Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Life As A Weight Loss Counselor

I woke up this morning and wanted nothing more than to stay at home and lie in bed all day. I was thinking, "No more, please no more." We've had our first hot spring days, and suddenly everyone's forgotten that there's a recession. Swimsuit season is upon us, and there's a mad rush to lose weight. This is great for business (especially considering how tough the year started out), bad for my sanity. Every day for the past couple of weeks has been a never-ending parade of clients. As soon as one leaves my office, I'm ushering another one in. Please lose weight, I pray to myself as we step up to the scale. I know if they lose weight, they're happy for another week. If they really get to see everyone's inner psycho when you're dealing with their weight.

On this particular day, I was stressing out about a relatively new client. I knew I had an appointment with her that afternoon, and I wanted nothing more than to run away. Actually, it wasn't her I wanted to escape. It was her mother. My client is sixteen and trying to get into show biz. Her mother makes me think of the stories you hear about horrible stage parents. According to her, I can't manage to do anything right, and I anticipated another session spent being reprimanded for her daughter's lack of weight loss. As I sat on the subway, squished between two other stone-faced commuters, I dreaded the day ahead of me.

But there was something wonderful waiting for me when I got to work. One of my clients had left me a note. And it gave me what I needed to get through the day: belief that I was making a difference for someone. This one is a binge-eater, an alcoholic, and a fad diet expert. She's tried everything and knows all the tricks to lose weight quickly. She knows how to keep the weight off, with a healthy low-fat diet and moderate exercise. But she can't stop herself. She overexercises and undereats. She drinks her calories more often than eating them. And she worries me. I know her health is at stake, and the only thing I can do is to continue to urge her to treat herself with more respect, to believe that she is worthy of being healthy. She listens, but she's stubborn and doesn't want to believe that slow and steady weight loss is better in the long run. Yet apparently I've been getting through to her more than I realized, and I wanted to share what she wrote:

I'm trying to convince myself that the number on the scale is not the only indicator of how well I'm doing. I haven't had a drink since Friday. I'm eating a balanced 1200 calorie diet consistently, drinking plenty of water, and I even started working out with weights. I cut down on the exercise because I thought it would interfere with my weight, and it has. Yesterday was a perfect day with eating and water. I worked out (cardio, strength, and flexibility) for an hour. And I gained a full pound!

But, when I woke up this morning, I felt healthy! And I felt so STRONG - physically and also mentally. So seeing that gain really sucked, but I"m trying not to let it detract from how good I feel. I will add 300 calories per day (probably cottage cheese and raw almonds) to see if increasing calories will help me lose more consistently. But I will not give up exercise because I am afraid of not losing. This healthier body feels so much more energetic, and I feel confident and proud when I test my body through training. I won't let fear limit me.

THANK YOU for helping me realize that feeling strong and healthy may actually be worth more than seeing the number on the scale go down.

Wow, I thought while reading this. This is worth dealing with a stage mother. This is why I love my job...even on the days when I hate it.

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