A VISIT TO STRUCTURE HOUSE – Part II
by Shannon Lindsay
The Structured Mindset
As I am sitting in one of the over 80 classes, workshops and focus groups that Structure house offers weekly, I am struck by what. Lee Kern, Structure House’s Clinical Director has written on the board. Sustained Stress = Toxic. In a word, I am a “stress” eater. Whenever I feel even the tiniest bit out of sorts, I reach for some “instant” relief. I immediately realize how valuable the psychological side of weight loss is and I appreciate the emphasis that Structure House gives to it.
As a bonus there are many classes available each week that delve into this subject such as behavior modification, stress management, realistic goal setting, relaxation techniques, lifestyle assessment and counseling, dealing with addiction, guilt, mood changes and more. There are also several workshops that focus on some heavier issues such as setting lifetime goals, spirituality and breaking the diet mentality.
One of the interesting things that I took away from Lee’s lecture was how important it was for us to figure out if our hunger is psychological or physical. For instance, if we were to miss a meal, for most of us, it doesn’t represent a true crisis; we would still have access to food or another meal later on that day. This is unlike people in third world countries who experience true hunger each day and aren’t really sure when or if they will eat again. Personally I found that to be a very powerful concept. There have been many times when I almost “panicked” over the thought of missing lunch…not to mention dinner. Just ask my husband how grumpy I get if we are traveling out of town and it’s dinner time with no food in sight. I literally become upset over the thought.
As previously stated, I am a lifetime member of the weight loss/gain club, however, I’ve never given much thought to why it has continued to be a struggle for most of my life. So while sitting in one of the workshops on self-esteem I decided to branch out and join the class in the discussion. I admitted to everyone that I didn’t like having my picture taken, or rather that I do not enjoy seeing myself in pictures. This was the first time that I had ever said that out loud. Imagine my surprise when another participant said that she felt the same way. (At Right: Typical meal at Structure House)
A favorite class that week had to do with the different “selves” inside each of us. Imagine a big circle with little circles inside. We are the big circle and the little circles are our “sub-selves.” It’s good to be a mix of different sub-selves. Some of your sub-selves are obvious, like wife, daughter, teacher, sports-fan; while others are a little harder to pinpoint – like the “overeater” sub-self. Why do we have a self that overeats? In one exercise, we had to name our “over-eater” self (I named mine Sophie) and then find out what’s behind the eating. Sophie eats because it makes me (Shannon) happy but I soon realized that the happiness was only temporary. Once the cookie was gone or the pizza was eaten, there was only the sadness of the added pounds and unhealthy lifestyle. She thinks she’s making me happy but in the end, she’s really not.
During my stay at Structure House I was fortunate to meet so many wonderful people but one of the most memorable is a woman by the name of Sheryl Le Vine. Sheryl is from Schaumburg, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago. She’s an elementary school teacher and just an all around incredible person, full of sunshine and optimism. Sheryl is also the owner of the coveted “Red Jacket” which means she lost 100 lbs while being on the Structure House program. I sat down with Sheryl to find out what motivated her. (Above: Sheryl working out “before.”)
Twelve years ago Sheryl’s mother died. A year and a half later her father died and then a good friend died three months after that. While working as a teacher Sheryl became ill and had to take a leave of absence. It was then that she decided to do something to get healthy. That first summer she was only going to stay at Structure House for four weeks but ended up extending her stay to six weeks and lost 30 lbs during that time. Then she went home. Sheryl took with her all of the things she’d learned during her stay and continued to lose weight. “Working out is my other job,” says Sheryl. “I don’t give myself choices. I work, I workout and then I play. It takes balance.” (Below: Sheryl and her “Red Jacket.”)
Sheryl gave herself a charm bracelet and adds a new charm with every five pounds she loses. When she started, Sheryl was on three different medications for Type II Diabetes and now is on half of only one. Additionally, she has cut her blood pressure and cholesterol medications down to a fraction of what they were. Throughout the school year she stays connected with Randy Weiss her trainer from Structure House which helps her stay motivated. “I think it’s really important for people to know what you want to do before you go down this path. It’s more than just a number on the scales. It’s reducing your medications and being healthier, it’s about being able to move better. If you are willing to go down this road then you should know that it doesn’t happen overnight.” To date, Sheryl has lost 120 lbs. She is my hero and I am so glad to call her my friend.
There is simply too much to tell about my five days at Structure House. In short, it was a wonderful experience and one that has deeply affected me in more ways than one. The people are fabulous and the program gives you all the tools you need to get healthy and stay healthy. If you are serious about weight-loss and want to find a place that focuses on the whole you from the inside-out, Structure House may just be the perfect place. For more information about Structure House, please contact at 1-800- 553-0052 or e-mail at email@example.com and at www.structurehouse.com.