Thursday, April 09, 2009

A little bit of a rant

OK, so I was off work today, which in consulting meant I squeezed 32 hours of work into three days instead of 40 into four. Which means I had to do a few hours of work today, but from the comfort of my couch instead of the hotel or the office in Boulder. Which is great, because it allowed me to watch the Rachael Ray show before my three hours' worth of con calls started.

***Rant beginning -- skip this installment if you're not interested in hearing me go off***

So, normally, I love Rachael Ray, and I think today I loved her a little more, for the one sensible thing she said while interviewing her main guest today. Her guest was the recently slender, Jenny Craig-ized Valerie Bertinelli. I get that Val (as she is referred to by "Rach") would want to flaunt her renewed body, as she has on the cover of People Magazine and in Jenny Craig ads. Hell, if I had a body like that, I'd parade around in a string bikini too. But what struck me as so unrealistic about the whole thing is how Bertinelli said she prepared for the photo shoot. She said she went back to eating only her "Jenny" food (which, if you look at the materials on their website, is probably an average of 1200-1300 calories) and working out four hours a day. The workouts she talked about were reasonable; she talked about old-school pushups and tricep dips and running, a lot of running. What is unrealistic is the volume of workout and the amount of calories she was taking in to sustain that.

I guess I could work out for four hours a day every day for a month if I didn't have a job and a family, or if I was being paid to be a diet-plan spokesperson, and it was my job to do that. But I'm not, and most people aren't, and it is just not a realistic approach to weight loss. Is there hard work involved? Absolutely, and I definitely want to give her props for putting in the work and getting some amazing results. Just don't tell us that anybody can look that good by doing the same thing. Because I don't have four hours to devote to exercise. And even if I did, I don't think I'd want to.

The other thing is that she talked about how she walks through the airport or the mall and is now content to just sniff the cinnabon aroma instead of having to eat one. As someone who used to go through Terminal D at LaGuardia twice a week where the Auntie Anne's pretzel smell permeated everywhere from the minute you got off the plane, I know of the temptation of the aroma. I quit having one every week after about a month, because, really, they're not as good as they smell. But trust me, I am not going to say that just the aroma is enough to satiate me forever. Because I'm not into denial -- that's the fastest way to a huge crash for me. Maybe it works for her. Good for her. That's just not realistic. But as for me, and for Rachael, who also very adamantly said that she was going to eat one of those cinnabons once in a while when she wanted to, it's not the way I want to live.

You know, this is the same sort of unrealistic expectations that people get from watching The Biggest Loser. I love that show, even though I just started watching it this season. It is incredibly motivating to me to be on the treadmill while I watch this show, because I sure as hell am not getting off that machine after half an hour when these big ol' fat people are cranking out monster mileages and monster amounts of calories. If they can do it, so can I. I don't want to be Joelle and start whining about what I can't do. So I watch it and eat up all the competitive drama intrinsic in it. It's very encouraging to see these people drop 5-6 to 10 or more pounds in a week and see how they have totally changed their bodies and their lives in their time on the ranch. But it is not realistic either. They have a very controlled diet (temptation challenges and rewards notwithstanding) and they work out with personal trainers controlling their routines for six hours a day. That is all that they have to do for their time on the ranch. And until I hit the lottery or become independently wealthy (still working on the action plan for that one...), I don't have the luxury of dropping my job and my family and going to a ranch and paying $2000 a week for 12 weeks to lose weight. So I have to fit it in with my life and my family and my job and my responsibilities in the REAL WORLD. Are there people who can post big drops like that in real life? Maybe, and if so, good for them. But I can tell you that I'm not one of them. And you're probably not either.

So, what's my point here? I'm not sure, except that these are unrealistic expectations that nobody in real life should be disappointed if they can't duplicate. For us real people, it should be OK to do the best we have with what we've got. We've got to make the right choices and do the right things more often than not. We've got to choose to smell the cinnabon more than we choose to eat it. And not feel like a failure if we don't lose 8 pounds in a week or if we're not on the cover of People in a swimsuit.

That is all. Rant over. You may now return to regularly-scheduled programming.


Feener said...

actually i have heard jillian michaels say that even if you fall off the wagon for a day or a week you need to know you can go back and start again, take it as a day making a mistake and move on. i liked that. b/c if we lived with the NEVER ever eating something again it just wouldn't work, but i do see how some things become habit and you realize there is a better choice that will make you feel better, at least that is what i have been learning.

batgrl said...

Oh good, someone I can ask a R. Ray question to! I hadn't watched her show in a while because her perkiness annoys me after a while (I hate her calling sandwiches "sammies" for instance, too cutesy camp counseloresque for me) and saw some of one of her shows recently - and her accent seems really different, as if she's started going to a voice coach. Which is probably for the best, because I'd seen a few of her Ray Goes on Vacation type shows and she was all hoarse and raspy sounding. So do you hear any difference? Might just be my imagination.

I can't imagine completely getting rid of the cravings brought on by yummy smells. I can totally see not wanting to eat that sort of food as often or in large quantities - but frankly I think it's not a bad thing to give in every now and then to something made with real butter and chocolate, etc. etc. I often think it makes things taste better because you know you don't have it daily.

It's also a little different for Bertinelli now as far as what she eats in that she's now a spokesperson for a diet program as well as a celebrity. She now has a much different motivation for keeping the weight off than the rest of us who aren't as likely to be photographed by the paparazzi.

batgrl said...

Silly me not to have googled it: