I look back on those years and feel compassion for the young woman I was.
I am sitting in the bathroom on the toilet seat at Jenny Craig eating a Dunkin’ Donuts maple glazed bear claw. There is a knock on the door. I lick the sticky sugar off my fingers.
“Just a minute,” I say flushing the toilet.
There is a poster on the wall of a before-and-after picture of a middle-aged red headed woman.
In the before picture she’s wearing an oversized polkadot tee shirt with loose culottes, her hair is frizzy, she is makeup-less and her skin looks ruddy.
In the after picture she’s smiling proudly with her hands on her hips, she’s wearing a form fitting red dress with white pumps. Her hair is straightened, her eyes shadowed a shimmery blue, lips painted a coral gloss. There’s a tape measure around her waist with a caption below:
‘I lost 25 pounds the Jenny Craig way just in time for my Wedding! Thank you Jenny Craig Team!’
I have been part of that “team” for three months.
I hide the remnants of the donut wrapper in the trash bin underneath toilet seat covers, wash my hands and open the door to the bathroom. My co-worker is standing there.
Her silky blonde hair is pulled back into a high ponytail. She wears a flowery summer dress with a thin red belt that accentuates her slender waist. Is she a ‘normal’ eater? Does she eat pasta for dinner and two cookies for dessert without eating the whole bag?
“Are you feeling okay?” she asks. “You were in there a while.”
“Yes,” I say, my face turning red. “Just cramps, you know, that time of the month.”
“You’re client is waiting for you.”
As I walk back to my office I tell myself, “tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll stop with the donuts.”
If only Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t next door. Why couldn’t it be Pinky’s Nails or Wells Fargo? Anything but a donut shop and the warm smell of sugar drifting towards me when I arrive for work every morning.
A stocky mother in khakis and a blue button-up is sitting with her daughter in front of my desk. Before I even sit down she starts talking.
“I keep telling my daughter she’ll lose the weight if she just sticks to the meal plan.”
The girl is a sophomore in high school. She is pretty, a round figure, one that I imagined guys would consider to be ‘yummy’. She seems shy and insecure the way her gaze rests on the floor, her chestnut colored hair falling over her almond-shaped eyes.
Looking at her I remembered my own mother telling me when I was the same age to eat nothing but watermelon for a week. My mother was beautiful. I wanted to be like her, look like her.
‘I’ll eat watermelon for two weeks,’ I told myself. And I did. Day fifteen I sat alone in a booth at IHOP. “I’ll have a stack of blueberry pancakes with extra butter please,” I told the waitress.
“Well, the meal plan is important,” I tell the mother and daughter. “There are so many delicious choices. And don’t forget, you can eat all the vegetables you want in between meals.”
What I really want to tell her is the meal plan is stupid and not worth the money and that if I didn’t desperately need a job I would quit tomorrow. And also for her mom to not pressure her daughter, that she’s beautiful as she is.
“How do you maintain your figure?” the mother asks me. “Have you done the meal plan?”
“I have,” I say.
I wasn’t lying. I had. It was part of the mandatory seven-day training.
Only I didn’t tell her I was starving on it and kept protein bars in my purse to eat in the bathroom during break times or that on the way home every day I stopped for a pint of frozen yogurt.
I also didn’t tell her that my regular method consisted of binging on meatball subs and chocolate malts for days followed by a week of an extensive exercise routine and either the maple syrup cayenne pepper fast or the cabbage soup diet.
Or that I’m sure I would have been a bulimic if I had been able to bring myself to stick my finger down my throat.
Now, a decade later, I look back on those years and feel compassion for the young woman I was. For the negative body image, insecurity and self-loathing I had. The way food ruled and shaped my days. I remembered thinking how desperately I wanted to be free of the obsession but couldn’t ever imagine that happening.
I can’t say when exactly something shifted but over the years I have changed. I don’t hide in bathrooms anymore shamefully eating or obsessively think about food and my body all day every day.
I still don’t consider myself a ‘normal’ eater or someone who can live with chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel ice cream in the house without being worried about staying away from it. And I’ve still been known to pour dish soap on leftover food for fear of coming back to it late in the night but comparatively speaking something over the years has lifted.
I am not consumed by thoughts of food. I don’t binge, do fad diets or exercise compulsively. Yes, I do mainly eat proteins, fruits, and vegetables, but I am able to go out with friends for dinner and share a decadent dessert, eat a cream puff or the icing off a cupcake, or two, and to do so without feeling guilty.
For a woman like me that is far more than I ever expected. Maybe in my fifties, I’ll even be able to live with thickly frosted cake in the fridge and go to bed peacefully without having poured dish-soap on it so I won’t be tempted.
Hannah Sward is a writer in Los Angeles. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.
Lisa Riley weight loss: Emmerdale star shed a staggering 12st with this diet plan – Express
Lisa Riley is an actress and presenter who played the role of Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale between 1995 and 2001, and again in 2019. She has also appeared on television as a panelist on the ITV show, Loose Women. Recently, fans have noticed Lisa go through a huge weight loss transformation where she has lost a remarkable 12st. Lisa has also slimmed down by seven dress sizes, but how did she lose the weight?
The actress revealed she slimmed down waistline and opened up to share tips on how others can do the same.
Speaking to the Mirror, Lisa explained how slimmers can stay on top of their goals and get back on track after a set back.
She said: “Everyone is bound to have little blips along the way, but don’t see that as failure and a signal to give up – just draw a line under it and move on.”
Lisa revealed she likes to start her day with a cup of hot water and lemon and binned all junk food from her cupboards when trying to lose weight.
She also used portion control to help her slim down from a size 28 to a trim size 12.
Lisa told the Mirror: “I had made myself fat by gorging on bread, crisps, crumpets and red wine.
“Once I accepted responsibility for my health, weight and lifestyle it made it easier to take control. You don’t have to have starter, main and pudding.
“If you are doing that you are eating too much.”
The soap star has also used her Instagram profile to give fans an insight into how she has stayed in shape.
Posting a picture of her before and after losing weight on Instagram, she revealed cutting out alcohol also helped her achieve her slim figure.
She posted: “Making this my lifestyle at least five days a week.
“I watch what I eat day in day out, STILL not a drop of alcohol in nearly four years. THIS IS CHANGE OF LIFE…..not a diet.”
The star also uses her Instagram account to post pictures of her healthy meals to give fans a glimpse of what she eats day-to-day.
Lisa revealed she exercises for a minimum of 30-minutes every day and has started eating meals out of a bowl to help with portion control.
The Emmerdale star released her diet book, Honesty Diet, and one woman recently lost 1st 6lb following the plan for 28-days.
Slimmer Claire documented her weight loss on ITV’s Save Money: Lose Weight and showed how Lisa’s plan helped her slim down from 18st 8lb to 17st 2lb in just four weeks.
For those hoping to slim down, picking up this book could be a good place to start, and there are also other diet plans available.
Dieters can lose up to 10lb in one week by following the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet plan.
The Optavia Diet Ranked High for Fast Weight Loss—Here's What You Need to Know About It – Health.com
The Keto Diet Has Swept Social Media And That's A Good Thing – Forbes
Social media has become a prime avenue for healthcare content and advice, especially among millennials. Dieting and nutrition, in particular, are among the top trending subjects. In fact, a recent survey of 1300 dietitians conducted by the Pollock Communications Network and Today’s Dietitian showed that the keto diet is now the most popular among consumers. This should come as no surprise considering the level of buzz around it online. It’s been adopted and promoted by celebrities including LeBron James, Tim Tebow, Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian. Keto diet is on the rise among the rest of us as well.
So is it as healthy and beneficial as most of us think? Below is a deep dive on the matter.
What is keto?
Keto or the ketogenic diet emphasizes an abundance of healthy fats, a proper amount of protein and low carbs, according to Dr. Eric Berg, a renowned keto expert. It was initially created to help people with epilepsy control their symptoms. Keto has also been determined to be a great option for people with type 2 diabetes. Today, many people use the diet for weight loss and as part of their overall fitness plans.
“Keto works by helping dieters move their bodies into a state of ketosis. This is a natural, metabolic process that occurs when the body doesn’t have glucose to burn for energy. Instead, it consumes its own fat stores,” said Dr. Berg.
What are the benefits of keto?
The keto diet is popular for good reason. People who follow it are often very pleasantly surprised by the results they get. This includes:
- Better skin: Studies have shown that keto stabilizes blood sugar and improves gut bacteria. This can reduce acne and other skin problems.
- Improved heart health: Diets in healthy fats are high in the fatty acids needed for improved heart health.
- Seizure reduction: People who have epilepsy are often instructed to follow this high fat diet. By maintaining a state of ketosis, they can reduce the frequency of their seizures.
- Weight loss: This is probably the key reason for keto’s popularity. Simply put, your body works harder to burn fat as fuel than glucose. This leads to faster weight loss for many.
- Satiety: Because the keto diet emphasizes fats and proteins, it’s a very satisfying diet. Followers feel fuller longer and many of the foods that fall within the diet’s guidelines are quite tasty and indulgent.
- Reduced cancer risk: A recent study indicates that the ketogenic diet can complement traditional cancer treatments to help patients obtain better end results.
- Better cognitive function: This is an area where more study is required, but it appears as if the keto diet may have beneficial or preventative effects on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It may also lead to improved cognitive function and better alertness.
- Blood sugar regulation: This high fat, low carb diet has proven time and time again to benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Berg adds that “When used correctly, the ketogenic diet can be used as a tool for people who want to optimize their health. I’ve witnessed patients lose weight, enjoy higher energy levels and eliminate many health problems. Combined with exercise and healthy eating patterns, keto is truly life changing.”
Most recently, the keto diet also gained the attention of health officials in the United States. They will be updating national dietary guidelines in 2020 to include low carb diets like keto.
Are there any drawbacks that stay behind the scenes?
There are potential issues with any diet or lifestyle that are less popularized on social media. Keto can cause some complications in people who have type 1 diabetes. It’s also not recommended for individuals with eating disorders, unless advised by their Doctor. However, the Keto Diet can benefit women with Hormonal issues, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
With keto, the primary concern is one of education. “Before they take on this diet, it’s imperative that people understand exactly how keto works,” said Dr. Berg. “They must learn how to maintain a healthy diet within the plan that meets their nutritional needs. Any healthy diet plan will include exercise, eating the right amount of food and making other lifestyle changes. Many of the negative outcomes people attribute to keto are actually a result of misunderstanding the principles of the diet itself.”
The ketogenic diet represents a shift from decades of traditional dietary advice. So many people are regaining their health, maintaining healthy weight and getting relief from chronic health problems. It’s clear that this is no longer a fad diet and it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.
- "You're Just Peeing Out a Lot of Money." This Is the Real Way You're Flushing Your Retirement Savings Down the Drain – MONEY
- Don't Let These Problems Get in the Way of Healthy Eating – ConsumerReports.org
- FDA Sends Warning Letters on Dietary Supplements – Wall Street Journal
- 14 Simple Ways to Stick to a Healthy Diet – EcoWatch
- New Tool Alerts Public to Unlawfully Marketed Dietary Supplement Ingredients – The Cardiology Advisor
"You're Just Peeing Out a Lot of Money." This Is the Real Way You're Flushing Your Retirement Savings Down the Drain – MONEY
Don't Let These Problems Get in the Way of Healthy Eating – ConsumerReports.org
FDA Sends Warning Letters on Dietary Supplements – Wall Street Journal
14 Simple Ways to Stick to a Healthy Diet – EcoWatch
New Tool Alerts Public to Unlawfully Marketed Dietary Supplement Ingredients – The Cardiology Advisor
My Pregnant Body – 3 Fitness Influencers On The Reality of Working Out Until Birth – elle.com
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