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Weight Loss Basics -- Long-Term Weight Loss

8/17 18:16:22

If you have 26 odd miles to run, common sense decrees that you don抰 set out at a flat-out dash. You pace yourself, that抯 what marathon runners do; and the pace of a marathon-weight-loss runner is 1-2 pounds a week.
For the not so comfortable truth is that long-term, permanent weight loss is difficult to achieve, and that about 95% of repeat dieters fail, regaining lost weight.
What about the 5% who succeed?

(Twelfth in a Series)

A Marathon ?Not a Sprint

If you have 26 odd miles to run, common sense decrees that you don抰 set out at a flat-out dash. You pace yourself, that抯 what marathon runners do; and the pace of a marathon-weight-loss runner is 1-2 pounds a week.

Even if your best friend sheds 5-10 pounds the first week and shares the news with an astonished world in no uncertain terms, realize that she will never sustain that pace, and that she will more than likely relapse and regain the weight she lost.

For the not so comfortable truth is that long-term, permanent weight loss is difficult to achieve, and that about 95% of repeat dieters fail, regaining lost weight.

What about the 5% who succeed?

The Magic Bullet

The sad thing, according to the Director of Nutrition for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is that "people keep believing that the magic bullet is just around the corner . . . if they only eliminate food 'x' or combine foods 'a' and 'b,' or twirl around three times before each meal . . ."

Well, there is no magic bullet. There is only our梑y now familiar桭irst Law of Thermodynamics (1LTD), however boring that news may be.

The reality is that most successful dieters lose weight without the magic bullets on which Americans spend $30 billion each year. In fact, the largest survey ever undertaken on long-term maintenance of weight loss (done by Consumer Reports) found that the vast majority of the 5% who succeed lost weight without expensive gimmicks or magic diet pills. Go, 1LTD!

Fruits and Vegetables

Not only are fruits and vegetables considered more healthy, but studies have now also found that the greatest dietary difference between those who lose weight long term and those who do not, but rather continue to gain weight, are one of fruits and vegetables vs. meat.

Worth taking to heart.

The Very Long Ditch

Long-term weight loss is not unlike digging a mile-long ditch. The first few yards are interesting and immediately gratifying as you see progress right away. But the novelty does wear off, and as the yards begin to add up to hundreds of them, well, let抯 say that very little, if any, of the novelty sticks around.

The same is true with long-term weight loss. It is not for the faint of heart. Not for the 揑抦 really good at starting things, but not so good at keeping things going?crowd, for once you have gotten a third of the way梐nd still may have a year to go: you can抰爉ake out where you started from, nor can you see the other end. You find yourself out there in the middle of ditch-digging nowhere.

But don抰 lose heart.

Weight Not Regained

The long-term dieter should recognize that (even if the progress is slow and tedious) as long as that weight graph is dropping by a pound or two a week, you are also achieving something easily overlooked: You抳e kept the lost weight off!

That bears repeating: you have not regained any of the weight you have lost so far. This is an achievement, and a major one梐nd perhaps you抳e never managed to do before.

You抮e winning梡lease recognize that. It will help un-dull the tedium.

Some Other Tips

Enlist Support

Whether with friends or family, a support group of some kind, or even a dietician, it is always helpful to share highs and lows with experts or others who can relate. These ears may also be a good source of ideas you might have overlooked. And, most importantly, they prove that you're not alone.

Favorite Foods

Deprivation is the bane stalking the long-term dieter. One way to shut him up is to eat your favorite foods now and then梚n moderation. Only 100-200 calories worth at a time, but even this will him at bay.

Eat Slowly

Be advised that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach-brain partnership to realize (and signal) that your stomach is full. This, of course means that if you gulp food down you will manage to overeat significantly before the brain goes: stop! So, eat slowly, chew well, and enjoy your food.

Water桝nd Lots of It

Fluids make the stomach feel fuller, decreasing a tendency to overeat.

But, more importantly, when the body gets insufficient liquids, your kidneys will compensate by in essence conserving water, holding on to what it has. This means water retention, means weight you don抰 want.

Health, Not Appearance

Above all, keep in mind why you are out here in the middle of weight-loss nowhere, digging away: it is not for appearance. Well, perhaps a little, but the overriding reason is your health. Never lose sight of that.

Interim Rewards

To combat the sheer sameness of long-term weight loss, you may want to map out interim milestones, each of which brings a reward. Say, allow yourself a treat for every five pounds you lose. Nothing extravagant or calorie-inflated, mind you, but reward nonetheless, for a job well done.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the First Law of Thermodynamics is the only weight-loss formula that always, repeat always, works. It is your friend. Embrace it.

The multiTRIM Diet

All diet plans梕xcept for the outright fraudulent ones, and be warned: they abound梙ave only one goal: for you to burn more calories than you consume.

Possibly the most sensible plan we have seen in recent years is the multiTRIM diet which supplies all needed nutrients to maintain health while easing hunger in a fifteen calories meal-replacement drink.

A multiTRIM Journal

A friend recently set out to shed 143 pounds over 18 months with the help of the multiTRIM diet. The blog-record of her journey can be found here.

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