Weight Loss Lessons from the Failed Rapture

I, like many others, laughed at Harold Camping’s perennial predictions of the end. I was puzzled and saddened by those who believed to devastating results: 14-year old Nastya Zachinova, of Central Russia, committed suicide to avoid suffering in a post-Rapture earth, 60-year-old Robert Fitzpatrick, a retired Metro Transit Authority engineer, spent the bulk of his life savings on $140,000 of cautionary bus and subway ads.

Amidst punchy rapture jokes, I wondered, how could these people put such faith in a man who continually made the same incorrect and unfounded prediction? Then I asked: What deep beliefs do I have, that are clearly wrong?

I too had my own “rapture” beliefs. For 18 years I had faith that one day I could be “raptured” to an ethereal place that included a fulfilling career, my soul mate and happiness. My heaven was on earth (I am half Jewish after all). I would pass through these terrestrial pearly gates once I was at my goal weight.

There was one “true” diet somewhere. It would be my savior. When I found it, I would throw myself before it and repent for my past food sins with its prescribed food and exercise doctrine. The diet industry was my Harold Camping.  And just like Camping’s followers, I listened anew each time. 1996, Zone… 2000 Weight Watchers Points… 2002, South Beach—This time it was going to happen!

Who doesn’t want simple answers? Many clients initially ask me for an eating plan. My advice makes them nervous. Eat fat, eat egg yolks? Isn’t this just wrong? Is lemon water some kind of cult Kool-aid? But after they accept that only they can discover their body’s own truths, the results are magical. Their cravings subside. They feel content, clear, focused. They uncover and resolve emotional challenges in surprising ways. Last week, one client echoed what I hear frequently, “I thought this was going to be hard. It’s so simple.”

Weight loss and life aren’t about enduring deprivation and punishment as a way to “earn” the reward of a size 2 body and a life that somehow transforms from Spartanism to sumptuousness. Frame your life and weight loss this way and you’re bound to create your own Doomsday— and binge cycle. If you believe weight-loss will deliver possibilities, bliss and confidence, you must include those qualities into your life now. And most importantly, you must question why you believe weight-loss has to be this way.
On my May 22 bridal shower, I was further away from Doomsday, whether Camping’s or my previously self-created one, than ever. I enjoyed the company of relatives, friends, and amazing food—without guilt. I didn’t overeat, effortlessly. I haven’t dieted while planning my wedding but have continued the weight loss that began in my post-diet days. Why?

Because, I have worked on understanding my body’s own emotional and physical wisdom. I am free from the oppressive institution of dieting. I’m in a place even better than my wildest diet heaven dreams.  And now, I view the diet industry and its proclamations of the latest miracle diet as I see Camping, and his audacity to re-predict the end of the world on October 21.

I can’t package this feeling and give it to you. You must uncover it. However, I can give you the gluten-free recipes  that my incredible mom made for my shower. Many guests remarked that they felt full and satisfied, without the usual bloat. I hope that these are one clue in the discovery process to health for both my shower guests and for you: good food can taste great and make you feel great.

To a wide-eyed open summer.