This is a progression of the thoughts I've blogged about the last couple days, in case you've read those and this feels like a rehash. I meant to do that! But in the process of looking for what distinguishes successful maintainers, there was a gradual realization that it wasn't what they did but how they did it, or they way the interpret what they're doing. Likewise there was a sense that it had a lot to do with "how" they had lost the weight, namely their attitude toward their nutrition and fitness programs.
4A-HEALTHY-BMI shared an article with me by a fitness writer named Will Brink called "Nutrition- the big picture of permanent weight loss." An ambitious title if there ever was one, but rather than lay out perspicuous rules of what to eat or not, he said almost any diet could cause weight loss. However:
"The lesson here is: any nutritional plan you pick to lose weight must be part of a lifestyle change you will be able to follow - in one form or another - forever. That is, if It is not a way of eating you can comply with indefinitely, even after you get to your target weight, then It is worthless."
So why do 19 out of 20 people turn their back on what worked for them to lose weight in the first place? Besides the number who followed a plan that was for some reason not replicable because it depended on the dieting system, or it involved some extreme that isn't sustainable. Certainly in my old days of relying on macronutrient formulas, I would have had no idea how to shift from weight loss to maintenance... But since I never lost much weight in the first place it wasn't relevant. The thought that came to me today is that it's natural to get resentful about lifestyle change. Eating on plan can be a pain sometimes. Fitness requires time taken from other pursuits.
When I had my nervous breakdown in 2003 my therapist really worked with me to internalize the adage "Feelings are not good or bad, they just are." In particular, I could not accept the idea that I was ever angry. If I did express anger, I had a list of reasons the person was not at fault for their behavior that made me angry. She even wanted me to talk about my baby making me angry, which horrified me, but weeks later after I'd run out of money for sessions I realized where she was going with that. Having a feeling of anger didn't mean I had to act on it, or that I was a bad person. Like fear, I could let it pass and I would remain.
I think resentment is a little trickier. It tends to sneak up on me, and it is not as blatant as anger. But ultimately it must be called out and dealt with, and possibly even learned from. Like my negative feelings about people I love, I might not be willing to see a down side to my nutrition and fitness plans. I might think that always feeling cheerful about them is the way to go, when the suppressed emotion could be eroding the very position I am trying to preserve. It's a balance between acknowledging resentments and caring enough about myself to see past them, not just resentment about lifestyle change, but forgiving myself when I stumble.
The Will Brink article: