Instead of losing weight by eating clean, how about losing weight by coming clean?
A heavy handed attempt at coming clean was to toss a lie detector at our unsuspecting cast. The most innovative facet of this show has been that they were not sent to a camp where they were locked down and monitored at all times. THINtervention attempts to get them to lose weight with all of the stresses, temptations, and reminders offered by their usual kitchens and homes –- so cheating is an option. More about the lie detector in a moment.
Sure –- eating clean is a fast route to weight loss -– the dumping of the sugars and the additional calories all but guarantees weight loss. But clean ain't that simple. COMING clean means telling the truth, and owning your history. Once the psychological weight is dumped, the physical weight starts to follow.
Our clients did this work –- they really did -- you just don't get to see it because there is just too much from each week to fit into each episode. And our resident armchair with a Ph.D. –- Dr. Ramani -– was proud to be a witness to this and to facilitate this process for them.
So perhaps it is time for the good doctor to come clean. You don’t get to hear about her own coming clean this week on the show, but she did and perhaps her personal story will awaken the possibility of weight loss for everyone -–even in a world with no Jackie coming to your house, no daily training sessions, and no personal chefs. (and you can see what happens in therapy when Dr. Ramani reveals her weight loss on the bonus video content featured at bravotv.com).
Coming Clean #1:
I was fat. Quite fat. 200 pounds of me. I lost 85 pounds. By myself. No trainer, no special diet, no surgery, no drugs. Just exercise and common sense. The pictures say more than I can:
It took 17 months to knock out 85 pounds –- 5 pounds a month. Not good chart numbers, but honest ones. It's been off for 3 years. It didn't cost me a dime.
Coming Clean #2:
Every day is a struggle. Guess what -– once the weight is off, it doesn't stay off. You kind of have to keep the regimen going. Forever. I still struggle at buffets, parties, restaurants etc. I still crave crappy food. Every day and every meal are a battle. Our gang of 7 is at the beginning of a lifelong journey -– not sure that they understand that yet. Temptation and possible relapse in the form of cheeseburgers, vodka tonics, ice cream, and cookies will lurk every day for them.
Coming Clean #3:
Lie detectors are not common clinical practice. Not how I would typically do therapy, and I was just as surprised as them. Jackie wanted to know if they were being transparent, and a decision was made. Therapy is about a subjective reality –- the client's view of the world. If they choose to lie to me then we would try to get to the underlying causes and not the lie itself. Treatment can be frustrating when we are trying to enact behavioral change. If they don't tell the truth, then change won't happen.
The assumption was if you did not lose weight, you lied. But I would have bet that even those who took the weight off would have been caught in their "lies." The entire exercise was designed to prove a hypothesis that was already assumed to be true. Losing weight is tough, our cast has been quite honest about their struggles with food, but they may not be as honest about their ongoing struggles with food.
Why do people lie? Typically fear, guilt and shame. Instead of shaming them more, perhaps normalizing the shame, guilt and fear could help them get "clean."
Coming Clean #4:
If you had to pick only one thing to address when you decide to lose weight, choose food. Although the bulk of the show is about exercise – if you can or are ready to only make ONE FIX to start losing weight – it's food and calories. It's not that interesting to watch people eat so the show plays that down. But you have to exercise A LOT to burn a few calories (remember Bryan's cookie stair master?). Control what goes in. Eat regularly. Don't let hunger be your cue to eat. Eat sensibly. Drink water. The exercise will potentiate the process a lot -- upregulate your metabolism, fill time you could otherwise be eating, build muscle etc. But for weight loss the research is clear -– dietary change is key.
Coming Clean #5
Doing therapy on this show has been the enactment of a fantasy. All psychologists are to some degree voyeurs. When I work with clients under normal non-TV circumstances, I can only imagine the world they tell me about – leaving me to envision their partners, homes, workplaces, kids etc. in my mind's eye. I never get the chance to see the reality. Until now. To have completed a course of group therapy with them and now get to go back and see what their lives really look like has been a revelation, a chance to see if my "guess" matches the truth.
So I have come clean -– and I do every day, it may be the only reason I can keep the weight off. Trust me when I tell you they work hard in therapy, and those insights were as important as every ab crunch, protein shake, and rain-drenched mile they run. Before you eat clean, come clean.