Leaving the Nest

Dr. Ramani discusses the challenges the group will face once the program ends and how to confront them.



This is it kids –- we are about to send the fledglings from the nest. Into the mean world of fried calamari, Kobe sliders, cocktails, and enabling friends. They had seven weeks of assistance with food, intensive personal training, and group therapy with a psychologist, and it's all about to go away. 

Tonight we learn how they got so overweight, and if they can do this on their own.

During therapy this week (and less than stellar weight losses) they shared how the pounds got on them, and most of us can empathize. They got there by equating love with food, using food as a crutch, a way of making excuses, a mode of coping with depression, a reward, falling in love and the complacence that typically follows, the absence of emotion, self-loathing. 

So the reasons were as varied as falling in love, falling out of love, and everything in between.

Those things are still going to happen to them. They are still going to get depressed, and they are still going to look for rewards and excuses in their lives. 

So when they are sad, or angry, or lonely, or celebrating, how will they stop themselves from reaching for the taco rather than the treadmill? The waffles instead of weights? Four ounces of steak instead of the sixteen ounce cut? Bottom line – IT WON'T BE EASY.  

Jackie pulled an interesting one on them, and I am glad she did it –- she stuck them in a restaurant with forbidden foods, a bit like putting a newly married man in the Playboy Mansion or an alcoholic in a bar. And their emotions ranged from anger to frustration to sadness. Ironically, the voice of reason in the appetizer ambush was Nikki who gave an eloquent discourse on taking responsibility, dropping the emotion about food, and offering alternatives. Even at the beginning of the episode, Nikki fessed up about the fact that this will be a day by day process, a day by day struggle. I would love of course to take some credit for Nikki's new transcendence, but like any good psychologist I must put the credit squarely where it belongs –- the hard work of the client.

Bryan expressed being literally AFRAID of pizza. For the past 7 weeks, our warriors have been living and breathing clean eating and exercise, but with the added pressure/incentive of Jackie and Craig lurking around the next corner and the structure of group therapy. What happens when they are like the rest of us, and no one is watching? When you try to lose weight and finally do lose weight, food can become scary and distortion can kick in. 

Our clients face two sets of risks right now, and these risks sit on a continuum with success, moderation and permanent weight loss in the middle.

Relapse -- Moderation and ongoing weight loss and maintenance -- Disordered eating

Disordered Eating: Fear of food, restriction of food, dyscontrolled eating and compensatory behaviors (excessive exercise, or even more dangerous methods such as purging) are observed in people who develop dysfunctional relationships with food.  And this is not uncommon in dieters. 

Relapse: Falling off the clean eating wagon and going back to old habits. This is also not uncommon in dieters (these are the yo-yo dieters). 

Moderation: Maintaining the clean eating, exercise, sustainable weight losses of a few pounds per week and then long term maintenance. And obviously this is what we want. 

The psychologist and alcoholism researcher Dr. Alan Marlatt wrote about something called the "Abstinence Violation Effect." I call it "The Hell with it Hypothesis." Basically, when we give up something that is as addictive as food and put new habits in place, sometimes we slip and eat a "forbidden" food. The right thing to do is to walk away, treat it as a lapse, and start anew. However, it is common for people to eat that forbidden food and then say, "the hell with it." I already ate half of the slice of cheesecake, I might as well go for it and the bad feeling that accompanies "violating" their dietary abstinence can lead to giving up on clean eating and healthy living entirely. For our gang forbidden "dirty" foods may be a signal to overeat (Shay and her ice cream, Joe and his cheeseburgers). The real trick if Shay slips with a dish of ice cream is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and really focus on the clean eating the next day. 

IT WON'T BE EASY. Will they be able to order "clean" when their friends are overindulging? Go to the gym, when they aren't in the mood? Make wise choices at a buffet? Not become frightened by food and start distorting their experience of food? Have they internalized the Jackie/Craig/Dr. Ramani triad – and will they hear our voices when they face these choices and learn to say no themselves.


What do you think looms as the finale nears? Who will be the big loser? Will anyone relapse all the way back? It's a hell of a horse race –- and you will be surprised at how it ends.


Everyone Deserves a Thintervention

Craig thinks everyone can achieve their goals just like the Thintervention clients.

For all our viewers at home, please answer these questions for yourself:

What is holding you back from your Thintervention success? 

When and why did your self destruction start with unhealthy eating and lack of exercise? 

Now let me answer this next two questions for you:

Do you deserve, and can you achieve, a healthy fit body?  


Where does this start?

With you! With you wanting and accepting the fact that you are worthy and deserving of self love.  

One of my training mottos with my clients is, "Borrow the love I have for you until you find it for yourself". 

Success is not just measured by inches and by the scale. It's definitely a proper indicator that you are on the right track with your program. 

All of these clients found out what is truly necessary with a weight loss program. They now have the ability to do it for themselves.  

Let me break it down here:

Mandy -- Week two into this program we could see she was a champ! Mandy trusted us and followed the program perfectly.She worked out so hard that I literally would finish the session, step away without her seeing me, and cry.  Obviously, this training is what she needs. She is capable and seeing how hard she was working would bring me to tears. Thank you Mandy for showing mothers, wives, and all women that they are capable of having the dream body they never thought possible. You are a true example of hard work.  

Jeana -- As viewers could see, I was not in therapy sessions, and I actually never had a conversation with Jeana about her depression. I could tell that she battled this but did not hear it from her mouth. She had trouble finding the workout intensity necessary to drop serious weight. Depression does effect the ability to workout to intensity.  It slows down this process. But Jeana always showed up with a smile and willingness. And for that, I appreciate and love her. Jeana has such a wonderful soul. I'm so happy that she has discovered this about herself through this program. She is just as beautiful on the inside as the out.  

Joe -- I had the opportunity to spend some good quality time with Joe. I needed to have that talk with him at the resort, because I knew he was hiding behind what he thought was the "fat, funny guy." Well, he's not overweight anymore and his routine is not funny! So when he cuts the crap he is really a sweet, caring guy. He has so much to offer family, friends, and hopefully soon, a loved one. I trust that he will carry on with his new found self. His workouts were intense and impressive. For him to pack on that much muscle mass (muscle weighs more than fat) and lose 42 pounds is extremely impressive. Congratulations, Joe! Hard work pays off! 

Shay -- I'm really proud of her facing and addressing her eating issues. So many women can relate to Shay. They think they are alone, and Shay showed them that they are not. You are a true leader Shay. I hope this motivates you to gain control of these issues and reach out to advise the millions of other women who are struggling with the same problems. I have a fondness for this girl for many reasons, but especially because she let me see her true inner self, and let me tell you, it's beautiful. 

Stacy -- Before working with Stacy, I would have said she "suffers" from  PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). A disease of too much insulin production and resistance to using that insulin effectively. But now I say Stacy "battles" PCOS and WINS! Like all women with PCOS, she never asked for this challenge. This condition can leave women confused, and feeling helpless with so many unanswered questions. They know something is wrong, but they just don't know what it is. Stacy never asked, "Why me?" Instead she asked, "What do I have to do?" I told her you have to work twice as hard, and she did! Her determination, hours in the gym, and researching her condition, makes me so proud of her. Stacy and I together recently reached out to Monika Woolsey (www.incyst.com) for answers. Monika is a leading expert for PCOS and Stacy is well on her way to gaining control over what she needs to do for herself. As a trainer, I feel very comfortable and confident working with this, and I have gained knowledge and understanding of PCOS. With Monika's help, I have the knowledge to train these brave women battling this obstacle. Stacy, you look gorgeous! My very good looking boyfriend, celebrity hair stylist Brandon Liberati, treated her to one of his incredible cuts for the finale. www.brandonliberati.com (shameless plug). 

Nikki -- Nikki has her demons, she recognizes this, and bravely is on her path to healing. I had an opportunity to talk with Nikki at our resort retreat after the pool workout, where she explained her focus during this workout was  her confidence and to simply be present in her bathing suit. The physical outside of one's body will not change until their insides are changed and issues are dealt with. 

Bryan -- Bryan himself will tell you this program is literally, and figuratively, not a piece of cake. He had his ups and downs, but when there were downs, he got back up and stayed strong. He leaned on the support of his loved ones, including Jackie and I. He was determined to finish every work out to intensity. He ate clean and really followed the program. 

These Thintervention clients make me proud to be doing what I do. Thank you all for showing me that the long hours, tears, and sweat we trainers put into our clients are all worth it. I love you all. You all have inspired the unhealthy world we live in.  

Now for all my Thintervention viewers -- Please stay in touch, tell me your story, your struggles, your successes.   I will be posting blogs on my website focused on fitness and eating tips, even information for my PCOS battlers out there with specific tips that can get you on your way to success. 

Visit www.craigramsayfitness.com