21 Aug Losing Weight and Keeping it Off
It’s a three page ad in Time magazine with that title: “When it comes to LOSING WEIGHT AND KEEPING IT OFF” including promising text on the opposite page saying, “Managing your weight long term requires more than willpower alone.” The picture next to the title is of seven large people in a variety of clothing styles pertaining to careers or lifestyles. The product: an injectable medicine that mimics our body’s hormone leptin that suppresses appetite. More than ¾ of the text below the picture is “Important Safety Information” that lists all the risks of taking this medication including “possible thyroid tumors, including cancer, inflammation of the pancreas, increased heart rate, kidney failure, depression or thoughts of suicide” and a few more. In fact, these safety information claims are repeated three different times in this ad. That’s how dangerous it is to take this medication.
Because people are enticed by this idea of an “easy” way to lose weight forever. It appeals to our quick fix culture at the risk of . . . well, death.
We wonder how many people are getting this injection. How many people read this ad, all the risks, and think, “yeah, that seems worth it.”
This isn’t a judgement as much as a curiosity. Those clients who come to us for weight loss have usually tried many diets, cleanses, and quick fixes. They are often beat down by the diet culture and are looking for something different, something that will help them look and feel better well into their future, not just right now.
The fact is, as you probably already know, there is no quick fix that lasts. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it repeated over and over again with friends, acquaintances and celebrities. They do the quick fix, and this is when they show it all off, praising the fix that allowed them to lose the weight. They are so happy: “and it wasn’t that hard! Oh, and you can do it too!”
Check back with them in six months, or a year.
Don’t get discouraged. Accept that there really isn’t a quick fix that is sustainable. Go ahead, if you want, and do that quick fix. Perhaps that will give you momentum and motivation. But realize that it is just a tool to kick start, especially if it involves deprivation and rigidity. What follows is really what is most important.
Three key steps to losing weight and keeping it off:
- The first step is key. Awareness and introspection. It starts with food/habit journaling. This is not simply writing down what you eat. It’s being detailed about your hunger level, time you’re eating, your mood, your energy level, and whatever other notations you might want to make. Because it’s really not just about food. It’s not necessary to journal indefinitely. It’s something to do for a while, find patterns, and learn awareness. It may be something you do for a month or so, and then from time to time when you feel it’s necessary, as we are forever changing.
- Don’t graze. We aren’t ruminants (like cows). We don’t have numerous stomachs whose job it is to digest all day long. Our bodies evolved to take in nutrients, digest them, metabolize them, and dispose of waste with mini fasts between meals and a larger fast during the night. Our blood sugar and hormones depend on these fasts. Grazing all day long throw these processes off so much that eventually creates dis-ease in some way or another (diabetes, metabolic syndrome, numerous other hormonal problems).
- Understand and learn how your body’s functions depend not only on the foods you eat or don’t eat, but also your sleep quality, your movement habits, your mindfulness practices, and the connections you maintain with friends, family and community. Each one is affected by the others. They all work together and your health depends on all of them.
And here is one more bonus way: Work with someone who challenges you and holds you accountable, can help you uncover your stories and help you to explore and upgrade your habits. Of course, you can do it on your own, but you don’t have to. It takes time and effort to learn how to navigate through all the health information out there and learn what your personal formula is and then do it all again from time to time as information and your body changes.
We’ve seen clients find true health, starting with our guidance and learning how to do it on their own with a periodic check in. These are success stories. Perhaps you will be our next one.