One of the biggest motivators for someone to attempt weight loss is a special occasion; a wedding, high school reunion, bathing suit season. There is a goal and a prize in mind; to look good for an audience, to stick it to someone, to feel confident.
Not a good strategy. Because once you get there – then what?
This method is being emphasized in the new weight-loss show Shedding for the Wedding. The obsession to look “perfect” for just one day all but dooms the dieters to a lifelong weight battle. There have been multiple studies that suggest people gain weight once they are in a relationship, which makes sense on multiple levels. At the most basic “rule of the jungle” level – you no longer need to shake your tail feather to attract a mate, so that feather can get big. Couples tend to eat together and tend to eat what the other eats, often putting women at greater risk of gaining weight. Folks get pregnant and gym time gradually gets replaced with “together” time.
Making weight loss about a 1 day goal often means people take radical steps to lose it, including cutting out food groups, exercising excessively, diet pills, surgeries, relying on too low calorie counts – in other words, creating unsustainable programs. Once the goal is reached, the photos taken, the reunion passed, or the honeymoon completed, there is a sense of “Now what?”
People who rely on overly restrictive diet programs that are designed to trim folks down for a specific date may experience a shift in metabolism. Often when they transition off program from being on pronounced caloric restriction and exercise programs that cannot be maintained, they gain weight because the food intake remains the same but the burn is less.
When you make healthy lifestyle changes less about aesthetic and more about healthy choices, there is a greater likelihood of success. When I went into my weight loss experience, I actually never had a goal in mind, I was just curious if I could take weight off. There was no event. There was no bathing suit. It just started coming off. And I have been at my fighting weight for 4 years now. Because none of the changes I made were that radical, (I eliminated nothing – I just eat less of everything) maintaining it isn’t impossible (though I still crave junk food, it gets easier with each year).
This time make the weight-loss occasion “life.” Since it happens every day – the changes will be sustainable.