The Fat Trap is Pretty Depressing But There is Hope

There was an article last month published in the New York Times entitled “The Fat Trap.” The author of the article, Tara Parker-Pope, detailed a study by physician Proietto which found some pretty depressing statistics for those of us determined to not only lose weight, but maintain our weight loss.

The author sums up the study, which found hormonal reasons for weight regain, with this statement:

While there is truth to this guidance, it fails to take into account that the human body continues to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped. This translates into a sobering reality: once we become fat, most of us, despite our best efforts, will probably stay fat.

The author also struggles with her own weight, admitting to being about 60 pounds overweight right now.  The article mentions the National Weight Control Registry, of which I am a member. She indicates that those people in the registry who consistently maintain a weight loss eat far fewer calories and exercise more minutes per week than those people who never had to lose weight.

One of my fellow weight maintainers, Lynn Haraldson, indicates when interviewed for the article that “People don’t like hearing that it’s (weight maintenance) not easy.” She and others interviewed for the article detail the diligence with which they watch their calories, exercise regularly, and weigh frequently. I admire their honesty and commitment to maintaining their weight.

This article left me pretty depressed because I felt like the end result of the article was the message that if you lose your weight, you will very likely not maintain your weight unless you become a superwoman or man of extraordinary diligence, ultimate focus, and unfailing resolve.

I know that statistically myself, and other long-term maintainers are the exception, not the rule. In our ever increasing society where people of a regular size are in the minotiry, I wonder if part of the reason people have trouble maintianing a healthy weight is that society accepts and makes it very easy to be overweight. The abundance of fast food, the unhealthy processed food that promises quick satisfaction but little nutrition, and the reluctance of some food manufacturers to make changes just contributes to the obesity crisis.

My Rebuttal

I wanted to offer you encouragement and a slight rebuttal to this article. Not every person who maintains a large or small weight loss has to turn into a person who never stops thinking about their weight, and feels like it is a burden. I’m one of those people who finds it a joy to maintain my weight.

Why?

Because I’d much rather exercises consistently, pay attention to the fat, portion size, and calories in my food, and weigh every day than struggle to get out of bed in the morning, find it difficult to tie my shoes, or be so overweight that I can’t fit into normal chairs. Not to mention the health benefits that come with maintaining a healthy weight. Normal blood pressure, ease of movement, little joint pain, good cholesterol levels, and not having my doctor tsk tsk me every time I see her are just a few of those benefits.

If you read this article and left feeling like you should just throw your hands in the air – don’t. Instead, focus on the joy that will come when you get to your healthy weight, and the joy that you will feel every morning when you get out of bed and are able  to exercise and live your life the way you want to – without being hindered by your weight.

How do you feel about weight maintenance – impossibility or a joy to look forward to?  Diane

If you missed my blog about Making Real Changes in your life to achieve great weight loss or maintenance, please check it out on the Attune blog.

68 thoughts on “The Fat Trap is Pretty Depressing But There is Hope

  1. blackhuff says:

    Dianne, it’s articles like these that also frustrates me. I don’t want to hear or read that my weight loss will not be kept off until I die. I don’t want to be discourage in everything I worked so hard for. Why? Why do people say things like these?
    I believe that one CAN keep the weight off because you make choices every day regarding what you eat and how mobile (exercise) you are. You are responsible for your own weight gain and maintenance.
    I too would rather count calories, watch my portions and exercise for the rest of my life, so that I never go back to being obese with all those nasty negatives you have described in your post.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I know Maureen – it can be depressing. But that’s why I wrote about it – because clearly that article is not the final word on weight maintenance. You are the final word in your life! And that’s makes every person’s journey unique. You can keep the weight you have lost off!!

  2. Maren says:

    I read that article and was a bit saddened by it. Almost like “what’s the point if it’s impossible”. I’ve read about the struggles of maintenance on blogs, but all I can think is that we’re different……. so it’ll be different for me. I’ll get there, and then find my way..

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      We are all different, and losing weight while already thinking about how you will handle maintenance is a good way to prepare yourself mentally for the shift ahead. Keep up your great work!

  3. Laura says:

    When I originally read this article I, too, was left feeling, momentarily, like “what’s the point of even trying?” But since then I have read several very good rebuttals, including this one, that make it all very worthwhile and achievable. Thanks.

  4. Susan says:

    As a former yo-yo dieter who had been up and down the weight loss spectrum I can attest that weight loss maintence is possible. Is it “easy”? No but its not the torture portrayed by that article either. As you lose weight hopefully your changing your daily eating habits and you come to imbrace exercise as well. In the 15 years since I lost my forty pounds I have never regained all my “lost” weight so maintence is possible and yes I do exercise 5 times a week, and watch what I eat and I know I can NEVER go back to eating like I used to or I will regain all the lost weight plus more.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I know – that article did make it sound like torture didn’t it? Really? It’s torture to make sure my meals are appropriately sized and not too many calories? Not for me! And I don’t view exercise as torture, but rather as time for myself. You are right when you say you can NEVER go back. That’s my mantra too.

  5. Emergefit says:

    I’m often asked by weight loss clients when will the process (eating and exercise) get any easier. It won’t I tell them, but with each new day it should get more rewarding. It’s the best I can say.

    When I read the mentioned study last week, my biggest fear was the negative impact it would have on the general populous of obese persons. Judging by my client reactions, it did exactly that. This is the sort of thing that makes me want to sell my business and become a bowling lane cleaner….

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      It does get more rewarding – at least for me it did. It also becomes easier with time. I agree – I’ve had a lot of people email me concerned that all their hard work is for naught – I do my best to reassure them that it is not!

  6. caryesings says:

    Maybe I’m a bit of a Pollyanna, but I actually find the “requirement” of regular exercise and watching what I eat to keep the weight off a bit of a bonus. Isn’t this what we all need to be doing for a healthy life?

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      You hit the nail on the head. It’s not abnormal behavior that’s required to maintain weight – it’s normal and healthy. What’s not healthy is to overeat and get no exercise!

  7. Julie Lost and Found says:

    I read the article the other day, and dismissed it. I don’t want anything discouraging me. I can’t wait till the day I’m maintaining and hope that by then my mind has been changed so concretely that I will know nothing but that new way of living.

  8. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I also read the article and found it too negative. I do think it’s important to point out that weight maintenance is hard work (and I believe often people don’t want to fully acknowledge that), but it is possible. And as you point out here, all the work doesn’t have to be viewed as negatively as it was in the article!

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I’d encourage you to think about maintenance along the way. For me, thinking about how my new eating/exercise lifestyle would fit into my daily life was a big help when I finally hit maintenance. I knew I had to continue those habits and not fall back into the old habits that had contributed to my weight problems.

  9. Don says:

    I experienced a sense of relief and comfort in hearing the science behind the experiences of people like myself who’ve been obese or morbidly obese for a long time. This helps me so much to hear the cold, hard facts! I feel I am in a better position to accept that it is what it is. No amount of whining or playing games with my thinking or whatever is going to alter this. I’m really not imagining things or making them up: it really IS harder for folks like me to lose weight and more importantly to KEEP IT OFF!

    There is a reason why I kick into a “food as fuel” mode when I’m SPARKIN’ like I WANT to SPARK!

    Besides: food is over-rated, compared to the freedom one can enjoy when one looks at eating just enough to keep your body at a healthier weight where you can enjoy your life more fully and heartily!

    So rather than looking at this glass as half empty, as a “fat trap”…I find it liberating to realize that, for instance faithful food tracking, weighing in and daily exercise is not being OCD and overkill: it truly is what is necessary for those of us who have been obese or morbidly obese for a long* time.

    • Dylan says:

      Some very interesting comments. I guess I am somewhat in the minority here as I did not find the article depressing at all. For me, it confirmed my reality. Maintaining a 60 pound weight lose, especially as a woman, after you hit 50 takes a huge amount of committment and fortitude. It is way harder to maintain than it is for someone the same size who did not have a weight problem. Is that fact depressing? Yes. Is it reality? For me, yes. Most folks would lose weight at the amount of calories I eat to maintain, coupled with the amount of exercise I do. That’s depressing, at least to me. Even if I enjoy my life and love exercise, it is still hard because it takes way more effort than an unhealthy lifestyle. It is worth it and I would not trade the healthy me for overweight me, but still it is a sad fact. In reading the article I was glad to know there is some “scientific” data behind my reality and that it is not just my body fighting me every day. Yes, the article said it was hard, but the article also focused on those folks that have been succussful at maintaining. Bottom line it’s only a “fat trap” if we don’t acknowledge the reality that it takes a lot of effort not to yo yo back .

      • Diane Carbonell says:

        Dylan – you have a great attitude toward the article and toward your weight maintenance. I am approaching 50 faster than I care to admit, and know that that will require me to be further diligent, exercise more and most likely eat even fewer calories than I do now. Like you though, I’d rather do that then the alternative. Your last sentence sums it up perfectly.

  10. Jody - Fit at 54 says:

    I used to be part of the National Weight Control Registry but stopped when life got out of hand when I was younger & working way too many hours.

    “She indicates that those people in the registry who consistently maintain a weight loss eat far fewer calories and exercise more minutes per week than those people who never had to lose weight.
    One of my fellow weight maintainers, Lynn Haraldson, indicates when interviewed for the article that “People don’t like hearing that it’s (weight maintenance) not easy.” She and others interviewed for the article detail the diligence with which they watch their calories, exercise regularly, and weigh frequently. I admire their honesty and commitment to maintaining their weight.”

    Although I hear you Diane on your part, I have to say that I am one that fits in with the article although it is part of life for me now & I LOVE being fit & healthy & knowing that this will help me live a better life as I age.

    Yes, I do more than most but I also agree that it takes a TON OF HARD work to maintain & especially with age. What I had to to at 47 is a lot different than the 50’s. I know people thing the 40’s are older but there is nothing like hitting the 50’s & dealing with the hard core hormone issues – just the cold hard facts at least for me….

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Yes Jody – but you are one of those that fights age/hormones and doesn’t give up. Sure it is hard work but isn’t it worth it to keep your toned physique and stay at the weight that makes you feel good. I know I admire you for all you have done in that regard!

  11. Dr. J says:

    There have been numerous times in my life where I have done what people have said can’t be done! The advantage I had was I didn’t know these things couldn’t be done 🙂

    Tara Parker-Pope is not on my favorites list because in my opinion, she has a strong bias in this area due to her own inadequacies. .

    Some people follow paths to nowhere. Some, as you Diane, make their own trail. It’s all about choice.

  12. Marie@feedingfive says:

    My gut tells me this isn’t true. That if you continue to work hard you can stay at a reasonable weight, but I’ve never had a weight problem. That said, it is day to day for me as well. Every meal, every choice is thought out. Luckily over the years I have really come to LOVE healthy food, I crave it. I also exercise 5 days a week. Some may think I don’t understand how it is to have a weight problem, but I live in maintenance mode every single day.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Every time we eat it is a choice. Those of us who have been obese know that those choices can lead us down a slippery slope to weight regain if we aren’t careful. You are wise to think of each time you eat/prepare food as a choice because that’s what keeps you slim and beautiful!

  13. Sharon says:

    After reading several of my maintaining “mentors” take on this article, I chose NOT to read it. I respect your opinions because they are backed up by actions, so I’m glad you chose to address it and I’m grateful for everything you said. I loved what Dr. J said in his comment, but I’m choosing to add these words to it….”some people follow paths to nowhere using excuses from anywhere.” And some, like he said, make their own trail. I’m choosing to make my own trail and I also choose to follow the example of those I’ve watched make it work.

  14. Janis says:

    You can either watch what you put in your mouth for the rest of your life, or become diabetic in middle age — with a lifetime of lousy eating habits behind you — and be forced at the point of a gun to watch what you put in your mouth for the rest of your life while you lose eyes and toes and get around in a scooter because you are over the weight limit for a hip replacement. That’s basically it. We can pretend that this is a political thing only all we want, but our pancreas isn’t going to give out on us because a fashion magazine made it feel bad about itself. Eventually, you WILL end up watching everything you put in your mouth. Whether you do it with all of your toes, good vision, and no blood monitors is the question.

    Sometimes it sounds like people are complaining not about maintenance but about the fact that life has to be LIVED from day to day. You will have to vacuum carpets repeatedly. You will always have to pay your bills. Change your car’s oil and in 3,000 miles, you’ll have to have it changed again. There is no stasis in life, and people — everyone, not just people struggling with this particular challenge — seem to get really put out by this sometimes. I do as well, but these distracting, irritating ever-recurring bits of maintaining oneself are part of being alive. You get to stop worrying every day about what you put in your mouth when you’re dead.

  15. Babbalou says:

    I read the article and had serious objections to the tone – I’m not saying maintenance is easy for everyone but I think the fact that the author admits to being 60 pounds overweight is a huge red flag. I’ll go out on a limb here and say most of us had a bit of denial going on before we managed to get in gear and tackle the weight loss with commitment and consistency. So I think the author had a dog in the race so to speak and made the article more discouraging than it might have been if written by someone who was successfully maintaining a significant weight loss. The facts are just the facts. If some people have to work harder than others to be trim, that doesn’t mean they can’t succeed and become trim – it simply means they have to work harder. And as Diane pointed out, there are so many reasons why it is worth the effort. I think it’s far better to use all the current findings on diet, hormones, weight loss and maintenance to figure out what works best for you rather allow the information to overwhelm or discourage you. It’s very hard to lose weight or maintain a weight loss if you don’t think you can do it. But if you believe you can do it, and look at it as a positive path towards a healthier life, you will be able to do it and may even enjoy doing it once you’re moving along that path. I think a positive attitude is important in successful weight loss and maintenance. Having an overweight person write this aricle seems a little like having a many-times divorced person write an article on why marriage is unrealistic and shouldn’t be expected to work out. With that attitude, each disagreement is a sign that a happy marriage is impossible instead of simply something to work out between the two of you.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Belief in yourself and a positive attitude can go a long way. Honestly, the first couple years of my own maintenance were marked with a slight fear that I would regain. That trepidation did help me make careful choices, which further cemented those healthy lifestyle changes I had made.

  16. Janis says:

    An example: Neither of these middle aged men’s pancreases work properly: Dude 1 and Dude 2. Both of them have to tyrannically monitor what they put in their mouths every day, right now, in 2012. Both of them need insulin now, in 2012.

    One of them didn’t wait until he had a gun to his head to do all this.

  17. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    For me, maintaining is much harder than losing and harder than I ever expected. (Not that losing is easy, mind you!) I have reached my goal countless times and regained some or all or more over and over. I’m not sure why I find it so hard. I’m still trying to figure that out so I can do something about it! But I also think that everyone is different and for some, maintaining is NOT the challenge that it is for me.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      You are not alone in that Karen. I see it about 75 percent of people I know find maintaining harder, and about 25 percent find losing harder. I found them both hard, but the maintaining part has been okay for me. You are so smart to continually work on it and find what foods keep you full but help you stay at a healthy weight.

  18. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    I think there’s so much more to maintenance than continuing to count calories and exercise regularly. A huge part of it is understanding yourself and addressing emotional (and physical) issues that may have lead to being obese in the first place. I am still technically overweight although I’ve been able to maintain a 50-ish pound weight loss over the past couple of years. But my story is that I lost 55 pounds, then regained half of it (and now I know why). It wasn’t until I started REALLY understanding and accepting mySELF that I was able to make the right choices and lose some of the weight I had regained. It’s a process and I will never give up.

    And yes, I agree that the way food is processed and marketed does not make it at all easy…in fact, it’s insidious what the “food industry” has done.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Good for you Karen, and thank you for sharing. The overprocessing of so many foods makes it very easy for people to not understand what is in their food, or what those food additives are doing to their bodies.

  19. Siobhan says:

    I like the take that it is a joy to be able to exercise and maintain. I have friends and family members who have never been overweight and all of them watch what they eat and exercise regularly. My 89-year old aunt maintains that she never had a weight problem because she walked 4 miles every single day of her life (and still does). I’d still rather have to work at maintaining than be 60 pounds overweight like the author.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Me too Siobhan. Spending time exercising, planning my meals, and saying no when I need to is much less stressful than feeling extra fat around my waist or not being able to do the things I love to do.

  20. Taryl says:

    I hated that article, honestly. I thought it was a lot of depressing statistics we already know, but no solutions or hope for the masses fighting their waistlines, or explanations about ways of eating or habits that make it easier to maintain. I agree very much with you that the standard American diet makes it very hard to maintain loss, but one does NOT have to be obsessive with food OR exercise to maintain. A little diligence and mindfulness, every day, goes so far. I see hope and a future in maintaining, because like you I think the tradeoff of a LITTLE portion control, consistent exercise for health, and being accountable on the scale, is absolutely worth the payoff. And as I’ve discovered, adopting those habits into my daily routine, even with business, pregnancy, stress, etc, isn’t nearly so hard as I imagined it would be.

    That said, it IS a state of mind and habits that are NOT natural or encouraged in our culture. We focus a lot of losing, but not on fixing what made us obese to begin with, the underlying conditions or imbalances, nor do we tell people what it takes to maintain. It isn’t a prison sentence (not nearly so much as a life of being trapped in an unhealthy body, anyway) or spartan heroics with effort, just committing to healthy awareness. It’s just not that hard, I am always slightly perplexed when people say it is. Now maybe I will have a harder time maintaining as I age, or my weight goes into the normal range, but somehow I doubt it. The willingness to work at and adjust to maintenance is the same, regardless, as far as I can tell.

    I do agree with Lynn that it isn’t easy as pie and shouldn’t be portrayed as such, but it’s not all dismal failure, either!

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      You bring up an interesting point with the cultural issue. We have lost sight of natural eating, keeping portions small, and staying active. Our current culture also is sooooo accepting, it can be very easy to accept obesity.

  21. Quix says:

    Sometimes it’s rough, no lie. But the alternative of being barely able to walk and unhappy with myself and short of breath is much rougher. For me, it was about moving beyond the only motivating factor being how I look. I can deal with my skinny jeans being a little tight, but when it cuts into my racing times, it’s on! 🙂

  22. Leah says:

    It sounds like that article would be very depressing. Why would people want to lose weight if there wasn’t the hope of keeping it off? My first thoughts came like this:
    Firstly, I can do all things through Christ. If a person who was addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc. can accept Christ and see a complete change in his/her life, then I too can accept His help and see that same change in my addictive habits with food. And since I’ve seen that 180 degree change in non-food ways in people I know personally, then I know I can cling to that hope myself.

    Secondly, I see people like you, Lori and a close friend of mine, to name a few, who have overcome their issues with food to the extent that you are able to keep the weight off. Yes, I see what you do to maintain and there are days I feel I’ll never be the “superwoman” of weight loss you are in my eyes, BUT…I realize that I do want it bad enough to become the person who can maintain a healthy weight. I learn from those of you I see succeeding in maintenance and I know it’s worth it.

    Thank you so much for putting out a rebuttal to that article, Diane. We need more people like you who are honest about what it takes, but offer the hope that it can be done.

    Have a great week!

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Good point Leah – I know there was a scientific study that showed “wacky” hormone levels in people who had lost weight, but it was a very small study. I too find my strength in faith, past experiences, and the knowledge that weight regain is no inevitable. If it were inevitable – not a single person would be able to maintain a weight loss, and that is clearly not the case.

  23. Beth says:

    But this all got me to wondering–TPP is not unhealthy. She said that she exercises very regularly, watches what she eats, and her health numbers (lipids, blood pressure, etc.) are extremely good. So it seems that her desire to lose weight is cosmetic and not health-related. I think maybe the point of the article is how much effort to put into losing weight when you’re already healthy (healthy heart, physically active, good numbers) but not the weight you would like. My sense was that this is the issue the article really addresses: what should you do when you achieve your health goals but haven’t necessarily achieved your weight goals?

    • Babbalou says:

      I would argue that being 60 pounds overweight IS unhealthy even if her current lab numbers are within normal range. 10 pounds over a desired weight might well be primarily a matter of vanity, particularly if the desired weight is on the lower end of the recommended range. 60 pounds is another matter altogether.

      • Diane Carbonell says:

        I agree with you. 60 pounds overweight is too much and places her in the obese category. I feel for her, as I know how frustrating that can be to find it difficult to get to a healthy weight and stay there. I just wish she had interviewed some long-term maintainers who didn’t feel it was such a burden.

    • Janis says:

      “I have good numbers” is denial. Eventually, her heart WILL get sick of pumping blood through 60lbs of extra tissue. Eventually, her hips, back, and knees WILL begin to give under carrying around more than they can handle. Eventually, her pancreas WILL fail to do a job that it wasn’t designed to do. She is living off of the principle of her life right now, not the interest, and for the moment she is getting away with it. But the piper will have to be paid someday.

      There’s also the matter of whether she needs to use a CPAP. With 60lbs excess weight, I’m ready to bet she does. If you need a life support system to keep from choking to death in your sleep, you are not healthy, I don’t care what your “numbers” look like. That’s a ventilator. Christopher Reeve used one of those.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Hi Beth – I’m with Janis on this one. I don’t know how old the author is, but over time, that extra weight will likely catch up with her. Also, if she accepts those 60 pounds as okay, I would be fearful that she may be okay with a few more. Although only a doctor can say how her extra weight affects her, I would hazard a guess that she would have more energy and feel less tired if she wasn’t carrying around an extra 60 pounds.

  24. LovesCatsinCA says:

    I think of this article as a yes AND a no… Yes it’s possible to lose weight and keep it off. Yes that takes a certain amount of vigilance and effort. You can’t go from junk food and sloth, to a diet plan and lots of activity and then just go back to how things were, and have the weight stay off…In fact, our thinner bodies burn less calories than when we were heavy. And yes, muscle is metabolically active, etc–but odds are, unless we took up bodybuilding, the added muscle from exercise doesn’t offset the calorie burn from being heavier unless we only lost five pounds.

    I think I’m an example of the both… I lost 33 pounds from my peak weight which had accumulated over time in my 30s into my early 40s, when I developed fairly extreme hypertension. I regained some weight during some stressful times in the past year, and I do admit to having a tendency to eat emotionally in ways that aren’t really about physical hunger. But overall, I’m 25 pounds lighter than I was at my peak. And I’m working toward reducing that weight gain again.

    So I’d say it IS easier for those of us who have had excess weight previously, to regain some of those pounds back, but I don’t think it’s a necessity that we all gain it all completely back or that it’s inevitable… and I can’t say that we all eat a lot less calories and exercise more than people who have never had weight issues.

    Other than the gal in our office that everyone envies because she has a sweet tooth and stays skinny, most people I know watch what they eat and exercise 45 minutes to an hour a day, whether it’s walking or something more strenous, who are normal weight… it’s not because they were ever heavy–it’s just a lifestyle.

    Maybe watching calories and portions and exercising seems draconian and awful to keep weight off, to people who think of that as something one does temporarily “on a diet.” For those of us who have shifted our lifestyle, and who feel better being fitter and thinner, it’s not really about “extraordinary diligence, ultimate focus, and unfailing resolve”.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      This is definitely a two-sided article, and I do see the bias of the author coming through in it. I suppose that’s understandable as we all have our biases. You are correct when you say that most people who maintain a healthy weight do work at it. Some have to work harder than others – those that naturally stay slim are just plain lucky!!

  25. Melisa says:

    Thank you for your perspective on this! I agree – maintaining is not easy but it’s SOOO worth it. It is true that I do gain weight easily. I can’t eat what other people eat and I can’t forgo too many workouts or the pounds will come back. But the daily benefits of being at a healthy weight vastly outweigh the negatives. I am so much happier and more confident in myself. And I imagine that over time, the healthy habits and choices that allowed me to lose the weight and maintain for the past year will become even more ingrained and natural over time. It will always be something I have to work for but I’m ok with that – it’s so much better than the alternative!

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      It is so worth it. Any time I get tempted to complain about exercising or having to say “no” to a dessert, I just remind myself what the alternatives are. Immobility, obesity, and serious health consequences could be in my future if I allowed myself to regain all or most of my weight!

  26. Jill says:

    While I am not to the “joy” way of thinking YET…. I do believe that what we think affects so much. I do believe that perhaps we have just accepted that it is nearly impossible to keep the weight off and perhaps if we change our thoughts about it- it can change the outcome. I look forward to feeling the joy of maintenance. I will get there!!! I will stay there!!

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      The joy came in pieces for me. It was evolving even as I lost weight and felt joy walking past the women’s section and into the “regular-sized” section. It came as I realized that I didn’t have to embarrassed at my size anymore, and I still feel it each day as I realize that I have a choice to not return to an obese woman. It is a process!

  27. Amy says:

    Good rebuttal Diane! I read the article too and also found it a bit negative. The problem I think is that basically the things you have to do to maintain weight loss are pretty much the same things you have to do to lose the weight in the first place – eat a healthy balanced diet, watch your portions, and exercise regularly. Most people go on a diet, thinking that once they lose the weight they will be able to go OFF the diet and go back to their old habits, and this is what feels hard to them, I think. The trick is to make slow gradual changes to all aspects of your overweight lifestyle, so that by the time you reach maintenance, it is all second nature and you have acquired a new healthy lifestyle that enables you to maintain your healthy weight without feeling like it is an enormous struggle.

  28. Nancy B. Kennedy says:

    What I found most telling in this article is Dr. Rena Wing’s statement that weight maintenance is difficult primarily because of “environmental” factors; that is, the fact that opportunities to overeat and to eat badly bombard us every day. Fast food, caloric coffee drinks, office celebrations, holidays, birthdays… to maintain your weight loss, you have to overcome your environment, not just yourself. In interviewing people for my book of weight loss success stories, How We Did It, I found that in every case, a person regained weight when he or she went back to old ways of eating and/or stopped exercising. I know obesity has a genetic factor, and hormones play a role, but it is my firm belief that adopting new habits, and sticking with them, is the key to success. Success is not as unattainable as Ms. Parker-Pope’s article would have you believe.

  29. La. says:

    Honestly, it is what it is. Nobody said life was going to be EASY and there are ALWAYS, ALWAYS consequences for our actions. And if my consequence is watching fat and calories while working out more than my neighbor…then so be it. I’d rather work harder and be fit and healthy than lazy and fat. Working hard isn’t a bad thing and while people have given me a hard time for “going extreme” I think if you want extreme results you have to push it. I’ve had people ask me during this pregnancy if I have an eating disorder…ALL because I am committed to eating properly and working out 6 days a week.

  30. julie says:

    I don’t agree completely that it’s impossible, especially if you’re willing to overhaul your lifestyle permanently, but other than you, most maintainers that I know (such as myself) still seem to fall into the overweight category. Granted, I don’t know many, but I would need to lose another 10 pounds to be “normal weight”. I maintain comfortably here, but to count as thin, I might have to live like that couple she mentions, counting, weighing, never going off plan (I don’t currently have a plan, but you know what I mean). That’s discouraging, but I’ll keep trying, though my weight has been stable for almost 2 years now, don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. Or should I say, it’s not going down, I know how easily it will go up.

  31. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic says:

    I saw the article and it is a little depressing. I think the facts are correct, but you have a good point that it’s not a bad thing. There are good things about watching what you eat and exercising. I’m nowhere near maintenance, but, as much as possible, I do try to enjoy the process of losing weight.

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