Thursday, October 11, 2007

Permanent Weight Loss and Yes, Diets DO Work

Gaining weight is easy, losing it is hard and according to several well published studies keeping it off is damn near impossible. Studies show that 95% of people who lose weight put it back on in five years or less.



Why is that? I'm not sure what the studies say but my guess is people don't fully change their lives. The diet/exercise program they were on was just temporary. They started their weight loss regime to reach a goal: reunion, new years, summertime, something. And once that goal is reach they go right back to their old, fatty ways.

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar:

You start your diet/exercise regime. You follow it to the letter (mostly), the whole time counting the pounds you lost and the counting down the days until you can end this godforsaken diet. Ouch. And the moment you reach your goal weight it's HELLO OREOS! WOO HOO!

And then we complain that diets never work and how is it we managed to put the weight back on so fast. And this is for those of us who actually got started to begin with.


As a person who has gained and lost twenty pounds most of my adult life I understand the process all too well. What I've come to realize however, is there is only one way to lose the weight and to keep it off: Recognize that whatever I do I have to do it FOR LIFE.

That's right. For life.

So if you're going to do Atkins, you're going to do Atkins for life. If you're going to do Weight Watchers, you're going to do Weight Watchers for life. If you're going to do The Zone, you're gonna do it for life. It's just that simple.

You can't look at a 'diet' as a temporary thing. It's PERMANENT. So change your way of thinking and recognize that whatever you decide to do, it needs to be something you can do forever.

For me for example, I recognize I can't be on a diet that's not going to allow me to eat ice I can't. I tried. It never works. SMH. And the reality of it is I just eat more ice cream. LOL. I've never been good at deprivation.

So think long and hard before you start that next diet program. Ask yourself if this is something you can do for life. If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board and try again. Remember it shouldn't feel like a diet. It should feel like your life. 'Cause the truth of the matter is.


grant said...

Hey Tracy:

What you have described is what I call T & D (triumph and defeat) and it plays the same way in gyms all over the country everyday.

People have an outbreak of enthusiasm and decide to go down to the local "Fit For Eternity" franchise and get a 200 year Platinum Elite membership and really get with the "program" for once-literally! Truth is that nearly 90% of the people who sign up at a gym go one time and never go back!! Of the remaining 10% about half of those will bail at around 6 months. So, the bottom line is that ONLY about 5% of the folks who join up actually stay with it for the long haul!

As you point out, deciding to diet and excercise is one thing-and a lot of folks do that-, but ACTUALLY committing to permanent diet and excercise, well, the herd gets pretty thin at that point-LOL.

I think that they key to making it work is the "mental commitment" has to be "real" before the "physical commitment" can take hold and begin to yield both positive and permanent results.

Too often, the reason for dieting and excercise is connected to a short term goal, such as, wanting to look good for a class reunion, being able to wear that really sexy dress to a company party or trying to impress a special someone. Now there is nothing at all wrong with these reasons, but the problem is that they are all very short term, so once the reunion is over, the party is history and the special someone isn't impressed or is no longer in the picture, the motivation starts to wain and eventually disappears. Result? The diet goes out the window along with the excercise program and here comes the weight back and the familiar refrain "I just KNEW that damned diet wasn't gonna work!!".

So what might some longer range goals look like? Improvement in health? Looking better ALL the time? Feeling better ALL the time?
Being able to buy that sexy dress ANY time you wanted? Could be these or a number of other reasons, but the point is that it has to be something that is long term that YOU CAN commit to without reservation.

The phrase that we have all heard a thousand times, "knowledge is power" was never more true than in this area. If you have the "knowledge" that you have made a real committment to changing your lifestyle, then it will empower you to make it a reality!

Whoa, I better stop here, I think I heard someone snoring out there-LOL.

Tracy said...

Hey Grant!!


haha just kidding!

As someone who has gotten so close but no cigar to becoming the elusive 5%, I can totally relate!

I think the key to sticking it out is variety! Going to the gym and doing the same old routine gets boring and your body can and will stall after so long.

That's why my new obsession is - HIKING - I totally love it! Gimme some steep hills, some winding trails and some macadamia nuts and I am in total heaven!

I also love swimming! I hate raquetball tho, it's stupid (cuz I cant do it! ;p)

If you have something new to look forward to in your quest for thinness, than you will stick with it longer.

As for the mental commitment, yeah we tell ourselves that we want to be healthy, bla bla, but I think that if we are honest about that, we would have more success.

I have a girlfriend that lost 50 pounds cuz she wanted to make her ex jealous - wrong reason, but hell, it worked.

wow, a man talking about committment! now there is a shocker!

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