Thursday, March 29, 2012

How should I handle this? Because, that's no way to live, if you ask me.

I have a friend here at work that I get along with pretty darned well. We used to sit next to each other before the last Big Move that we had at our company, and now she's in a completely different building and we're sad about the distance between us.

However, with the awesome weather we've been having lately, and her complaints about how fat she thinks she is, I've been suggesting daily walks. That helps a little bit.

But then yesterday, she IM'd me about some diet she's thinking she wants to do. She wants me to do it with her. I told her I'd look into it, and let her know.


It's this Medi Weightloss Clinic thing. I checked out their website, and noticed that, of course, they don't mention anything specific about their diet anywhere out there where we can access it without the hard sell, so I went ahead and Googled it. Here's the diet in a nutshell:

Week 1: Eat 500 calories-worth of lean protein (egg whites, non-fat dairy, turkey, chicken...that sort of thing) each day. THAT'S ALL YOU GET.

Week 2: Eat the same diet from week 1 each day, but add 2 cups of veggies, OR 1 cup of fruit and 1 cup of veggies. Not sure how you decide which one you get, or if that's what they consider variety, or whatever.

Week 3: Same diet as week 2, but now you get to add a snack. I'm not sure what the snack is. But on their website, they sell all kinds of 100 calorie protein bars, ready-to-drink shakes, something called a "BBQ Zipper" that sounds, frankly, terrifying.

Anyway, after week 3, you keep eating that same diet until you lose all the weight you're planning to lose.

Oh, and you can also get injections of B vitamins, and they'll prescribe appetite suppresants for you right off the bat, too. And each week, you meet with "medical professionals", whatever THAT may consist of. And the initial payment of $220 to join their program includes a blood test to see where you're starting at, I suppose.

They suggest that you do 30 minutes of some sort of aerobic activity 3 times a week while you're losing the weight.

After you lose the weight, they teach you how to add stuff back to your diet, both foodwise and exercisewise, so you can maintain your weight.

Ok, here's the thing: I can get a blood panel done at my work-related health center for a copay of $10. (I need to do that tomorrow morning, actually.)

I can also starve myself to the tune of 500 lean protein calories per day for a week, add some veggies and fruits the following week, and then add a snack the next week, and eat that way for many, many weeks until I get my ass down to what I'm told by society is an acceptable size.

And all while I'm forcing myself to find enough energy to go and workout 3 times a week for 30 minutes, however I choose to do so.

But I'm not gonna.

Because during that time, I will be a raging hellbeast of a bitch. Hungry, unhappy, likely suffering from a level of food-induced (or lack-of-food-induced, really) depression that makes my head hurt on a constant basis.

Also, I'm sure I would lose weight way too fucking fast for it to be healthy at all.

And did I mention the hellbeast part? Who wants to be THAT?

Anyway, I don't wanna do it. And I don't think my friend should, either. She might be successful with it. But then she might not, and after paying $220 for bloodwork that we get for virtually free at our jobs, along with some "counseling" telling her that she's overweight and needs to lose it fast, fast, fast!, and then being weighed on a weekly basis for the low price of $70 per week, she's more likely to actually lose some weight, get comfy with herself again, and then get right back into the pattern of eating fried chicken and mashed taters too often, and gain it all back (plus some) within the next 2 years.

But of course, I can't say that to her. I like her. I think she's a smart chicky. She makes me laugh, and I don't want that to stop just because she thinks I'm all judgy and shit!

And I'm not trying to judge, really.

But I just don't think that eating like that is healthy in any way. And I don't think it teaches anyone anything, particularly about healthy eating. (I'm of the mind that substituting real food like maybe 3 or 4 cups of veggies and fruit with a snack that is made up of processed oats and fake peanut butter and shoved into a convenient package is NOT a way to teach someone to eat!)

The lifestyle they promote at this weight loss clinic is low carb. VERY low carb. And while I'm all for giving up processed grains and beans and stuff, I don't think that eating such a minimal diet is a way for anyone to live in a healthy manner.

I'm sure that if she joins, she will lose some weight pretty quickly, and I will be jealous, and wish that I could do something like that, too...because my brain is weird like that, and it's something I've come to accept about it.

But I know that while my Primal Blueprint way of living isn't literally melting the pounds off my frame, I still feel damn good. My ass is better. My gut feels better than it has in years. Yesterday I ate an english muffin for breakfast (with cottage cheese), and it didn't upset anything at all internally. So having a random break like that doesn't totally fuck me up, and I don't beat myself up about it at all. Because I only have ME to answer to. Not any "medical professional" judging every bite I put in my mouth.

I eat about 1500 calories a day. I work out 2 times a week with heavy weights/evil trainer lady, and take a lot of walks in between. My upper body is becoming more defined, and while I'm still waiting for my stomach to shrink a bit more ( a LOT more!!!), I know that it will come in time if I keep working at it the way I am.

Anyway, I don't know what to tell my friend. We're the types of friends that tell each other what's on our minds, and try not to judge each other too much. But it happens. We're human. We still laugh a lot together, and that's what matters.

What do you think I should do? Should I just watch her go and do this, because she's clearly craving a quick solution to her ever-expanding waistline, and that's something I can certainly relate to? Or do I remind her that the health center charges $10 for that blood test she wants done, and they'll probably even be happy to talk about a prescription for an appetite suppresant, too, if she asks. I know that what she needs is the motivation of the threat of having to face the scale with someone standing over her shoulder watching every week. I think we all can understand that kind of accountability response.

I'm just rambling now. She and I are walking this afternoon (unless she backs out on me again...grrr...), so what do I tell her?


Fluffycat said...

I think you can tell her of your concerns on this kind of program being somewhat dangerous with the low calorie levels and not really helpful in the long term. We all want quick quick solutions, but they aren't always what is best for our bodies.

I think it's good that you are encouraging her to walk with you.

Ms. Pants said...

So here's the deal: I had a friend go on a similar "diet" that I knew was a total scam. It was very similar to the MediFast thing except that it wasn't a MLM. (More on that in a moment.) She was excited as could be and I knew any negative talk I gave would be considered "unsupportive" even if it was in good faith. So I let her do the program, lose the weight, and deal with nearly having to have her gallbladder removed. (A direct result of the diet.) She's gained some back, but she lost too much in the first place so she looks great now.

Since she asked you to do the diet with her, I recommend approaching the subject from that angle entirely and not deviating. She can interpret it any way she'd like (and she will) but so long as you're coming from an opinion derived from your own research as if you were going to do the plan, you're covered. Something like...

"I did some research on the MediFast plan and talked it over with Leo and I've decided it's not the best plan for me. I was concerned by some of the information I found through a basic google search that suggested fraud and that the company filed a SLAPP suit against someone who posted on a blog about it. (link) I also found evidence that it's Multi-Level-Marketing, i.e. a Pyramid Scheme. (link)

Further, I found a lot of people posting about kidney problems, gout, hair loss, cramps, rash, and headaches as a result of the diet plan.

Due to these things, and frankly, the exorbitant cost of the plan, I'm going to have to decline joining up.

I've been doing the Primal Blueprint plan for a while and though it might be slow-going, I FEEL really good so I'd rather not mess with a good thing."

That's it. No warnings, no "I hope you reconsider," nothing. Let her do her own research. If she's an idiot and unwilling to truly WORK to lose weight, she'll sign up for the MediFast thing. If she's not, she'll reconsider. You can't change her mind. Everyone has to find their own catalyst to lose the weight. (Mine was cancer. Good one, eh?)

And good on ya for knowing it's bullshit. A guy in my firm had a heart attack and died last year. He'd been doing MediFast for several months. We never heard if it was related, but no one will be able to change my mind--I know it was related.

Faith said...

Is MediFast the same thing as Medi Weight Loss, though? I dunno. Even so, eating 500 cals per day seems like a bad plan. And I wonder if the "appetite suppresant" they give is that HcG stuff. Which I want no part of, thanksverymuch.

Anyway, thanks for the support, guys! I'll let her bring it up again. And if she does, I'll just tell her about my research and how it didn't seem to be the thing for me.

faithstwin said...

Plans such as MediFast and Lindora all are part of the ketosis diets where they over-protein your ass, make your body burn out all your insulin and have it then use up stored glucose as its alternative for any energy it can draw. They are TERRIBLE for anyone.

I like Ms. Pants advice and think it is a good way to remain supportive without sounding judgmental.