The Hole in all of Us


I don’t date very much. I used to, spent hours on online dating sites, put on makeup and nice clothes, didn’t wear too high of heels if the man was under 6’ tall. (I am 5’11” and I don’t care what any man has ever said to me, when they must look up to me physically, they are uncomfortable.) Most of my dates were complete disasters, the men lied like crazy or were whatever, rarely was there a second date.

I take stock of my life’s direction on a regular basis and decided to just concentrate on the things that made me happy. Running, playing tennis, my dogs, being around positive people who are bettering their lives, my business. I would meet friends in bars, but honestly that wasn’t fun and the dating made me feel horrible afterwards. I have conscientiously cut those things of my life that don’t bring me joy or make me a better person for myself or others. (I gave up dating when an online date told me I was too evolved. Hmmm)

My clients are always concerned that I am single and one of them wanted to set me up. “Oh Vanessa, you will like him, he is a doctor and a triathlete, you guys will get along so well.” ‘Joe’ and I talked on the phone and we texted, all went well and set up that dinner date in a location between us, about a ½ hour drive for me.

We recognized each other immediately from the pictures we sent, I went into hug him, I like to touch people, he was very uncomfortable with that and barely touched me. We had a drink as we waited for our table, he checked out my heels on my boots and criticized my speech pattern, I tend to speak very quickly, have my entire life. He was cute and very fit, I vowed to be non-judgmental even listening to him go on for an hour during dinner about his soon to be ex-wife. Of course he wasn’t even divorced yet and I was only his second date since their separation.

Then he said, “I am changing my medical practice, I am going to open an obesity clinic with a colleague of mine.”

“Great,” I said, “I have helped 2 people lose and keep off over 100lbs and have a woman down over 50, I have worked in the past with a great doctor in Atherton, I am very supportive of that, tell me your plan and how your clinic will help people, are you planning on doing the sleeve, bypass, the balloon, or all? And what is the follow up plan?”

“Well there is great success with the sleeve and by pass and the patients always lose large amounts of weight the first year so we will concentrate on that.”

“You’re kidding, right? Great success the first year? Yes, in the first year the patient loses 80-100lbs and are constantly ill and unhappy because you have taken away the one thing in life that brought them joy, food. You must find for that person, they aren’t patients in my world, they are people, something to fill up that joy that food brought them. Look at the success rates 4-5 years out, 50% gain back the weight and at 8-10 years out it is even worse. So, for you, success is just that first year weight loss because Blue Cross will pay you?”

He uncomfortably looked down at his napkin. And I couldn’t stop.

“Do you even know anyone who has lost large amounts of weight? You know this is my line of work, I was the fat girl and loved candy and soda and being sedentary as a child to mask the violence and money troubles that I grew up in with my family. Food was my crutch and being big helped me isolate. But then at 14, I began to run, and it changed everything for me. I found out happiness didn’t come from abusing my body, it came from being strong and healthy which changed my mental outlook on life and made me willing to stretch myself at most of the things I do. I try to do that with all my clients. Give them a reason to want to work out and eat better. Every human being has a hole in them and we are all trying to fill it. Some people fill it with food, alcohol, drugs, random sex, religion, whatever. I now fill my personal inner hole with taking care of myself and the people around me which brings me happiness. When I work with someone as a personal trainer, I need to set realistic goals so they can be proud of themselves, weight loss will come once the person respects themselves and they realize exercise makes them feel better mentally. What is your plan in your ‘obesity clinic’ for that, or are you hoping to just get that quick check for the surgery? Guess you never thought of that.”

He didn’t speak and didn’t look at me. I was embarrassed for giving a lecture, then laughed at myself, I looked up for the waiter to ask for the check and the table next to us with a party of 8 was all staring at me.

The father at the table looked at me and said, “Can I get one of your cards?” Him and his wife were well over 60lbs overweight. She had tears in her eyes as she looked at me.

“I am sorry I don’t work in this area, but shoot me an email and I will give you some recommendations,” I said as I handed them my card, “In the meantime, I think I have to pay this bill, don’t think he is buying my dinner anymore,” and the whole table laughed.

Ok so I didn’t have a good date, but I did make a stranger at least for the moment think about being healthier, there is always something in the positive.