Ongoing Attention Needed For Long Term Weight Control

January 20, 2012

Defi Closeup © by ernstl

Attention and Weight Control

I’m coming to accept that I will forever need to pay attention to my weight.

To lose, of course I’ve accepted that. And I’ve accepted that I need to pay considerably more attention than I have paid in the past.

But even after the losing is over (and it will be, someday) I’ll need to keep paying attention.

It’s not a catastrophe, of course.

(Most) Skinny People Pay Attention

One of the things every “how thin people live” book or article I’ve ever read has basically said this.  Skinny people stay skinny by constantly paying attention, by making better choices most of the time, and by staying on top of small weight gains.  Maybe not skinny teens, but most skinny people over 30 in my experience do indeed hold themselves back where food and exercise are concerned.

The Formerly Fat have to work harder

There was a recent New York Times Magazine article “The Fat Trap” that was pretty depressing about how damn hard it is to lose weight permanently.  How it requires constant vigilance, and how the author had failed so many times at losing weight, and keeping it off.  The article covers how hard the body fights to go back to it’s heavier weight, and how much harder the formerly fat need to work to stay at a lower weight (fewer calories, more exercise, etc).

In part is struck a chord, and the resounding chorus of “Its’s Not Fair!!!!” filled my mind.

But then, in some ways, it resonated even more by being Fundamentally TRUE.

Is it better to believe that things will get easier and then be disappointed when they don’t, or is it better to believe that it will always be an effort, and always require attention, and just accept that as the fact?

Life Isn’t Fair

I have lots of areas in life that I wish had been easier for me, but they just weren’t.  I always had to force myself to pay attention in math class.  Having a baby turned out to be way more complicated for me than for most people.  I find I have to brush my teeth more than twice a day to keep sweet-smelling breath.  Some of these things are more important (babies!) than other, but they are all “unfair”.  And they are all true, and frankly I just have to suck it up and deal with them.

For me, that New York Times article is just another story about life being unfair.  It details just how hard it is to really lose and how hard the body fights to go back to previous weight.  I suppose that could mean its not worth the effort for some people, or it could mean just being realistic about expectations. I think I’m being pretty realistic about how much I can really lose, and of how much effort I’m going to have to keep paying.

Long Term Attention will be needed by ME

I’ve come to the conclusion that adding ‘long term attention on keeping weight down’ is one of those things that will probably always be harder for me than for many other people.  I could cry about it, but that wouldn’t help.  I could try to deny it but I’d probably end up regaining a shocking amount of weight in a very short time (AGAIN).  Or I can just come to terms with it and accept it.

As life comes, and as we age, we will of course all be forever adjusting our approach to diet and health.  New health problems can emerge, and will require new strategies to keep them at bay.  New treatments, products, diets will come and go, and some will help us, even temporarily, get where we want to be.  I’m not saying I’ll keep doing what I’m doing now forever.  I’m sure I won’t.  I’ll get bored, I’ll get distracted, things will happen in life.  But I’ll need to stay checked in, and right now I’m accepting that truth.

No more checking out

I checked out in Spring of 2011 and in a matter of weeks I put on 20 pounds. Depressed at how fast it had come on, I stayed in denial another month and watched another 5 pounds come. Then another month, and another five pounds. And then all my clothes were too tight and I felt awful about myself and I felt so stupid for finally having the family I’d been dreaming about but now putting my health at risk with my weight and I woke up.

I’m now on the losing streak again.  I’m getting close to my pre-checkout weight.  I plan to keep losing.

But my bigger challenge, bigger than my challenging goal for this year even, is to keep myself dialed in to controlling my weight forever.


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