Monday, July 27, 2009

Use Weight Watchers Like McDonald's

"Sure I'm overweight. I can't do anything about it. So what?"

"If the only guys I had to pick from were not overweight, it would be pretty slim pickings (pardon the pun)."

"I was noticeably overweight when I got married, and so was he. Neither of us minded, why should you?"

"So what if I'm overweight. I know it, and I don't care if other people know it. As long as I'm not obese, what's the big deal?"

"Yeah, I wear clothes that show off my bulging waste. But I think it's kind of sexy, and so does my husband."

"I love Victoria Secret's thong underwear. I love showing it off when I bend over. It makes me feel sexy even with my 40 extra pounds."

"I've got too much else to worry about – two kids, an overworked husband, and money pressures. I'll worry about my weight when I have time and patience to deal with it."

"Bigger or smaller, I'm the same person. That's all that really matters. My extra weight is not a concern."

Weigh the differences in generations
For older adults, excess weight is about health. And beauty. Even sensuousness. Serious if silent concerns.

But something has shifted, in America. Something significant has changed. With 6 in ten adults overweight or obese, (a dangerous statistic if there were one), younger adults don't care. Those that do care use Weight Watchers like a McDonald's – a drive-up service you use periodically to drop a few pounds (only to regain it later, plus some extra).

Is this what weight control has become – a non-serious subject? With so many overweight, and "sexy" being redefined – short of lap-band surgery, should we really care?

Some have compared being overweight to being a smoker. It's a personal choice and the larger society has no stake in it, nor should they care.

Is being overweight a non-issue?
Others don't see overweight anymore. It's just the way it is. Personal or not, it's a non-issue.

Of course being overweight is personal. Deeply personal. For some.

What should it be? Is there a "should"?

What is it for you?

To Learn More & To Stay Current –
Enter your email address:

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Losing Your Panties on the Courthouse Steps. – Ideas to Eat Less – to Live More

Strange things can happen, sometimes, that can call into question how you view yourself. Like losing your panties on the courthouse steps.

When you look in the mirror you don't see yourself. You see who you used to be. Or how you want to be seen. Seldom do you look at yourself and objectively see what others see – what strangers see.

Even your friends and closest intimates don't see the "real" you anymore. They are blinded by the same image-morphing problem that makes you not see them objectively. Past impressions, personality traits, and affection can get in the way of seeing what is plainly there to be seen.

You don't see your bottom
When you look in the long mirror trying on some new jeans, you see the jeans, and how they fit around your bottom. But, seldom are you looking at your bottom. Nor your waist.

Of course you are aware that your bottom and waist are not what you want them to be. So what you see is what they are "not". Not small enough. Not tight enough. Not attractive enough. What you see is frumpy where frumpy shouldn't be. What you see is too much of this and too little of that, all arranged in the wrong places.

But are you really seeing the body that others are seeing, unfiltered by your personal body judgments?

After a complicated pregnancy (the last 3 months seemed like 9 months all by themselves), and a difficult post-partum recovery, I was finally making real progress on losing my excess weight. I was walking past a row of stores on the way to an appointment. I noticed a woman's fleeting figure reflected in the window out of the corner of my eye. "I want to have a shape like that," I said to myself. When I saw the reflection again I stopped. I did look that way. The reflection was of me.

You have had a similar experience, right?

Phantom limbs and body image
My body image was still pregnant. I was thinner then, not exactly svelt, but a lot thinner. My mind kept telling me I was bigger, although I was trying on new, smaller clothes and feeling proud that I was smaller than I had been in a long time.

My husband had a friend who lost a leg below the knee in the war. He said his friend could feel the sweat dripping from the missing limb in hot weather. He could feel the cold in the Winter. And, at times when he fell asleep on the sofa, he would wake up with the absent leg feeling very much asleep. There were times when he would feel intense pain coming from his lost leg, which would only go away after taking Tylenol.

If phantom limbs can hurt, isn't it like when we don't see our true body image?

Why would it matter if it did?

Part of the problem with eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) is an overpowering body image that sees cellulite where there is none, that sees the contours of fat-stripped-away muscles and sees excess fat. I am certainly no expert on the treatment of the tragedy that is eating disorders (the #1 risk factor for them is dieting as a young teen). But I see the logic of what my husband's friend was taught to do by the Army rehab people – they told him to bare his leg where the amputation occurred. Then rub the area where the removal scars were. They told him to rub it frequently and long. Over time the phantom limb went away (although it still goes to sleep once in a while).

Crossing the threshhold of 200 pounds
All of us hide our true shape from ourselves, from time to time. Sometimes it is deliberate. Frequently it is a strong hidden desire to see a different reality. Mostly, it is a deeply ingrained subconscious non-reality.

The difficulty is we act each day as if that non-reality is truth. We grow accustomed to what is not there, act in ways that ignore what is taking place in our bodies. It makes it easier to cross one of those psychological barriers – like going over 200 pounds, or moving up 2 dress sizes.

We say to ourselves, "200 doesn't look much different than when I weighed 199", or "I like the way this new dress looks on me." What we don't do is mentally compare ourselves to when we were only 175 pounds. And certainly not when we were impossibly slimmer at 150.

Try the string experiment here, as it illustrates how far out of proportion your mental body image may be, versus your true size. And nearly always, if your weight is still moving up, or not moving down, the strings show you truly believe you are smaller than you are in fact.

Rub the phantom limb
Once you have a clear idea of your true scale, you can begin to "rub the phantom limb"– to convince your sub-conscious that your excess weight is really more than just about bathroom scales and dress sizes. You can take responsible steps to change your body shape.

If you don't do that, you will always be trapped in an illusion, an illusion that can prevent you from taking responsible steps to change what so obviously needs to be changed. (Or, in the case of 1 in 6 who cross the 250 pound line, become morbidly obese and need surgical help

How Leila lost her panties on the courthouse steps
Which leads us back to Leila on the courthouse steps in Honolulu. Leila was nearly 300 pounds when she really got serious about finding a way to healthily lose weight. A wonderful Hawaiian lady, with a great heart matched to an infectious smile, Leila was making great headway in losing weight, slowly, steadily.

Down almost 40 pounds, in a hurry, she decided to take the courthouse steps rapidly, two at a time, in spite of her bright red floral-printed mu-mu. On that crowded sun-lit day, when it seemed half the city had business at the courthouse, suddenly something grabbed at her ankles. As she fell forward, bewildered as to the cause, she realized her panties, her "old" panties, had fallen off and ensnared her.

"My first thought," she said, "was whether or not they had holes in them. My second thought was, 'I'm going to be late.'"

Leila quickly unraveled her feet, stuffed her over-sized panties into her purse, and resumed her rush up the stairs, unfazed by the dozens of curious looks.

Leila had lost weight. She knew it. But she hadn't made the complete shift in her mind. She still dressed as if she were 40 pounds heavier.

Acknowledge the size of your body
An important step in the consciousness raising process necessary for you to achieve permanent weight loss is acknowledging the size and dimensions of your body – how far it is from where it ought to be – where it can be, if you worked at it steadily. It is not an excuse for anorexic or bulimic behaviors. It is your personal call to action, to enliven your quest to unleash the wonderful human energy hidden behind your excess weight.

Be aware, however, that as you lose weight you will be constantly adjusting to the new reality of your slimming body. Watch your body regularly, "rub the phantom limb," and be aware of the real progress you are making. It will be your greatest motivator. And your protection from allowing yourself to regain it.

In the long run, would losing your panties on the courthouse steps really make your day lighter?

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Smell Your Food – Or Hold Your Nose. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More

Smelling your food is automatic. Food just has to be in the room, and you will get a whiff of it. Of course it makes you hungry.

Scientists tell us that even a hint of a scent of a luscious food can make us feel hungry. Even when we don't realize we are smelling it. It's kind of frightening to know that your body is so responsive to influences without you knowing it.

I can remember as a child going to my grandmother's small farm in the country. Just before lunch I could smell her cooking eggs and pasta, mixed with vegetables and fresh herbs cut from her garden. Then we would all sit down and eat from a common pot, as we talked and laughed. I loved those times, and even now, many years and half a world away, the smell of pasta and eggs and herbs instantly arouses the beauty and wonder of those simple times, when I was a little girl.

Do you have flashes of memories tied to the food of your youth?

Food is not just nourishment. It feeds our soul's memories, making us remember times and places – with just one sniff, suddenly it is like it was just yesterday.

Our bodies remember food more by the smell than the taste. There are moments when we suddenly want a glazed donut, or a steak covered in onions, a cup of freshly brewed coffee, bacon and eggs in the morning, mashed potatoes for dinner. When we suddenly crave something, most often it is triggered by the indelible aroma that lingers in our memories – feelings locked deeply into our subconscious. We remember those feelings and the comfort we felt when eating them. We crave the lost feeling, and eat to recover what our heart needs most at that moment.

Aroma. Memories. Feelings. Food. We cannot separate one from the other, when the smell first hits our subconscious minds. They flow together like an irresistible tide. And we cannot refuse to feed the hunger of our soul.

In her later years Grandma had a series of small strokes, and somehow lost most of her sense of smell. Slowly she wasted away as she ate less and less. Her doctor said that 90% of taste is actually smell. So, he said she was eating less because food didn't taste good.

Looking back, I don't think that was the reason she ate less. It wasn't taste she was missing. It was the memories. It was the missing sense of those beautiful times with her husband finally back from the cruel war, the quiet meals with her kids growing up, the great dinners with families and friends when we fried fish new-caught from the Volga river. The excited questions of a little girl shared over a pot of eggs and pasta and herbs from her garden.

Food is memories. Food is love. Food is raiment for the soul.

What are your memories from the aroma of food?

What memories are you building for the curious little boy, the inquisitive little girl sitting at your table?

In the long run, would remembering old times and food and fun really make your day lighter?

To Learn More & To Stay Current –
Enter your email address:

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Have Surgery: Rule 17 To Control Your Appetite

We had occasion to visit a dear friend in the hospital some months ago. As it turns out he was in the Bariatric Wing of the hospital.

First, I didn't know there were so many bariatric patients they had to dedicate an entire floor to them. Second, I didn't know exactly what "bariatric" really stood for. I was about to find out.

Wikipedia says "Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity ."

No, our friend wasn't obese (far from it). He was sent there due to hospital overcrowding elsewhere.

Now, I've never been to a Bariatric ward before. And I was surprised. Curious. Astounded. In the end, saddened.

This was the place people come to recuperate after bariatric surgery – lap band, stomach stapling, gastric bypass, etc.

Losing 500 Pounds
Except for the one bed my friend was in, the entire wing (totally full) was made up of post-operative obese people. A couple or three dozen or more. Everyone seemed to weigh-in in excess of 500 pounds. Besides their extreme weight, they were beset with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, various forms of cancer, asthma, and obstructive sleep apnea, knee replacement surgery, to name a few of the big-name problems.

For nearly every one there, surgery was their only hope, their last link to life – for salvaging whatever quality from life they could. After surgery, they were immensely sick. Recovery slow. Some had been there for weeks. I had never seen any of this up-close. The pain sunk deep into my chest and wouldn't leave for days.

I was totally surprised that so many lives were at stake to extreme obesity. I knew the numbers, of course, and knew the percent of persons with extreme obesity was climbing faster than the total number of those who were obese. But, they were just numbers. Up close to human souls trapped in these out-sized bodies, the numbers quickly became very personal.

The Curiousities of Bariatric Wards
Ever curious, as I peered into the small cramped rooms with open doors, I saw the biggest arm chairs I had ever seen. The powered beds tilted upright to help the occupants get into and out of bed. The wheel chairs were large enough to fit 2-3 people side-by-side. I didn't know they made such things.

I wondered how they could possibly use the tiny restrooms, with their coat-closet-sized rooms stuffed with a toilet. A nurse told me they didn't – couldn't – they were just too large to fit, so an orderly had to help them use hospital alternatives.

It was the look on the too-human faces that struck me – and in many ways they still haunt me today. These weren't fat people. Nor obese people. These were people. Very sick people.

No One Chooses to Be Obese
None of them started out with a desire to be captured by extreme weight. None thought their excess weight would eventually land them here, confined to a hospital bed, trying to figure out how to piece a shattered life back together.

Being extremely obese is not a statement of character. It is a near fatal assault on your life.

None could tell you how they got from 250 pounds to 300 pounds, from 400 pounds to 500 pounds and beyond. It just happened. Not overnight, but it happened step-by-step until there was no other solution than the one that had brought them to the brink of death, and here.

Somewhere along the road to accumulating their debilitating size, they dieted. Repeatedly. They fasted. Dieted again. Worked out. Walked. Read everything they could get their hands on about how to lose weight. Worked out the best they could. And all of it, sooner-or-later, failed them.

Losing Weight Before the Dreams are All Lost
Somewhere along the road they lost the life they had, the dreams they had nurtured, their sensuous sense of self. Their every moment had been consumed for a very long time with just survival. Survival. For many, they questioned if it were worth the titanic struggle. Their personal pain was larger than their bodies could ever be. It showed. They radiated pain deep into the hall.

Somewhere along the road it quit being a problem of will power, of insatiable cravings. Of hiding food to eat later when no one was watching.

Somewhere along the road a tipping point occurred. Weight gain accelerated. Each person I talked to at the hospital described the sensation of helplessly standing by while their weight ballooned, as if they were watching a 3D image of someone else doing all kinds of things that caused unstoppable weight gain.

A nurse whispered, "Don't you think at some point they would just tell themselves it's time to quit eating so much?" Astounded, I had a sudden urge to push him down the stairs.

Extreme Obesity: Is it Contagious?
As I visited with family members, most of them, too, were exceptionally overweight. The pain and concern written with ingrained frowns and forced smiles on their faces made we want to cry. How could it come to be, I wondered, how entire families, even those not blood-related, were themselves obese, or closely following that path?

For those who had undergone surgery, they were on the road to some kind of recovery. Many things would improve in their lives, and perhaps they would even get some kind of life-quality back. For their family members, they were still on the road to exceptionally excess weight, and their journey was far from over.

For all the patients, they could not again consume food like they had formerly. The surgery had permanently changed that. For each, they had to change nearly every aspect of their lives in order to allow the surgeries to do their jobs. But, whatever the success it would have in reducing weight, the pain, the emotional scars, their sense of losing a lifetime of what should have been pleasant memories, the catastrophic dis-assembling of their sense of self-worth, would take many, many more years to recover. If then.

Excess Weight is a Symptom of Disease
Excess weight is a symptom of a disease. The greater the weight, the greater the disease, and the more diseases that will cluster on the overweight body. At some point, that cluster of diseases will find a way to kill you. If you are a woman, it will take multiple diseases over decades for it to kill you. For men, heart disease will take you relatively quickly. Or a stroke will leave you confined to having others care for your every need.

Sadly, at some point surgery is the only option to lose weight. At that point, it is the only way to control your appetite – it is the only way to save your life.

At some point considerably before the surgery option, before your entire body runs amuck, you still have the option of doing it right. If you don't take that course, you have about a one-in-six chance of meeting your family from the elevating bed of a Bariatric ward. Of course, you know that the 1 in 6 will not be you, right?

Rule 17: How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion: Have Surgery

Next article...
How do you control your appetite:
Rule 18: Hang your husband on a clothesline

To Learn More & To Stay Current –
Enter your email address:

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let's Get Serious – 1

When excess weight stops being a cosmetic issue because your weight continues its steady climb, it starts becoming a medical issue.

Sooner or later, one way or another, that medical issue is going to kill you. And it will leave a whole lot of people who love you grieving, saying, "she died too soon."

With you gone, the wonderful memories they have of you will live bright, and linger on until their own twilight.

But, right after you are gone the immediacy of paying your medical bills could also linger. After the funeral, someone will have to tally up and figure out how to pay for the cost of your last illness – caused by, or heavily complicated by, your excess weight. They will be paying to the tune of $1000 for every 1 pound you were overweight. At that point, the excess weight issue becomes a family issue.

We no longer live in an age when older people just got fat, and diabetes, and hypertension, and heart disease were considered the expected and sad diseases of "old age."

Those diseases are still sad, today. But we now know they are avoidable. No one chooses to have these debilitating and life-robbing diseases.

In this age, we now know those diseases are not inevitable. We know how to change lifestyles to prevent or effectively treat them. In this age we can take personal responsibility to prevent these diseases by losing weight healthily.

We need to personally acknowledge, to ourselves, that remaining to have excess weight is also a choice.

What choice will you be making today?

To Learn More & To Stay Current –
Enter your email address:

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Your tongue is hungry? Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

The things your tongue is hungry for are the things, that if you eat them, will spike your blood sugar and make you hungry again.

In the long run, would not giving in to your tongue's hunger really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Put a string on the floor. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

Try this experiment with a gathering of your friends, men and women. Get two colors of strings. Have everyone take the first colored string and lay it on the floor. Have them lay it out as a circle on the floor, to show the circumference of the size they "estimate" their body is at its widest place.

Now, take the different colored string, and have them put it around the widest place on their body. Tie a knot in it to mark the right place, to remember exactly how long the second "actual" measurement string is.

Finally, take the second "actual size " string and put it on the floor in a concentric circle with the first "estimate size" string.

Which circle is on the outside?

Who was more accurate, the men or the women?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Choosing to be overweight. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

Becoming overweight is a choice you get to make every day. A choice you make every time you eat something. Or drink.

Losing weight is also a mindful choice, made one bite at a time.

What choices are you making today?

In the long run, would choosing to be overweight really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Food is about relationships. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

A nice dinner with wine. A movie with a good friend, sharing a tub of popcorn. Eating a hurried lunch across a desk at work with a co-worker. Preparing a nice family meal. Thanksgiving. Tasting someone else's ice cream cone. Bringing a treat to a small get-together. A dinner-date in a new place.

Eating alone sucks. Food, when you are alone, can possibly nourish your body, but what you crave is nourishment for your social-soul.

You eat together because it creates its own mood, its own pleasure beyond the food itself. Food is more than just eating.

So, how do you uncouple your need for human interaction with your need for food? You don't. You shouldn't.

What you need is to uncouple relationships from the pleasure of eating the wrong food.

Too often you eat too much, and you eat the wrong food when you are with someone else. The closer the relationship, the more likely you are to not follow the sensible rules you have made for yourself.

You get into one of those: "I won't follow my rules if you won't follow yours." "It's such a special occasion, I'm going off Weight Watchers for this meal, how about you?"

What we need is permission to say, "How can we both find great pleasure in this meal, and keep on the path of our weight recovery?"

Are there no pleasure foods that can keep you both going in the right direction?

Perhaps, at the end of the day, that is an important quest you and your friends can go on together: "Let's find a dozen GREAT PLEASURE FOODS and WONDERFUL MEALS we can really enjoy together."

If you don't, you will always be battling the results of the wrong foods and meals. If you don't, and, you "stay on the wagon" together, you will each have a sense of being deprived of the joys of great food with enjoyable people. Which leads to wrong food choices later. And will deepen any unhealthy relationship you may already have with food.

So, a key activity is to search for, experiment with, and enjoy new comfort and pleasure foods with your friends. Do it together. That kind of support you can each use.

When you do that you will have not only a new relationship with food, you will share new experiences with dear friends.

In the long run, wouldn't that make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hang your husband on a clothesline: Rule 18 – How do you control your appetite?

OK. So you don't have a clothesline. But your mother did, so you know what I'm talking about.

Perhaps the man (or partner) in your life shouldn't really be hung on a clothesline. But let me explain the sentiment I hear so often.

"Men don't get it."

Men don't get it
I hear that repeatedly, in various forms and sizes, but it is a recurring theme. "Men don't get it."

Perhaps it’s not their fault. It is rooted in their genes. Men gain weight slower than women. They lose it faster. And when they do get overweight, who cares? He certainly doesn't.

Women, on the other hand, have a rocky time with their weight. It goes on too easily. Comes off very reluctantly. And when you get overweight, people notice. You notice. You care.

It is not a balanced equation. We all know that, of course, but the reality can often hide resentments, jealousies, passive competition, and even sabotage. Most of it coming from you.

We love our mates, we really do. And we know they love us. But when it comes to weight, things can get quietly difficult.

Men and women really do see things differently when it comes to excess weight, and it is rooted in more than biology. It is also driven by our still-dominant male culture. That makes it difficult for both men and women to steer towards a better way to handle weight control issues for women.

For women, losing a lot of weight can be an emotional and frustrating battle. Self esteem can be at stake. Not the kind of self esteem issues that boil on the surface of your everyday life. But, quiet, inner doubts that silently grow. In time, it affects your outlook on your dreams and desires for the future.

It can also have a sexual context to it, as you try to work out intimacy issues for yourself – trying to give more, even as you feel less able to receive.

Intimacy issues
None of this happens overnight, of course. None of it dawns on you all at once. These are hidden, accumulating things that build over the course of years. Even when weight loss becomes successful, the emotional load can stay very much alive, and linger in unexpected ways.

When you and your partner gain weight together over the years, it can get to the point when you both realize you need to do something about it – again together. In the most supportive of ways, you can be a team to find solutions. But, if you are like most couples, that kind of teamwork breaks down all too quickly.

Because of the genetics of men's bodies, they can lose weight faster than women (usually at the rate of 2:1). They seemingly can do less and still lose weight faster. They can "cheat" on your new diet, and it still doesn't seem to affect their weight loss as much as it would you.

A partnership to lose weight?
That is where your "partnership" can break down. Unless you are both fully aware of the differences in biology, your teamwork can falter. He may feel you are not doing as much as him. You feel it is an unfair accusation. He thinks you must not be dedicated. You feel it is not fair that somehow he is making better progress than you. You end up working at it harder than him.

He can start criticizing the things you eat. You can start feeling those judgmental looks. You start to eat differently than him – usually much less than him – to "catch-up" to his weight loss. He may not see the thousands of things you need to do daily to keep the family running and the house chores done, things that impinge on your time for the kind of exercise your body needs to get in shape. He has more freedom to exercise as he wants.

Things can be difficult if you try to lose weight together. Unless you are massively open to the differences your bodies require, it can drive a wedge between you.

Going it alone
But, if you are going it alone, the problems only multiply. There is no free ride if you are the only one dedicated to losing serious weight.

Years ago we owned a large suburban fitness center – the kind with lots of moms and kids, and where spandex and tights were not the stuff of club attire. We started the beginnings of what is now our ScaleDown Weight Loss Education Program. We had teamed up with Johnson & Johnson's Weight Management course with some custom exercise programs put together by our resident exercise physiologist, and threw in a health dash of consultation with a registered dietician. It was the perfect, well-rounded program. Or so we thought.

Several weeks into our first group's use of the program, they were making great progress, individually and as a group. Six weeks in, we had one of those "congratulations for your success" type of mini-celebrations. We wanted them to be recognized for all their hard work and success. And that marked the beginning of their problems. Problems we had not anticipated. By our tenth week, many of our best "weight losers" had dropped out.

Best "weight losers" give up on free trip to Las Vegas
We were exceptionally puzzled because our initial group had a special incentive to make it to completing 12 weeks. The "deal" we had made with them when they signed up was that if they made it to 12 weeks, no matter their progress, they would get three days and nights in Las Vegas. FREE. All they had to do was stick it out for 12 weeks.

The puzzle was why would our best "weight losers" drop out so near their goal? Give up on a much needed FREE vacation to Las Vegas?

Perplexed, we called the dropouts and asked them to come in. Our concerns turned to dismay.

It took some prodding. And careful questioning. Had we done something wrong? Was not the program working for them any more? What could we do to make things better for them?

The answers, we found out, were not about what was happening at the club. It was what was happening in their homes.

These women had taken to eating different food than what they were preparing for their families. An added cost.

They were spending less time at home... not a lot less time, but less time nonetheless.

These women were spending more time at the club, working out and going to our classes. Plus taking time after class to just chat with the other women in the program. They were in this together and had found common bond with their classmates. They were taking time to share life before going home.

These women were reading more at night, to learn more about what they needed to do. And to just catch-up on making a slice of time for themselves personally.

All this was taking its toll on their relationships. While they were losing weight, they were also losing inches. Their contours were just starting to resemble something closer to how they looked when they first got married. And that is where it had finally gotten them into trouble. Accusations.

Love daggers
"Are you out to get somebody else?" "Do you already have somebody else?" "Why are you so happy?" Then the cruelest dagger: "You act like you are in love, again."

Wow. We didn't see any of that coming. Nor did they.

Faced with this stark dilemma, they chose their family (once again) over their individual needs. They quit the program.

Separately, not knowing other women were facing the same contradictions, they dropped out. Alone. Confused. Hurt. They went back to the old food. The lack of exercise. Less time for themselves. And more weight.

Heartbroken. We cried together.

A few years later I ran into Stella at the supermarket. She was a bit smaller than when she had started the program, but not anything like the slimmed-down woman I had last seen at the club the evening we all talked.

"I had no choice," she said. "I still don't."

Men don't get it.

Hang your husband on a clothesline
It may not really be his fault. Genes and male-culture are on his side. But, some day you need a break from it all. You need some time-out. With love and compassion for the confusion he may experience, explain to him the new journey you are on. That you need his unlimited support. Tell him. Then hang him on the proverbial clothesline for a month or two or three or four (or more), as you re-calibrate who you are – who you are becoming – and how you want to refocus your life for the future.

There is more at stake here than weight. More at risk than a different dress size.

You – who you really believe you are – need to come out of the muddled mix of daily living. You – a fully realized woman – need to emerge with your hopes and dreams and aspirations intact. Because, in the end, successful weight control is about you being you. Radiantly you. And projecting that to all the world. Most importantly of all, experiencing it yourself.

Weight loss or not, isn't that what your life is about – about being how you were created and formed, for you to live all of your unique role in life? For us all. For him. For the kids. Especially – especially for you?

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 18: Hang your husband on a clothesline

Next article...
How do you control your appetite:
Rule 19: Make a U-Turn at the bottom of the hill

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tie a string around your waist. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

An experiment was conducted on hospital patients who remained ambulatory but in the hospital for long stays. The staff secretly removed the waist string on the hospital pants of half the patients, chosen at random. Those without the string gained 5 pounds more than those with the string.

Lesson? Don't upsize your clothes. Say to yourself, "This size and no further."

In the long run, would tying a string around your waist really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lose the fat between your ears. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

Scientists have long known that 90-95 % of all fat accumulation is between your ears.

If you can lose the fat between your ears, your weight will come down steadily.

In all your efforts to lose weight, it is not what you don't know that is causing your weight gain, and inability to get it off.

What is sabotaging your weight loss is what you already know, that is wrong.

If you are thinking about going on a diet to lose weight, and you want to keep it off permanently, you need to go on a diet that loses the fat between your ears first. Otherwise you will just yo-yo your weight.

In the long run, would losing fat between your ears really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.