A Tale of Two “Ts”

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

Meet Tia

Tia is a 40-yr-old mom who does not like to exercise but has a sweet tooth and a social media addiction. Tia is not currently overweight but would like to look smoother in a two-piece swimsuit or tight jeans (who wouldn’t, right?). Every day Tia wears the latest waist-training corset advertised on Instagram. She decides to try the latest fat-burning pill from a TV commercial. Who has time to exercise while climbing the corporate ladder and raising her precocious 7-yr-old?

After six months of using the pills and waist-trainer, with sleep loss from insomnia caused by the high caffeine content of the drugs, Tia chooses cosmetic surgery as her ultimate solution. She goes under the knife and has a tummy tuck, a butt lift, and breast enhancement. After six weeks of recovery, Tia is ready to show off her new body. Although the surgery went well, Tia is not sure her appearance change is what she expected. She receives attention but soon realizes those shocked faces are due more to the drastic difference in her appearance than attraction or approval. Tia is at a loss for what to do next. She wonders if more surgery would help.

Meet Terri

Terri is a 50-yr-old mother of three adult children. She is unhappy with the way she appears in her clothes and the pain in her knee that comes and goes. Terri visits her doctor, who tells her the change in her shape may be a symptom of getting older, but refers her to a physical therapist for the pain in her knee. The physical therapist gives Terri the excellent news — there is no structural problem with her knee but does prescribe exercises she can do to strengthen her hips to address the situation. One of Terri’s daughters recommends her mom try training sessions with the health coach that she sees. 

Terri visits the health coach and is impressed by her depth of knowledge and the care she demonstrates by listening to her concerns and responding with insight and practical tips. She signs up for a three-month personal training and nutritional counseling program with the coach. 

Over the next three months, Terri replaces the prepackaged foods she ate weekly with whole food alternatives — an actual potato instead of a box of mashed potatoes, for example. She drinks at least 40 ounces of water daily and gets at least thirty minutes of fun activity like dancing or tennis when she isn’t strength training with the coach. Terri’s body composition improves. She loses five pounds of fat – and the pain in her knee eases. She has more energy and focus and feels more robust than in 10 years. Her husband and friends compliment her on her appearance and “can do” attitude. Although Terri does not feel entirely comfortable continuing her diet and exercise transformation just yet, she thinks that after a year of coaching, she will be ready to keep this up on her own.

Which Road Do You Prefer? Tia’s or Terri’s?

These are sketches of two regular people like you and me and the two different paths they took to improve their appearance and self-image. One person took the outside-in approach and the other, the inside-out approach. 

Which road would you take?

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