The Facebook message seemed innocent enough. A longtime friend from college reached out, as many have, to tell me that they have read and liked the blog. Simple.
And then the sales pitch began.
“This product does this and I saw that you used something else and that’s great, but this has really helped me and I think it would be great if you wanted to get involved with my business.” Or something like that.
My sister was once abducted (my term, not hers) and dragged by (former) friends to a seminar for Quixtar, the Ponzi-scheme also known as Amway International. The deal is that you are your own business owner, who reports to another business owner, who reports to another business owner. Each of the people above you make money on your work and the only way for you to get in on the riches is to recruit someone else to become a business owner. My wife and I got the sell from a different friend in college, who skillfully waited until the end to mention the name of the company. Talk about red flags. Only two weeks earlier, Dateline NBC had done a hidden camera thing where they went to a Quixtar indoctrination session and saw how people were programmed. It was Chris Hansen before he started catching predators.
I was a skeptic of Optifast when I began the regimen, but saw the results in others and thought it would be worth the go-round. The selling point for me was that a doctor was at the helm of the ship. It was not just a family doctor building a side operation in weight loss, but a true bariatric doctor. I had her undivided attention on the topic of losing weight and the other stuff that I asked her about (mental health, baby nutrition, pregnancy-related things) was the sideline stuff.
There are other products on the market that promise the results of Optifast, but without the muss and fuss of medical supervision. And, it’s sold in the same pyramidesque scheme used by Quixtar and the company (which I will not name) in which my friend invited me to get involved.
The friend mentioned that she had been using products from a company to clear her skin, lose weight and other things.
“I too love to eat and I still am (sic). It has been slow, and I can’t say that I have lost a ton of weight (But then again I really only want to lose like 25), but my biggest thing since Jan is to maintain…i haven’ t been able to exercise, I have been REALLY stressed this year, and I am so busy, but I have been able to maintain…and I stress eat!”
I’ve talked about this in previous posts of The Weight Loss Story. Comfort eating is about breaking down the relationship one has with food from friendship to survival. You should eat to live, not live to eat. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like fettuccine alfredo. It means that you shouldn’t eat a two-quart serving of it.
And remember my struggles with my skin? Since I have changed my diet, my skin has even changed! It’s really crazy!
(In fairness, I don’t remember her skin troubles. That’s not to say that she didn’t have any. I always thought she was very pretty, but I have to be honest…I can’t remember what I did with the check for my expenses this morning. There’s no possible way I remember what her skin looked like in the past.)
Changing one’s diet knocks over a bunch of other dominoes. What the friend points out is that eating healthy, not living on supplements, is what helps to cleanse your system of toxins. The body does a pretty good job of cleaning itself, but when we overload it with garbage, it backs up. The friend moved to less processed foods and saw a change. That’s very good. (Of course, there is also something to be said about growing older and seeing your hormone levels decrease. I once had a dermatologist tell me that he could cure my acne through castration, as hormones are the primary catalyst for pustule development.)
I’m happy for her. It might not seem like it, but I really am. It’s just that I like the idea of going to a doctor to find out what is wrong and how to fix it. And that’s why something in her message stuck out to me:
“Call me and I can explain further! This approach is really helping people who are seriously ill to figure out what it is that is hurting them. I hate to see you try something else that isn’t going to work…I have seen people have results in months and they are still going.”
This was part sales pitch, part trouble. Are people really eschewing a physician’s advice and using supplements to cure a malady? Of course they are. People seeking a cure for something will try anything. People truly believe autism can be cured through diet, even though it is a developmental disorder. We see this from time to time at my office. I’ve had people come up to me in publicand tell me that they cured Alzheimer’s by adopting such and such diet or taking some herb. That’s interesting, because I’m pretty sure Alzheimer’s has no cure. I digress.
Of course, the statement about not trying something else that isn’t going to work also bugged me. This seems to have worked. (Foreshadowing) I dipped to 80 pounds below my starting weight (hitting my goal) and am living life at 260 pounds. For me, moderation was not going to work. Weight Watchers was not going to work. I treated a medical problem that spurred a lifestyle change. I needed to treat it as such because it was the truth and denying it was not working anymore.
Like I said, I’m really happy for my friend. I’m glad she’s found a fix for the problems she has faced. I’m glad that she has balance and regularity in her health and that this product has brought her there. In the same way I could not exist under the moderation of that system, I do not think she would do well with the regimentation of Dr. Scinta’s program. But, if good health is the goal, the road we take should not matter. My way was not perfect, but it worked for me.
I responded and passed on the opportunity.