Two Weight-Loss Perspectives: Which One Do You Identify With?

0SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/29/2012 6:00 AM   :  191 comments   :  23,520 Views

See More: weight loss, health,
I was so stunned by something I recently read in a magazine, that I decided I just had to write about it. I sat and pondered the opposing viewpoints for several days, because one of them left me speechless.  I’m a writer and am seldom speechless.  I wonder when you get to the end whose decision you would support, and whose life would you like to model yours after. 

In this magazine was a letter to the editor from a person named J.J. This person wrote: “I lost barely one and a half pounds, and except for our Thanksgiving meal, I wasted a whole week eating clean. From now on, I’m going to eat the junk foods I truly love – and I’ll enjoy life even if I’m considered an outcast by my ignorant neighbors”. 

A little back story – I’ve gone through three Thanksgivings now on my healthy lifestyle journey. Two of those were on the weight loss side, and one was on the maintenance side. If I ever made it through the week of Thanksgiving close to maintaining or even losing a little, I would check that off as a success. My best friend and I spent the last two Thanksgivings running the Turkey Trot with 19,000 of our closest friends before eating the meal. That is definitely a change for us. So I was surprised by J.J.’s attitude that her loss was no good.

The second story in the magazine is the story of Marian Ferguson. She has lost 101 pounds. What I realized as I read her story and looked at the numbers is that she lost an average of .98 pounds a week during her journey. That is less than 1 pound, folks!  It took her two years (104 weeks) to lose the 101 pounds.  What she said was, “I stopped making excuses!”  Even more impressive is she did this in her mid fifties.  How many of you have said “I’m just too old?” She changed her habits from eating cake for breakfast to working out and eating healthy. She says that fitness feels effortless now. 

If she had the same mentality as J.J. she could have given up any one of those weeks, and resorted to blaming others for her lack of progress. My weight loss journey was pretty similar to Marian’s.  I lost an average of one pound a week during the course of a 95-pound drop.  Were there frustrating times during that trip?  You bet, and I blogged about them many times. I learned along the way all the things I personally need to do to get and stay healthy – one freaking pound at a time.

We are blasted all the time by marketing on how to lose the weight fast, shape up our abs in six weeks, etc., and I think it’s impacted our ability to be rational about what losing weight is really like for the majority of us. I’m quite sure that if you polled any of the SparkPeople who are mentioned in the Success Stories section, that none of them would say, “Well you know what, I decided to lose weight and eat right and in one week, I lost 25 lbs!”  It takes hard work to reverse years of being out of shape, unhealthy, and obese. 

Did you know that if you start working out, it can take your body 2-3 months to show the results on the outside?  Your body starts making changes on the inside at a cellular level, adding something called mitochondria to individual cells. That is essentially an engine for your cell.  So it starts by creating the capacity to do more work. It will also improve your cardiac efficiency, increase your respiratory capacity, and increase maximal oxygen consumption.  All those things have to happen in order for you to be able to work out efficiently because your muscles need oxygen and energy to function.

If you add strength training to that cardio work, the body will also work internally to improve bone density.  Added benefits include better control of blood glucose levels, lower cholesterol, and improvements in lean body mass. Healthy recommendations for losing weight are to stay in the 1-2 pound loss range per week.  What J.J. didn’t realize is that he/she had a very successful week. Marian had it right all along to lose weight in a healthy fashion and to stop making excuses.

So next time you jump on the scale and you see that one-pound drop, remember there are dozens of improvements going on underneath the skin that you cannot weigh or measure.  You can either choose to learn how to eat healthy and work out for the long haul in order to do what is right for your body like Marian and many others here on SparkPeople, or you can sit around eating junk food and call your neighbors ignorant. 

What is your reaction to the two individuals from the magazine? Has your attitude been like J.J.’s?  Can you switch it to be more like Marian’s?
 
 
 


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Fighting the Ego and Seeing the Bigger Picture

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 141
    l loved your blog! Thank you for sharing. I recently retired and had gained weight over the last couple of years big time. I decided it was time for me so I began walking and then stepped up to using Leslie Sansone's DVD and increased the pace. I then added strength training. It's a nice slow weight loss but the greatest part of this is my clothes are getting too big and I'm fitting into some jeans that I bought 2 yrs. ago and had good intentions of losing weight. Now I can wear them! My journey continues, but I love myself more for what I've done and continue to do. I love healthy foods and how beautiful they look on our plates. - 3/30/2012   2:35:15 PM
  • BETTIMACE1
    140
    Thanks for the encouragement. At 56 yrs., I am working on losing 50 lbs. It is slowly coming off, but the important thing I am learning is to choose my foods more wisely and that some exercise is better than none! - 3/30/2012   2:20:08 PM
  • 139
    Wow, great blog. I like the way this argument is presented. I have tried to explain my success by saying "I don't know how it happened, it was just a mental switch that happened in my brain". But now I can say that I define my journey as more challenging and fun and not so much as hard work and a limiting diet. It's hard to do at first but as you gain momentum, it gets easier.
    Don't let those excuses get you to quit. This is a lifetime journey, not a quick-fix diet. Get back up and try again! - 3/30/2012   2:15:08 PM
  • DANCINGPRIMA
    138
    What a lot sense a loss of 1lb adds up to 5lbs in four weeks and 10lb in eight weeks. I would love a 10lb loss and your post as motivated me. Thanks - 3/30/2012   2:14:40 PM
  • 137
    I have definitely been at the JJ place, but now I am so at the Marian place. For me, I don't have a scale, never even look at one or weight myself, because it is way too easy to obsess about it. Weight fluctuates 3-5lb. per day anyway, so the scale is really pointless, except for every now and then, at least for me. I gage my progress on how I feel, and how my clothes are fitting, when I feel new muscle tone in my legs, or measure my waist and see I have lost a few inches. I keep track of what I eat, and set my goals higher than they need to be so I can hit them where I should be, same with exercise. This has become a lifestyle for me, not just a quick fix. - 3/30/2012   2:06:11 PM
  • 136
    I have definitely been at the JJ place, but now I am so at the Marian place. For me, I don't have a scale, never even look at one or weight myself, because it is way too easy to obsess about it. Weight fluctuates 3-5lb. per day anyway, so the scale is really pointless, except for every now and then, at least for me. I gage my progress on how I feel, and how my clothes are fitting, when I feel new muscle tone in my legs, or measure my waist and see I have lost a few inches. I keep track of what I eat, and set my goals higher than they need to be so I can hit them where I should be, same with exercise. This has become a lifestyle for me, not just a quick fix. - 3/30/2012   2:06:11 PM
  • 135
    Oh yes, I relate! I think the "more for less" drive must be in our DNA. It's certainly promoted by our advertisements! It's a long, slow journey with backsliding from wanting quick and easy results so I can return to my degenerate ways and wanting to enjoy a different way of living. The good news is that if I keep on taking those baby steps, change does come! It feels like nothing to run for 30 minutes. I love the taste of fresh veggies; most of the old junk foods are unappealing. And I'm still learning.

    So maybe JJ is just in a necessary phase. I hope so.

    Thanks for a great blog!

    - 3/30/2012   1:59:50 PM
  • 134
    To be very honest I am more like Mariane but I do have a small treat or even two every day. I work towards being healthy and love to exercise. Eating healthy is more of a challenge for me. That is hard to stay consistant for the long haul. I figure that even 1/2 lb weight loss in a week will get me where I want to go. - 3/30/2012   1:48:01 PM
  • 133
    When I read this, my thoughts were that J.J. equated eating well and exercising as "hard work." If we rely on will power and depriving ourselves in order to lose weight, giving up is the easiest way out. If we consider it a game--a challenge--fun, it is much easier to continue on, even when the scale does give us a "winning number." - 3/30/2012   1:38:20 PM
  • 132
    This has been great for me today. I work with people who are very much on the JJ side of things, "Not eating carbs because I'm going to a wedding in a few weeks" kind of thing as they sit there looking lovingly at my big bowl of veggie soup and slice of homemade bread. They didn't seem all that impressed when I described the site to them, so I might not be sharing my journey with those particular friends very much...thank goodness I've got some realists around me too - and all of you fellow sparkers! - 3/30/2012   1:25:07 PM
  • 131
    I have been trying to do the slow, healthy weight loss (for the last 3 or four years), but I understand how J.J. feels. I am so tired of being fat and ugly. I am tired of being put down and called ugly and lazy and stupid. I have lost and gained the entire time and am struggling the entire time. There are sometimes reasons why people feel the way that J.J. does. I am not blaming others at this point, I know it is my fault that I am struggling with it. I just do feel like giving up sometimes. - 3/30/2012   1:11:59 PM
  • WYVREN_HEART
    130
    I have certainly had my moments of feeling and thinking like J.J. I have hopped on the scale after watching what I ate all week and walking almost daily and saw I actually gained a pound! I was so frustrated I wanted to give in right then and there. But here I am again, knowing the truth about how to make successful changes in my body that are for the long run and for the better! - 3/30/2012   12:50:55 PM
  • BIGSKY101
    129
    Thanks for this important information! I struggle with the ability to exercise due to many injuries and disease. I've allowed these circumstances to impact my attitude about exercise! Yesterday, I took a half-hour walk over lunch, the first time in a long time. Across the street was heavier woman who jog/walked down the sidewalk. Soon, she was far ahead of me. I thought "Good for You! If you can do this so can I." That experience and this blog have given me inspiration to rock on! - 3/30/2012   12:21:47 PM
  • 128
    Losing over a pound in a week would make me shout with joy! Most weeks for me are .5 pounds and I'm good with that.

    I have found so many benefits just from eating better and exercising that I would never want to go back to junk food for every meal. When I lived that life I had heartburn, digestive distress, and felt either bloated or famished all the time. - 3/30/2012   12:02:00 PM
  • WYATTL
    127
    I am really glad to read this blog today. Like others I have batttled weight gain for longer than I care to say. Although I have not seen the sihns on the scale I am sure I can feel them. It is reassuring to to be reminded of how slow this real process is and to not give up. JJ does not live here. - 3/30/2012   11:59:06 AM
  • CANUCKSFAN2
    126
    I don't know how much I weigh at the moment, but do it by how my clothes feel on me, especially after I wash them, and how much the braclet on my watch is moving up and down. Being on my own and not much of a cook is a bit more difficult, as most things are geared towards those with families. And even though I have made small changes in the past two months, mostly do to with a health scare related to allergies, I have noticed small changes and yes, I do try and walk each day for at least 20-30 min. - 3/30/2012   11:46:06 AM
  • LDMCNIEL
    125
    I go through the same thing. I have lost 70lbs but it has taken me 18 months. I have periods of losing, then hitting a plateau, then gaining a few pounds. When you have a bad week, or day you just need to pick yourself back up and keep going forward. - 3/30/2012   11:42:17 AM
  • TROUBLEVST2
    124
    I just spent $139.93 on a program on how to eat right and loose weight. I stuck to it (really) for 30 days. Drove my wife crazy. I do the cooking so she realy doesn't care. I try to exercise, but my ex jock 66 yr old body does not react to exercise like it used to. By the way I lost 1.5 lbs in 30 days. I might as well eat the goodies and be happy. - 3/30/2012   11:08:45 AM
  • 123
    I'm happy to lose any weight each week, though I shoot for 1-2 lbs. For me, though, the hardest part is being consistent. One week I can lose 2 lbs and the next week gain 1.5 lb. It's the up and down that's hardest for me. - 3/30/2012   10:47:17 AM
  • 122
    I definitely am totally with the slow loss and staying and getting healthy camp. Whenever I am tempted to think like JJ I remember that a lb. of butter is substantial and losing a lb. is huge. - 3/30/2012   10:45:30 AM
  • BJJ2012
    121
    Thanks SO much for posting...really needed to read this today! :) - 3/30/2012   10:24:44 AM
  • 120
    When people ask me how I, at 64 years old, lost my 121 lbs, and I say "diet and exercise," it's like a light clicks off and they go on to try to find a miracle somewhere....so sad....but I understand because I have been there!! It's not always easy and fun, but I love being more healthy (diabetes does not show on blood work, off blood pressure meds, blood work great) more than I love eating....wow, took me long enough!!! I look at being at goal at HALFWAY - the other half is keeping it off!!! (just had my one year maintenance anniversary) - "Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. It's not about losing weight, it's about a lifestyle choice." (don't know who said that, but how true) - 3/30/2012   10:10:38 AM
  • NORTHWIND1250
    119
    Boy this blog really hit at the right time. If you think about it - none of us gained this weight overnight. We didn't eat a big meal and suddenly gain 20 lbs. So it makes sense that this process IS a process. We've all seen stories about people who lost weight quickly only to gain it right back. When I'm sick in bed for 3 days, I can drop 5 lbs....but when I start eating again, its right back on. I've struggled with weight all my adult life. At 61, that's a long time. I've spent loads of money on diet plans, cookbooks, exercise videos and weight loss suppliments. Every year, I've added weight till now I've got over 100 lbs to loose to get where the doctor's say I should be. I flash back to being in high school at 160# at 5'7" and the teachers saying I was 30 lbs. overweight. Lots and lots of "headgames". It's hard...we all KNOW that. If it was easy, we wouldn't be a nation of overweight (and probably under nourished) people. I found out last week as friend of mine went in for bariactric surgery - it didn't go well for her - had a reaction to meds and was in a coma for almost a week. Look at how desperate we are to loose weight. My thinking on this is that we have to focus more on what goes on in our head, and not so much on what we carry on our body. I know I use food to console myself, to deal with emotional issues. Even on Biggest Looser, not every contestant stays as slim as they were when they finished at the Ranch. So why does it work for some, and not for all. It seems to boil down to desire - it has to be a priority - a no excuse, moving straight ahead goal. But its all little changes....having an apple instead of a cookie - walking around the block instead of sitting watching TV. And 1# a week - every week - will do the job. - 3/30/2012   9:49:22 AM
  • 118
    The two "M"s have got it right. They are our SparkPeople. Losing weight is about changing your attitude not the number on the scale. Thanks for the reminder and the great blog! - 3/30/2012   9:25:14 AM
  • CCDUNSTON
    117
    I can actually identify with both..having been down that road many times, I'v come to be happy finally with the smallest of weight-loss as long as I'm eating healthy and working out on a continual basis, I know that I will reach my goal. Great blog! - 3/30/2012   9:20:33 AM
  • 116
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have to tell you, I am really grateful for your POSITIVE perspective. I stand up and say, "I want to be on Team Marion and Michelene"!!! - 3/30/2012   9:18:07 AM
  • 115
    People like JJ are the same people who hear a wonderful rendition of Moonlight Sanata and say "gosh I wish I could play the piano" but never actually SIT on a piano bench. Nothing is magic, nothing is free, and nothing worth having is easy. - 3/30/2012   9:17:28 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    114
    I have been losing about a pound a week, and have been frustrated. But I was feeling success and skinny (skinny for a 400 lb person) I got to appreciate the recovery of myself, pound by pound. - 3/30/2012   9:11:55 AM
  • 113
    Wow... 1.5 lb loss in a week would be a HUGE success for me. I have lost 50 lbs, but it took me 5 years!!! To be honest though, my losses came in "spurts" when there was a major event that drove me to crack down and lose quickly (by that, I mean losing 1 lb per week over 10 weeks, for example). Then, I've had to focus on lifestyle changes to maintain the losses. So I guess I've got a little of both perspectives in me. - 3/30/2012   8:55:44 AM
  • 112
    Up until seven months ago, I had JJ's attitude. Now I have Marian’s. Not sure what exactly happened in my head....maybe I started to grow some mitochondria there, too! ;) - 3/30/2012   8:52:55 AM
  • 111
    i so needed to read this article today; i started over with SP mid January and had only lost 4 lbs in 8 weeks, or 1/2 lb per week. Boy am i frustrated because the first time i started SP, i had lost double that amount in 8 weeks. The difference is this time, is that i am starting out more fit, but unfortunately at about the same weight, because i gained EVERYTHING back after i quit smoking. There are days that i just want to throw in the towel and say screw it my body just doesnt want to cooperate.... - 3/30/2012   8:40:39 AM
  • 110
    we live in a society of immediate gratification - I feel sorry for JJ because that person is not reaping the rewards of hard work X smart work X patience. I am 52 and have lost 52 lbs thus far, it has not come off overnight although I am shocked at how quickly "clean eating" and exercise has brought me back to health. But to be able to reverse years and years of unhealthy habits in just 5 months? I can't imagine scoffing at that. - 3/30/2012   8:34:41 AM
  • 109
    Lots to think about - 3/30/2012   8:20:51 AM
  • 108
    Thank you for the blog. I have been that JJ before, reaching a point where you say why bother. However at 41 I know better. When I started this process last July, I 366.2 today I am 317 that is almost 50 pounds and now i know it comes off one little pound at the time. I dont know know what my average is try not to worry about it . I feel better, have more energy and find so many changes in my body that I know I am on the right track for me. - 3/30/2012   8:06:13 AM
  • 107
    I wish more people could read and really understand this. Thanks for the post. 45lbs loss 3 years to get in the bests shape of my life, 10 or so more lbs to go and a life time to get there :) - 3/30/2012   7:49:40 AM
  • CORGIGIRL2
    106
    It is really easy to get discouraged, but a day of eating right and/or exercising is never wasted! - 3/30/2012   7:16:53 AM
  • 105
    I agree completely with this blog! I'm trying to lose The Last Five Pounds, and I know I could do it quickly, but if I see that I've lost two pounds in a week, I eat a little more for a few days because I want to be sure that what I'm losing is fat and not water or worse, muscle! A pound a week is the way to go, but that doesn't sell.... unfortunately...

    For people who are seriously overweight, how many years did it take to get there? It just won't come off overnight. - 3/30/2012   7:14:03 AM
  • ASALYN
    104
    Really enjoyed this blog. EVERYTHING about weight loss seems to be how fast the pounds come off and who will notice. I have now vowed to have the Marion mindset and begin to understand that consistancy with clean eating and exercise is the way to lose weight. Thanks for this blog- its real life! - 3/30/2012   6:54:15 AM
  • 103
    Thank you so much for this blog. I really think I needed that "butt kick" to get me thinking about my weight loss. Like one of your examples of "hurry up and loose" folks, I too have become somewhat frustrated every time I would step on the scale or measure, and didn't see any difference in the way of lower numbers. I honestly didn't realize that it would take as much as 2-3 months to see any outside results. I will definitely start to "give myself a break" when I step on the scale or take measurements from now on. Even if I don't go down one week, I'll feel good that I haven't gone up either. Thanks again. - 3/30/2012   6:51:02 AM
  • 102
    I couldn't agree with LEANPOET more about The Biggest Loser. Part of me likes the concept that you don't need to have surgery to lose tremendous amounts of weight, because I dislike THAT theory even more, but BL just puts these people on display at the most vulnerable time in their lives..it's goal might be noble, but it feels so intrusive to be watching them spill their blood, sweat and tears..the good and the bad. I think it victimizes these people who are so desperate to lose weight that they become willing to put themselves on display like animals in a zoo..it is degrading, in my opinion. I think this show, like most of reality TV today, is a sad indicator of what our society has become, finding entertainment in the pain of others..

    As far as the question posed in the blog, I definitely am in the "treat it like a journey" side.. I have had success in my life using that approach, but unfortunately, it has been elusive for me lately. But I do keep plugging away!

    Thanks for a great blog..and for putting the spotlight on the importance of putting balance high on the list of doing it right! And congratulations on your success!!
    - 3/30/2012   6:38:24 AM
  • 101
    Getting healthy takes both diet AND exercise. Exercise alone doesn't do it and I am living proof. For about 8-9 months, I have worked out HARD with a personal trainer 3x/week without fail. However, I also shoved sweets in my mouth every time I was stressed and that was often. I am happy to lose weight slowly as long as the numbers are going down, but I finally admit that it takes both diet and exercise. We didn't put on the weight over night, so we shouldn't expect it to come off that way. A good reminder. - 3/30/2012   6:20:59 AM
  • 100
    Going from a sedentary to a physically active lifestyle has caused positive psychological changes in me. I am more motivated not just to continue to lose weight but in other areas of my life as well. When I realized I could do more, I wanted to do more. I constantly think to myself "If I can do that, what else can I do?" - 3/30/2012   6:05:13 AM
  • 99
    I think we are a society as a whole that is very inpatient and we demand everything now. What we need to do is step back. Take a look at the entire picture. Decide what are goals are going to be working on them one day at a time. We did not gain this weight overnight, nor are we going to lose it overnight. What is that old saying? "I want patience Lord, but hurry" We need to slow down and enjoy even our smallest of achievements because we are far better off doing that than continuing on our destructive journey of being unhealthy. Donna - 3/30/2012   5:25:00 AM
  • 98
    Thank you for this post. It was really helpful and encouraging. I never thought of the changes my body would be going through inside, if I didn't see a difference in the outside. Impatience is usually my downfall, but reading this blog has enlightened me and I appreciate it. - 3/30/2012   4:37:30 AM
  • 97
    I have to say that I have personally seen what just a few months of regular exercise can do. Last May I took up running, and by the time it got too cold to go outside in October, I had lost 20 lbs. I have had a largely sedentary winter, but even with that working against me, I have maintained and even lost another 5 lbs! Every other year, I have gained over the holidays, but this year? My metabolism apparently got ramped up thanks to the regular cardio, and that along with serious attempts to watch what I was eating (I love sweets far too much to be good at that, but I try) has helped me get where I am today.

    I'm currently 10 days post-laparoscopy, but hoping to get back to walking next week. By May, I should be out pounding that gravel road three days a week like I did last year. And I fully expect to see another 20 lbs gone this year - if not more this time! I have about 55 lbs to go to reach my goal weight, but I honestly will not care too much about the number on the scale if I am successfully pushing myself to run further and faster and to lift more and more weight during my strength training sessions. - 3/30/2012   2:12:50 AM
  • 96
    I think I was JJ when I tried to lose weight the wrong way - eating nothing but celery & lemon juice whilst working out to the extreme. You think "This is awful, so if I'm not losing tonnes of weight, I may as well quit".
    When you are losing weight for the most part you don't have to feel deprived. You just make better choices. And if you hardly lose (or gain) during Thanksgiving - you get back to it the next week. - 3/30/2012   2:08:13 AM
  • 95
    That's so sad, I think J.J hoped too high for weight lose that the "barely 1 and half pound in a week" made her demotivated and she just stop. While Marian, I think she set a realistic goal, she didn't give up even if it felt like a snail crawl pace. So I vote for Marian! - 3/30/2012   12:08:02 AM
  • 94
    I loved this blog and it was very inspirational to me. - 3/29/2012   11:57:38 PM
  • 93
    They say it takes 4 weeks for you to notice, 8 weeks for your friends to notice, and 12 weeks for the world to notice. I consider my weight loss a "win" when I lose 0.5 lbs per week -- and I lost 25 lbs that way! The trick is to decide it's about more than just the scale. - 3/29/2012   11:29:57 PM
  • 92
    I have lost a single pound in 2 months since I started maintaining my weight. I however have had one size smaller pants fit around the waist! I can also see major muscle gain results from the weight training. weight is the least important part of your journey, look at yourself, feel yourself, and pay attention to your clothes and energy levels. you'll see blinding amounts of results without a pound ever dropping - 3/29/2012   11:11:09 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by November 12! Get a FREE Personalized Plan