Analisa & Jeffrey Rutstein
Age: Between the two of us, we’re 97 years young. And we both feel fabulous! (Imagine big grin with a wink!)
Are or have you been married, and what’s your view on marriage?
AnaLisa: We were both previously divorced and have been together for 14 years. Marriage with the right person can be a wonderful experience, while marriage to the wrong person can be a lesson and an opportunity for growth and healing, even if that includes leaving the other person.
We believe that relationships can be the most important catalysts for growth and maturity, and that learning to deepen love and compassion for one’s self and for your partner is one of the many riches to be reaped in a long-term committed relationship.
AnaLisa: Jeffrey’s two children from his previous marriage are blessings to us in many different ways. While step parenting can present many challenges, and life with children can become stressful, there is joy of seeing them develop and grow into passionate, caring adults and set off into the world on their own.
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?
AnaLisa: I was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Marlboro, NJ. My father was an entrepreneur who owned several businesses, and my mother is a writer and active in community affairs.
Jeffrey: I was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Silver Spring, MD. My father was a dentist, and my mother was a social worker.
What did you do before The Effort Less Method™ for Lasting Weight Loss?
Jeffrey: I have been a Clinical Psychologist for over 33 years and AnaLisa, who has an MA in psychology, has been working with women as a health coach and body therapist, helping women heal their relationships with food, their bodies, weight, and their lives.
Why and what inspired you to create The Effort Less Method™ for Lasting Weight Loss?
Jeffrey: It was a confluence of many things. AnaLisa had struggled with weight for the majority of her life, trying every diet and weight loss plan under the sun and in the process gaining and losing hundreds of pounds.
AnaLisa: More than 8 years ago I weighed 226 pounds and was miserable. I hated my body and was frustrated, ashamed, and sick and tired of a lifetime of gaining and losing the same 30 pounds. My health also was suffering. I had tried every diet and weight-loss plan around, many more than once, and had consulted world-class therapists, specialists, and participated in numerous programs, all to no avail.
I really felt how struggling only produces more struggling; the harder you try, the harder you keep trying. And often you keep getting into the same traps, over and over again.
Struggling only creates and maintains the problem. The key was to stop the cycle, to stop the struggle.
One night I finally hit rock bottom. After eating two pizzas, two pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and a large bag of Cheese Doodles, I started feeling very sick. Sitting on my couch, I burst into tears. They weren’t quiet tears. I was wailing! And I heard myself saying out loud, ‘I just can’t do this anymore! I feel like I am going to burst! I can’t continue living this way! Something has to change!’
I felt like dying. I was so hopeless and so sick of myself and of my struggle with food and weight. I felt like I was broken. Food could no longer numb me. Somewhere, somehow I felt that there must be more to life than this.
Just then, my Jeffrey came in and found me in a puddle on the couch, sobbing and covered in Cheese Doodle crumbs. He had just returned from leading an all-day mindfulness meditation retreat and showed me a Chinese Finger puzzle he had received that day. It was the kind that became tighter around your fingers the more you struggled to remove it.
As I played with the toy something clicked in me. I really felt how struggling only produces more struggling; the harder you try, the harder you keep trying. And often you keep getting into the same traps, over and over again. Struggling only creates and maintains the problem.
The key was to stop the cycle, to stop the struggle.
When I finally relaxed and exerted less effort, I finally got free of the finger puzzle and that changed how I saw everything.
Jeffrey and I talked for hours that night, and for days and weeks after that about finding a way that works, because up until then, nothing had. Our weeks and months of exploration and experimentation evolved into what is now known as “The Effort Less Method™ for Lasting Weight Loss” and “True Food Technology™”.
What is the mission of The Effort Less Method™ for Lasting Weight Loss?
Jeffrey: We help women finally lose the weight and keep it off without struggle or deprivation, so they can have the energy, confidence and health to live the life for which they long. We want to help transform the way women lose weight, but also help them end the struggle and internal war that they wage against excess weight, which causes unnecessary suffering.
Tell us about your Workshops?.
Jeffrey: We do on-line and in-person groups, and also do in-person group weekend events—all aimed at helping women become empowered to gain the body and life they have been craving, while letting go of struggle, deprivation, and denial. Our work is a fun mixture of teaching, discussion, and experiential exercises, which lay the foundation for personal growth and transformation of your relationship to food, your body, your weight, and your life. We often say, ‘how you do one thing, is how you do all things.’ How you struggle with your weight, your self-esteem, and your body, mirrors how you relate to and struggle with your life.
AnaLisa: Women who want to lose weight usually feel they carry excess burdens and responsibilities. They are unhappy with their figures and with their lives and how they live them. They might even put their lives on hold until they lose the weight, have the body they love, or are comfortable being nude. However, they can wait a lifetime for such conditions to arise. We emphasize how they can change their lives and bodies NOW, so the pounds melt away and the physical and emotional weight and stress that they are carrying can be transformed and released.
What kind of FabOverFifty woman can most benefit from your coaching?
Jeffrey: Any woman who has ever struggled with weight loss, who has lost and regained weight, and is ready to finally release the weight for good. This is not a quick fix, but the results will impact the rest of your life. This is not a meal plan, or “diet”, but a total approach to eating, to food, to your body, and your life.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you can give FOF women?
AnaLisa: It is not your fault! Too often women are made to feel that it is their fault; that they don’t eat right, live right, work right, or do relationships right. However we are doing things, we are doing the best we can with the resources we possess in a particular moment and situation. Every problem, obstacle, life transition, or stressful situation holds a hidden gem of a message that can help us learn, grow, evolve, and mature toward a life that is healed, happy, and fulfilling.
What famous women do you most admire?
AnaLisa: One is Maya Angelou, the poet, playwright, actor, author, educator, producer, director and civil rights activist. She has been no stranger to pain and hardship, and yet her spirit burns so bright. Her poetry is capable of capturing the depths of despair and leads us to soar in the heights of love, connection, purpose, redemption, and healing. She is a shining light.
Another is Debbie Ford, who passed away this year. She was a best-selling author and teacher known for her work in helping people break free of their emotional baggage and fears. She successfully triumphed over her own dark struggles with addiction and embodied a path of healing and transformation, which unites head and heart, mind and soul in simple yet profound teachings. She taught people how to live beyond the limitations of their old beliefs and behaviors, and how to embrace and integrate their whole selves. Her light will be missed.
Do you have a mentor?
Jeffrey: We have many and each has been a gift and a blessing. To mention a few: Marc David, founder of The Institute of the Psychology of Eating; Melissa Grace and Phil DelPrince, Hakomi Method trainers and therapists extraordinaire who taught us the profound power of working with the body to heal the mind; Barbara Ganim, cofounder and coordinator of the Expressive Arts Institute at Salve Regnia University, who introduced us to the world of expressive arts and its use as a healing and transformative modality.