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I'm eating all the wrong stuff," Jane tells me sheepishly. "I have got to get back on my diet; South Beach is the only thing that ever worked for me." I answer her as gently as I can: "Jane, if South Beach really 'worked' for you, it would still be working."
I know that Jane lost lots of weight the last time she "did" South Beach, and I'm sure that some of the other blockbuster diets she's tried have worked too - but for whatever reason, those changes are never permanent for her. Like most of us Jane eats not because she's hungry, but because she's starving - for something that food cannot give her. It's not a need for physical nourishment that drives her to the refrigerator, but a need for a reward, or for comfort, or for love. Like Jane, many of us are confused, tired, lonely, bored, overwhelmed, marginalized. Like her, many of us temporarily "fix" ourselves with food. And we all pay a very high price for that temporary comfort in selfloathing, in poor self-esteem, and in the health risks we assume by being overweight.
The worst part of all is that when we bury our feelings under a box of cookies, we never do the work necessary to satisfy our true hungers. If you're overweight there's a very good chance that you're romantically, socially, financially, emotionally, or intellectually famished. But Jane truly believes her weight problem is physical, so she contributes generously to the billions of dollars spent every year by Americans on weight-loss tapes, diet books, gym memberships, exercise equipment, magic flab-melting supplements, and low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat foods.
And it works - for a while. Every New Year, Jane swears off booze and sugar, starts walking in the morning before work and drinking more water, and lo and behold, she drops a few pounds and feels a little better about herself.
But Jane's new regimen doesn't represent an essential, fundamental, meaningful change; all she's done is temporarily replace eating with dieting and exercise. All her fears and anxieties, the things that really make her want to eat, are just lying in wait. When they pounce - and they always do - she watches the needle inch ever higher on the scale as the weight she lost finds her again, and the pounds reaccumulate on her frame. She feels terrible about herself, not just because she's back to her "fat" jeans, but because she lost another battle with herself.
My purpose is to get you - and Jane and Molly and Donna and Alex - working with, instead of against, yourself. To do that I must make some radical requests of you, starting with this one: take all of the diet and fitness lore you've been collecting from magazines and daytime TV shows, Web sites, your friends, and variously appointed nutrition and fitness gurus, stick it in a box, and forget about it for fourteen days. If at the end of those fourteen days you don't feel a very positive change in yourself, you can throw this book in the trash and go back to whatever you were doing (or not doing) before.
I'm not saying that all that diet and fitness information out there is bad. The problem is that there isn't a magic formula. Of course it's a good idea to choose whole carbohydrates over refined ones or to eat more lightly at night. But the idea that your whole weight-loss puzzle will snap into place when you find just the right piece of diet and exercise trivia - Do cardio after your strength training! Don't eat tomatoes on the same day you eat blueberries! - is a way of thinking about our weight and our health that gets us into trouble. Go sugar free, nonfat, dairy free, wheat free; eat all the steak and eggs you can stomach, they tell us. But these are fads; they don't represent a way of life. All they do is keep the diet industry booming and you on the weight-loss seesaw. Let me give you the power to get off - and to stay off.
It's not that there isn't an equation for healthy weight loss. There is:
Eat less and be more active.
But you know that already. And if losing weight was really that simple, we wouldn't be a nation of desperate and overweight people dumping billions of dollars every year into the diet industry. So where's the disconnect? If we have the key, why can't we open the door?
The truth is that while many diets work, they don't work permanently. Why? Because they ignore the biggest contributor to our long-term success: our minds. You know that you have to train your body to change; doesn't it make sense that you'd have to train your mind as well? Results that last a lifetime are attainable only by making your mind as healthy as your body.
True fitness isn't simply physical.
Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, fears, and obsessions drive our actions and behaviors. Unless we deal with our weight problems at the mind-body intersection, the selfdestructive cycle continues: short-term weight loss followed by even more weight gain and even more negative, shameful feelings about ourselves.
So for this short period of time, you have to take a leap of faith. I am asking you - even if it's just for these fourteen days - to let go of all those diet dos and don'ts and trust me. Do something different this time and let go of the belief that there's some magic that will effortlessly transform your body. Unless you surrender that belief, you will get in your way and mine. In exchange for your brave efforts, I will give you back the very thing that has eluded you for all these years: a fit body and peace of mind.
You won't be alone, either; I know how hard it is to change. We all need help, and that's where I come in.
Effective training tools are important, but coaching is imperative to reaching new levels of fitness.
A good coach can take you places you can't go alone. I've spent the majority of my adult life working and playing with fitness for body and mind. As a professional coach and motivator, I know what it will take to bring out the best in you; as a former pro athlete, I know what will work. We're starting from scratch, working from the ground up, and I will be with you, every single step of the way.
As you strengthen your muscles, you'll realize that this new strength goes far deeper than just physical strength. You're going to shed bad habits as you shed the excess weight, and you'll reshape your body as you realign your thinking.
Ultimately a new you will appear, and that "new you" will be not only stronger and leaner but also more confident and happier, too. This is because being overweight is just a symptom of your "dis-ease." The same fears and insecurities that make you overeat are also behind your uneasy relationships with your children, your dissatisfaction with your salary, the sneaking suspicion that your sex life isn't as fabulous as it could be. In a way you should be grateful to those excess pounds - they've brought you to this place of change.
In your effort to lose the excess weight,
you're going to change every single area of your life for the
And because your training will not only create but support your beliefs and behaviors, you can be confident that this new you will not only survive for a short time but thrive for a lifetime. Let me guide, coach, motivate, and empower you so that you can get into shape - great shape - for your great life.
Excerpted from Training for Life by Debbie Rocker Copyright © 2007 by Debbie Rocker . Excerpted by permission.
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