Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Caught in the Current

In the 10 months since I began my weight loss journey, I’ve been asked several times what it is I’m doing to lose the weight.  When I respond that I’m counting calories and keeping a food journal (which takes all of 5 minutes a day to facilitate), along with making better choices about what and how much I eat, most people have been hesitant to believe that is “all” I’m doing. 

(Yes, I did exercise a couple times a week for the first couple of months, and I’ve had the sporadic day or two here or there that I’ve done a little walking, but to this point, I have not engaged in any kind of regular exercise routine or committed to a workout schedule.  I need to, and I will.  I just haven’t gotten that worked into my schedule the way I’d like to just yet.  That’s my next mountain to conquer…)

Anyway…what I most often encounter is people asking me if I’ve tried some popular fad diet plan or the other, like:
            Have I used this meal-replacement plan?
            Did I drop a particular food type?
            Have I joined an accountability club? 
            Did my doctor prescribe something to help me? 
            Have I heard about that new appetite suppressant? 
            Am I doing the plan they talked about on that recent television show?
            You're only eating (fill in the blank) salads/protein/low-fat, etc. right?

The list goes on and on, but the honest answer to all the questions is a resounding “NO!” 

Yes, I have seen all the ads (read: mostly sensationalized hype!) and even personally known people who have experienced a measure of fast results from using these kinds of products and services.  At the end of the day though, here’s the real question…if you choose this route, is it something you can live with for the rest of your life?  For some people, the answer is a modified "yes" because they find their own way of incorporating these tools into their world and it works for them.  As long as it's a healthy choice in doing so, I'm all for it.  For other people, these things can be successfully used for a short period of time as a tool or quickstart before transitioning over to something more long term, and that's great as well. 

The truth is, however, for most people and most of the “get skinny quick” options, they are simply not sustainable over the long haul.  So many people that use them end up gaining back all they lost and then some and people find themselves utterly disappointed when they discontinue using them and the weight creeps back up.  Most of these programs don’t teach you how to go to birthday parties and fellowship dinners.  They don’t take into account holidays and anniversaries and other special occasions.  They don’t help you find ways to cook meals that your entire family can (and will) eat together each day, or what the best choice is when you go to a restaurant.  They don’t enable you to build the knowledge and resources it takes to succeed with life-long, successful weight loss that will carry you through every bite you take for the rest of your life. 

There is a flood of weight-loss options out there today, but for me, I’ve realized that I can’t let myself get swept away in the pull of the current.  Sometimes, it can sound tempting.  After all, if you’re trying hard to lose weight, who wouldn’t want to lose several pounds in just a few days, or melt away belly flab overnight???  But the reality is that I have to stick with the basic concepts of eating the right foods in the right amounts every day.  I’m working to reverse almost 40 years of poor eating habits, and I can’t get that in a pill, or powder and it doesn't happen overnight.  I can’t rely on a temporary formula to cause a permanent change.  I must do this, one bite at a time!

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