Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen article after article condemning Paula Deen for her recent revelation that she has diabetes, and her subsequent endorsement of a major pharmaceutical company that manufactures the medication she takes to manage her condition. As a physician, what celebrities do with their lives is of much less significance to me than what my patients do with theirs. And truth be told, most of my patients know, deep down, that eating meals high in saturated fats and laced with refined sugars is not the way to weight-loss success or the key to optimal health. So, what is?
First and foremost, it’s responsibility. I often tell my patients the best way to overcome a diet and lifestyle that has spiraled out of control is to take that control back. I know, I know. It sounds so easy, right? In theory, it is. In practice, I know it can be a struggle. But when it comes to your best weight and health, you have the most important tool you need to get you there. It’s called “choice.” Just as Paula chooses to use a whole stick of butter in some dishes, you can opt to cut that amount in half or substitute olive oil. In making this conscious effort, you’ve chosen the healthier path, for you.
So what stands in the way of us choosing the healthier path? The best term I’ve found is “noise.” Perhaps it’s echoes from your childhood, pushing you to clear your plate at every meal. Maybe it’s your own internal voice that defeats you by telling you you’ll never reach your goals. Whatever your source of noise may be, figure out where it’s coming from before it drowns out that other, better, but not yet powerful enough voice that’s telling you the right things to do for yourself.
It’s easy to point fingers. Especially at celebrities who we hope will be shining examples of what we “should” want for ourselves. Yet, we’re often so disappointed and shocked when they often turn out to be just like the rest of us. So instead, I say put yourself up on that pedestal. Make choices you know are good for you. Take a mental inventory of the noise that keeps you from your goal and start drowning it out with a positive voice that encourages you. If you begin to make a habit out of those exercises, there will be no need to look to someone else for the answers. You’ll already have them. The power will be yours. Then, you won’t waste your time playing the blame game. Because you’ll already know that it has no winners and really, is just another road block to your own personal success.