The problem: I am certified to teach exercise and am studying to be a wellness coach, with no small amount of studying involved. I will take science over fads any day. I have a very good friend who takes my exercise classes. She is on one of those “detox” 29-day diets, which has little basis in facts. She always gains the weight back. I want to tell her that there is no such thing as “detox” when it comes to dieting. Good food is good food, and the only detoxification happens in the liver. I see these diets as no more than a way to make money off people desperate to lose weight.
Low road: Eye her with disappointment and ask her one of my least favorite catchphrases: “How’s that working for you?”
High road: Your good friend is well aware that her fad diets aren’t working. I’m guessing that, before detox, there was high-protein, low-carb, raw, liquid diets, fasts and endless other searches for a speedy solution to a stubborn struggle that requires diligence, courage and healthful choices (most of the time) over the long haul. So focus on the positive, and plant a seed.
Regarding the former, she is taking your exercise class. Make sure she knows how happy you are to see her there. Notice her improvements, even small ones, such as when she can do more repetitions of a particular stretch, or keep her heart rate up for another minute or two.
In addition, try to be genuinely curious. Ask her about the diets she’s pursuing. Tell her that as you study to be a wellness coach, you want to understand what information is out there and where people are finding it. Let her know that you also have information you’d be happy to share. But don’t judge. Your exercise in patience could open a door.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad