If your morale hit the floor when you read the New York Times’ article about the massive Biggest Loser weight regain experienced by participants, you are not alone.
My phone has been ringing with some mighty disheartened folks, asking for my opinion.
First of all, the regain is real. I won’t tell you it’s not. Over the past 15 years, I’ve coached many clients who lost weight in an all-out, highly restrictive, biggest loser fashion – weight loss surgery, fad diets, fasting, liquid protein diets – and ALL of them regained ALL the weight.
The problem with highly restrictive diets is we must leave the body out of the weight loss effort, literally wreaking violence internally.
This wave of reaction I’m feeling about the Biggest Loser article reminds me of one of my most vivid memories, which occurred right before I decided to lose weight permanently.
I was in the medical school library, and I had just found several studies showing how weight is regained rapidly after highly restrictive diets. I admit to being just as stunned as many of you are right now. The numbers I found on the National Weight Control Registry (which follows real life losers) were:
99% of people losing more than 25 lbs. on a
diet, regained that weight at a rate of 108%.
For years, I’ve taught these figures in my enLIGHTen Your Life! weight loss class – to discourage fads and rapid weight loss and get students focused on change that lasts, and because we all deserve the truth.
Now, that day, I considered these numbers seriously.
I sensed they were true.
I had lost hundreds of pounds on diets, regaining all my weight (and more!) with each effort. In fact, as best I could recall of my own bloody diet history, regaining about 108% fit!
I specifically remembered a huge effort I made with food combining (“Fit for Life”) where I lost 50 lbs. but regained 60 fast!
There’s no messing with the facts.
So, that day, instead of reacting by playing victim (“why me?”, “it’s not fair!”) and railing against the truth, I accepted it. My gut, a/k/a my intuition, told me it felt true.
And then I responded. I went with the flow of the truth. I said, “I guess I will have to be one of the 1%.”
So, let’s get a new perspective. Although many people live their lives as victims, we are NOT going that route. There are (as always) some positives and opportunities here.
Let’s reframe this news for our own success!
1. The Truth Comes Out
The show has made millions of dollars for many people, including trainers and advertisers, and it has done so by shamelessly exploiting participants’ health and destroying their futures for monetary gain.
Although many health professionals, like me, have been screaming about the dangers, we’re small fish swimming against a host of diet industry vultures.
Until this research project, participants signed ironclad non-disclosure agreements and, although most of us knew they were regaining, the general public didn’t know the truth.
You deserve to know the truth, so you can make better decisions for yourself. When I first learned about the regain rates of diets (99% regain within 2 years), I decided to beat these diet industry scammers at their own game – and I approached weight loss differently. It was a key to my success.
The first Catalyst Principle of Permanent Weight Loss is: Don’t do anything to lose weight you can’t do forever.
People taken out of their real environments and involved in a reality show can’t continue to exercise 9-10 hours a day, eat tiny portions of food, or access the medical and training attention they had while on the show. Even Oprah, with all her money, can’t do this.
It’s a setup.
3. Diet Mentality is Shaming
We have all suffered from what I call Diet Mentality. That’s the heavily engrained thinking pattern that says:
1. You are either on/off a diet.
2. You are good/bad depending on what you eat.
3. The number on the scale has something to do with your self-worth or self-esteem.
Even if you never lose another pound, end this nonsense today. (If you don’t know how, hire me as your coach today. I don’t put up with that attitude.)
Refuse to shame yourself for EVER regaining weight after a highly restrictive diet or weight loss surgery.
Your body was programmed to do that. Understand the process more by reading this blog post, “Avoiding “Dieting Fatter” Syndrome – How to Get Permanent Weight Loss.”
4. The Fantasy is Over
Yep, we’ve all lived the fantasy of “I’ll fix it later.”
In fact, that describes most Americans’ attitude about health these days:
Beat the shit out of the body today,
neglect and abuse it,
and hope the docs can fix it later.
Well, that ain’t working.
It’s time to get real.
5. What to Do Now
Stop concentrating on food, food restriction and diets that come from outside you. That will only get you more food and food issues.
Stop thinking you have to fix it all today. It’s a process.
Stop thinking of change as occurring outside yourself.
Stop thinking it will be fast. I’ve lost 92 lbs and it took many many adjustment throughout the past 20 years… physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
In order to lose weight permanently, we don’t change food.
We don’t change exercise.
We don’t change fat.
We change ourselves.
Weight doesn’t exist outside us. It’s a symptom of what’s not working in us.
–> Ready for the gold standard Catalyst? Try the enLIGHTen Your Life! course.
–> Need a flexible road to change that fits your schedule? Get one-on-one coaching. Respond to this email to design your approach with me.
–> Can’t afford to work directly with me? Take the virtual course, Own Every Bite!
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