Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Front Page

The other day on the front page of the Ottawa paper there was a story about a woman who has lost 100 pounds in 6 months. She has been obese her entire life, and she's lost it all with only diet and exercise. (no surgery etc)

The article made me FURIOUS! It's not necessarily this woman that makes me angry (I'm sure she's a lovely lady, and I really wish her all the best!) It makes me angry because THIS is NOT what we want to be splashing on the front page of the paper as a 'healthy' choice! (any more than having a 85 pound supermodel would be) It is obvious from reading her story that this woman is going to extreme measures for this weight loss. (Hours at a gym, and severe food restrictions.) She says that she longs to eat normal food again. HUH??

Any nutritionist will tell you that losing more than 2 pounds a week is dangerous. This woman is losing twice that...and the paper is applauding her. Honestly, I would applaud her as well...if the article was about how she lost 100 pounds in 6 months and then kept it off for 2 years. And don't get me started on all the restricting. If you aren't ready to go the rest of your life without carbs...then don't eat that way to lose weight! You're asking for a back-lash from your body!! When people ask me which diet they should try, i say "Whatever one you want written on your tombstone along with: 'I ate this way my entire life' Because your body can't handle the on-again-off-again swings that come with severe and frequent changes to your diet and weight!

Anyone who's been on more than one diet knows this truth: Anyone can lose weight.
If you've been on more than one diet in your life, you know this second truth as well: Hardly anyone can keep it off.

We are much to quick to celebrate weight loss. Usually, the loss is not done in a healthy manner..because the changes are not sustainable. (Intensive gym regimens that peter out after a couple weeks, or highly restrictive diets that end up in you giving up and bingeing on the things you craved for weeks.)

This article screamed 2 things: Unattainable, and Unsustainable.

How many women can spend a few hours at the gym per day? None I know of
How many women have a nutritionist watching every bite? (my guess...paid for by some sponser?)
How many women struggle to lose a pound...and feel like crap seeing a fantastical article on the front page of a woman who lost 100 in 6 months?

If we want to fight obesity in this country...take it from a professional fat girl...this is NOT the way to do it.

A very wise personal trainer ( gave me some amazing advice once. "Give yourself plenty of time. Your body will always want to go back to the weight it's known the longest. Take a few years to teach your body that this new weight is the new normal". He even went to go as far as to say "Your body will get the hint by the time you're 40"

At first I hated this! FOURTY?? (I was 32 at the time) I have to wait until I'm 40???? But I learned from that short conversation that the weight loss is just the start of the journey. It's not the success. It's not the end. It's only phase one.

By putting all this 'weight' (pardon the pun) on the numbers on the scale and how FAST they move down...we are perpetuating an unsuccessful cycle in people. The focus (and celebration) should be on how long the numbers stand still! (Lose 4 pounds...then keep it off for a while...and that's a success!)

My new approach after losing 50 pounds (with 40 more to lose still) has been this: keep off the 50 pounds. Yes...I'm not at my goal. I still have 40 more to go. But the fact that I've kept it off for 18 months is my success. My goal has changed. No, i'm not losing right now. I'm not trying to! I'm trying to learn to live a new life...and teach my body what 'normal' is. I hope she's learning!

I still haven't decided if I should write the newspaper. I'd like to blast this nutritionist...that's for sure...because I think this woman is being set-up for failure. (the stats say that two-thirds of dieters gain all the weight back within a year, and a whopping 97 percent gain it all back within five yeas.) And even if she does keep it off...and I hope she does) those reading the article are almost guaranteed to fail...considering the stats. All this doesn't even touch the addictive nature that I'm sure her eating had. (is she dealing with WHY she ate? or just funnelling her eating into a new excersize addiction?)

So that's it. There's my rant. That's MY front page story.


Trudy said...

Yep, well written Yvonne.

As a person who has been battling weight a great portion of my life, (of course no one will believe that looking at me now!) Keeping the weight of is the hardest. Eating the right things and allowing a "bad" treat for say Friday evening is the secret. And for heaven sake, throw that scale out of the door!

I am proud of you and you have learned to make wise choices, which is an other secret.

As far as gyms are concerned, an other waste of money (never mind the germs!) The floor in your bedroom, or whatever room you choose, is the best place and most consistent in the long run.

Before you take that next cookie, ask yourself, do I want that?
Ever found that when some one else offers you, it is easy to say NO?

The Heerens said...

All I really need to say in response to what you wrote is AMEN! But, I will add that I couldn't agree more and like you, I'm not overly impressed when someone says they have lost X number of pounds. I'm impressed when they have kept it off. I lost a bunch a few years ago and have managed to put a little more than half back on. Maintaining is the toughest part that's for sure. I'm proud of you for keeping off what you already have managed to lose. Great job!

Yvonne said...

Hi "The Heerens"

Your name sounds Dutch! However, I wonder if you are related to Debbi Banderman? (I see a resemblance!)

Loraleigh said...

Wow! Rick Mercer would be proud Yvonne!