“I will read your posts on Loving Your Body. I have seen them before, but as you know, I wanted a fix but didn’t want to do the work.” Debbie Dittrich
If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed the same phenomenon I have, and maybe you’ve been part of this scenario. A peep suddenly posts a picture looking fabulous after losing a great deal of weight. Everyone congratulates her and “oohs and ahhhs” at how wonderful she looks as she joyously grins with achieved success.
Then as suddenly as the pictures appeared, months go by with no pictures, and then you see a picture and your heart sinks … at least my Dietitian’s heart sinks … she has gained all the weight back, and maybe more! Or some, like Oprah, we actually watch on television go up and down in weight over the years as she tried different diets.
What happened? Why wouldn’t they want to maintain their amazing loss? Why wouldn’t they want to stay thin and healthy? Why wouldn’t they want to enjoy wearing all those beautiful new clothes they bought?
I’ve discovered the answer is always the same—a weight loss regime they couldn’t possibly maintain for life. Fast and noticeable weight loss was the immediate goal, without a long-term goal and plan to keep the weight off.
Maybe they lost the weight by eliminating certain food groups, extremely low daily calories, shakes, drinks, shots, pills, surgery, ready-prepared boxed or frozen meals, eating the exact same thing daily …. Anxious for a quick fix, they did something drastic to get results with no long-term maintenance plan. They couldn’t go a lifetime on that regime. Once the weight goal was reached, or they ran out of money for the costly shots or products, they slowly, maybe quickly, went back to their old eating habits, which they hadn’t learned to modify or change.
Weight loss without a realistic lifetime eating plan is doomed to failure!
“While I know that I must eat properly I do not think that means eating the same thing for 17 years!” Debbie Dittrich
God made our body to operate best on the food He created in the quantities that maintain our body in optimal health. When we try to circumvent His plan for good nutrition by eliminating a food group or going on a crash diet … we’re going to crash too. It’s not how God made us to subsist.
I recently saw a friend who had lost weight and I commented how great she looked. She said her goal was to be thin for her high school reunion. Her main concern now was keeping the weight off for the next two months until the reunion. And with those words, I knew that once the reunion was over—the goal of being thin for the reunion—she would feel the freedom to go right back to her old eating patterns and soon the lost weight would return. Unconsciously, she was acknowledging that what she was doing to lose the weight was going to be difficult to maintain for two months, not a lifetime. I mentioned that the first time I met her she was on a diet, and her comment was like those of so many, “I’m always on a diet.”
Maintenance is the Goal, Not Weight Loss
“This time it’s different,” my goal is to keep this and maintain this throughout my life. Before I’ve had more of a view of ‘Get to the goal, have the goal.’ Now I really looked at it as this is my life, and until I’m dead basically, I am going to keep this this way, instead of like, ‘Oh I lost 50 pounds and now I can do whatever I want.'” Kirstie Alley on the Today show January 6, 2015, after losing 50 pounds.
Kirstie Alley has publicly gone up and down with her weight. When she’s a Jenny Craig spokesperson, she does great, and when she quits the “program,” she gains it back. The above quote looks like she finally realized that weight loss was not the goal, she needed to eat the way she ate to lose the 50 pounds for the rest of her life to not gain it back. I don’t know if she was successful in sticking to the right goal.
Even though our human nature makes us want to see quick results, people who lose weight gradually and steadily—about 1 to 2 pounds per week—are more successful at keeping the weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t a “diet,” “program,” or “gimmick.” It’s an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term, doable changes in daily eating and exercise habits.
Once you’ve achieved a desirable weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity, you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term.
Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment.
The problem with all the fads, diets, programs, regimes …they’re meant for immediate gratification of quickly experiencing drastic change because that’s our world today. Slow and steady doesn’t’ give us the satisfaction we need. That’s why quick-fix “miracle” ads attract so many:
- The 10-day Weight-Loss Program
- How to Reach Your Desired Weight in a Month While Eating All You Want
- Lose up to 10 pounds in a week
Or one I recently saw: “Secret Method to Getting Slim Fast.” I’ve been drinking this miracle drink for about 3 weeks now. My friends won’t stop asking how I became so thin in such a short amount of time. I’ve become half the size I once was!”
Here’s the Weight-Loss Secret Revealed—There’s NO Secret Miracle Way to Get Slim Fast and Keep it Off!
Everyone acknowledges, and few try to defy, how God created gravity—stepping off a cliff = downward plunge. But many have spent thousands of dollars trying to defy the way God created our bodies: calories in minus calories expended = our weight. There’s no big secret and no way to secretly, miraculously change it. But millions of people buy into a lie that it’s possible for them.
The Way God Created Our Bodies
Energy (calories) IN and energy OUT = maintained weight
More IN than OUT = weight gain
More OUT than IN = weight loss
So in order to lose weight, we have to use up more calories than we take in through body metabolism and exercise. One pound equals 3,500 calories, so we must reduce our caloric intake by 500—1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is a safe weight loss that doesn’t throw our body into shock or deprive us of necessary minerals and vitamins, if we’re eating a balanced diet.
If you haven’t read the article my daughter Kim wrote last month, Love Your Body—Use Technology to Lose Weight, read it now because she testifies from her own experience that logging in what she ate daily determined whether she lost or gained weight—extra calories at the same exercise level equaled extra pounds. No matter how much you want to believe the marketing lies, this is how God created our bodies. As I was writing this post, I saw Kim posted on Facebook: “Logging my Costco free sample calories is going to be a tedious task. A bite of this and that adds up quick!”
Even when it’s free, the calories aren’t free.
The Only Goal that Equals Maintained Weight is a Life-Heart Change Goal
I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
1. Why you want to lose weight?
- Why you eat?
- When you eat?
- What are you eating now that’s contributing to your weight?
Then set realistic goals that are maintainable and healthy:
- One to two pound loss a week
- Exercise, 30 to 60 minutes most days that you can and will do
- Learn how to choose and prepare healthy food. Understand what constitutes a balanced diet.
- Reduce portion sizes and eat three meals a day.
- Track what you’re eating.
A healthy diet means eating a selection from all the five food groups in portion sizes that will help lose or maintain weight without sacrificing health.
I love the colorful Choose Plate website because it gives great information on how to determine your caloric requirement, what’s in each food group, portion sizes and so much more for the whole family. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also has an amazing website to learn what “healthy” really looks and tastes like.
To be successful at long-term weight loss, we must adopt a new lifestyle, just like when we became Christians and we put off the old way of life and put on the new. The new healthy you will make changes to adopt and embrace healthy eating habits, be more physically active, and learn how to change eating behaviors and habits.
Next month in our Love Your Body blog, the last Monday of the month, I’ll share a testimony from my friend and fellow author/speaker Debbie Dittrich who I quoted in this post. Debbie has lost a great deal of weight and shares with us the spiritual battle that kept her chained to bad eating habits for thirty years. She’s working at breaking those chains, and as they fall off, so does her weight.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Are you ready to make a dietary commitment to your health to love your body like God loves your body?
Can you see why having a weight loss goal isn’t successful without a long-range maintenance goal?
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