The Fork in the Road


This happens so often with clients that I felt I should probably write about it.  This is not about any ONE of you, so please don’t feel I am sharing something we shared privately.

Basically what happens is this:  A person is working hard on changing their eating or fitness habits for awhile.  Everything is going great.  Then suddenly, it’s like the floor falls out and I hear things like: “This isn’t going to work.”  “I am tired of feeling deprived.”  “OTHER people get to eat junk food and sit on their asses and they are not fat so I’m sure I can do that too!”  “I just need to eat  everything in moderation and stop being so strict with myself.”

Quite often the precipitating event has been a binge, usually on sugar.  Friends, your brain on sugar is a crazy thing!  It’s like all sense flies out the window and you just have these neurons going “Aw hell baby, eat some more sugar!  That Emily bitch is wrong, wrong, wrong!  You deserve my luscious deliciousness, my darling, come and eat!”

Sugar is a seductive Siren fo sho!

Other times it is purely self-sabotage. Things are starting to get good, this is actually working for the first time in ever and BAM you can’t take it.  Retreat!  Run away!

The sad thing is that some clients keep this internal conflict to themselves.  They stop answering my emails.  They cancel sessions.  They just disappear back into what they were doing before.  Another failed attempt.

But when I get lucky, my client will actually write to me or skype me and say exactly all the thoughts and frustrations that are on her mind.  And THEN…  well, this is the difference between having a coach and going it on your own! Then, I am able to show my dear client that she is simply at a Fork in the Road.

At this Fork there are two choices and two choices alone:

A. Turn left and give in to the junk food, perch yourself back in the comfort of your chair, go back to how it was before.  Gain back the weight you have lost.  Probably gain some more to go with it.  This is the choice most people make most of the time, although at the time, they do not see it as such.  It is usually cloaked in some “story” like they don’t have enough money to continue, or their friend is taking some magic pill and dropping weight like a stone, so you know, why sweat it out with all this hard work?  Path A is the choice my clients consistently made before they hired me.  Path A is the path most people take and the reason why most people fail at their attempts to permanently change their habits.

OR, you can take the right turn, the 2nd fork and…

B.  Be strong. Stick it out. Suck it up. Put your head down and keep doing the work.  Push harder.  Refuse to quit.  Finally, finally start to see the results you are seeking.  Get excited!  Work with your darling coach so success isn’t scary and sabotage-y!  Succeed!

See, the thing is, people think they can choose A, and get B results.

 Let’s just clear that up for once and for all:  If you have been trying that approach (eat whatever I want, don’t exercise and hope to be slim and svelte) for 30 years and it hasn’t worked, I think we can safely say it isn’t going to EVER work.  It doesn’t matter if it works for other people, it doesn’t work for you. No matter how much you wish that wasn’t so, it’s a truth you need to face.

So really, that’s it. Two choices. Your choices.  No one is forcing you and no one is depriving you.  And speaking of deprivation, not having the body and the health you want is what I would call real deprivation.  Passing up the cookies is just a minor inconvenience in comparison.  (The story of how I finally shifted that mindset is here).

This fork is going to rise up to meet you a million times on your journey.  Each time you will have to choose A or B.  You cannot choose both!  After all, there is a reason this poem is so famous!  Read it again now, thinking of your path.

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

The next time you find yourself at the fork, come back and read this post.  Then consciously choose the ONLY path that points to the outcome you seek.


  1. As I was reading this I immediately though of The Road Not Taken ( I’m an English teacher, remember?) and was so happy to see you incorporated in your post. yes, the “one less traveled by” is usually more difficult, but as we read in the poem (and in the post) it makes “all the difference!”

    Thanks again, Emily!

    • Emily Segal says:

      I was thinking of it too when writing but then when I actually looked up the poem itself I was surprised how much it connected with what I had been thinking. Surely MY English teacher had planted it deep in my subconscious years ago!

  2. LOVE this post! As a survivor who has emerged on the other side (from Standard American Diet traps), I deeply resonate with your statement the SAD-treat deprivation is just a minor inconvenience, in the whole scheme of things. Well said!

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