The Weight Loss Rollercoaster
I recently ran into an old friend who got me thinking about my own struggle to maintain weight loss and the weight loss rollercoaster that so many of us are on. She wanted to tell me all about her latest diet. She was very sure that she would be able to take off sixty pounds in three months by just eating a lot less and exercising a lot more. I have known this woman for many years and if I remember correctly, she’s said something similar to me every January.
This friend, like so many of us, wants to believe that there is a quick fix for weight loss. I get it. For years, I fantasized about the one fad diet, the tea, or the pill that would be the answer for me.
There are plenty of ways to lose weight. Most diets do work- at least temporarily. But then- why can’t we maintain weight loss? Too often people bounce around from one diet to another as their weight keeps creeping up in their quest for that perfect solution.
Losing weight and then gaining weight again can become a ritualistic, compulsive cycle- a weight loss rollercoaster. Charlie Whitfield, an addictions specialist, calls this the “repetition cycle.” Anxiety and depression mount, followed by the urge to eat, leading to self-indulgence, and ending with symptoms of guilt. Then the ugly cycle of self-abuse repeats. And so it is, that those who follow this addictive quest to lose weight may actually end up sabotaging their own goals and gaining weight.
Without exploring the issues that are contributing to our weight problems, most people are doomed to repeat this pattern of self-defeating behavior- going on one diet after another. Unfortunately, they do not maintain weight loss while this pattern continues.
The truth is, real change only occurs when we can learn to respect and value who we are with our imperfections and our past programming.
Unhealthy eaters are typically overwhelmed by self-blame. They will label themselves as “fat” (whether they are or not) and will chastise themselves for being out of control. This negative self-talk is certainly not an effective way of motivating yourself to change. In fact, this kind of browbeating only intensifies the cycle of unhealthy eating patterns.
Because of its great value in dealing with an individual’s rational and irrational thinking, distortions, and beliefs, a consistent practice of meditation is one of the most effective therapeutic treatments for those wanting to break this cycle. This process assists people in responding with positive, empowering self-affirmations to their distorted thinking about eating and body perception. Whatever our past programming happens to be, it can be changed and healthy eating patterns, fitness and even permanent weight loss ultimately can be the result. Then and only then, can we maintain weight loss.