Author teaches students to find fitness without dieting

Although she was not overweight, Wendy Oliver-Pyatt began dieting while a student at Carson High School.

"I looked physically fit," she said. "But in my heart and in my soul, I was very disturbed."

After graduating in 1982, she met girls in her dorm who made themselves throw up to maintain their weight.

"I never even dreamed of making myself throw up until I started college," she said. "But I thought I'd found the answer."

She soon discovered it was not the answer. She hit rock bottom when her weight sky-rocketed more than 40 pounds as her metabolism slowed to accommodate the purging.

Now a doctor, Oliver-Pyatt has a message she wants to share with the nation: "We haven't failed dieting. Dieting has failed us." Her book, "Fed Up," focuses on creating healthy relationships with food and increasing inner strength rather than food control.

She returned to Carson High School on Friday to talk with Misty Harris' total fitness class about the concepts taught in her book.

Harris said the topic fit the class because it is a pilot program designed to target students who do not participate in organized athletics.

"The whole purpose is to teach kids that fitness is something that has to be life long," she said. "It's not just a class. You don't do it because you have to. You do it because it makes you feel good."

Laura Diaz, 16, decided to analyze her eating habits after listening to the lecture.

"I eat all the time and I'm never full," she said. "I need to recognize the difference between being emotionally hungry and physically hungry."

Oliver-Pyatt said 45 percent of women and 25 percent of men in America are on diets and that being discontent with body image has become a normal fact of life.

She wants to change that.

"They need the tools to be fit that address the underlying psychological issues," she said. "Dieting trivializes the relationship between food, body and self. When people have a tense and unpleasant relationship with food, they're unable to have peace of mind.

"Repairing relationships with food can help you achieve fitness of mind and body."

She also encouraged students to be realistic about their expectations. Weight can fluctuate with seasons, menstrual cycles and age.

"Dieting doesn't work and it's probably not a good idea for people our age," said Lauren Prestella, 16. "As long as you listen to your body, you'll be fine."

Oliver-Pyatt's book was published in October and was selected by barnes&; as the editor's pick for diet and health and was named Best of 2002 by the same Web site.

Excerpts from the book have also been printed in various national magazines such as "Women's Health," "Marie Claire," "Fitness" and "Shape."


What: Book signing

Where: Barnes & Noble, 5555 S. Virginia St., Reno

When: 2 p.m. today


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