Interview With Stacy Foley-Smith, MD
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Jackie Wicks: Hi. I’m here with Stacy, and I wanted to introduce her. Someone who is a participant in the Point of No Return program. We were just chatting a bit, and I just had asked, “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?”
Stacy, feel free to introduce, explain a bit… You know, just a bit about who you are and what kind of daily struggles you might face.
Stacy Smith: Well, I’m a young mother and I work full time. My kids are both pre-kindergarten age. My husband stays home with them. But it’s still very demanding, trying to work full time and be a mother. I found in that whole process that I had kind of lost myself and needed to carve out some time for myself so that I could be a better mother and wife for them.
Jackie: Right, and then, what do you do? You had just mentioned that you’re a physician.
Stacy: I’m a physician. I’m a radiologist, and I specialize in breast imaging. So on a regular basis, I have to talk to women about their potential fears and even the reality that they have breast cancer. It’s very stressful work.
Jackie: I can only imagine how much… It’s physical and emotional stress on you during a day. And how many times that I’m sure that… No matter how committed you are to making a good choice, you can get overwhelmed.
Stacy: Yes, you can let yourself fall into patterns of emotional eating to try to cope with all of the stresses in your work and your life.
Jackie: What would you say has been your… Have you been someone who was thinner when you were younger? Did you gain weight after your pregnancies? Have you always struggled with your weight? How would you describe yourself?
Stacy: I think I’ve always struggled with my weight, because I’m shorter. I’m only 5′ 2″, and my family are all overweight. But they’re all taller than me, so they carry it better than I do. And in that process of college and medical school, residency training, and even in fellowship, you just don’t have a lot of time for yourself. You’re focusing on your studies and learning what you need to learn. You get into bad habits and bad patterns of putting yourself last.
Jackie: Yes, absolutely.
Would you say that you are the type of person who works out easily? Is that a struggle for you? Do you have more trouble making good food choices?
Stacy: I work out fairly easily when I have an ingrained pattern, but it’s always been a hard pattern for me to start. I’ve stopped and started an exercise program, and I’ve stopped and started different eating programs over the past 15 or so years.
But it wasn’t until the Point of No Return program that it really all stuck for me. It solidified all of the things that I already knew, but it gave me some tools to really organize it and apply it to my life, in my real life as a full-time working mom. And with all the other busy activities I have in my life.
Jackie: What would you say is one of the specific weeks that really stuck out for you, or one of the tools that you find yourself using to help you stick with your new habits?
Stacy: Well, one of the tools that I find helps me the most is the breathing tool, and the creating space between myself… Between a stimulus and a response.
You can be having a great day, and then you have an interaction with a coworker that just makes you boil within. Maybe my old response would have been to the candy drawer in the office and get a piece of chocolate, and chill out with that. My new response is just to step away, go to my office, close the door, breathe, refocus… Get my heart rate down, my blood pressure down. And I don’t even think about that candy drawer.
Jackie: Wow. So, when would you say… How many weeks did it take you to really start to say, “Wow, this is making a difference. I feel like this isn’t something where I’m going to start for a couple weeks and really lose my energy and motivation to do it.” That’s kind of why we call it the Point of No Return.
You’ve got to this point where you realize, “I’ve amassed enough knowledge that I’m really in a new place when it comes to taking some of these habits and really making them stick.”
Stacy: I would say probably the third or fourth week.
Jackie: Wow, so in three or four weeks you changed. I mean, not changed… But you really felt like, “Well, this is different.”
Stacy: Well, in three or four weeks I changed fundamentally, and I continued to look forward to the next week and adding those new tools. I was so excited about where this is taking me.
Jackie: That’s amazing. Would you say that you learned new diet approaches, new fitness approaches, or did you more take some of the stuff that you had known prior and integrate it with some of the stuff that we had been teaching?
Stacy: I did learn some new diet approaches, and maybe new terms for some of the things that I was already doing. The diet fusion I was probably already doing that, but before PEERtrainer and the Point of No Return program I didn’t know very much about Dr. Fuhrman. Being introduced to Dr. Fuhrman’s approach was very enlightening.
The 80-20 part of the fusion, giving myself breathing room to not feel like I had to be perfect… That sets me up for success and not for failure.
Jackie: That is a key thing, obviously for me too, because that’s what I do. I find so many people end up slipping back because they do feel guilty, because they say, “Well, you know what? I just had a large pizza and I wasn’t supposed to do that, so why even bother, because I’m not going to like the results on the scale this week.”
I understand what you’re saying. A lot of people end up saying it gives them some freedom. And it stops their trajectory of that same familiar thing of them beating themselves up, so they go back to where started.
Stacy: It helped me to, instead of micromanaging my eating and my exercise, it helped me look at how all of this relates in a bigger picture and the larger context of my life long-term. Not just what I’m doing today, but what I’m going to be doing for the next… rest of my life.
Jackie: That’s amazing. How much weight would you say you’ve lost?
Stacy: I’ve lost 27 pounds.
Jackie: How do you feel?
Stacy: I feel fantastic.
Jackie: Is your energy level completely different? Have you noticed if it’s a little different?
Stacy: It’s 110 percent different. My mood is completely different. I’m a happier person. I’m a more relaxed person around my kids and around my husband. My husband said that all of that was just kind of… The other day he said that he thought I had been holding myself back, because I’m so much more spontaneous and more apt to just jump in and say, “Hey, let’s just go have a fun day.” And not so focused on, “Oh, I can’t do that. I don’t know if I feel comfortable putting myself in that situation.”
Because, I feel good about myself and I’m self confident, I feel like I can do anything.
Jackie: Wow. That is… I’m so happy for you. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I hear things like that, because it’s really… Of course we want to focus on weight and health, but just some of the other changes that also happen after you…
You don’t necessarily anticipate what other personality changes you have, or other views. I know what you mean, because I hear that a lot, where people say, “Someone told me I’m smiling all the time now, and I didn’t even realize I wasn’t smiling all the time.”
Stacy: Yes, and there was so much… There were definitely points where… Jackie, at one point you even emailed me as we were doing that feedback of, “Let me tell you what I eat, and what I do.” And you gave me specific suggestions for change that I have applied, and it’s made a huge difference for me.
I had been drinking Slim-Fast for my breakfast for the past umpteen years, and I had lost weight on Slim-Fast. But you suggested that I maybe switch to eating a Kind bar and adding a hard-boiled egg to that. That has really made a huge change.
Jackie: Oh, I’m so glad. I remember that. That’s funny. I do remember. That’s really interesting to hear.
Did it make a change in your satiation levels?
Stacy: Absolutely, and I think increasing that protein has given me more protein to build muscle in my workouts. I don’t get hungry until lunchtime. I didn’t even think about food. I come in, and I eat my breakfast at my desk, and do my paperwork, and then I get busy with my day. Before I know it, lunchtime’s rolled around.
Jackie: Wow. That’s amazing.
Stacy: That was a very small thing that you did that made a big impact on my life.
Jackie: Amazing. Thanks for letting me know.
I am obviously very, very excited for you. Thanks again!
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