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.
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.
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.