Joy Bauer, author of "Slim & Scrumptious," posted an interesting article on Yahoo Health recently that really got me thinking. She was writing about her clients who admit they are professional dieters. I never looked at my eating issues using that term, but guess what: I sure fit the profile:
- I’ve tried every weight loss plan, scheme and promise.
- 9 times out of 10, my attempts fail.
- And here’s one from me: the one that works ultimately fails.
So here are her painful reasons, not one of which I disagree with. But she puts a positive spin on it by telling us how to overcome each hurdle. Oh – and by the way – there is NOTHING new here.
- You're not fully committed. Bauer claims weight loss is at least 50 percent attitude. If you’re not fully committed to it, you will fail in the long term.
How to Prevail: Do some serious soul-searching and identify a significant and enduring source of personal motivation for finally shedding the extra weight. She suggests: better managing health conditions; to be around for your kids and grandkids; or to finally feel more comfortable in your own skin and boost your energy level. Here’s the key: Whatever the motivation, it has to come from within. Then, strengthen your resolve daily with positive self-talk and daily or weekly goals. She favors short-term goals over long-term ones because because they reinforce success every step of the way.
- You expect miracles. We (I) have unreasonable expectations about how much weight we (I) will lose each week. When we (I) don’t lose 10 pounds each week, we’re (I’m) disappointed and start eating.
How to Prevail: Beginning weight loss can be dramatic, followed by one to three pounds a week from then on. And if you are on a fad diet that has you shedding lots of pounds each week, chances are as soon as you go back to normal eating – and most of us will – those pounds come back. Accept this fact: Slow and steady weight loss is the only way to lose weight. Hate that!
- Your plan isn't sustainable. Extreme weight loss plans are not real world. So a month of this eating can show big results on the scale, but those pounds will probably return.
How to Prevail: A diet should be based on appropriate amounts of healthy foods that keep you feeling satisfied and energized — not cranky and deprived. Most importantly, a diet should be viewed as a launching pad for a long-term lifestyle change. To lose weight forever, you have to permanently change your eating habits. So find one you can live with (Weight Watchers?) and start following it to the letter. (The last sentence is all mine.)
- You can't forgive your slip-ups. Diet blown – it’s back to eating with abandon. Personally, I am sick and tired of blowing a diet: stuffing huge amounts of food down my throat while telling myself that tomorrow I’ll be good – I might even fast. Ha! I wake up the next day hungrier than ever.
How to Prevail: Joy tells us to not dwell on your mistakes. Instead, we should shake it off and get right back on track at our next meal or the very next day. It sounds so easy. But it’s not. And we all know that. But there is something that Joy wrote that really hit home: “Always remember, nobody gains weight from one rich dinner or a single slice of cake. The real trouble starts when you allow that one ‘splurge’ to snowball into an all-out eating frenzy.” For me, that is really a powerful concept. I actually can gain lots of weight from one meal, but I also know that if I get right back on track, ultimately, that meal will not reflect in my weekly total.
So maybe I really need to just take it one meal at a time and to learn to forgive myself. Carting around extra weight does not make me a bad person. It might make me unhappy, but not bad.