Sunday, September 14, 2008

4 reasons we regain weight

Losing weight and changing one’s eating and fitness lifestyle is hard work -- that’s a given -- but maintaining a weight loss is even harder. There's no longer the challenge of juggling numbers or the reward of seeing them drop, and keeping up the enthusiasm and dedication necessary to stay at the weight that you worked hard to get to doesn't come easy.

The National Weight Registry surveys and collects data from “regular people” who have managed to maintain a weight loss of 30 pounds or more for at least one year. Based on the data that they have received from more than 7,000 people, there are certain things that almost all successful “losers” seem to do to maintain their newer and slimmer figures:

  • Participate in aerobic exercise for least one hour or more each day
  • Focus on watching calories
  • Keep food logs
  • Choose healthier and lower fat foods

I never thought I would be (nor did I want to be) one of the many people who have lost a significant amount of weight only to gain a lot of it back. But, it is high time to admit that I have gained 15 pounds since the start of the year.

Yes, that’s right. I just admitted that on the world wide web, for all to see, that I have gained back 15 of the 50 pounds I worked so hard to lose.

So what happened?

Well, I stopped doing what successful losers do to maintain a weight loss. I stopped exercising as much as I was. I started to think, “a little bit of this and a little bit of that won’t hurt.” And I stopped writing in my food log, because if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t count, right?

I lost track of calories and stopped being accountable to myself. I started to neglect myself. I stopped preparing meals and snacks ahead of time. I stopped getting up early to get to the gym because I was busy and tired. My will power began to crumble, eating special treats everyday rather than on special occasions only.

I have been watching my weight creep up these past 8 months, and instead of getting back on the beam right away, it has become a bit of a vicious cycle.

You become depressed because you know better. You get angry with yourself because you can’t believe you let yourself go. You get paranoid about what people will think—especially since you write this blog aboutmaintaining your weight. You get emotional because getting dressed puts you in a bad mood; pants you looked awesome in a few months ago, no longer fit.

The last thing you want to do when you feel so bad about yourself is get up early the next day, go to the gym and forego the ice cream as the last days of summer arrive. I have been struggling with not throwing in the towel, not caving in and eating everything in sight, only to see the scale not budge or go up!

Now that that skeleton is out of the closet, what do I do?

Well I pick up the tools that have been so freely given to me by the successful losers that have come before me; the same tools that have helped me to be successful in the past, and I apply them again (food logs, calorie watching, exercising more). And this time I try not to think that I am ever cured from my tendency to overeat and under exercise.

In admitting my weight gain I end it there. I hold myself accountable because no one can do this for me, but me.