Fields | Peter Mooney CC SA 2.0
Photo credit: Fields | Peter Mooney CC SA 2.0

Enough Explaining About Why Weight Loss Is Hard To Maintain

Let’s Talk About What To Do About It

The article about rapid weight loss and “The Biggest Loser” and the article explaining why you can’t lose weight on a diet captivated our attention. It was perplexing to find out that weight loss can’t be maintained because our body fights to put the weight back on and dieting doesn’t work over the long-run. Our past held beliefs and optimism is being expelled which inevitably puts us in a state of panic, worry and hopelessness. What are we to do if this is the case, just give up in the idea that we can achieve and sustain weight loss and maintain lifelong health?

Just last week, I went on vacation and decided to ease off of my daily routine of continual mindful eating and rigorous exercise five days out of the week. I expected and wasn’t surprised that I had gained four pounds in that week. The four pounds weren’t gained because I went all out, but rather, I was “just” walking, had slightly larger portions of healthy foods and a bit too much of my share of frozen yogurt.

After almost thirty years of maintaining my current weight, my body still does what it does. My biology dictates it. Case closed. Fast forward five days later and I successfully lost the four pounds. The reason for that is my very slightly quickened metabolism which took many years to speed up and returning back to my conscious mindful healthful eating and exercise behaviors.   

As an obesity and weight management psychotherapist and researcher, I continue to come to the conclusion that understanding and imposing strategies regarding the psychological barriers to weight loss and weight maintenance makes ALL the difference.

Weight loss and weight maintenance is willingness and motivation dependent, is reliant on thoughts and feelings which facilitate ongoing encouragement and problem-solving strategies, and inevitably is faced with uncomfortable/negative emotions such as stress, worry, frustration, disappointment, sadness, shame, etc. Even if we are to employ mindful eating strategies as one of the authors suggested, these approaches will be thwarted in the long-run if the psychological barriers aren’t effectively addressed and worked through.

Just focusing and imposing medical model strategies are passé and ineffective. A comprehensive mind-body approach is the only approach that works. It’s important to know why our well-known and well-established methods aren’t working but it’s even more important to address the “what to do” about it by employing effective evidence-based practices inclusive of addressing the psychological barriers which get us stuck and keep us there. 

 

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