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May 23, 2009

Weight Loss Fallacy

A few weeks ago I was watching Oprah. Her guest were Kirstie Alley, and a man known who has lost more weight than anyone ever has. It was all about people that have fallen off the wagon and gained weight. The man had lost 1000 lbs, then gained it all back.

I've been there, lose weight, gain it back, lose weight, gain it back. this time around, my attitude and how I regard this whole process is a very different thing. To start with, I didn't go on a 'diet'. Diets are restrictive and a 4 letter word with me. In truth, it's all the many times that I was such a successful dieter that made me so fat. Research has proven that the majority of people that lose weight, gain it back, plus more. The first time I ever had to lose weight, I only had to lose 40 lbs to be thin. For 20 years, I went up and down the scale, starting in high school and ending in my 40's. I finally realized no more diets.

When I was watching Oprah, the champion dieter, who had lost 1000 lbs, gained it back and was trying to lose again said something very interesting. There was a picture of him the day he reached goal weight. He said that after that picture and reaching goal weight, he went home and started eating. Then he said something that I realized is the whole problem with "dieting". He said something to the effect that when you start a diet, you intend to lose the weight, then at some point in time you get off the diet.

That is the weight loss fallacy. You HAVE to start a program to change the way you handle food, if you want success. You also have to change how you handle exercise, or the lack thereof. Granted, exercise is something I've come to understand more now, than I did the first three years of my weight loss journey. But it's still part of the key.

When I first started Jenny Craig, my daily caloric program was 2000 calories. My body could eat more because it worked so hard to drag this nearly 400 lb body around everywhere. After a certain weight was achieved, I went down to 1700 calories. Quite some time later, another weight was achieved and I had to go down to 1500 calories. Finally, I reached a weight where I had to go to 1200 calories a day.

There's a "Healthy Utah" program that is offered by the State of Utah, for whom I work. I attended an evaluation, where they checked my health and one of the things that was written on the paper, on top of my cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and other things, was the amount of calories to "maintain" my weight. It was something like 1589. What????

That's when it first began to click with me. I always knew that in this journey, I had to change the way I ate and could never go back to binging, emotional eating and all the other things I did. That is why a huge part of my journey wasn't just the Jenny Craig program, but renovating my whole life, most especially how I think. If I didn't change my brain, I would immediately go "off a diet, and go back to old habits". I remembered my struggle at first when I went to 1700 calories, then 1500, then 1200. To realize that 1700 calories would eventually cause me to gain weight, as my body is so small now, and takes so little energy to drag it around and live my day. I finally realized that to embark on a true weight loss program means not just changing my brain, but ALWAYS being aware of calories. I hated that. However, this was all made easier and much more bearable when I finally realized that if I wanted to "relax" and enjoy the special occasions here and there, I needed to burn more calories. That is when I finally got on the exercise bandwagon, and have started to become a walker.

It's a weight loss fallacy that you start a diet, and get off. You NEVER get off, unless you want to be back on the "yo-yo" gain and lose bandwagon again. I have to admit that one of the things that I REALLY like about Jenny Craig, is that their food is so good, that I don't feel like I'm being restrictive in anyway. That is good for my frame of mind. While I can't just go off program constantly, eat the high calorie things frequently, unless I want to sabotage myself; at least I can enjoy the foods I do eat, plan for special events and limit the extent of eating at the special occasions. I plan to be on Jenny Craig for life, just because I love their food, but also, because it takes a lot of pressure off me. I don't have to worry. I can enjoy the food, yet still engage in my social life and go out to eat occasionally. Planned times off program, can be accompanied by exercise to burn off those extra calories! Eureka, I CAN do that! :)


Dustin, Heather and Gavin said...

Hello Ann,
you know I used to be big as well. Weighting 210 pounds. I agree exercise is a huge part of losing weight. I see all these crazy diets out there. And I think that can't be true or healthly. I hated counting calories to. The awesome thing is You are looking so great! You are truely a amazing person!

cami said...

very intuitive Ann!!! It is definately a lifestyle change that we have to live by most every day!!! I am glad to hear about your ongoing success.

Ann said...

Thanks for the positive comments guys! :)

NariceatL4 said...

That is so true--you have to go on a 'Live-It' program. Congratulations on your exercise program too!

(Right now I'm so frustrated by a bone spur in my heel and wonky knee that make it hard to walk... because exercise is certainly key!)

Rachelle said...

Hey! I didn't know that! way to go Ann!

cecsav said...

wish i could afford jenny craig.

Ann said...

Cecsav, you know there are lots of good programs out there. I figured with Jenny, the amount of money I spent to eat out on top of my weekly groceries and junk I bought, came out to about the same amount. However, having said that; I understand budget difficulties. Weight Watchers is pretty cheap and you can learn portion control and making good choices through them. There are other programs, and internet programs and etc. It's all about learning to control portions sizes and to improve the choices. It's not being perfect and good and losing real fast, it's about finding a program that fits you and staying with it, or learning from it and using it; for the rest of your life. You CAN do it, no matter what your budget. Stay away from gimmicks, strict diets, fads and anything extreme. YOU CAN do it!