Remember the old saw about quitting smoking? “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” Same thing applies to losing weight. It’s possible – even easy, at some points – to lose weight. Many programs and plans work, and so does surgery in most cases. But keeping it off? Everyone knows someone who has regained the weight – and more – afterwards, even after surgery.
I was talking with a medical professional yesterday afternoon, and we got to talking about weight. He said that one of his patients had surgery, and had lost a huge amount of weight, and was now quite thin. He was impressed with this man, and seemed to ‘know’ that the patient’s life had changed and everything would be fine.
My response, after the congratulations of course: “Now comes the hard part.” The doctor’s head snapped up, and he said – I swear! – “what?”
Maintenance – keeping it off. And then we had a long discussion about what has to happen to maintain weight, the psychology, habits, choices, etc. I explained that this man’s habits had to change for life, and that he needed support now more than he did right after the surgery.
The doctor didn’t quite get it at first. After all, as he pointed out, he himself was quite slim and he ate every two hours. He did admit, however, that he knew of someone who could gain 5 pounds overnight.
Here’s the deal – and I’m basing this on the hundreds of people I’ve talked with over the years – it’s an individual process. Just like there are many paths to losing weight, there are also many paths to maintaining. The key is to find what works for you as an individual, and to stay with it.
We have to control what we eat, and manage our exercise. Emotions still have to be dealt with, and motivation will falter. We’ll give and receive support for the struggle, and we’ll latch onto tips and ideas that seem like reasonable strategies for us.
Maintenance doesn’t look all that different from losing, does it?