There is something about “tough love” that motivates at times. What I love about our guest columnist, Donna Medeiros, is that she shoots straight (as many New Yorkers do), but yet she balances that blunt delivery out with love and compassion. I’m thrilled that our blog readers get to hear from her about what FIT has meant to her:
So we all like some type of accountability, don’t we?? Isn’t that why we join weight loss groups and buy into weight loss gimmicks? Take Weight Watchers for instance. They watch our weight for us, they see it each time we go in and give over our weekly fee. Begrudgingly, at times, we hand it over, knowing that when we step on that scale there is going to be a number we don’t want to see. Other times, we hand it over happily because we know that we have lost at least something, even if it is a couple of ounces. Then there is Medi-Fast. We pay hundreds if not a thousand dollars of our hard earned money to drink shakes twice a day and then eat a ‘well rounded, balanced diet.’ We go each week for our weigh-in knowing we have lost some weight because we’re so hungry day after day, and we hold on to the thought that once our stomach shrinks, the angry knot in our stomach will go away. We end up being ‘hangry’ (angry because we’re hungry!). There it is again: accountability. We pay our fee, and someone watches us step on a scale. Then there is gastric bypass. A major surgery not without risks — risks that people are willing to take at any cost just to be thinner, and then to only gain it all back plus some in a few years. GB is like putting a band aid on a gushing laceration. It will work for a minute, but eventually it will open back up. Oh, there are some who will do well on any diet, but it is few and far between who are able to make choices that will last a lifetime.
But have we learned HOW to eat and WHAT to eat? WW doesn’t care if you eat all of your points away in a Jim Dandy from Friendly’s, and you don’t care as long as you didn’t go over your points for the week. Medi-fast has taught you that in order to lose weight, you have to drink your calories away in 2 out of your 3 meals a day, and that drink gets old doing it day after day. Gastric Bypass taught you that you can’t eat and drink at the same time; that you will have to take vitamins for the rest of your life because the part of your gut that absorbs vitamins from the foods you eat has been cut away. These are just the tip of the iceberg of weight loss gimmicks that are out there.
But what FIT teaches you is how/what to eat. It teaches you about eating ‘clean.’ Clean eating is eliminating packaged/processed foods and eating things that are grown in the ground, not packaged in a can. It teaches about the importance of drinking enough water and eating the right portion size, something that most people have no idea about. It teaches you about reading labels: how to look for carbs, hidden sugars, and all the ugly processed stuff that we are putting into our bodies day after day. FIT is learning about YOU…what motivates you to eat, why you eat, to think about what you’re eating. It teaches you that it is ok to have a cheat day once a week but not to cheat EVERY day. It teaches you that even if you mess up one day, tomorrow is a new day. A new day filled with options and choices. It teaches you how to become informed — informed about what you’re eating. It teaches you the importance of exercise and how it is so good for our bodies. And it teaches you how to be a better you. FIT is a community of women all in different stages of life with different needs, health concerns, and limitations. But yet we are all connected by the desire to get healthier. There are no gimmicks, there is no pill, there is no shake. There are just women who have either joined FIT at inception, or women who have joined along the way.
FIT uses a daily checklist with points assigned for each activity on the list. There are points for drinking 8 cups of water a day, exercising for 30 minutes a day for 5 days out of the week, points for not eating sugar for 6 days out of the week, thereby giving you the opportunity to have sugary snacks one day that week. There are points awarded for not eating after 9 pm, points for eating 3 cups of fresh/frozen veggies, eating one piece of fruit daily and so on. This is when accountability and integrity come into play. And who are you accountable to now? There is no one at the scale recording your weight, looking at you over the top of the rims of their glasses all the while sitting in their cubicle, pushing your weigh-in paper back at you as you snatch it off the counter before someone else sees it. There is just you and a community on social media who are willing to be your cheerleader, your praying partner, or your accountability partner. They are a group of women you have never met, yet you are bonded to them through common goals: weight loss, health, and the desire to have that woman back that you once knew.
So to tell you a little about myself, I am a Registered Nurse, received my Associate’s degree in Massachusetts 12 years ago, and was an LPN for 7 years prior to that. I am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree and will be finished at the end of this year. I work in a primary care doctor’s office and currently hold the title of Care Manager. I sit with patients on a daily basis helping them to get in control of their diabetes, cholesterol, and their weight. I see them cry, I see them frustrated, I see their addictions. And the reality is, I am just like everyone else. I struggle with making good choices, eating healthy, and I need accountability as well. While I can sit behind my desk and give out instruction, help people decide on life goals, be their cheerleader and their accountability partner, I realized I needed all of those things as well. Prior to my joining the 8 Week Fit group, I talked to patients about the things that cause weight gain: carbohydrates, sugars, portion control, and it all worked. Patients lost weight, their blood sugar numbers were in better control, their cholesterol improved, but there certainly were things that were lacking. Now when they come in to the office we talk about eating 3 cups of fresh/frozen veggies, drinking more water, getting out and exercising, and getting away from packaged/processed foods. And the patients are doing well!!! They have more energy, they have a sense of control, and they are reading labels and understanding them!!
So you say you can’t exercise for 30 minutes a day because you don’t have the time, but I can tell you that everyone can find two times a day when you can exercise for 10 to 15 minutes. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. But I know it can be done, because I did it.
Do I know all the answers about food? No, but I do know that getting back to basics, getting rid of highly processed and packaged foods and eating more berries and veggies, is going to keep me healthy for a long time. I don’t want to spend my “Golden Years” paying copays at the doctor or paying for medications. And if YOU don’t want to, then I say you are reading this at the right time. Go ahead. You can do it. Find that woman you once knew and love her like you once did and make those changes. It is never too late to start.