I Can’t Stay “On the Wagon”

Most of the ASK TARA MARIE emails I receive are from people with whom I have never worked. I recently got an email from a client who I have trained off and on for several years. We stopped meeting in mid-December because he said that the end of the year is busy and we would pick up again in January.  When I didn’t hear from him by mid-month I emailed, and he said he was awaiting lab results from his doctor and would be in touch…I never heard back. Three weeks later, I emailed him again and got a reply, which I posted below along with my advice. If it seems that my words are harsh, please understand that the situation had reached a critical point, and hand-holding is not what he needed. Someone had to tell him the truth without mincing words because at that point, his life was at stake. We often take our health for granted until the first stroke or heart attack, and this is foolish disrespect of the human body.

Here is Sam’s letter:

Dear Tara Marie,

The endocrinologist gave me vitamin D to take daily.  Starting next Monday I am meeting weekly with his dietician.  I am borderline diabetic, based on a blood test.  I am writing daily in my journal: my food, my behavior, and my activity.  I’ve gained a lot of weight. This morning I weighed 480 lbs.  I FEEL the effects of being 30 lbs. heavier: it’s more difficult to move, and my legs below my knees and ankles are EXTREMELY SWOLLEN again.  I scraped my ankle 3 weeks ago and it is still oozing. Also, my skin in the crease behind both knees split open, AGAIN.  My therapist told me that I CAN ENDURE THE DISCOMFORT/PAIN from avoiding the wrong foods, eating LESS, and walking on the treadmill because I am enduring major DISCOMFORT now from my open wounds and being in pain when I merely walk.

I will be in touch. Sam

Dear Sam,

I’m sorry to hear that things are so rough for you. I agree that what you’re doing now does not make you happy or feel good in any way, so clearly something is very wrong with your plan.

Your perception is that living a healthy life is torture, but I love being lean and healthy–it’s fun! You would love it, too, but it takes work. I work hard, and you would have to work hard, as does everyone else.

The flaw in your thinking is that everything is supposed to be effortless and pleasant all the time, and this is not realistic. MOST of my life is HARD work, and only a small bit comes easily. Good self-esteem is the result of this hard work.

You have low self-esteem because you believe that you don’t contribute to society in a meaningful way. This low self-esteem makes you punish yourself with food, and the vicious cycle continues. You must break the cycle once and for all. You need to be exercising a minimum of 3x per week and eating well 95% of the time. At this point, your health is at risk.  As soon as you lob off 30-45 lbs you’ll feel much more comfortable, and the skin issues and edema will improve.

My blunt, hard-line advice is to grow up, stop whining, and do what you need to do.  All other advice you’re given is just a sugar-coated version of this. You CAN do this, but you are CHOOSING not to. No one can do it for you. I do wish you the best.  I am here for you, when you are ready.

~Tara Marie