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.
Schedule free Anchor Program consult: https://findingyouranchor.as.me/consult
Welcome everybody and today, as I mentioned in the promo, we’re going to be talking with a graduate of the anchor program. Her name is Laura.
Dr. Ross: Welcome Laura to the podcast.
Laura: Great to see you.
Dr. Ross: You too. And so tell us about your experience in the anchor program. You went through the 12 week program, and then you also completed the six month subscription program after that. So total of about nine months.
Dr. Ross: What took you to the anchor program in the first place? Why did you want to join?
Laura: The impetus for joining was a sense of dissatisfaction or what I’ve been doing. You know, I was 50, 51 years old when I started the program and I had come to realize that what I’d been doing. Since I was a kid and you know, two through adulthood was, didn’t have longterm efficacy and didn’t put me in a psychological place that I wanted to be, even when I was by societal standards and by the skills standards where I should be, I still felt restless and discontent. And like, it was never enough. So I did want to find a place where I could extensively lose or maintain weight on a more relaxed schedule that was more compatible with my values about, self acceptance and spontaneity.
Dr. Ross: Awesome. Yeah. I remember spontaneity being a big key word for you. So how was the anchor program different from other things that you had tried?
Laura: Well, it wasn’t punitive or judgemental. And that to me was the, the most refreshing aspect of it that I’ve spent most of my life in situations where that your success is predicated on a quantitative measure of weight loss and achieving a certain specific goal, ideally on a specific timeline.
Dr. Ross: And I like things a certain amount of weight in a certain period of time.
Laura: Yeah. That, and that, that was the measure of success. And I wanted and an opportunity to reframe what I considered success or an ideal body weight. And, uh, just wanted something that had more of a longterm commitment to self-acceptance and living a balanced life.
Dr. Ross: So how did the anchor program help you with those wanting to reframe those things?
Laura: It did. I mean, I am by nature very questioning noncompliant person so that the fact that the, there wasn’t judgment attached to what I did or more typically didn’t do in the program and that I was still accepted and gained insight from it. Even when I didn’t always do the homework or didn’t always do the things that are best practices for the program. I still felt like I gained a lot from showing up and from the comradery with the other people, with whom I was going through the program.
Dr. Ross: So what was the hardest part of the program for you?
Laura: I think, the homework. I would always forget to do the, I don’t know if I would forget, or I would do deliberately ignore the homework either, you know, or it’s was a combination, but for me out of sight, out of mind. So in the absence of a specific daily trigger to do the homework, I just I’d forget about it. I’m just, you know, it’s a character defect of mine is just, you know, not doing anything without a hard specific deadline and being consequences and yet if there were consequences to it, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the program as much so it was sort of a no win situation is just the nature of my personality is resistant to homework.
Dr. Ross: So on your end, I know you used to talk about being kind of the rebel. You were the rebel in the group and everybody, you know, everyone in the group has something like the rebel in them that kind of holds them back. But also that protected them orr help them when they were growing up. Do you have insight into how your rebel might’ve helped you growing up?
Laura: I think it, um, I think it made me stand out and persevere and not become a resentful, product of circumstances because I wasn’t, I didn’t embrace all that was modeled for me or all that I was supposed to be. The values that I was given, growing up and who I am too. They are very different. Some of those good in good ways, some of those in bad ways, but overall, I’m glad I’m who I am today and not a product of what my mom and dad would have wanted me to be.
Laura: Okay. That’s a good way to say it. And I think we all have to come to terms with that part, those parts of our personality that helped us and also called this back. So what was the most enjoyable part of the program for you? I think I liked the relate-ability that the WhatsApp offered in terms of connecting with other people in my group. In the inner, you know, in between actual meetings, because it provided a sense of connection when we weren’t actually connected. And so I really enjoyed that use of technology to keep us engaged. Awesome.
Dr. Ross: And what insights did you learn through the program that you would be willing to share? Are there any that come to mind?
Laura: I’d say the biggest one for me specifically, was a level of self-acceptance and that my worth as a person, wasn’t an extreme doubly related to the number on the scale.
Dr. Ross: Wow. You know, you’re making me proud right now. That’s my biggest goal for everybody. That’s very well said.
Laura: So that’s my takeaway and I think that that’s an important differentiator and something that I sought and needed was to be okay with who I am in spite of what the scale or my clothes tell me. You know, relatively society expectations.
Dr. Ross: And why does that make a difference for you? Like, why isn’t it better just to focus on losing weight instead of focusing on self-acceptance?
Laura: Because it’s just not fun. Like, I just don’t want to live a life that that’s, that’s punitive and so punitive. And I feel like the restriction that it takes to lose weight. Well, yeah. necessary for achieving certain measures of success and health. And maybe if I had more compelling reasons to do so, I would be more rigid about it, but, I just want to be able to enjoy my life. And I think, especially in light of the last six months and the precariousness of the world, that being able to enjoy my food or my drink spontaneity. When I can, is of higher value to me than being able to fit back into my size six clothes at this juncture in my life.
Dr. Ross: Yeah. And recently you mentioned before we started the podcast that you had some other, you made some decisions that also reinforced. What you’re talking about now, do you want to talk about that a little bit?
Laura: I’m not sure what elements specifically, but I was in a 12 step fellowship for compulsive eating and subsequently food addiction for almost 10 years. And I came to a realization that the spirituality and upon which 12 step programs with base. Well, I admire it and what it has done for the world. It just wasn’t a fit for me personally. You know, I’m not there spiritually. I wish I was. I don’t.
Dr. Ross: But you also mentioned that there was some rigidity in the program.
Larua: Yeah. There’s, there’s some absoluteness that I think is necessary based on the premise of addiction. I do think that I would be health, physically healthier and aesthetically closer to a societal standard of beauty if I followed that, but I’m not willing to trade off my fun and my personal values of going with the flow and spontaneity in exchange to look a certain way.
Dr. Ross: Yeah. So you, you mentioned health and the connection that people make between health and weight and as you know, in the anchor program, we focus more on health at every size. So are you still. Do you still feel that you need to be a certain weight in order to be healthy?
Laura: I think that you can probably like I could be within probably 30% of my quote, ideal weight and still be healthy. Right now I’m more, um, I’m more than that, so I don’t feel healthy and so I’m motivated to figure out how to course correct alittle of that extreme fun that I had as a response to restricting for so long so that I can achieve, like, I just want, it’d be somewhat over wait and healthy, but not have my weight define me whether that’s being significantly overweight or at an ideal weight. Like I’m a 52 year old suburban mom married. Like, I don’t know. For me, my goal is to be happy and comfortable in my own skin. And I’d be more comfortable in my own skin if I was about probably 50 pounds less than I am now, but I still would rather be this then unhappy and 50 pounds less.
Dr. Ross: Yeah. Okay. That’s good. Um, I guess what we always talk about in the anchor program is that part of us that continues to cycle back around to the weight as being the main way to get healthy. Whereas it’s really the behaviors that lead to that health. And sometimes those behaviors also lead to weight reduction. But when we put the focus on the 50 pounds, that can lead us to do things like restrict or diet and go back to rigid programs that, you know, nobody, most people really cannot maintain for their lives. Whereas, you know, being active, you know, doing some of those other healthy behaviors tend to improve health more. Do you, do you believe that or are you still fixing it?
Laura: I do believe that and so what I wish I was doing was 40 minutes of physical activity every day and being sort of balanced and moderate in my eating. Unfortunately right now I’m like a little kid rebelling against their parents still and so I’m eating more than my body needs and getting less activity than my body ideally needs. But I have enough self-awareness based on the program to know that those are the right things for my body. I just am still rebelling against certain aspects of things right now. And right now it’s about moderating and exercise.
Laura: Yeah. Well, and it’s also not about, about having to exercise, you know, I mean, I think where you are is very interesting to me because for me, it’s about where you are, is about allowing yourself to find your own way, rather than always looking on the outside for somebody else to tell you. How to do it. So sometimes yeah, finding your own way. I mean, I talked to him, you know, someone, you know, from the program who is in the program with you, and she’s been working on intuitive, being more intuitive with her eating and she says, you know, some weeks you’re really good and then some weeks are not so good. But overall she’s fine feels herself moving in the right direction without feeling like she has to make herself do it.
Laura: I’m glad I went through it because it was a mind shift about what could be the criteria for leading a successful life in terms of how I approach, what I feed my body and how I exercise my body. And so I just, I gained that awareness and that shift in mindset. I just am not always implementing that, but that would be for me, that’s me for anything like, and that that’s anybody for anything. No awareness always is first, you know? Yeah. So I have the awareness, I have the tools. I just don’t always pick up the tools, but I know what the tools are.
Dr. Ross: Yeah. That’s awesome. I think you’re in a wonderful place. I’m really, you know, this whole project I have of checking in with people is very exciting for me, as you know, I’ve I always talk about how much I learned in working with a group of women in the anchor program for five years, because the process, it is a long journey. I mean, it’s not this 60 day you go on a diet kind of journey that most people think they should be doing. It’s a long journey and it’s very personal and individual. So everybody has a little bit different, you know, take on it. They’re all in different places, but they’re moving in the direction that will get them where they need to go eventually. So is there anything, any advice you’d have for people. Who maybe were like, you were in the beginning, you know, feeling like you had to lose weight or that, but knowing that what you were doing, wasn’t working?
Laura: I guess it’s a, just a matter of my advice would be to be open minded about rethinking the possibilities for how you approach. What you eat and how you, you, how your, you move your body and how that plays into your overall physical and psychological health. And to not be surprised if you initially gained some weight as a response to lifting that restrictive eating that has played so much of us, so many of us for decades sometimes, um, because that’s what we were raised for raised with and we don’t know that there’s another way and to be open to the possibility that your peace of mind, self acceptance and happiness may be ultimately better off not using size and calories as a litmus test for a successful day or week or a year.
Dr. Ross: Well, I, I wish we could have that tattooed on women at birth, but it’s sad about not using sizes the litmus test. That’s what’s gotten a lot of people into trouble. Do you feel like the psychological components of the program helped you to put, to rest any of your childhood demons or experiences that you had to learn about that?
Laura: I don’t know if it was so much childhood demons, but sort of that reinforcement of societal standards for fitness and appearance. It certainly was able to diminish their hold on me. Which wasn’t, which was a very conflicted hold to begin with it because it was something I simultaneously internalized and yet rebelled against because I didn’t fundamentally believe in it. So it gave me a way to say that, you know, I’m not that it isn’t just that I’m rebelling for the sake of rebelling that I knew on some level that this wasn’t a satisfying way to live the rest of my life. And so the psychological aspects of the anchor program and the subsequent. You know, support following it just enabled me to be more, more in self-acceptance than I was prior.
Dr. Ross: Right. Great. It’s been really good catching up with you again. I think it’s been what, six months or so.
Laura: Has it been? Wow, it’s been a crazy six months.
Dr. Ross: Oh gosh. In the world, it’s been a crazy six months.
Dr. Ross: But it’s wonderful to get to talk with you again. I really appreciate your sharing your experience.
Laura: Sure, I hope it helps other people and helps you and the people that you could subsequently help to just get a different perspective on the, you know, the range of people for whom the programs well-suited.
Dr. Ross: Exactly
So I want to thank Laura for being in the show. I hope that for those of you who may have been listening to the podcast for a while or maybe your new to the show and you’re struggling with binge eating, food addiction, or even emotional eating. And maybe all you’ve ever known is dieting, I know some of my clients have been dieting at the age of 5. So I hope that Laura has been able to give you and I think she gave a very realistic portrayal of taking a different kind of journey that enables you to make peace and your body. And enables you to go back to having a life with self-acceptance being the cornerstone. So I really thank Laura for being in the show. I hope its been helpful to you guys, if you resonated with Laura’s journey and you’re interested and maybe exploring the possibilities of joining us in the anchor program please look at the show notes and schedule a free consult to talk about your own individual food and body issues. Thanks for listening.