Getting up and doing it all again today
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
When you successfully lose a large amount of weight and maintain that loss, people want to know the secret. Because, we're all convinced that there's a secret. I am getting used to people looking me up and down when we first get together after a few months apart - they're checking me out to see how much weight I've regained. Because it's no secret that people lose weight all the time then regain it almost as quickly. Those of us who maintain a large weight loss must know something everyone else doesn't. And they desperately want that secret!
I read a post recently where the person compared a weight loss book from the late 60's to stuff she's reading on sparkpeople. While, in 1966, there was an inordinate amount of time spent extolling the virtues of melba toast and cottage cheese, not much else had changed in the world of weight loss. That's primarily because the formula hasn't changed. And that's part of the secret:
Eat Less. Exercise More.
I think we're baffled by this because business and marketing got involved along the way and saw that, by mixing up various aspects of the formula, they could make a lot of money. Eat Less? We'll flood the market with low-calorie, food-like substances and create compelling stories about how only our product will work and we'll make millions. We'll create magic pills that will help you eat more but digest less - and make millions. We'll somehow convince people that going to a gym is a more authentic version of "exercise more" principle and make millions from those who sign up but can't get there. Hell, we'll even create a great TV show called the Biggest Loser and people will be sold on the notion that only those on TV can lose weight! We'll make millions and millions!.
But, at the end of the day, this part of the formula is still the same:
Eat Less. Exercise More.
I lost 85 lbs by eating less calories but nourishing myself with better quality, real food. I spend less because I opted out of the idea that the drive thru at McDonald's was somehow saving me time and effort. The cost of dining out was too high both metaphorically and literally. I eat butter. And chocolate. And bread. I drink wine. And beer. But, at the end of everyday, I eat less than I ever did before.
I lost 85lbs by exercising more - and have yet to enter a gym unless you count the corner in my basement where my yoga mats and free weights live. I walk. I run. I stretch. I bend. I get up from the couch when I watch the Biggest Loser and move my body. The stories are no less compelling if I lift weights while the contestants weigh in!
So - that's the formula for losing weight. The part of the formula that's missing is the maintenance piece:
Eat Less. Exercise More. Get up and do it again every single day for the rest of your life.
I don't always want to eat right. How easy it seems when I'm tired and hungry to run out to the nearest restaurant for a soothing plate of comfort. How many snowy mornings have I awoken to dread of running outside? I occasionally miss our walks to DQ for a Peanut Buster Parfait and I miss the belief I had that the 1 km saunter there and back justified the calories! Those things are compelling - no less because media and marketing keep telling me so!!! - but, being fit and healthy as I move into my older years is far and away more compelling.
And so, today I am going to Eat Less. Exercise More. And tomorrow, I'm going to get up and do it all again.
Because that's the secret.