So I’m six weeks into my weight loss journey and so far I’ve been losing just under a pound per week pretty consistently. From everything I’ve read that’s about the right amount to lose for sustainable change. That being said I’m still fighting the urge to try to speed things along.
How great do films make it look? The hero decides they’re going to prepare physically for the big fight or other such challenge. Cue super motivational music and two minutes of lifting, running, jumping etc. They emerge at the end transformed from ordinary into superhuman ready to win the big game and get the girl. Sounds awesome, that’s what I want!
Sadly of course a Hollywood inspired montage isn’t how life works out. More often than not any significant victory in life is made up of a number of relatively small accomplishments, achieved regularly and consistently over a prolonged period of time. Sadly I’m coming to realise weight loss and lifestyle change are no different.
It’s no secret that around 65% of people who lose weight end up putting it straight back on. The reason for this is during their weight loss they’ve been in “montage mode” putting in a big effort over a relatively short time span. While this gets some results, it doesn’t necessarily tackle the underlying behaviour and lifestyle issues that causes the problems in the first place. So once the big game is over, they go straight back to their old ways and before long are in exactly the same position.
All sounds pretty clear and simple right. So why do we find it so hard to truly accept that the quick transformation is not the way? Because it’s just not the idea we’re sold. When was the last time an advert for a diet said “Five years ago I took 12 months to lose four stone and it’s still off!”. Pretty much never, it’s not sexy to take 12 months over weight loss and it might mean that this holiday, this summer, you might only be a third of the way there.
As a result we’re sold the dramatic transformation, and we’re sold it well. We’re sold short-term diets with photos of people with awesome genes, great lighting who have never really been overweight. We’re sold it so well in fact that we’ve forgotten that we don’t actually need to be on a “diet” as such to lose weight. We’ve forgotten that if we want to weigh less than we normally do, we just need to eat less and / or move more than we normally would, its doesn’t have to be complicated and more to the point it doesn’t have to be temporary. The downside to this of course is that when your diet changes, your body takes a while to catch up to your new permanent daily intake. It can be challenging to stay the course particularly if you’re being bombarded with adverts promising a quick fix.
Going through these different diets on a cycle of weight loss and gain while my underlying habits become progressively worse has got to stop. I’m confident that by fixing the underlying issues and maintaining reasonable eating habits over a prolonged period of time there will no longer be any need for complicated and difficult to maintain diets. My habits and general relationship with food will suitably sufficient to enable me to lead a happy and healthy life.
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