The Quality of the Loss
A goal of “to lose weight” is no longer enough!
A sad, gaunt looking weight loss program is not an appealing way to look at losing weight. For so many people that think the goal is just to lose weight, they forget there are other things that come with the weight loss.
I had an experience that had two effects on me that since shaped my way of working and thinking. The experience happened during the evening shift.
A doctor came into our unit to do rounds, and it became raucous when one of the nurses shockingly recognized him. Her exclamation is the reason my attention was drawn to them and their conversation. Since he looked remarkably different, I wanted to know how he had achieved his surprising feat in such a short period of time.
He apparently has lost over 100lbs in 6 months, after all the gasp and wows. The how and what questions poured in. He proudly began to explain confidently what he had done to achieve the results. I for one was looking at the body, skin and face. What I saw told me a bigger and better story than what was told.
He told everyone he had started a weight loss program which restricted his calories to 500 daily and gave him injections and liquid food for months. He went on to tell all of us on the shift (nurses, clerks, and nursing assistants), the challenges he had and what it was like. Almost everyone was nodding with approval.
I looked on in dismay that an highly intellectually educated man responsible for the health of hundreds of people in his career lacks the courage, ability, and fortitude to face his demons (unhealthy eating habits and lack of movements) and results to short cuts.
When he walked away from our unit, some nurses had gotten on the computer to see his before pictures, thanks to Facebook. Then they start making comments that took me by surprise. Some of them said the following:
— ‘He kind of doesn’t look too good’
—Yes (agrees the second person) ‘like he is starving and he looks sad and weak. His face is sunken, his eyes looked like the actor in the machinist.’
— ‘Did ya’ll notice he smells weird too! I didn’t like the smell of his body.’
I did not know what to say, why did they agree with him that the weight loss was good, only to turn around and say all these horrible about him. I did look at the picture of the round faced man, that looked full and robust. But his current self that I observed look like someone that has been starved for months. His face was sunken, he had sagging skin, his muscles looked weak, his body was jiggling, his skin was dry and the smell I couldn’t put a finger on it.
As I walked away I made 2 conscious decisions for all the interactions with my clients and I have tried to stick to those decisions ever since.
- It is never about the quantity of weight loss but the QUALITY of weight loss that matters. Fast weight loss has its weaknesses and drawbacks. The purpose of fitness is not about just the numbers but to increase the quality of life of my client.
- It is very possible to reach a goal in a multitude of ways but the best way requires truth, courage, patience, discipline, determination, persistence and change in habit.
It was not easy but I am glad I made those decisions. I want people to talk behind my clients back in a good way. I wanted them to be shocked that my client can eat with them and yet have no problem with worrying about ‘fallen off the wagon’. I didn’t want my clients been the the topic of a ‘weird’ smell conversation. I didn’t want their skin hanging, sagging and their faces looking like they are starved. There is a lot I wanted but with the incident that faithful day I started realizing the things I did not want.