Friday, 30 September 2005
Persistence and Slow Weight Loss
Topic: Slow Weight Loss
Many people get disappointed and discouraged that they don't lose weight more rapidly, sometimes to the point of wanting to give up. It reminds me of something that happened to me recently. I had a visit from a friend and neighbor of more than 25 years, who moved away about a year ago. She has been heavy as long as I’ve known her, with her weight slowly increasing over the years. When she came in she immediately noticed my weight loss and demanded to know how much I’d lost. When I told her “about 70 pounds” she instantly became defensive. It didn’t bother me, because I’ve been subjected to the If-I-can-lose-weight-then-you-should spiel from newly thin people enough times to understand. She asked how I had lost it, and when I told her I was on Weight Watchers she said “Oh, I tried Weight Watchers about 10 years ago and it didn’t work. I only lost 10 pounds in a year, so I quit.” I didn’t argue, just made a non-committal hmm and nodded. I suspected her lack of success was due to not following the program closely, but it was clear that right now she was only interested in justifying her weight, not in changing it. I said “They have a new program that’s more like just healthy eating. That’s what I’m doing and I like it,” then changed the subject.
Later it occurred to me that if she hadn’t quit Weight Watchers because she “only” lost 10 pounds in a year, by now she would have lost 100 pounds. Instead she’s gained at least 50. So she would weigh at least 150 pounds less today, if she had just stuck with it (even half-heartedly).
To those of you who are frustrated at your slow rate of weight loss, I ask: How much will you weigh in 10 years if you quit because you aren’t losing fast enough?
Posted by whaledancer at 11:13 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006 6:57 AM PDT
Tuesday, 25 January 2005
Advantages of Losing Weight Slowly
Topic: Slow Weight Loss
There are advantages to losing weight slowly (like about a pound or less a week), especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Here are some that I’ve been thinking about.
1. There is time before you reach your goal weight for your new eating patterns to become ingrained habits. This enhances the probability of your success in maintaining your new weight.
2. Your body also has more time to adjust to the new regime. The human body is designed to withstand periods of famine. I believe that those of us who been overweight since (at least) puberty come from genetic strains that are particularly efficient at this. Our bodies view the typical diet as a long famine, and when the famine is over, they "recover" quickly. But by feeding our bodies with just barely less than they need to maintain, over a long period the body may come to regard the smaller quantities as the new norm.
3. Your body shrinks more slowly, so you don’t suffer from the saggy-baggy effect quite as much.
4. When you spend a long reaching your goal weight, you learn some useful things that you can use to achieve lifetime success. You learn how to deal with holiday and other special-occasion meals. You learn how to keep going when you don’t want to. You learn ways of keeping food boredom at bay. You learn ways of dealing with stress and loneliness and boredom and all those other emotions without turning to food. You learn how to get back on track when you’ve slacked off. You learn ways of dealing with the internal blocks that your mind and emotions throw up to sabotage your success. If you haven’t learned all these things by the time you hit goal, there will come a time when you gain back the weight, and then you have another chance to learn the crucial ones you missed. But when you lose slowly, you’ve got more time to learn all those things this time through.
5. You get more wear out of your intermediate sized clothes before they get too big for you. This might even encourage you to buy more of them, so you look better along the way.
6. It requires a great deal of determination to stick with the program over a long period of time. This might not seem like an advantage, but it means that those who make it to their goal weight slowly have that same determination to use as a tool to help keep the weight off.
7. All that time and effort you’ve invested in losing the weight can act as an incentive to keep the weight off. When something costs you more, you value it more. And when you lose slowly, your weight loss has cost you more.
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