Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick Fixes

As an American, I am as guilty or guiltier than 95% of my fellow Americans (and probably western societies) of wanting a quick fix. With respect to the diet and exercise thing, though, I am convinced there are no safe, sustainable quick fixes.

I was watching Oprah at one point when she was having a show about weight issues. Truth be told, in some ways I identify a lot with Oprah. She is so successful in so many areas of her life, but she struggles mightily with weight. She has become the poster child of the yo yo diet movement. On one particular show I watched of hers, she basically said the following (I wish I could provide you with the exact quote, so please forgive my paraphrase):
I am one of the richest people in the world. I have spent a ton of money on trying to lose weight. There are no magic pills or diet products which will magically make you lose weight and allow you to continue eating whatever you want. Trust me, I have the money and if I could buy this mythical product I would. And please save your money, if I find this magic pill I will tell you about it. But it doesn't exist.
Today I was in the hallway at work. One of the people I don't see much paid me a random compliment, which I appreciated. "It's like you're a completely different person. You don't even look the same anymore." She proceeded to tell me that she was going to start the HCG diet. I don't know much about it, but I think that anything that promises such huge results and requires such an immediate and drastic overhaul is not such a great recipe for success and is unlikely to be sustainable. However, that is not the point of this post.

The person told me "You know, I have done WW before, but I just don't have the patience. I don't want to have the choice to eat whatever I want." For me, that is the hardest but most worth it point of WW, counting calories, or just living healthy. It is all about balance, but I do enjoy and appreciate the fact that I can eat whatever I want, albeit not as often and often not in the quantities I would like.

As I have written before, I don't think this is a journey with a finish line. I don't think this is something you can try hard at for 2 weeks or 2 months or even 2 years and then just do a victory lap. I think this -- healthy living and staying at a reasonable weight -- is something you do for the rest of your life. This is why the phase after losing is called "maintenance." Maintaining your weight takes effort, just like maintaining your car or your house. It isn't autopilot.

It makes me simultaneously sad and angry when people think they will do something magical and all this weight will fall off and life will be glorious. It really just doesn't work like that. Losing weight takes an emotional commitment and changes to the way you eat and/or move. There are no quick fixes. Period. And even if there were, I am not sure how that would work emotionally. It seems like that would cause secondary issues and unintended consequences.


  1. Right on, Sarah!

    Been thinking about you this week especially last night while I was at my small group. I'm a bit intimidated by them as well.

  2. Yah know Sarah - I think I have this mind set... I *know* slow and steady healthy lifestyle wins the race... but I behave the other way. I rely on exercise and don't change my diet. (or maybe I do, but not fully~ certainly not enough!)I want to just be dedicated for a month or two and be done. sigh.... I'm a work in progress.

  3. Amy, aren't we all works in progress? Hang in there; redefining my relationship with food has been so hard, but I think it will ultimately result in good things. (and that's not to imply that I'm "there" -- I'm totally still a work in progress too!)

  4. Couldn't agree more.

    We just have to make permanent changes in order to get permanent results. Go back to old habits and the old weight returns.

  5. Well took the words right out of my mouth...hopefully with some calories attached :)


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