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"Weight lost through suffering will almost certainly be regained."

Monday, March 11, 2013

I ran across Yoni Freedhoff's blog the other night and this is a quote from one of his posts that blew my mind. He's the founder of the Ottowa Bariatric Medical Institute. It bodes well since I have not suffered very much over my year of weight loss.

It also makes me think a lot about a phrase I keep hearing about how maintenance is harder than weight loss. I wouldn't say that is wrong exactly, there is at least one way it definitely is harder. I was trying to find a blog from the summer and came across a mention that I had gone over my weight loss range but was still in the maintenance range. And I thought "That's right, there was this little safety zone in case I went over." I didn't use it very often, but isn't that something. And I had already forgotten in in the 3 months since I reached goal.

Here's the important question, does "harder" mean "suffering"? Some of the things I do as a matter of course seem horrible to my husband. Weighing calorie dense foods, forgoing cheese... uh, that's all I can think of at the moment. I guess working out everyday would once have seemed horrible to myself. I don't think of them as suffering because they are choices I'm making, I weigh calorie dense foods rather than avoid them. I forgo cheese to enjoy something else. I exercise so my calorie needs don't gradually shrink with each passing day, and so that my heart and joints get stronger. I exercise instead of argue about politics on the internet. Win/win!

Was untreated obesity not suffering? The Greek underworld was bounded by the river Lethe, which people drank from to forget their lives which could only cause suffering. When I was obese I spent my days trying not to think about it, trying to forget what I knew I should do. Suffering is not in the absolute experience, but in our perception of events.

I've often compared the daily process of lifestyle change to some other endeavor, like mastering writing, playing the piano, or learning a language. All of these things are hard, but few would consider them suffering. Suffering is helplessness and compulsion; failure and guilt. A healthy lifestyle can be a joy, experimentation and discovery and liberty. (LIberty, for me, doesn't mean do whatever you want, it means participation in self-governance.)

Dr. Freedhoff's blog:
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TANYA602
    Fabulous! I do so enjoy your perspective!
    1804 days ago
    Very thoughtful writing. Love your insight. You have given me some new tools to use!
    1805 days ago
    Great blog. Everyday can be a battle between good and bad well at least for me. But i get better everday at saying no to food i use to say yes to is a victory within myself. Sorry going off in a tagnet.
    1805 days ago
    What a thought-provoking blog! I guess suffering to me is "dieting" as in severely restricted food choices, too few calories and expectations of how fast one will lose that are unrealistic and therefore produce chronic disappointment. Hunger is suffering. I have not suffered from any of that, for sure, as the Spark program discourages all that! The hard work of losing and the challenges of Maintenance seem productive and positive, not negative and unrealistic to me, so, no, I don't think that qualifies as "suffering" - at least, not if one is approaching it sanely according to the SP plan. Thanks for posting!
    1805 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Perhaps it's more a case of it being easy to regain weight rather than hard to maintain? A lot depends on mindset once goal is reached. I very much enjoyed this blog with its emphasis on the choices for health and well being.
    1805 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    I really liked your blog. I am in the maintaince mode and just now hear how its harder than the loosing stage. Of course, we may not be talking about the same thing. I'm talking- I've made my goal and now I have to maintain my weight at this level for the rest of my life. So assuming we're talking about the same thing-
    I kind of anticipating doing the same thing I've done during loss: marking down everything I eat so I don't go over what I should be eating to maintain my weight. To go over means to gain weight. It also means I have to exercise at what I said I'd exercise. Not buring calories equals weight gain.

    Because I'm staying the same I eat more. So I wonder why thats harder?

    I'm sure I'll figure it out. After all, I just found out Friday or Saturday that I met my goal. Two/three days makes no expert.

    Now I suppose I'd better read the Dr.'s blog!!!!
    1805 days ago
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