“I Lost 85 Pounds”
The ‘Thintervention’ weight-loss expert tells how she handled her own eating problems.
-Dr. Ramani Durvasula
Dr. Durvasula, the psychologist on fitness guru Jackie Warner’s Bravo show, Thintervention, has suffered her own weight-loss battles. Here, she tells how she lost half her body weight, and how you can achieve your own weight-loss goals:
It is simple math. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. Anytime you burn 3,500 calories, you lose a pound. Eat less and exercise more.
Simple – right?
No. It’s a bit like trying to save pennies in an attempt to buy a yacht.
I firmly believe that every one of us has a “food script” – it could be an anxious dinner table while growing up, grandma’s chocolate chip cookies, forbidden sweets, Sunday dinner, eating to please. In my case, food was an uncomfortable place when I was a child – a father who angered when I didn’t eat everything on my plate and tension at dinner. And as I got older it was a safe, legal way to comfort myself that didn’t lead to a hangover or an arrest for possession. I was a clumsy, awkward kid, and athletics never felt like a welcoming space to me, so I never used my body.
In the flurry of graduate school, babies, marriage, home, and career, normal eating got forgotten. I just ate what I wanted, when I wanted, as much as I wanted, and felt that for a busy woman like myself, that I OWED this to myself. I had no other indulgences. Self-punishment and gluttony as entitlement.
So why did it change?
I was 39, overwhelmed, and then my youngest daughter got sick – a summer of progressive symptoms that didn’t improve. By the end of the summer she was in the hospital. I was tapped out and terrified. Shanti’s illness was a wakeup call about how fleeting life and health were. She got better, but I didn’t. One night, preparing for my first evening out in months, every dress I put on either didn’t fit or ripped as I tried to pull it over my neck. My first tentative step on the scale in 2 years revealed my weight to be 200 pounds. I sat in a pile of ripped dresses and cried.
That was September 29, 2005. On September 30 I ate like a condemned woman, knowing I would never do this again. I binged and ate every forbidden food. Because on October 1 I vowed I would take my life back one step at a time and start with my body. I told no one; I was too afraid of being ashamed if I failed. I figured it was worth one last shot, and if I failed, I would go back to my old ways. Money was tight – so no trainer, no special diet, no surgery, no meds. All me.