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Simmer -- Almost at your Boiling Point: A Weight-Loss Primer

Having ups and downs is part of the path to wellness and it's okay to get frustrated once in a while.
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With January almost half way through, I have already seen the good intentions and New Year's resolutions of well-meaning Americans go astray; yesterday I spotted a woman dressed in full cycling gear hiding in the back of a quick-fix Mexican restaurant scarfing down a small family's worth of burritos. In my time as a dietitian, I've learned to recognize frustration as well address weight loss. My clients always share that they feel they've wasted time with failed diets and are angry by the constant lack of progress. I tell them to use the anger and that success is like a soup -- it's all about taking your time and managing the heat.

First and foremost, soup is about simmering -- keeping a liquid right below boiling. Intense heat can create great food and flavor and learning to translate that energy and fire can change you from an angry, bitter person to a passionate, dynamic human being ready to take on the world.

Specifically, it's about taking that force and doing something with it. Personally, my simmer does not come from weight loss, but rather from food injustice. For me, I started to simmer on a Friday; I was heading to a subway station in New York and ran into a displaced man missing his legs. He was a regular there and often asked for food or change. I tossed him my leftover breakfast sandwich, paused, and today unlike other days, I asked him a question. "How did you lose your legs? Are you a veteran or was it an accident?" He replied with one word that changed my life -- "Diabetes."

As a nutritionist, I knew I was looking at a man that was literally dying in front me. This malnourishment was not happening in Africa or some other far off place that I had never been, this man was dying in right in front of me. This was happening right here, right now, and I could help to stop it. That day I began plans to take my frustration towards obesity and malnutrition and help solve the problem. I decided, I could not just sit back and let it happen; I was going you use my skills to help save those around me.

That's how I simmer, but for you it may be different. Having ups and downs is part of the path to wellness and it's okay to get frustrated once in a while. What I am hoping to offer you is an option to take that anger or frustration, as justified as it may be, and use it to marry the flavors in your own life. So even if you fall off track, take that frustration and anger as energy to leap into your next step -- once you can achieve the simmer, you will begin to enjoy the path to wellness.