I will never forget watching Madonna on Oprah years ago. Madonna tells Oprah that she eats anything she wants. So Oprah asked Madonna what she ate that day. I'm assuming the interview took place in the morning and Madonna said,
"A half a bagel with butter."
Oprah said, "Real butter?"
Madonna said, "Absolutely."
Then Oprah thought about it for a minute and said, "I guess I could eat anything I wanted too if all I wanted was a half a bagel with butter."
It was the strangest exchange between two of the most successful women on the planet. I imagined Warren Buffet and Bill Gates having that conversation.
The truth is that if Madonna overate consistently, she would gain weight. We can see by her body that she doesn't. We also know that she works out like a maniac. So how does Madonna do what Oprah wishes she could?
I don't know Madonna personally but I am pretty sure it has to do with discipline, focus, drive, genetics and hard work. From what I can tell, she doesn't let up on any of it. Oprah, on the other hand, is still going on crazy diets looking for the answer.
One of my clients, who sees me for issues unrelated to weight, is a size 0 and in perfect physical shape. She is small so size 0 on her looks great and healthy, not too thin. She told me the other day that one of her neighbors brought her some muffins from Marie Callanders. She said that first of all she doesn't eat muffins and secondly, she couldn't believe the size of them. One 10 oz. muffin is 1,000 calories. If you ask her she would tell you that she eats anything she wants. When you look closer you see she wants low calorie, healthy food because that is what makes her feel and look good.
So when Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker tell us that they eat anything they want, they aren't lying. I'm sure they really do and I'm also sure that if we added up their average daily calories vs. their average daily calorie output, we'd see that they aren't taking in that much. It's all they want and need but to some of us, it would be a diet.
When we hear someone say, I eat anything I want and stay thin; we picture someone stuffing themselves all the time. We see someone eating high fat, high calorie foods in large quantities everyday. That is not what they mean. They mean they have learned to want what makes them thin and healthy. Perhaps they have learned to eat the high calorie/high fat foods in moderation and can incorporate them into their diets. Either that, or like my "naturally thin" client, they just don't eat those foods.
So, if one of your excuses for not losing weight is genetics, and you think others are so blessed that they are just naturally thin, then you can give it up now. They have learned to want what makes them thin, happy and healthy. You can too.
If you'd like to participate in the research for Irene's new book about the process of weight loss, please visit http://www.eatingdisordertherapist.com/ and take the survey.