Let’s face it. Trying to lose weight is tough. If it were simple, you wouldn’t be reading this post, right? On the other hand, for most of us, gaining weight is very easy. The reasons are as varied as are our personalities, but suffice it to say that readily available, high-calorie foods and a sedentary lifestyle lead the list of causes for obesity. Most of us eat way too much of the wrong things, and we get little or no exercise. The answer to the obesity epidemic is simple. You’ve heard it a million times: “Eat less, make better food choices, and get some exercise.”
I have yet to meet an obese person who hasn’t tried to follow that advice. Many has failed and return to say Dieting and Exercising but not losing Weight. Most have been on every available diet program, usually more than once. Who won is who have learned that to be successful takes tremendous discipline, which must be maintained over an extended period of time. That is especially true for those trying to lose large amounts of weight. Not surprisingly, most people are unable to sustain such an effort beyond just a few weeks or perhaps a couple of months, despite their best intentions.
Virtually all diets call for the individual to control not only what kind of food they eat but also to minimize the size of their portions. Such dietary restrictions almost always lead to hunger, and, sooner or later, it’s profound hunger that becomes the undoing of the diet. When your stomach is growling and you can’t think of anything but what you might find in the pantry or the refrigerator, willpower is simply not enough. Most people abandon their diet, not because they aren’t getting results, but because they feel like they are starving. Once they are “off the wagon” the result is fairly predictable.
The weight lost is quickly regained, plus a few extra pounds. Eventually another diet comes along, another commitment is made: “This time I know I can do it.” The cycle of gaining and losing and regaining weight, called “yo-yoing,” tends to be repeated over and over. Interestingly, “yo-yo” dieting also tends to slow down a person’s overall metabolic rate, making future weight loss even more difficult.
The Physical and Psychological Links to Obesity
I talked about the shift in attitudes from food as a necessity to something we have a relationship with. But there’s also a physiological component, an evolution that’s happened over the years. Psychologist Carl Jung said we have this collective unconscious-generations of attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that now have become biology. With eating it plays out like this. We’ve had an abundance of food, and our children are now born with more fat cells. These cells create cravings, and they get priority treatment. As a consequence, our brains are bombarded, through the relationship between our hypothalamus gland and the fat cells, with demands for more and more chow.
I’ve seen this evolution and felt powerless to stop it. Early in my practice, I worked with weight-loss clients. But after a while it became obvious to me why I wasn’t successful with people who came to me for weight management.
Once someone was heavy enough that their metabolism changed, given everything against them, it was over. That’s why the failure rate with diets is 95 percent. No matter how much I worked to help someone change their thinking and develop new coping skills. I couldn’t keep them out of the environment long enough to get them to change.
People need about nine months for their new thinking to take hold and their body chemistry to change. And I could not recommend the gastric bypass because I knew the mortality rate and the risk to the bypass patient’s internal organs. Consequently, I stopped accepting weight management clients.
That is, until I found out about the Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB). The band is the best “library card” I’ve ever seen to get someone into the place where they can change. The band is a tool. But it can be circumvented. Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB) patients can make ice cream a beverage. And they’ll do just that if they don’t change their thinking and learn a new set of coping skills.
It is the change in our relationship with and our thinking about food that makes weight management work. If we change our thinking, we’ll change our lifestyles and we’ll change our results. The Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB) is the first step in the process.
It is obvious that dieting has become big business. Whenever someone comes on television with their story of how they lost 30 or 40 pounds in six to eight weeks, it is always followed by the phrase “and so can you!” Americans spend more than $30 billion each year on diets and dietary products, yet dieting failures are the rule, not the exception.
Such failures frequently lead to feelings of guilt and even depression, which can result in eating binges and even more weight gain. The negative effects on selfesteem are often compounded by all the publicity surrounding the so-called success stories. The fact is that, after numerous failures, some people just give up dieting and resign themselves to a life of being uncomfortably overweight
So what about exercise? Without a doubt most of us don’t get enough exercise. Our everyday lives have been made much easier by the multitude of modern conveniences we take for granted. They have taken away much of what used to be required physical effort. Certainly, some people still have physically demanding jobs, but for many others it is now possible to work from home, shop from home, and, most important, even order dinner delivered. For those times when we do get out of the house we typically jump in the car and drive, even if we are going only a couple of blocks. The result is we use up very few calories as we go through our usual daily activities. Combine this lack of exercise with immediately available, high-calorie foods, brought to your door or picked up at the convenient drive-through, and the recipe for fattening Dubai is complete.
Intuitively, almost everyone understands they need to get some exercise if they expect to shed those excess pounds. Witness the fact that over the past 20 years people in Emirates have joined health and fitness clubs and hired personal trainers in record numbers. We have purchased countless pieces of home exercise equipment in an effort to make it easier and more convenient to get some exercise. But, during that same time, we have become increasingly overweight as a society.
The problem is that physically demanding activities are simply not part of our normal day-to-day life. They represent “extra” activities, which have no direct financial or social benefit. For many of us, exercise is an activity that takes up valuable timetime we don’t have to spare. Hours spent working out can’t be used to pick up the laundry or help the kids with their homework. That time isn’t available to make a sales call, or clear out the paperwork piling up on the desk, or return that growing list of e-mail messages. How many times have you said, “I don’t have time; I’ll start tomorrow. I promise”?