I read a lot of articles about obesity. A lot. I read so I can prepare myself, so I know what to expect, so I am not surprised by side effects of losing weight like being cold, or not being able to eat the same amount of calories as someone who has not lost weight etc. I came across this article the other day and I shared it on the WeightWatchers.ca forums where I hang out.
The article is called “There’s No Cure for Obesity” by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian obesity doctor, and I highly recommend it if you are in the processes of losing a fair amount of weight or trying to maintain a weight loss. The point of the article can be summed up as: “If you don’t like your life while you’re losing weight, you’re going to gain your weight back.”
I shared it on the forum because sometimes there are posts written (usually by newcomers) that frustrate me. I don’t answer them – or at least I try not to because I know tone is a difficult thing to assess online. I don’t answer them because there are too many of them and I feel like a broken record. The truth of the matter is is this: IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT AND MAINTAIN THE LOSS YOU WILL HAVE TO CHANGE EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE AND YOUR APPROACH TO FOOD. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS. THIS IS FOR LIFE. PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS REQUIRES LIFELONG CHANGES. If you are not prepared to make lifelong changes the chances are you will regain or you won’t even last long enough to reach your goal.
Yes. It’s frustrating when we think we’re being “good” but we don’t lose weight.
Yes. It’s frustrating when we don’t lose at the rate we think we should/deserve to.
Yes. It’s frustrating when we gain.
Yes. It’s frustrating when we end up with loose skin or wrinkles we didn’t have before.
Yes. It’s hard to not eat the same amount/type of food etc. as other people around us.
Yes. It’s frustrating not to have at the “perfect” body when we do reach our goal weight that we thought we’d have.
Yes. It can be demoralizing and/or daunting to know that you might have to track what you eat for the rest of your life.
Yes. You have to exercise.
Yes. Exercise has to become a regular part of life.
Yes. You have to learn to enjoy eating less and moving more.
Yes. This is for life.
Yes. We all have our burdens to bear.
Yes. Life is not fair.
Yes. You can do this.
Yes. Some of it will become second nature and some of it will not.
Yes. You can do this.
The comments/posts that frustrate me include those where I can clearly read that the original poster views Weight Watchers (or any “diet”) as temporary, as a means to an end – especially when I read about cutting out foods they don’t need to cut out or over-exercising. I think sometimes we can set ourselves up for failure when we think any changes we are making are temporary and then blame either ourselves (our lack of willpower) or the program/diet etc. for not being able to keep at it. I think that’s unfortunate because it’s not about the temporary big changes, but rather the permanent little changes that add up in the end. To succeed we need to change our lives. This is a truism. We do not need to change our lives in a matter of days or even weeks or months. New habits, new routines take a long time to stick. True change comes not from willpower, but rather from commitment, perseverance, and with time. At least this is what I believe.
One bad week, one bad month, heck one bad year does not make us a failure. It does not mean all is/was for naught. It means we need to keep at it and persevere. Perhaps we need to reassess our strategies. Perhaps we need to change a habit here or a habit there. We need to look at what we are doing and ask ourselves – am I am happy doing this for the rest of my life? Do I think I can finally stop this when I reach my goal weight? These are the questions to ask ourselves. We can all succeed in the long term, we just have to find the right way for us and to make sure we are not committing to too much too soon. We need set ourselves up for success and not failure. We can do this.
And that’s my rant. Also, if you like the article I highly recommend you check out Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s blog: Weighty Matters. It’s a good mix of blog posts, medical info, book reviews, and general info.