Weight loss… I’m sure at some point, justly needed or not, we have all struggled with these two words. In a world where thin is always in and we are made to feel inadequate, even freakish when we step into a size 16, weight loss has become the elusive unicorn within our society. We all want it, seek for it, worship at the alter of those who promise results in 30 days or less and offer up a pill that will make us celebrity thin in a matter of days. I too have struggled with this elusive unicorn for many years and while recently reading an article seeking weight loss experts, primarily targeting doctors, nurses and nutritionists, it led me to ask this question, who’s the real expert here? A doctor who may or may not have ever battled this particular demon, someone whose expertise comes strictly from a text book, or those who have been in the trenches fighting for years. I’m pretty sure I could sit down with the best of the best in the medical field and teach them a few things about what works and what doesn’t. It was in fact one of these “experts” that sat in his office and told a  16 year old girl that “nothing was wrong with you physically, you just need to lose weight, and work on diet and exercise”… I’m pretty sure what she heard was this “you’re fat, you’re lazy and you eat too much, so stop!” I’m pretty sure that’s what she heard because “she” was me. So I tried the “experts” way, I dieted, I went to the gym with my mom for weeks and weeks, I felt like crap… I lost 2 pounds. Only years later did I learn that this “expert” had missed something and in fact I did have something “wrong” with me, something this expertise just didn’t catch. I had insulin resistance, which means I don’t lose weight like normal people, starving myself doesn’t work (as it doesn’t really work for anyone, and if it does it only lasts through swimsuit season), what people would consider the “norm” in diet food doesn’t work, my body is different and there is a reason why all the previous attempts failed. And it’s not just because I’m fat and lazy thank you very much! Thankfully I did find a real expert that took the time to figure this out. Those in the medical field are certainly qualified to talk the talk, but does that alone make them more of an expert than those who have to walk the walk.

Even after I was aware of this condition it took me a very long time to accept it and figure out what this meant for me exactly. I still don’t understand it all, and it’s hard! I can’t just watch calories like the normal dieter, I have to watch carbs and protein too. The normal dieter jogs one mile a day to lose two pounds a week, I have to jog two or three, it sucks, but that’s just the way the cards fell. And when I finally decided to really chase that unicorn, I quickly became an expert, and I’m certainly no doctor or nurse. I pretty much know now what I can and can’t eat, or how much I can have of certain things. I often say to friends “I wouldn’t eat that if I were you…” which I’m sure they find incredibly annoying. That doesn’t make me perfect, I still eat things I probably shouldn’t and I don’t exercise nearly enough, but I have gotten closer to catching the unicorn. I lost 20lbs, finished training for and completed a 5k, gained 10 back… it happens! But now I’m back on the wagon, eating better and training for a half marathon in December. I don’t have a degree, but I have been chasing that unicorn for many years just like many of you, so what do you guys think, what makes an expert, book knowledge or real life experience? Email your comments to amduke25@yahoo.com.



December 2011

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