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:
Thanks for all your emails and FB messages, but nothing in the new article in The New York Times, “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight” is news to me.
The article details research showing how the Biggest Loser participants (and anyone rapidly losing weight) regains at an astonishing rate, destroys their metabolism, experiences great shame, and crushes their esteem.
Not only did I discover those truths in my own diet-and-regain merry-go-round of a life, I turned that vital information to my advantage in losing 92 lbs and sustaining the weight loss long-term. (74 lbs sustained since 2000 + another 18 lbs sustained since 2011).
Before that, shame was my middle name as I spent over 20 years losing and regaining.
What burns my butt is the disingenuous nature of the doctors and researchers in this article. You can’t tell me they didn’t understand these concepts, which I was able to learn as a layman in the medical school library. If it is news to them, we need to take a serious look at medical school training today.
Of course, I admit I had to explain it to my brother-in-law, a doctor, who claimed to have heard nothing of it in medical school.
Fat people, he claimed, were weak willed. Oh, brother(in-law)!
Why should I, simply a fairly intelligent woman who conquered a food addiction, be telling the supposed professionals about permanent weight loss?
I recently read a blog post by a woman who lost a lot of weight, listing all the things she missed about being overweight. Losing weight permanently means letting go of anything you might miss later. It means moving on in life, without regret.
I read the post with interest. I had never thought about missing anything from my days at 242 lbs. I was HAPPY to leave those pounds, that mindset, and any regrets behind me.
Here were the five things she missed:
I could pig out whenever I wanted
When I was fat, and people liked me, I knew it was real.
I didn’t worry about what to eat
Now, I threaten people
Other people left me alone
I call bullshit!
Let’s look at those “missing” items.
I was recording a podcast Friday and had to interrupt my host when he mentioned my “15 years of permanent weight loss” with an update.
As of tomorrow, that number will be 16!!!
After losing 74 lbs, I began the process of cementing my success in place.
It was March 13, 2000.
I new diets didn’t work. I had left them in the dust.
Focusing on the new healthier habits, I vowed to never go back. I didn’t quite understand, but I was learning how to create a new lifestyle.
A new lifestyle isn’t something that happens in a vacuum, or overnight. It develops.
By now, you have heard that Mattel has tried to diversify its long-time bestselling doll, Barbie, in response to criticism her impossible proportions negatively affect young girls’ body images.
If you read my blog at all, you know I have linked the plastic doll to the super thin plastic “ideal” body seen in every Hollywood film, on the fashion runways, and in advertising.
Almost sixty years ago, Barbie was modeled literally from the original dollmaker’s 12-year-old son’s body – wide shoulders, narrow hips, otherworldly long legs and neck – and then a pair of large fake breasts were appended.
Mattel didn’t cave in and change Barbie because of the collateral damage to females. Instead, they changed the 57-year-old doll due to lowered sales in a world where women have effectively (finally!) rejected the anorexic ideal in favor of reflecting realistic shapes and sizes of females.
It can’t be argued many women have measured themselves against this superthin image, with disastrous results like food addiction, anorexia, disordered eating, bulimia. A recent study published in Psychology Today showed 91% of women were dissatisfied with their bodies, with almost 80% saying they were too heavy, when only about 60% of all women are overweight.
The focus on thin in media has been changing. Who cares if Angelina Jolie can subsist on 600 calories a day? No one is watching her movies, because they are seriously awful, which is why she has to do such outrageous things to get publicity these days.
The public is much more engaged with Amy Schumer, who is seriously funny, and hasn’t abandoned her body to Hollywood’s makeover artists. And with Kim Kardashian’s curvy derriere. And they are fascinated with the sexy new Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Ashley Graham. (Photo by James Macari/from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on sale now.)
Much as been written about Oprah Winfrey buying Weight Watchers‘ stock for $40 million dollars and, in just a few days, tripling that investment, when stocks rose.
On the surface, like most media blitzes, the numbers look impressive.
And comics and cartoonists had fun with the idea that Oprah would make MORE money to add to her billions:
But beyond the media blitz and the jokes, there is something much more insidious and disappointing about this shoddy deal.
Holidays are tough for many people but, if you are actively trying to lose weight, the extra stress can be a diet killer. What do successful weight loss survivors do? Here are some helpful weight loss tips from experts and coaches who’ve actually been successful losing weight themselves.
I specifically spoke with experts who understand the concept of sustained weight loss too. This is a big distinction, as permanent weight loss, defined by the medical community as weight loss sticking around over five years, is illusive to many.
Research shows permanent weight loss is more likely to result from lifestyle and attitude change. Diets just don’t do the trick for long-term change.
The irrepressible comedienne Amy Schumer keeps getting in our faces. She likes getting in our faces and, let’s face it, that’s her job. But, this week, we got naked Amy Schumer, showing off her considerable healthy body image.
In an image-driven world, why do we need naked Amy Schumer?
As an entertainer selling her movies, performances and TV shows, she must get in front of us and get our attention. The difference with Amy is – she’s not just another sleek Hollywood body, a woman haunted by long days filled with cigarettes, coffee, maybe a few drugs and a stalk of celery, valiantly trying to measure up to Hollywood’s impossible standards for female artists.
She’s real and she’s real-sized.
She seems more interested in creating a persona that’s down-to-earth AND earthy. She’s VERY invested in being herself.
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