Weight loss dreams creating unattainable goals
STORY BY KELSEY LYONS
The drive and the desire to lose weight fast can often push people to extreme, even dangerous lengths.
Crash fitness involves the idea of quick-fix weight loss and often unachievable, short-term goals.
Sheridan Performing Arts student Alex Fiallos, 18, says that she’s been doing crash fitness almost her entire life.
Fiallos is a dancer and her mom supported her in doing what she can to stay in shape for recitals.
“I’m also a model, so I’ve done everything you could possibly think of,” she said.
“There was a point in my life where I was suffering from eating disorders. I just wouldn’t eat and it got really bad at one point, I was making myself throw up. That was my not very healthy way of doing it.”
The pressure’s on
Fiallos says the first time she actually did crash fitness in a healthy way was last year, in her senior year.
“I spent four months just really working out at the gym three times a week with a personal trainer, and eating better so I could get fit for prom and graduation.”
Fiallos has many auditions and she spends a lot of time focusing on getting fit.
“Because I’m an actor and a model I have a high demand to be as small as I can be,” she said. “I’ve done modeling workshops and there’d be more than one photographer at a time, so I will try and do that crash fitness to be in shape for that workshop.”
But professionals have told Fiallos that she needs to lose weight if she wants to make it in the industry.
“I’ve lost photography gigs, being curvy,” said Fiallos. “It’s a tough industry, they don’t really care what’s going on inside your head, they just want something for their vision and if you don’t fill their vision then that sucks for you.”
Fiallos says that it isn’t just the professionals who are her motivation to do crash fitness, but just being who she is, a dancer and a model.
“You’re in competition with a bunch of different girls, [who are] much taller and thinner,” she said. “Especially as a dancer, being in front of a mirror eight hours a week with these girls that are tiny tiny tiny, it takes a toll on you, you’re staring at yourself and comparing yourself to other girls.”
Fiallos says she often gets frustrated when she doesn’t lose the weight she wants to lose, when she needs to lose it.
At the beginning of this year, she almost forgot about a modeling workshop that she had at the end of November. “So it’s the middle of October, I was much heavier than I was when I got to college… Freshman 15 for the win,” said Fiallos.
“And so I tried and tried so hard to lose weight, but at the same time I was crashing at school with mid-terms and I didn’t really have time to cook or go to the gym.”
By the time the workshop came around, Fiallos wasn’t at the size she wanted to be. “Just not reaching your goals in time or knowing you won’t is [disappointing].”
Not just a fashion trend
Those in the fashion industry aren’t the only ones who resort to crash fitness. The desire for that quick weight loss can come from anyone.
First-year Office Administration Executive student Laura Toro, 20, has participated in a short-term quick fix weight loss program herself.
Toro says that her main motivation to lose weight was because she was meeting up with someone she met online.
“I wanted to look my best, because in pictures you look thinner, so when you meet in person you wonder if you’re thin enough.
“I was concerned about my weight and I wanted a fast way to do it, so I just Googled it and I found one.”
The idea was that she would eat one meal a day, at the same time everyday for 10 days and there were a series of strength training exercises to do as well.
However, Toro said she only lasted seven days.
“I started getting really sick, I was just too hungry, I couldn’t do it,” she said. “One meal a day, I couldn’t do it.”
For Toro she was just really hungry at first, but later she noticed a strange pulsating in her abdomen and she knew she had to stop.
“Also, just from the seven days, I didn’t get my period for two months and I didn’t expect that, I found it on a blog,” she said.
Goals vs. Wishes
Many blogs and magazines use tactics such as, “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days,” to sell magazines and attract readers.
Personal trainer and fitness expert from Toronto Kathleen Trotter says that health and fitness magazines make it look like it’s an easy change.
“Like, ‘Oh I’m going to workout tomorrow and all will be good, I’ll lose 20 pounds,’ ” said Trotter. “I think that’s also just a misconception in the fitness industry.”
Trotter refers to crash fitness as “yoyo fitness.”
Yoyo fitness involves short-term, unrealistic and most of the time unattainable goals without accurate time and planning.
“I call that more fitness wishes, versus fitness goals. And that’s really what’s typical with health and wellness,” she said. “That, ‘I’m going to get in shape or come Monday I’m going to workout, or come 2016 I’m going to be the most fit I can be.’
“But without the corresponding details of how exactly you’re going to turn that into a plan of action, those wishes never actually [come true].”
Trotter is a big believer in turning wishes into goals.
“Whatever gets you to that first step of motivation is great but you need to follow through,” she said. “And to follow through you need realistic goals, because that yoyo in and out of, on and off that wagon is not going to make you reach your goals.”
Trotter says that just the feeling of being overwhelmed and distressed when you don’t hit your goal, sets people up for failure. “You’re most likely not going to succeed and then you’re just going to be like, ‘Oh screw it,’ ” she said. “Then it’s even harder to get back on that sort of train the next time.”
“I always tell clients that you have to stay in your own lane, don’t compare yourself to people,” said Trotter. “Ultimately it’s about what works for your body and what’s realistic for you.”
Human Resources student Nick Dominguez, 18, set realistic goals and he attained them. He lost 50 pounds in three months last year.
“I was just really unhappy with myself and I decided to make some changes,” Dominguez said.
He started by portioning what he ate. “Rather than just eating a whole bunch, [I was] eating to the point of satisfaction rather than being stuffed.
For example the average person will generally eat three slices, but Dominguez said that he would stop himself from eating more than two.
“I was like, ‘I’m ok with two, I don’t need that third slice, I can save up for another day,” Dominguez said. “That took me about two or three weeks to just be OK with that.”
Dominguez said he didn’t start going to the gym until about a month after he started to lose the weight. “I started losing the weight just by changing how I ate, I didn’t do much exercising.”
Dominguez went to the gym with one of his friends who was one of his motivators that helped him succeed in his weight loss journey.
“We became really close last year and he really pushed me, he really gave out that helping hand towards me,” Dominguez said.
Throughout his journey Dominguez learned that making the right friends that push you and motivate you to succeed are extremely important. As well as developing that self-control.
“That self-control, that self-discipline really plays a big role in whatever you want to do in life,” he said.
That goes along with anything in life whether it’s losing weight, or changing jobs says Dominguez.
“Just being able to say this is what I want and this is what I need to do to get that and you do it,” he said. “For me it was just, I was unhappy with my body and I did what I had to do to change it.”