Do you find weight loss confusing?
We hear a thousand new messages every year about how to lose weight – new diets, new approaches, new “bad” foods, new fads, new “don’ts”, and new research, which is almost always paid for by an interested Diet World company.
We hear very little about how to lose weight and maintain weight loss all the way to a permanent state.
Permanent weight loss is my entire focus. The last time I lost weight was my last. It didn’t just happen that way. I had that determination going into it. And minus 92 pounds and holding steady at 17 years (on March 13, 2017) is damned well permanent in my book.
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.
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.
Between Halloween and New Year’s Day, the average weight gain for people who struggle with excess weight is 8-10 pounds. If this describes you, kick this trend to the curb and find permanent weight loss. Here are some holiday eating tips. If permanent change has eluded you, here’s a hint at what it looks like:
Holiday Eating Tips
1. Enough with the Halloween candy! Make your party (and your kids’ focus) on fun, costumes, friends, connections. When my son was small, I let him eat some candy on Halloween, then he picked 7 items to keep (1 per day for the next week) and the rest went to the neighborhood fire station. Some dentists will PAY kids for their candy. YOU can pay your kids, or teach them about donating excess to others. NO ONE really needs another damned snickers bar, especially children. If your child is challenged by ADHD, anxiety or depression, get the crap out of sight now, and forever.
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