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 don’t track food in any way (never have), but exercise is different.
One of the things I realized this year is: I have a long history with exercise.
I never thought I’d say that!
It’s amazing because I was once the couch potato queen. I used to HATE exercise, as in hate with a fiery white passion.
But, things change.
And, if you are driving change from an empowered place, change is good!
But I want to talk to those you who are just now, at the beginning of a new year, struggling with the idea of exercise. The many myths about exercise in our culture can actually cause more harm than good when they break down the body, resulting in extreme depletion, fatigue or injury.
Here are a few things I learned as I lost 92 lbs and kept it off for fifteen years:
A recent blog post by Shay Sorrells, who was on Season 8 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” inspired this post.
I couldn’t find a place to comment on her blog, but I wanted to share my perspective on her “lessons.”
Shay called her post “The seven biggest mistakes I made after Loser” and they went like this:
- I stopped measuring… [food]
- I took a break… [she says another person suggested she do this and she listened]
Continue reading »
I love the debate over diets I see on Twitter every day. Do weight watchers. Buy Jenny Craig. Follow Biggest Loser. Shred with PX-90. Beach body fads. Invest in a body bugg.
In a way, it’s all a smokescreen, isn’t it? None of these programs is going to bring the permanent change on the scale we all want. Only WE can do that.
Research shows people who achieve permanent weight loss, even if they start out on a diet, leave it behind pretty quickly in order to create a unique, personal lifestyle change. They begin to change their own individual behaviors that impact their weight, instead of focusing on food.
A lifestyle change goes a lot deeper than a diet. It takes a little longer. It’s not quite so simple. But you get to keep it!!! That’s why I invested the time and effort to make permanent change back in 1996. My objective from the beginning was permanent weight loss. I wanted all along to be here, in 2010, celebrating 10 years of sustained weight loss.
Here are 5 behavior changes that have huge impact on weight loss: Continue reading »
Continue reading »
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