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Topic 11 - Overall Assessment

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Old 07-14-2007, 01:05 AM   #16
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Right, I haven't posted in here yet.

Overall, I must admit I was way less thrilled after reading the book than before. Maybe I had expected something different,some kind of "here are the difficulties, here are the obstacles, now let's try to see how to battle them"--I can't tell exactly. We all know that weight loss and especially maintenance isn't easy, but there was some kind of lingering despair in the studies that doesn't hit home at all with me--cf. notably with those 'interviewed' people (for lack of a better word) who so seemed already defeated even before starting the program. Of course, once again, I can perfectly understand that after ten attempts at losing the weight, and always regaining it, one is kind of stuck and feeling bad about it, but... Here I agree with other posters in this thread: it could be very discouraging, and maybe even prevent people from simply trying, when, who know, maybe they would have ended up being successful at maintaining in the end. Kind of like "why even bother, see, this books tells it all, it will be impossible". I'm honestly convinced that it is truly impossible only if we decide it is, because it's an open door to a do-nothing attitude. (And I'm sorry to say, but the people in the book never struck me as people who had *learnt* to do it the right way, in spite of being within a structured program; maybe that was an important key.)
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Old 07-14-2007, 01:56 AM   #17
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Kery -- I think you're on to something about the people in the studies and the programs and what they learned... many of us have succeeded doing our OWN programs. Does anyone study those people??? I have no idea if that leads to success more often than these "structured" programs, but it does make me wonder...
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Old 07-14-2007, 09:14 AM   #18
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Wyllenn -- That's something I've been wondering about for some time, too. I sometimes lurk on a weight-loss forum in French, and I've seen a certain amount of people post stuff like "hello, I'm back, I was on ____ diet, but now I've regained part/all of my weight and am starting again". I know I can't exactly speak from experience, in that I'm not at goal weight myself and, who knows, I may very well regain it all (*does her best to NOT regain it, now that she's learnt more about the whole thing*) but what I know is that 'official diets' don't work very well for me. I need to be in control for the long run, and being in control in my case also implies being the one who decides what to eat. So I tell myself, maybe that's a problem for more people than just me. Maybe all the Atkins and Dukan and others, even with their induction/weight loss/maintaining steps, don't exactly hit home in the long run, because sooner or later we run into spots where we can't 'follow the program', and then what do we do? (Yeah, I'm losing my weight slowly. But in a way, I think it's good that I know that eating one cheeseburger can be counterbalanced by healthy eating in the following days, instead of squeezing into a 'perfect plan' and then go on a binge because it was too much along the all-or-nothing road. Not that I'd advocate eating a cheeseburger every two days, of course. )

I'm not saying that a structured program doesn't work, nor that nobody should use one to jump-start their weight loss and learn healthier habits (I used Montignac/Sugar Busters myself, after all), but... since we're in this for life, sooner or later we *have* to go further than pretty lists and do-what-I-say in order to maintain, right? Understand the very implications and processes, and learn to adapt to as many situations as possible, rather than rely on a plan and then not know what do out outside of it? Or so I think...
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Old 07-14-2007, 12:32 PM   #19
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I'm coming in so late in this thread so as to be nothing but an echo, but here's my opinion:

Ms. Kolata is a very clever marketer (or the publishers who might have directed her book are). She has produced a book that gives virtual absolution to a large demographic of people who struggle with weight. I'm not sure how the book is selling, but I bet it's doing pretty well.

Sure weightloss/maintenance is very difficult. Sure biology, genetics and culture can conspire against you. As Glory87 just said: Some are willing to take extraordinary measures with diet and exercise, most are not. To me, it's a far lesser evil to have to tamp down the "primal hunger" than to deal with the health issues and near handicap of my (potential) obesity. Like many here in Maintainers, I choose to fight and win!

In fairness, I did not take time to complete the book. However the portion I did read was so appallingly defeatist, discouraging and in my opinion wrong, I didn't feel the need to continue. I'm glad I don't have any more of it's hopeless message occupying my mind.

I believe the things we are exposed to (media of all kinds) influence us more than we would like to believe. I'm not saying to live in denial, but maybe we need to be better gatekeepers of what passes in front of our senses. It's easy to think you are immune to marketing or other poisonous ideas. The amount of money that continues to be spent on advertising and other manipulations of public opinion shows that we are not.

I worry about the impact of a book like this on folks beginning a weight loss journey. It has enough "credibility" behind it to be taken seriously by lots of people.

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Old 07-14-2007, 01:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyllenn View Post
Kery -- I think you're on to something about the people in the studies and the programs and what they learned... many of us have succeeded doing our OWN programs. Does anyone study those people??? I have no idea if that leads to success more often than these "structured" programs, but it does make me wonder...
exactly...I am succeeding now because I learned from the past and have tailored my own program...I looked at what worked for me (most of the concepts of SouthBeach/Diabetic meal planning) what didnt (unlimited food within the plan and reliance on artificial sweeteners) and what triggered failure (denial of certain foods completely - I dont want whole wheat low fat south beach pizza, I want Pizza Schmizza , I dont want sugar free chocolate and icecream I want the real deal and so I have both)

I make light of it to people who seem confused by my eating plan. "What are you doing here at Pizza Schmizza -cant keep off the weight that way!" I tell them the core secret to my success is pizza every week and chocolate every day...and to some extent that is true. (Even though they laugh like I made a good joke) Over restriction for me leads to binging - I think its very telling that since I moved into maintenance my weight loss has picked back up.

But that also goes to show that what works for Meg and Glory may not work for me and vice versa. In our world you cant sell a "Figure it out for yourself" diet book. We want a "Here is the magic formula that will work for everyone" and I dont think that exists.
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Old 07-14-2007, 02:24 PM   #21
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And it's a whole lot easier to compare programs if you can compare X to Y. Once we move into "your own program" you just can't really compare them. Too many variables differ.

But if the key to success is taking certain core principles of weight loss and making them work for your body and your lifestyle, then it IS going to be very hard to evaluate that.

Even as a 'science type' I'm okay with that. I know that these studies have significant limitations. I'm not saying to throw out all the research, but that we have to understand the research hasn't been able to answer all the questions yet, especially not for different "types" of people...
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:54 PM   #22
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Hi, I hope it's not too late to add a comment.

I'm really new to weight maintenance, and I read this book as I have some others, hoping to pick out some ideas that will help me keep on my path. No help from this quarter, was my conclusion! I felt sad and a bit angry about the whole view that so many people seem to have - that expecting to lose weight and keep it off qualifies you as either foolish or crazy - and that this book wanted to prove that point in the worst way.

I can't add to what so many others have said in earlier posts about the assumptions and views put forth in the book, they have done it so well. For me, I had to remind myself that I've already beat the "system" by losing so much weight, even beyond where I thought I would, and that it's been relatively easy if I look at it in the context of those experiences described in the book. I think what I did just fit my particular situation really well, and I'm very grateful it has worked out that way. So I really appreciate having this site around to give me a reality check, rather than relying on books like this for encouragement and help. Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:50 PM   #23
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I know I am pulling up an old thread, but I just finished this book. I found it both depressing and enlightening.
There was much studying done suggesting that it isn't just a matter of will power to lose weight and keep it off.
However - I do wonder about the truly obese, those of us with more than 100 pounds to lose and keep off. How different are we really than those who are 'only' overweight?

I wonder if someone who loses a great amount of weight is more likely to keep it off than someone who loses 25 pounds, or vice versa?
I think this book opens up a whole new avenue of possible study, wonder if the author would want to follow up with a book on people who have lost and kept off a significant amount of weight.
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Old 03-07-2009, 01:22 PM   #24
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I know this is old but I just finished reading the book and I thought it was interesting. Not depressing at all. It definitely enlightened me on why so many people in my family (both sides, especially women) are fat. All the stories reminded me so much of my family and it made me empathize with them more. I've always been the "thin" one in my family. I'm close to 175 now and my high weight was 200 lbs. I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I use to think "why don't they try harder!" when it was always kinda easy for me to lose some weight if I exercise rigorously and watch what I eat. It's really not that easy to just lose weight though. I'm sure we all know that.

It made me reflect on all of the fat shaming we do in this society. I'm not just talking about fat jokes (which are pretty obvious) but even things like staring at a fat person when they eat cheese burger and all of the constant barrage of info that makes us feel more like crap. How many studies can we see about obesity? We get it.
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