I just finished reading an article from the NY Times about long term maintenance of weight loss .The news is not encouraging, except from the stand point that all knowledge is power.
Here's a quick excerpt...
In the study, Joseph Proietto and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne (go Aussies!)recruited people who weighed an average of 209 pounds. At the start of the study, his team measured the participants’ hormone levels and assessed their hunger and appetites after they ate a boiled egg, toast, margarine, orange juice and crackers for breakfast. The dieters then spent 10 weeks on a very low calorie regimen of 500 to 550 calories day intended to makes them lose 10 percent of their body weight. In fact, their weight loss averaged 14 percent, or 29 pounds. As expected, their hormone levels changed in a way that increased their appetites, and indeed they were hungrier than when they started the study.
They were then given diets intended to maintain their weight loss. A year after the subjects had lost the weight, the researchers repeated their measurements. The subjects were gaining the weight back despite the maintenance diet — on average, gaining back half of what they had lost — and the hormone levels offered a possible explanation. "
So, even after a year of being on a controlled maintenance diet. they still regained weight.
When the hormone leptin is low, the brain turns into the stereotypical Jewish mother, "Eat, eat, you are nothing but skin and bones..." Leptin works hand in hand with ghrelin which then increases hunger, making the dieter much more susceptible to that little voice pushing food. These hormones all go into a negative way when we diet, and even after a year of returning to a normal diet, they are still not where there were before the weight loss.
The author of the study offers these so not encouraging words, "...losing weight is not a neutral event, and that it is no accident that more than 90 percent of people who lose a lot of weight gain it back. You are putting your body into a circumstance it will resist. You are, in a sense, more metabolically normal when you are at a higher body weight.”
If I'm reading this right, and I think I am, that means when I hit my target weight of 141, I will have to eat less than someone who has always been at 141. All those charts about how much I should eat when I weigh 141 are for 'normal' people. For me, they are inaccurate and will lead me to gain back weight.
And the hits just keep on coming....
All this goes back to support the idea that a diet is NOT a diet, it's a life change. And as my fellow blogger Jaki said in a post this morning, I too, "am addicted to food." I have to treat food the rest of my life as an other addict would, except, it's even a bit worse. An alcoholic can live without alcohol, a smoker can live cigs, but a food addict cannot live without food. We have to eat, we have to face our addiction every day, and at times, every hour. The amount of control needed is herculean and we cannot underestimate the struggle, ever.
I wish the news was better.
I wish the fight was easier.
I wish the weight would just stay off.
But truth is better than wishes. I have the knowledge and that empowers me to a grand level. It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, it's the size of the fight in the dog. I am strong and when I am weak, I will freely borrow from those willing to give, and then give back as I am able.
To all my blogger friends on the same path, I pass on good thoughts of continued strength and 'slim-mindedness.' (Thanks Myra)
Thoughts to take with me today: And it's still just a perfect day! Truly...