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Entries in weight loss maintenance (10)


How many more diets...?

I’ve been watching diets come and go—for over thirty years (twenty as a weight management professional). A well marketed diet book can pull down big money for publishers and authors, but do they deliver for the consumers buying them that are looking for answers?

For the most part diet books don’t deliver. The vast majority of diet books waste your time on nonsense that won’t—ever—produce results. Every book has its “magic formula,” usually some special combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates that the author asserts makes calories not count, and of course only the author has the secret to! As I've written about before, that's all nonsense.

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Are Successful Losers More Common than You Think?

We’ve all heard the claims that something dire—like 95% of people—always end up gaining back the weight they’ve worked so hard to lose. The point underlying the nay saying and the contrarian remarks is the notion that weight loss is a hopeless, pointless, waste of time.

On the other hand, most of us know someone who lost a chunk of weight and did keep it off. So what made them special? How did they beat the (purported) odds?

The fact is the so often repeated 95% figure, can be traced back to a 1958 research review paper[i] by Albert Stunkard. However, the data from Stunkard’s review was never applicable to the general population.

Part of the reason the 95% myth has been so intractable is that there has been almost no research on weight-loss maintenance that is applicable to the general population.

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“I’ll get back on my diet tomorrow…” but at what cost?

The most fascinating—and destructive—behavior pattern associated with dieting occurs when you break the “rules” of whatever diet you’re attempting to follow. Odds are if you have any history of dieting you’ll recognize this behavior pattern immediately. 

There are a host of cognitive distortions (irrational thoughts) that come into play—basically setting you up for a big fall over the slightest perceived transgression.

First a few definitions:

  • All-or-nothing thinking: thinking in absolute terms like “always”, “never”, and “every”, which sets up both unrealistic expectations and a false situation that allows for only two alternatives (no shades of gray).
  • Disqualifying the positive: ignorring everything you are doing right.
  • Catastrophizing: blowing things out of proportion regarding anticipated ramifications of a perceived transgression (in this case regarding one’s diet).
  • Emotional reasoning: resistance to shifting from emotional self-judgments, or emotional situational assessments, to analytical evaluation of factual details.
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The Game of Weight Loss has Rules

What are your odds of winning a challenging game that you don’t know the rules to? Not so great. Likewise, if you're trying to lose weight but don't understand how your body works, your odds of success aren't good.

You need accurate information about how your body works:

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What might you learn from a successful loser?

The topic of weight management has been my passion since my personal struggle with weight gain in my late teens. When I was 17, after gaining 30-pounds over three or four months, I went to Physicians’ Weight Loss Centers for help getting that weight off.

Looking back, family stress due to my mother being ill, plus freedom (my drivers’ license, and my parents’ gift of a used Datsun 1200 for wheels) led me to making way too many regular stops at Seven-Eleven type places for a “snack!” These snacks were mostly brownies and different bags of various salty-crunchy things.

When I finally came up from the long binge—feeling like crap, and way past fitting in most of my clothes—I was ready to turn things around. Somehow I ended up at a Physicians’ Weight Loss Center “clinic” which may have been about the only choice in a small town (1977)!

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