Get off the Roller Coaster
By Terri Main (Webmaster Get Real Weight Loss Site)
I overheard someone saying the other day, "Such and such is a great diet. When I need to lose weight I go on it and can drop the pounds in a few weeks." Now, if this sound reasonable to you or you wish I could send you the name of the diet, then you might be a Roller Coaster Dieter.
A Roller Coaster Dieter is someone who can lose the weight. After all, they've done it several times already this year. The problem is that the weight doesn't stay off. What happens is that you notice that you have gained a bunch of weight, then you go on a diet and lose what you need to lose, congratulate yourself, buy some new clothes and then go back to your "normal" life. A few months later, you can't wear the new clothes you bought because you put back on the weight.
You are not alone. It is estimated that 95 percent of all people who lose weight gain it back. The problem is that constant gaining and losing of weight is actually worse on your health than being moderately overweight.
So, how do we get off the roller coaster? Well, first forget about "diets." Forget about shakes and eating grapefruit every day for two weeks. Forget about modified fasts, eating one meal a day or following some very rigid diet plan put out by someone with some poorly authenticated medical degree.
"Diets" are temporary by their very nature. You can only eat grapefruit for so long. You can only survive on one meal a day for so long. You can only avoid fat or sugar or carbs for so long.
Secondly, you need to think in terms of lifelong fitness patterns and not temporary quick fixes offered by diets. In small steps change your fitness life style. Add a thirty minute walk to your routine. Order salad instead of fries with your burger. Eat just 100 calories a day less than you did last week. Then add to those changes until they become part of your lifestyle.
Third, add exercise. Dependency on diet alone, especially if you are over 30, will lead to increasing levels of deprivation as your metabolism slows down with age. Rev up that metabolism with exercise so you can have an OCCASIONAL treat without it totally undoing all the good you've done.
Finally, monitor your weight. Once you've lost the weight, don't expect it to stay off on its own. Keep an eye on the scale and if your weight starts to edge up, pull out your journal and start evaluating how your lifestyle has changed to allow the weight gain and correct it when it's just a few pounds instead of panicking when you've gained all the weight back.
Roller Coasters at the amusement park may be fun, but not when it comes to weight.
Copyright 2003. Terri Main is a college professor with degrees in communication and psychology and it the webmaster of Get Real! A Sensible Approach to Weight Loss ( http://www.getrealdiet.com ). She also publishes a daily diet tip.