthwhile change is ever a piece of cake. (I probably shouldn’t say “cake” while writing a blog about weight loss … sorry.) Real change, lasting change, comes about because something was hard to overcome. Going through the trial is what gives us the motivation to stay away from the bad choice in the future. We have to want to avoid the pain of recovery so we’ll never get sick again.
I’ve been on my own weight loss journey for my entire adult life, taking breaks when I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working for my body. I followed several different diet plans, motivated by the success stories I was hearing, but never had any real success. I was gaining weight every single year, nothing was working, my health was deteriorating, and I had no idea what to do. I had all but given up this last June as a 300-lb. woman who could not lose the weight. Then I met a doctor who would change my life. It has meant changing everything about the way I eat and look at food. It has meant facing some criticism for my choices. But it’s working.
You see, everyone’s body is different. What works for one person may not work for another, and my body can’t do the typical healthy weight-loss diet, which includes whole grains. I cannot metabolize the whole grains. Once I stopped eating grain of every kind, and focused on protein, vegetables, nuts and seeds, the weight started just falling off me. Six pounds in the first week. A current total of 76 pounds in less than seven months. I can’t say this will work for everyone—I can only say it’s working for me, finally, at last, because I have learned what my unique body needs.
The point of this long and rather rambling blog is this. There are possibilities out there for us, no matter how dejected or hopeless we might be feeling. We can solve our problems. We can overcome. This is true regardless of the challenge, be it weight loss or in our careers or with our finances or our families. We can find the answers. We can initiate solutions. We may have to look for them for a long time. We may have to search in unusual places. We might take some criticism when we get there, but we need to develop the strength to try it anyway. When it all comes down to it, that’s the biggest reward for perseverance—inner strength. And we could all use a little more of that, couldn’t we?
Tristi Pinkston is the author of nine published books and works as a freelance editor and book reviewer for the AML. You can learn more about her on her webpage.