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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Anne M. Rensberger, LICSW
Why Don’t You Weigh What You Want To?

Why Don’t You Weigh What You Want To?

Most people with long-term weight struggles have lost weight; often lots of weight, often many times. Also, most people with long-term weight problems have exercised; pumping iron in the gym, stretching with a TV video, or walking around the neighborhood. If you work that hard at it, why don’t you weigh what you want to? It may be the two “p’s”- perfectionism and persistence. You may have too much of one and not enough of the other.
Have you ever given up on a weight loss program because of a bad day or a bad week? If you demand of yourself nothing less than heroic compliance and perfection, you can be certain a lapse will provoke punishing feelings of self judgment, hopelessness, helplessness, and failure. No wonder you gave up.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just like everyone else you have some periods of success and some of failure. You are human. In fact, slips are part of your weight management education. You are in this for the long haul. You have to be able to identify mistakes and correct them. So figure out what went wrong and move on.
The National Weight Control Registry analyzes the habits and lifestyles of those people who have maintained a major weight loss over a significant period of time. The average registry member has lost 66 pounds and has kept if off for 5.5 years. That would thrill most of us. The participants shared many characteristics, but one of the most important ones was persistence. In fact, just like you and me, 90% had previously tried to lose and/or maintain weight and had failed. But they just kept trying.
Do you find it easy and exciting to lose the first group of pounds only to have it become slow, difficult, and discouraging? Probably so, because everyone with a significant amount to lose has had that experience. But that is to be expected. As you lose weight and body mass your caloric needs decrease plus you burn fewer calories when you exercise. So the closer you get to your goal be prepared to lower your calorie intake and up your exercise.
Yes, there are people I call “metabolically gifted” who are able to eat a lot more than you and I can and not gain weight. But if you have struggled with weight issues for some time, you can be certain that you are not one of them. I know I did when I lost 100 pounds. So accept the fact you may need eternal vigilance of your food intake and exercise output. Learn to find additional outlets for all the comfort, solace, fun, camaraderie, stress and depression relief that you used to derive from eating. Learn what weight management techniques work for you. Think of your previous diets as practice, and give it a go again. I’ll be looking for you on the National Weight Control Registry.
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