Frustrated. Defeated. Hopeless. Why try?
All thoughts that popped into my head as I read the Biggest Loser study that was published yesterday and as I listened to an interview this morning with the season 8 winner and a doctor for Good Morning America. This study and the interview make it sound as if losing weight and getting healthy is an impossible goal, unreachable because of biology…..because our bodies want to keep us fat.
I have watched every season of the Biggest Loser, awed and inspired by the mental transformations in the contestants. Watching as they had their AHA moments, crying along with them and being inspired. Even though there are many contestants who have maintained a healthy weight after leaving the show, this study is disheartening. And if I was still in the process of losing my 70+ pounds, this study and the interview this morning would have me crawling back into my hole, leaving me feeling that I would never be able to achieve lasting success.
This study looks at the Biggest Loser contestants of one season. Why only look at the weight loss and regain of contestants on a Weight Loss show, where weight loss is done in a strict environment, in a way that most of us cannot do it, yet alone maintain it? Did they base the findings on these contestants because they could not find any other success stories, anywhere in America?
And why only look at those who gained back their weight? Why only look for a cause and ultimately the excuses for regaining the weight? Why not look at those who have maintained their success? Why not look at how they are succeeding, at what is working?
As I sat here and listened to the interview I thought, well, if I gain back all of my weight then I can blame it on my body….I am just meant to spend my life obese.
NO! That is defeatist thinking.
Weight loss shows like the Biggest Loser create an artificial environment for those individuals. The weight loss that is achieved is done so in an unrealistic way…..a manner that is not sustainable for the long haul. In the interview the former winner said that he had kept the weight off for two years, but realized he was exercising more than most people in order to do that. Then he said that when he got a job, went back to work and wasn’t doing all of that exercise the weight started coming back. There it was, the real reason for the weight gain…..going back to our normal life after “dieting”.
I tell my members and myself that you HAVE to eat to lose weight and get healthy the way you are going to eat for the rest of your life.
It HAS to be a lifestyle and it HAS to be what fits into your life, instead of making your life fit the “diet”.
And exercise/activity HAS to be what you can do for the rest of your life.
Is it realistic to think that I can eat under 1000 calories everyday for the rest of my life? Is it realistic to think that I can eat “diet” food for the rest of my life? Is it realistic to think that I can go to the gym 7 hours a day, for the rest of my life? No. What kind of life would I have if that is how I spent every single day for the remaining days I have on earth?
I would not be living!
When I look at it this way, then I realize that this study and the findings do not reflect the reality for so myself or the many others who have lost the weight and kept it off.
This study shows that when you “diet” in the extreme to get to a goal weight and then go back to your real life, back to a normal way of living, working and surviving, it does not work. Extreme “dieting” backfires on us.
So, I sat here listening and reading and realized that the way I have lost the weight worked. Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady gives us the time to make habit and behavioral changes that will last.
Getting healthy and losing weight is not a sprint. It CAN be done.
And it will last when we do it in a way that is livable and sustainable. When we stop “dieting” and we start living we can achieve our goals and stay there.
And though there may be times that I go back to old habits….maybe gain back a few pounds…..it does not mean I am meant to be overweight forever. I know without a doubt, that I will NEVER again be my before self, I will NEVER gain back all of my weight because my lifestyle has changed and my mindset has changed. I have learned new habits and changed my lifestyle in such a way that I CAN get back on track when I slip and I CAN get back to where I want to be…..where I am happy and healthy.
Thank you to the Doctor who did this study for reminding me that extreme dieting does not last and that this lifestyle and the habits I have changed through my weight loss journey with Weight Watchers is what works….for me and for many others.
This IS a lifestyle!
There IS hope!
I WILL beat the odds!
I CONTINUE to be a success story!