The Anchor Program is an online program that offers a non-diet approach to treating binge eating, compulsive overeating, food addiction and emotional eating. The video below is an interview with a graduate from the Anchor Program (1 year after she completed both the 12 week intensive and the 6 month Subscription program).  I wanted to do these interviews as a way to demonstrate the successes these amazing women have achieved in the program and to highlight what “success” means when you take a deeper approach to dealing with food and body image issues.


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Welcome everyone and as I mentioned in the promo today we’re talking to another graduate of the anchor program. Her name is Julie.

Dr. Ross: Julie do you remember when you started the program? Was it last February a year ago or?

Julie: Gosh, actually we started June, June a year ago. So June of 19? We started on the summer, Yeah.

Dr. Ross: You went through the full 12 week program and then the six months subscription and group programs. So thanks for, for being on the podcast with me on the YouTube video with me. I really, my goal, as I said, was just to give people an understanding of what you can get out of a program like the anchor program. There’s so many people just are going out, looking for another fad diet and tell me why you chose anchor over yet another fat diet?

Julie: Because I knew that fad diets weren’t working for me. I have done all the programs out there. I have paid money for food to be shipped to my home packaged food that was dry and I added water to it. I’ve done everything over the years and finally I decided that it was really more in my head. And I really needed to kind of work on getting that connection between my mind, body and spirit. So, I had met you, uh, and decided that I reached out then and said, I want to be a part of this. And so I was so fortunate to have a great group of ladies that were, that was in my group.

Dr. Ross: Yeah, I think the group part is one of everybody’s favorite parts of the program, but how was the anchor program different from what you had done before?

Julie: Oh, so it’s different because it wasn’t focused on food. In fact, it was food was, we were trying to learn what, why we went to the food. So it wasn’t really about, Oh, we should go to this and you weren’t monitoring what, what we should eat and what we shouldn’t need. It was really having that self discovery about what was driving us to eat or me to eat. So I felt like it was really taken me down a different path. And you had some suggestions of course for food, but it wasn’t like you’re on a diet. All that mentality was taken away.

Dr. Ross: Yeah. So what did it feel like there wasn’t scary to not be on a diet?

Julie: It was scary. And, um, Because I’ve always been on a diet. And so to be thinking that you could just eat, but be mindful of your eating. And so I guess it really taught me a lot how to enjoy food. That was one of the emphasis of the program to take the time, to really enjoy your food. And I was able to do that through this program and not worry so much about what was going in or going out. That my mind was solely focused on that. I gave myself permission through this program to let the dieting go away.

Dr. Ross: Okay. What was the hardest part of the program for you?

Julie: I think that, I mean, you know, not, being so focused on the number on the scale and you know, not letting that define who I am as a person, because that scale drove my life for so long. That you know, it’s, it’s a crazy, you know, cycle that you get into Carolyn. And as you talked about, our group was really, you know, we were really close as a group. We started in the 12 week and then went into the paid subscription. And a couple of us kind of have this analogy of the, the light switch. That was our, that was our group’s thinking anaway.

Dr. Ross: Ok it was your group thing. Tell him about that.

Julie: Yeah. So for us, it was like, we were so good for a while and then that light switch would go on and we would lose control or the light switch went off. I don’t know that we ever decided which way the switch went, but it’s like, what we were just enjoying life enjoying the moment. And I think it was a lot about enjoying the moment enjoying the people we were with. I mean, our family, you know, going to gatherings and not being so focused on, I can’t have this, I can’t have that, but just trying to eat more mindfully. And then that light switch that we always talk about. It’s like all of a sudden then we would binge eat or do something that would make us get off a program. But then we, then we, what we learned was we weren’t on a program. We were learning how to deal with life.

Dr. Ross: Yes. So the lights switched became a whole different metaphor, maybe, which then was more about turning on your enjoyment of life. Instead of always being on the sidelines, waiting to be a certain weight in it before you could do this, do that, et cetera.

Julie: That is well said, because that was another big takeaway that I had in the program. I was enjoying life on the sideline. When I joined this program, I couldn’t even walk around the block cause I was so embarrassed that people were looking at me. I had gained about 35 pounds in a year. I had some personal stuff going on and I was so ashamed of myself and through your coaching and through our group work, I was able to realize people weren’t focused on me like I thought they were, I thought everybody was like looking at me and it’s like, they’re really not. And so I had to get that courage to quit being a night walker or a 5:00 AM walker when it was still dark that I was, I was enough.

Dr. Ross: Yeah, recognizing that it wasn’t other people focusing and judging you. It was you judging yourself.

Julie: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Ross: So what was the, the most enjoyable part of the program for you?

Julie: I think making connections with people, like I said, it was so , I get such a rush after our first group cause I realized I wasn’t alone. I thought that I, my head was crazy and I was living in this world all by myself, the cycling of food and you know, bingeing and then being really good for a while. And when I met three other people who were just like me and they were from all over the United States. That was the other part that I really enjoyed about the program too, is that we were able to do it on zoom. And this was before COVID. So, before zoom was even as big as it is now.

Dr. Ross: Before it was a thing

Julie: Before it was a thing, but it was so valuable because you know all four of us were from different parts of the United States. And yet we connected as people and still share the same struggles and the same victories.

Dr. Ross: Yeah, that’s awesome. So were there any big insights that stick in your mind from the program that shifted things for you?

Julie: I think just through the weekly conversations and your guidance, actually, because I remember at one of the  sessions, you said, Julie, you don’t speak very much. I would like you to talk because I didn’t have the self-confidence that I didn’t feel like what I was going to say would be a value. And so I always listened for other people to speak and finally you mentioned that to me at one of the meetings, and I’m not sure quite how you coach me into that, but I was able then to start getting a little bit more vocal and then from then I think the last three meetings, I was able to really get my voice out there a little bit about what I was thinking and how I was connecting to the others in the group and that was all part of that self-esteem where then I could finally start taking my daily walks in the light and not hiding.

Dr. Ross: Do you mind if I share the Mayo clinic?

Julie: No

Dr. Ross: Maybe you can share it because I think that what you’re talking about not being able to use your voice, to be assertive for yourself showed up in other areas of your life, whether it be your marriage and putting your foot down about things there or going to the doctor for your executive physical, maybe you can tell them about it.

Julie: Oh, I forgot. I forgot about that portion actually. So yeah, I had gone for an executive physical and you know, I was overweight and it was really that conversation then about what was I going to do about my weight? And, you know, they gave me the book on the Mayo clinic diet and, you know, trying to change that mindset again, that I wasn’t, that I was unhealthy. And through our conversation, it’s like I was healthy. My blood work was good. My outcomes of all my tests from that was a year ago, actually right now that everything came out that I was healthy, but yet people judge that I was unhealthy because I was overweight.

Dr. Ross: And you were able to stand up for what you believed in against the pressure that they put on you to do something different.

Julie: I absolutely did because they really wanted me to join a group there and get into the ma you know, they have their own program and it’s like, even with the word diet in it, the Mayo clinic diet, that, that was just against what we had talked about all summer long. And so I knew that wasn’t for me.

Dr. Ross: Yeah. And did they even recommend surgery for you

Julie: Yeah they did

Dr. Ross: that surgical category, but they were saying even for you and my.

Julie: Yeah, even for you, she said, you’re not quite at the, I forgot. You’re not quite the BMI of 40. I was at 33 and she said, but you could have surgery. You don’t, that’s an option. And I’m like, I mean, I’m just like surgery. I mean, gosh, I didn’t think I wasn’t that in jeopardy.

Dr. Ross: Yeah. Yeah. Well, what are you most proud of, of your work in the program?

Julie: I’m most proud of and they’ll probably make me tear up a little bit, but I’m most proud of that I’m living life right now. I’m not on the sidelines anymore. I am out there. In fact, I was, you know, we bought a home in Arizona. And I went to the swimming pool in front of all these other people. And yeah, I did. And you know, we were in the pool and I met a couple of different couples, my husband and I did, and I have the courage to call them up and ask them to go out to dinner because I know that I’m going to need to find friends down there. And what’s so interesting is that if you knew me in my professional life, you would never believe that I lacked self-confidence because I’m very professional and very into my career. But in my personal life, I didn’t feel enough. And so that’s where I struggled with the self confidence.

Dr. Ross: Yeah. Yeah. And have there been other people you’ve had to stand up to who, do any kind of weight shaming or who?

Julie: Yeah. So I have a lovely mother, but we do sometimes have a relationship because she’s very obsessed about food and always has been.

Dr. Ross: Yeah.

Julie: And sometimes she would just say, Oh, you shouldn’t wear a shirt without sleeves, Julie. And I’m like, mom, I’m like, I’m not and back then may my BMI was 27. I mean, it was almost normal. And it was like, it’s just always was never, I was never thin enough. And so, you know, it was hurtful, but I was able to work it out with my mom. She’s really good right now. I just went and saw her and she’s just like, Oh, you can, I can tell, I can tell. And I’m like, yeah. And I didn’t even say anything, you know, it’s just, I’m happier. She can probably tell him glowing.

Dr. Ross: But it’s really interesting because what often gets people to diet is all of those positive comments. Like say, you go on a diet, you lose weight. And then everybody’s like, Oh my God, you look so great. And then you were desperate to keep that up. And you mentioned at the beginning, when we were just talking that you came to the program, that after having regained 35 pounds or something, what, what would be different now if for some reason you regained, you know, you gained another 35 pounds. What would be different for you having gone through anchor?

Julie: I think what would be different is that I wouldn’t realize I was less of a person. That I’m still, I still have a lot to offer the world. It doesn’t matter what my size is. That I still have, I’m still a person. I’m still a person with feelings with intellect. I can carry on conversations. I have lots of things that I’m passionate about, that it’s not about what I look like but it’s about who I am as a person. And I think that would really be the biggest change. And that’s where I feel right now. Like I didn’t even realize I had put this weight on and I just went through my closet and I found my, you know, It’s way small suits and I couldn’t get them buttoned. And I was okay with it. I gave him to a younger girl in the office. I took some beautiful suits and I said, I’m wondering if you could use these she’s on her way up in leadership. And they were gorgeous. And they were like from four years ago and I was fine. I did, I wasn’t embarrassed. I was just like, I’m in this next phase. I’m fine with who I am.

Dr. Ross: Yeah. That’s beautiful. That’s wonderful. So if someone is like, you. Stuck in that dieting treadmill, but maybe starting to realize that what they’re doing is work. What advice would you give them?

Julie: Don’t waste another minute. Life is so short. And it’s like, if I could have done this a long time ago and, and regained this thinking about who I am and being, you know, I’ve always wanted to be normal around food. I didn’t want it to be the driver of my day. Good day, bad day food. You know, I didn’t want to be of that obsession. I would just encourage people to do this program earlier. Don’t wait because I waited to my fifties and I wish I would have found this when I was in my forties, thirties.

Dr. Ross: Yeah. Was it hard for you though to let go of the focus of the number on the scale? Because that seems to be a, you know, a big hurdle for most people and, and also the connection that the medical profession and many others make between your number on the scale and whether you’re healthy or not. Was that tough?

Julie: It was tough. And it’s so interesting. Cause I just bought a new scale and I bought a scale that now syncs to my phone and I guess. Yeah. So it was kind of interesting because, today’s my birthday and I got on the scale about five this morning and my scale told me happy birthday and balloons went off on my screen.

Dr. Ross: That’s so awesome.

Julie: I loved about it was, it was a celebration. So the number on the scale, isn’t the number that I want, but I’m okay. Yeah, it was, it was just like, it’s funny.

Dr. Ross: It didn’t ruin your birthday then?

Julie: It didn’t ruin my birthday. No, not one bit, not one bit at all. So it’s just, I’m good with who I am.

Dr. Ross: And I remember, you know, for many people they could say that the number on the scale doesn’t matter, but then maybe they wouldn’t go out and have a nice dinner for their birthday because of that number on the scale. But I heard you say earlier that you’re going to be celebrating your birthday with friends.

Julie: I am gonna celebrate my birthday with friends, but what I’ve learned too is that I don’t need to gorge myself. I don’t need to eat too much. So I’ll do some dinner with friends tonight, but what, when I’m able to do right now and, and you know, the number of the scale is going down, but I’m just choosing not to eat too much and the number’s going down super slow, but that’s okay. It’s just, again, it doesn’t define who I am when I wake up.

Dr. Ross: Awesome. It’s so great to catch up with you. I’ve talked to some of the other people in your group and everyone seems to be doing really well. So that’s exciting. So happy birthday to you. Thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful celebration with your friends and I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon.

Julie: And I just want to thank you for helping me.

Dr. Ross: Uh, you’re very welcome.

Julie: You made a world of difference. I had my life back.

Dr. Ross: Awesome. That’s all I want to hear.

Again I want to thank Julie for being in the program it’s been so exciting for me to catch up with people that have gone to program. Many of who I haven’t seen for a year or more. So I’m excited to hear Julie’s story and how her journey continued since the program and I hope it’s been helpful to you as a listener as well. Because I know it’s hard to think about journey to healing your relationship with food and body. I went all you ever known perhaps is body disatisfaction and the yoyo dieting that we see so much in our culture. So I think Julie gave us a great understanding and represents what life can be like if you do take the approach if you have looking a little deeper into your food and body image issues and taking that journey. So if you’re interested in taking the next step on journey please look in the show notes and schedule a quick consult to talk about the anchor program and to discuss your own individual issues with food and body. Thanks for listening