What is the hard part of losing weight? Losing it or keeping it off? Here’s why losing weight is hopeless for you – if you don’t follow one simple tip.
I’m The Stuff Of Legends?
Last month I came across an intriguing story. It said I’m a hero worthy of tales told to your grandchildren and endowed with superpowers found in only a very few.
Because I managed to lose weight and keep it off. For six years now.
You, on the other hand, are very likely hopeless. You better forget about dieting. Because you will fail:
There’s a disturbing truth that is emerging from the science of obesity. After years of study, it’s becoming apparent that it’s nearly impossible to permanently lose weight.
As incredible as it sounds, that’s what the evidence is showing. For psychologist Traci Mann, who has spent 20 years running an eating lab at the University of Minnesota, the evidence is clear. “It couldn’t be easier to see,” she says. “Long-term weight loss happens to only the smallest minority of people.”
We all think we know someone in that rare group. They become the legends — the friend of a friend, the brother-in-law, the neighbour — the ones who really did it.
Go ahead, read the rest of it. Then tell me you don’t feel like giving up on dieting if you are enhanced with more weight than you’d like to be.
Then again Mrs. Mann missed why people gain the pounds back. I like to think of myself as a demigod as much as the next guy, but it didn’t take me any supernatural powers to lose the weight and keep it off.
Losing Weight Is Not The Problem
What do people do when they go on a diet? They eat less following whatever weight loss plan they chose for the task. Any plan works that makes you eat fewer calories than you burn.
The problem about keeping your weight arises with the “go on a diet” part: you go on a diet, then you go off a diet. And back to whatever you did before – which was what made you fat.
But surplus pounds have the devilish ability to sneak up on you. When I gained my extra 33 lbs, I didn’t wake up every other day realizing, gosh, there’s another pound! No, it happens so slowly its below your threshold of perception. Then, whammo, one day you take a deep, hard look at yourself and notice the entire lot of them.
At that point you have the formidable task of getting rid of that whole mountain of blob you lovingly acquired over years. Perhaps all over again.
How To Achieve Permanent Weight Loss
Which is why what you do after your diet is the crucial bit. You need a form of accountability to keep things manageable.
Do your diet, lose the weight and then, once a week, step on a scale and check how you are doing:
- If you’re 5 lbs (2 kg) above your target weight, cut back on calories until you’re back at your target weight
- If you’re 5 lbs below target weight, eat a bit more
I call it the “safety zone.” It achieves a couple of beautiful things:
- You can eat whatever you like
- The check is not intrusive, because it happens only once a week
- When you go over your target it takes only a short amount of time to lose the extra pounds
- No need to write anything down; you only have to remember your target number
- You won’t obsess over your weight, because the safety zone allows for normal weight fluctuations
Is It That Simple?
Yes, it is. It’s how I managed keeping my weight steady for six years. In that time I had to do only two short “back on diet” spells to get back on target.