Over in the 3FC forums, a member asked, “….Do you get discouraged when you hear statistics about, basically, how rare it is for people to lose weight and KEEP IT OFF? Or facts that say that the majority of people end up gaining it all back, and then some (like me)… And if so, what motivates you do keep fighting to ‘defy the odds’….”
It’s a great question. One I’ve been contemplating a lot recently. Here’s my reply:
In my mid-twenties I found FA (Fat Acceptance) literature, and encountered the theory that dieting results in weight gain, rather than weight loss (it’s sure been my experience). So for a while I vowed to not diet, and my weight didn’t skyrocket. It stabilizied. I was afraid to try to lose weight, because in my experience dieting made me fatter, and refusing to diet did not. I wished that I had never dieted (and still wonder if I’d be nearly as overweight if I did not).
Then I started getting health problems and really didn’t know what to do. Dieting didn’t work for me (that is dieting the only way I knew how to do it).
I don’t think I would have attempted dieting ever again, except that I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and my doctors said I would probably lose some weight “without even trying.” I chuckled at that, because I had never, ever experienced an unintentional permanent weight loss (the flu doesn’t count).
Well, what do you know? I lost about 20 lbs without trying (and without noticing. I didn’t even own the scale and I was six months between doctor’s visits).
It made me realize that losing weight wasn’t entirely impossible - but how to go about it? Certainly not “like I always did,” because “if you do what you always do, you get what you always get.”
I do not believe that “every diet works.” I know that the cliche is “every diet works, if you work it,” but many diets are so difficult that they’re practically impossible. How to find a WOE that I could make permanent?
From the time I decided to “diet differently” about 4 years ago, I’ve not had a significant regain. My weight is moving consistently downward (a trend I’d never had in my life last more than 2 years. And even my no-diet vow (and no-gain/no-loss period) didn’t last this long. So something is different.
80 lbs in 4 years, doesn’t sound like success. But it’s so different than what I used to experience, that I know I’m “onto something.” I’ve been trying all this time to find the WOE that works for me, and I have found it (low-carb, the only WOE I never attempted for more than a few weeks - always giving up because I thought the diet wasn’t healthy). Now, I’ve known for almost 2 years that low-carb, virtually no grain is the diet that I can physically follow and lose and manage myt weight. In fact, on low-carb eating I feel better, fewer health issues, and the crazy hunger disappears.
I was losing weight slowly (and not much at all in the last several months) because while I knew my best WOE, I couldn’t accept it. I kept trying to find ways to make it not true (kept trying to find ways to include grains and other high-carb foods at least occasionally).
I’ve been thinking about it, talking about it, and I finally hit my turning point when I realized that learning to eliminate my problem foods entirely was going to be easier than trying to learn to incorporate them - so why was I even trying?
The book that helped me gain that realization was Dr. Barbara Berkeley in her book, Refuse to Regain!: 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You’ve Earned!
The book changed my life, even though the information isn’t new, it’s just consolidated. Reading it, I wondered why I hadn’t come to the same conclusions she did, much earlier in my experience, and I only can say that I was so busy trying to lose weight, that I never gave maintenance any thought. I never concerned myself with how I was going to keep the weight off.
I’m not discouraged any more by the statisitics. I can now see why diets have such a high rate of failure. Maintenance needs to be stressed from the beginning. It’s the most fundamental thing I have changed. I vowed from the beginning that I would find a way to maintain every pound lost. Even when I felt like giving up, I told myself I could decide to stop losing, but I would not decide to accept regaining.
The idea of giving up grains entirely (or even 99% of the time) is a “crazy” idea by modern standards, maybe it’s just crazy enough to beat the odds. I’m betting on it.