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My Preferences Matter - POSTED ON: Jan 16, 2018
Research indicates that 95% of all dieters regain their lost weight within 5 years.
I am a “reduced obese” person who has been maintaining my body at or near a “normal” BMI for the past 12+ consecutive years, so I am one of the 5% who has maintained their weight loss for more than 5 years.
Long-term Maintenance of my very large Weight-Loss requires me to Diet continually. By this I do NOT mean that I “Yo-Yo Diet”. I mean that I must CONSISTENTLY Diet. Minute-after-minute, hour-after-hour, day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after year.
I am not, … nor will I ever become, … a “normal” eater who can effortlessly maintain a “normal” weight. Even after all these years of consistent weight-loss maintenance, I've found that as a "reduced obese" person, I must fight my body continually in order to keep it from taking me up back into morbid obesity.
Basically, I engage in ongoing calorie restriction. Over the years I’ve chosen to experiment with a variety of diets, ways-of-eating, lifestyles, and diets-that-claim-not-to-be-diets. However, every one of these eating variations involves restricting calories in one way or another.
I log all of my daily food in a computer journal, and keep an eye on my calorie intake.
Generally, I follow some basic eating guidelines which tend to give me freedom from specific diet rules, in the following ways.
My preferences matter. I get to say what I like and what I don’t, and I can’t be wrong.
I manage my eating in a flexible way, similar to the way I budget my money, — not spending an absolute set amount every day, but keeping an eye on the bottom line.
Financially, I live within my means. Although I don’t track every single purchase, I do look at price tags, comparison shop, and have a general idea of whether I can afford something.
I do the same with eating,
… paying attention to:
▪ The energy value (i.e. calories) in the foods I eat, or think about eating;
▪ My own energy needs (i.e. calorie burn);
▪ The health effects of certain foods (i.e. I have some protein every day; avoid foods that upset my stomach; etc.)
In this way I am able to make wiser decisions about which, and how much, food is appropriate for me and why. I choose to eat the foods I love in small amounts, while I choose to do without the foods that I don’t love or need as much.
As a grown-up, I understand that Living Life involves a multitude of basic ongoing tasks.
▪ I have to shower or bathe frequently if I want my body to be clean.
▪ I have to keep up with my laundry if I want to wear clean clothing.
▪ I have to perform various household tasks if I want to live in a clean house.
▪ I have to keep putting fuel in my car, if I want to drive places.
▪ I have to pay my utility bills if I want access to water, electricity, gas, and garbage removal.
▪ I have to diet if I want to maintain my body at a size which is considered to be “normal” in our culture.
Dieting consistently to Maintain my Weight-loss is simply one of those basic ongoing tasks.
A Word to the Wise - POSTED ON: Jan 15, 2018
Dieting is So Much Harder than it Looks. - POSTED ON: Jan 14, 2018
Just about every person who has spent time as a “yo-yo dieter” knows that dieting is a lot harder than it looks … emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
Scientific findings present a bleak picture of the effectiveness of diets, in fact research indicates that 95% of all dieters will regain all of their lost weight in 1-5 years, plus more, and will wind up heavier than they were before dieting.
It is common knowledge that while “the Diet” gets credited for successful weight-loss, weight re-gain is blamed on the dieter. If Viagra failed 95% of the time would we blame guys for not trying hard enough, or would we say that the medicine didn’t work?
Who would be foolish enough to buy a ticket on an airline which failed to get 95% of all passengers to their planned destination? Yet, we choose to continue chasing the elusive target of “forever thin”.
Below is an excellent article by two scientific researchers on this subject.
How Your Body Fights Back
When You Diet
By Traci Mann and A. Janet Tomiyama
Diets do not work.
The scientific evidence is clear as can be that cutting calories simply doesn't lead to long-term weight loss or health gains.
We suspect most dieters have realized this by now too. And yet, here they are again, setting the same weight loss goal this year that they set last year.
The only people who don't seem to appreciate this are people who have never dieted. It's particularly hard for them to believe because it doesn't square with their own eating experiences.
Take Nicky, for instance. She eats sensibly much of the time, with some junk food here and there, but it doesn't really seem to affect her weight. She's not a dieter. She is Naturally Thin Nicky, and it's not surprising that she believes what she sees with her own eyes and feels in her own body. Nevertheless, Nicky has it wrong.
We are researchers who have been studying why diets fail for a long time. We have seen that diet failure is the norm. We have also studied the stigma that heavy people face, and witnessed the blame game that happens when dieters can't keep the weight off. From a scientific perspective, we understand that dieting sets up an unfair fight.
But many Nickys we've encountered -- on the street, in the audience when we give talks, and even fellow scientists -- get confused when we say dieting doesn't work, because it doesn't square with their own observations.
An unfair fight
Nicky thinks she's thin because of the way she eats, but actually, genetics play a huge role in making her thin. Nicky gets all the credit though, because people see the way she eats and they can't see her genes.
Many heavy people wouldn't be lean like Nicky even if they ate the same foods in the same quantities. Their bodies are able to run on fewer calories than Nicky's, which sounds like a good thing (and would be great if you found yourself in a famine).
However, it actually means that after eating the same foods and using that energy to run the systems of their body, they have more calories left over to store as fat than Nicky does. So to actually lose weight, they have to eat less food than Nicky. And then, once they've been dieting a while, their metabolism changes so that they need to eat even less than that to keep losing weight.
It's not just Nicky's genetically given metabolism that makes her think dieting must work. Nicky, as a non-dieter, finds it really easy to ignore that bowl of Hershey's Kisses on her co-worker's desk.
But for dieters, it's like those Kisses are jumping up and down saying "Eat me!"
Dieting causes neurological changes that make you more likely to notice food than before dieting, and once you notice it, these changes make it hard to stop thinking about it.
Nicky might forget those chocolates are there, but dieters won't.
In fact, dieters like them even more than before. This is because other diet-induced neurological changes make food not only taste better, but also cause food to give a bigger rush of the reward hormone dopamine. That's the same hormone that is released when addicts use their drug of choice. Nicky doesn't get that kind of rush from food.
And besides, Nicky is full from lunch. Here again, dieters face an uphill battle because dieting has also changed their hormones. Their levels of the so-called satiety hormone leptin go down, which means that now it takes even more food than before to make them feel full. They felt hungry on their diets all along, but now feel even hungrier than before. Even Nicky's regular non-diet lunch wouldn't make dieters full at this point.
Where's your willpower?
People see Nicky and are impressed with her great self-control, or willpower.
But should it really be considered self-control to avoid eating a food when you aren't hungry?
Is it self-control when you avoid eating a food because you don't notice it, like it or receive a rush of reward from it?
Anyone could resist the food under those circumstances. And even though Nicky doesn't really need willpower in this situation, if she did need it, it would function quite well because she's not dieting.
On top of everything else, dieting disrupts cognition, especially executive function, which is the process that helps with self-control. So dieters have less willpower right when they need more willpower. And non-dieters have plenty, even though they don't need any.
And of course, even if Nicky were to eat those tempting foods, her metabolism would burn up more of those calories than a dieter's metabolism.
So Nicky is mistakenly being given credit for succeeding at a job that is not only easy for her, but easier than the job dieters face.
The cruel irony is that after someone has been dieting for some time, changes happen that make it hard to succeed at dieting in the long run.
It is physically possible, and a small minority of dieters do manage to keep weight off for several years. ...
... But not without a demoralizing and all-encompassing battle with their physiology the entire time.
It's easy to see why dieters usually regain the weight they lose on their New Year's resolution diet, and we have the following suggestions for when that happens:
If you are a Nicky, ...
... remember the self-denial these dieters have subjected themselves to and how little they were eating while you treated yourself to decadent desserts. Be impressed with their efforts, and grateful that you don't have to attempt it.
If you are a dieter,...
... remind yourself that you aren't weak, but that you were in an unfair fight that very few win.
Traci Mann is a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota and author of "Secrets from the Eating Lab." She has received grants from the National Institutes of Health, NASA and the USDA. A. Janet Tomiyama is an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She receives funding from the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
For more on this issue, read my recent DietHobby article, “Winner of the 5 percent Lottery of Hell”.
Wishful Thinking: Erroneous Belief - POSTED ON: Jan 13, 2018
Intuitive: Without Conscious Reasoning or Rational Thought - POSTED ON: Jan 12, 2018
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