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Lisa Kogan, on the other hand, seems averse to accepting nurturing from anyone. In the past year, she's had two beloved friends die back-to-back of cancer, but when I ask if she's been able to grieve, she brushes off the question with a joke. She's hilarious, kind, sensitive, engaging, and her life is as busy as Lisa Romeo's. She's a caretaker for her young daughter, long-distance boyfriend, coworkers and friends. Her energy pours into every life she touches—except her own. As a result, she's starving for everything but food.

We spend a little time talking about the role food has played in her life, the times she's used it for comfort or distraction, and how she remembers her father coming home from his high-stress job and nibbling compulsively all night. Eating is the one way Lisa K. takes in nourishment, so it isn't surprising that she often goes overboard. Weight loss will be permanent for her only if she can acknowledge her own vulnerability, take some of the effort she puts into helping others and direct it toward herself, and allow other people to reciprocate.

Like many dieters, both Lisas have extreme mind-sets when it comes to nourishment. The blunt way to put it is that the Lisas need to mind their own business—that is, pay close attention to their own needs. It's the old serenity prayer solution: The Lisas must find the serenity to accept what they can't change (other people and their problems), the courage to change what they can (their own lives), and the wisdom to know the difference.

That wisdom comes from "clear seeing," achieving the viewpoint of wisemen and wisewomen, sages, mystics. Amazingly, science is showing that this mental perspective changes our brains and bodies in precisely the ways necessary to stop unsuccessful dieting and become permanently slender.

As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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