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?
This Thanksgiving week, I feel especially grateful for my health and happiness.
Often, when I’m giving a speech or presenting a workshop, I make this statement:
“Today, I’m grateful I struggled with excess weight for thirty years.”
It seems I always have at least half an audience who become incredulous at that statement, but, now that I’m on the other side of struggle, it’s quite easy to see the life lessons I learned on my way to success:
(Regarding The New York Times article “The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less.”)
I spoke on NBC15 news last week about persistent problems that threaten our daily intelligence – the inspiration for this segment was an article published in The New York Times, entitled “The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less.”
What happens when we have an issue, problem or condition that constantly takes up a good deal of our available “bandwidth” – the energy, attention, focus, emotionality, and thought processes that go on beneath the surface?
We actually have less capacity to handle the important things in life: Career, relationships, environment, meaningful connection, pleasurable pursuits, and personal fulfillment.
These often unexplored topics are where we feel scarcity in our lives, or where we feel ourselves lacking, like esteem, intelligence, money, weight. And what do we create when we run the energy of scarcity in our lives?
2012 is drawing to a close! It’s time for my annual contest where YOU guess how many exercise sessions I completed this year. The winner will receive a set of Catalyst products, including workbooks and CD audio classes worth more than $500, to illuminate your permanent weight loss journey!
For anyone who’s new to this blog, I’m a proponent of non-diet, permanent weight loss through true lifestyle change.
Diets are temporary ways to eat with endless mind games and emphasize willpower. True lifestyle change addresses the deeper need for food and lasts forever. My twenty-year struggle taught me to deal with the deeper needs in life, so those deeper needs don’t sabotage healthy efforts.
My Approach to Exercise or Activity
I don’t use fancy apps to track my exercise and I’ve lost over 90 pounds without counting a calorie. I know a calorie is not a calorie when it comes to fuel for the body. If you don’t understand the calorie game, get my audio class called “The Hard Cold Truth About Permanent Weight Loss” NOW!)
Here’s my “foolproof” recording method:
Yep, that’s 12 sheets of paper, calendar style, for 2013! It works because the physical act of recording, with a pen, is magical in terms of claiming your work. And you never have to worry about losing it via a computer problem. I have years of these calendars. It’s an instant reference when I need to remember how far I’ve come, or what I was doing that year I lost 20 lbs., or whatever.
One of the most painful aspects of weight loss is weight regain. Has this scenario happened to you? You’ve struggled and deprived yourself for months, losing weight. And, then, one day you “wake up fat” again.
Watch this video where actor Kevin James explains it perfectly:
What were his key words?
“I’m going to give myself a little time to have fun….”
Yep, that’s what started it all!
Another key thing he said? “I’m going to make a turnaround.”
Have you heard yourself saying either of these things?
They are called denial.
Now, my point is not to ridicule Kevin James. In fact, since I have coached clients in the film business and worked in it too, I can tell you the methods used to get in shape for a film are often gruesome, even more restrictive and debilitating than most of us mortals, who aren’t being paid hundreds of thousands (or millions!) of dollars, could endure.
And, if our mortal efforts results in regain 99% of the time, Hollywood weight loss is almost guaranteed to return. You see this over and over, as actors regularly bulk up, then lose weight, invariably winding up in midlife as overweight, metabolisms shot, bodies energetically depleted. It happened to Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in the old days. It happened to Russell Crowe and Christina Aguilera more recently.
And even though it’s a legitimate point how differently media treat male and female regainers (media and tabloids follow female regainers around ruthlessly – see this recent article where Christina Aguilera talks about how she was “forced” to be toothpick thin early in her career, with producers telling her an entire tour would fail if she was anything but tiny), they didn’t seem to talk too much about Kevin James’ regain.
He wasn’t ridiculed or plastered on the cover of People magazine.
He didn’t find a “plus sized” label in front of his name, like comedienne Aidy Bryant, a new regular cast member of Saturday Night Live, discovered in front of her name in the articles about her new job. (See this article calling her “morbidly obese” and suggesting thin women run for the ho-hos.)
No, the point is Kevin’s regain. Despite his sense of humor (haven’t we all developed good senses of humor about our weight?), you can see behind his apology.
As I recently told a client who got to goal weight and began to slip: there is only one way to eat.
No “I’ll just give myself a break…”
No “I’ll get back on the wagon….” Remember Oprah’s wagon? There is no wagon.
There is only now. And how we feed and treat ourselves right now will show up tomorrow. There is only one way to eat. And that is in the healthiest way possible, especially given the crap that’s hawked in our faces every day, screaming from every billboard, sign and screen.
Let’s eat in a way that makes us proud of ourselves today, and makes tomorrow great.
We all know how to do this, if we stop and pay attention. We know how to treat ourselves with dignity.
Permanent weight loss is what we want, even if we’re heavily invested in temporary weight loss via diets. We all think a diet will get us there – despite study after study indicating 99 percent of dieters regain their weight and every diet adds a few extra pounds too.
Why do we live in such DENIAL (read: Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying)? Because, if we believe the diet will fix the weight, we don’t have to take responsibility and fix US (or the underlying behaviors).
In my last two posts, we explored twenty things to STOP in order to achieve permanent weight loss. Now, here are 10 more very important steps to further your progress towards permanent weight loss. These are challenges that commonly show up for my weight loss clients and I hope revealing these challenges will make your weight loss easier and more direct. It’s a virtual blueprint to permanent weight loss!
This is Part 3 of a 5-Part Series – So, check back for subsequent posts! Or subscribe! You can now sign up at the right of this post to receive new posts via email notification too!
21. Stop making excuses – Excuses link us to victim status and there are a million and one excuses for everything. But the old saying “You can’t have reasons and results” is absolutely true. It doesn’t matter if grandma Mabel made your favorite cookies or your BFF (“friend” – really?) decided to surprise you with a mojito and shots happy hour, the moment we start excusing destructive behavior with well-thought-out and perfectly reasonable reasons, we lose the power of owning every choice. Weight is lost permanently when we step up and truly own every choice.
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Oh, if only a great big stop sign showed up BEFORE we committed some of the actions that destroy our progress towards permanent weight loss!
In my last post, we explored ten things to STOP in order to achieve permanent weight loss. Now, here are 10 more very important steps to further your progress towards permanent weight loss. These are challenges that commonly show up for my weight loss clients and I hope revealing these challenges will make your weight loss easier and more direct. It’s a virtual blueprint to permanent weight loss!
This is Part 2 of a 5-Part Series – So, check back for subsequent posts! Or subscribe! You can now sign up at the right of this post to receive new posts via email notification too!
11. Stop ignoring energy – The need for food is a need for energy. Food is fuel which creates energy. Notice, I did not say “the desire for food” – I said “need” – that is different! We need food for energy and hunger is the cue. So, in order to be in touch with the actual need for food, and fuel our bodies well, we’ve got to be in the business of noticing energy needs. Learning your body’s unique cues and messages is key to long-term success at managing weight.
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