I’m late to the reality-TV party, but I recently discovered the UK show Supersize v. Superskinny, which is kinda reality-TV because they are real people taking part in a filmed interactive situation. But this show uses its shock value for a very constructive purpose rather than just for entertainment. Basically, Dr. Christian Jessen, often just called Dr. Christian, guides one obese and one near-anorexic person to learn from him and each other, in order to revampt their eating habits. Dr. C, with his sensible comments and caring voice, has taken up residence in my mind along with my favourite participants, and encourages me now.
Two different people each week meet and compare visual display of a week’s worth of food. They are each going to have to eat what the other one did in the past week, as recorded in a food diary. They enter the feeding clinic and the skinny person is presented with a vast dinner, often followed by unwanted snacks. The fat person gets some sad excuse for a meal, like a chocolate bar, a piece of toast and an energy drink, or if they’re really lucky, decent food, but a portion fit for a four-year old.
So this past week, I set up a “feeding clinic” for myself. No one else here, just the show participants and Dr. C to cheer me on. From the show, I learned that you can reset your appetite. I planned three sensible meals a day for myself, and a protein shake as an option if rushed or heading out for a long swim and the like. Currently the two key points for me are to do without snacking, and to make a plan and follow it. I already eat high quality food made from scratch, for the most part, and now that is exclusive. No more fast food burgers and other not-great stuff I’ve enjoyed in the past. Time and again the supersizers suffered through some hunger but pretty soon were okay with their tiny portions. I can only guess their bodies started burning a bit of fat.
Amazingly, most of these people started to look noticeably better after several days in the clinic, especially people who were there for a whole week, and especially the super-skinnies. Even though they were often eating takeaway food with lots of bad fats and carbs, just getting more calories put colour in their face and took away some gauntness, immediately. I also noticed after the first day on my feeding clinic, immediately my complexion looked clearer, just like most of the supersized folks on the show.
So, I got a bit of glory. I found something that I know will work. I saw it work for many others. Planning your meals is not a new thing, but it’s something I resisted till now. I like flexibility, but now I need control. I always cooked in bulk and saved it in the fridge and freezer for meal convenience, so I’m used to that level of planning, but the point is here is planning for portion control. Limit intake to three meal periods and a scoop of protein if necessary. So far I’m not defining the meal portion extremely. That will be the next step, once I have the 3 meals without snacks habit down pat. I’m quite sure this alone will make a decent difference, as I was quite the opportunistic grazer up till now.
It’s great to have a plan I can believe in, live by, and refine, and be free from emotional eating. Yes, I had a few thoughts of indulgence over the past few days, but I focused on my goal to get through to a new state of being, like the peiople in the show. They are sent off for a few weeks or months and come back to reveal their results. They are encouraged to continue beyond that. Unfortunately, I won’t have a feeding clinic buddy to keep in touch with, but I can at least remember a lot of the delightful and inspiring people who have been on that show.
Just one thing about me – I’ve never been a dieter. My life has been going through hell the past two years, due to my marriage breakdown. I did manage to lose some weight during the separation part of that, but gained more than half of it back. Yoyoing is not fun and I don’t want that pattern to repeat. I’m taking it slow, steady, and comfortable (except being willing to feel hungry while adjusting), so it can be a solid lifestyle change.
I know all the supersizers and superskinnies and Dr. C would wish me success.