By Ryan Fargo

When I awoke one morning from unsettling dreams, I found I had become fat overnight. At least that’s what it felt like. I remembered the countless nights of enjoying whole pizzas and pints of ice cream to myself very vividly, but I certainly didn’t remember the moment my belly first sagged over my belt, or the time my pants consummated their final betrayal by refusing to squeeze over my thighs and butt.

There is an old proverb which observes that a frog dropped into boiling water will hop out immediately—but a frog placed in cool water over a low heat will fail to recognize its fate until too late. Gaining weight is much like this. It’s a slow process which builds up incrementally over time. Poor frog and poor us. Examining myself in the bathroom mirror and absentmindedly prodding my newfound pudge, I was forced to acknowledge this metamorphosis must have occurred over some time. What now evaded me was whether I had failed to notice the steady progression of my waistline, or simply refused to. I suspect the latter. It was painfully obvious in the prior months I had been having trouble breathing after trivial exertions, was sweating profusely without provocation, and had been rolling and grunting my way out of bed rather than my usual hop and skip. I stubbornly refused to recognize the significance of these indicators because it meant facing the reality of my declining health, and even more confronting, the responsibility my decisions played in that decline.

It’s easy to shift the blame for unsavory predicaments to external forces—to God, to the whim of the universe, to Bigfoot (he’s a tricky one), etc. In fact, I wouldn’t be entirely unjustified in doing so in this instance. My poor eating habits were exacerbated by the oppressive stress of law school, the sedentary and cloistered lifestyle mandated by quarantine, and a persistent mental health disorder which defied good sense at every turn. I have no doubt these factors compounded my issue. That is, I think, a fair assumption. It is unfair, however, to claim these factors were responsible. I was responsible.

In the face of adversity, I made conscious decisions which lead to illness. This reality took a while to fully grasp and is quite the double-edged sword. On one hand, it means I have no one but myself at which to point a finger. On the other hand, it means the same conscious choices which lead me tumbling down the rabbit hole could lead me out again. It is wholly within my power to make a change. So, standing in front of my bathroom mirror, I decided to make that change and alter the trajectory of my life.

As of three weeks ago, I have been on the Ideal Protein program offered here at CHW. My goal is to lose eighty pounds. This is an inordinate amount of weight to lose, but is entirely possible on this program. Ideal Protein is extremely effective. I can say this with confidence due to some previous experience with the program during my college years. However, while IP works, it is not a silver bullet. The standard program can be difficult. Your food intake, as well as your options, are going to be more limited than what you are used to. You may experience symptoms of sugar withdrawal during your first week. The IP replacement food takes some getting used to. The whole program is also very structured and requires you to follow its rules closely.

However, like all difficult things, it gets better. Eventually the hunger pains subside, the structure becomes helpful, and you may even begin to covet a particular IP food item or two (I recommend the chocolate mint bars). With each passing day the burden becomes less and less until it can be carried with relative ease. Completing your first weigh-in also alleviates the load remarkably. Seeing the fruits of your labor and watching the weight melt away has a way of making the whole endeavor worth it. And you will lose weight. After my first two weeks on the program I lost a whopping 18.2 pounds. Now, your mileage may vary. I receive a great weight loss advantage by virtue of being a relatively young, mostly healthy male. My ilk and I tend to lose weight more quickly than most. But even if you don’t lose at the same pace, you will still progress faster on this program than on any other.

It is incredibly validating to watch the large number on the scale get smaller with each passing week. Each pound lost is emblematic of your decision to choose health over illness—of all the blood, sweat, and in my case, literal tears you have poured into your goal. Let me tell you, that feeling is sweeter than ice cream.

So why am I writing this? To advertise for Ideal Protein? In part.  But even more so, I am writing to advocate for you. If you find yourself in a similar position to the personal one I explained above, I am writing this for you. You can change your circumstances. You can lose weight. You can improve your health. You can do it. Even if you still have doubts, I have good news for you…you are not alone on this journey. Not only will you have our incredible Ideal Protein coach to help you through your most difficult moments and celebrate your greatest successes, you will also have the support of myself and every other past and present IP patient. We have all been through the same difficulties as you, we all understand the struggle, and we are all with you. I certainly derived some solace from this fact. I hope you will as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Ideal Protein, feel free to call our office at 952-835-6750 or email our IP coach at


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