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Staying on Your Weight-Loss Program

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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Lost

Have you almost given up on losing weight and getting to your ideal size? Has your weight-loss history led you to believe that being thin is only a temporary condition? Are you afraid to lose and gain yet one more time? If so, you are more normal than you might think.

Being afraid of failing at weight loss one more time can be immobilizing. Being immobilized by this fear is almost like giving up on yourself as a person, and you don't want to do that. You may be thinking, “So what's a couple of pounds or a couple more? It absolutely doesn't define who I am as a person. It doesn't speak to my value or my contributions.” You are correct. However, it does speak to your interest in your health and your sense of self-esteem. The healthier you are, the more you can contribute to yourself and others for many more years.

Reaching Plateaus

As you lose weight, you might hit a plateau. Your best efforts seem to stall. You stay the same size regardless of what you do. One client, Deborah, went from a size 26 to a size 18 very quickly, within six months. Then she stayed at a size 18 for almost a year before her weight started down again. Deborah had the wisdom to wait it out. She kept to her eating and exercise plans and continued to live normally. Eventually, her body began to release more excess fat and today she is delighted to be a size 14.

What happens during plateaus? We like to think of them as “still points.” Let's compare a plateau in weight loss to water boiling. You put the water into a pot on the stove and turn the heat on high. Not much happens for what seems like a long time (especially if you are watching the pot boil!). During that time, thermal energy is transferred from the burner into the water. As the thermal energy is transferred, the water increases in temperature until it reaches the boiling point. The thermal energy is finally converted into kinetic energy, and you can observe the pot boil.

So it is with weight loss. At the time when nothing seems to be happening, plenty is going on in your body that can't be seen. The body must change a lot as it loses weight. As the body converts fat into energy, the liver detoxifies the by-products and releases them to be excreted as waste products. The body reshapes itself, using up plenty of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements as it does so. The body works extra hard as it releases fat. You should expect that it would rest and regroup from time to time.

Emotionally, plateaus are challenging. You want results and want them fast. Deborah's patience and tenacity pulled her through a year-long plateau. A plateau is the time to stay the course, say aloud your weight-loss affirmations, refine your nutritional and exercise programs, and keep the faith.

Food Is Only Food

Food is excellent for supplying nutrition, energy, and sensory delights, but it does not have magical powers. It can't heal a broken heart. It can't make a skinned knee stop hurting.


Overeating is never the solution, no matter what the problem. It only leads to more problems. Overeating can't heal a broken heart, make you more comfortable at a party, or eliminate stress. All that it can do is add on more pounds.

People turn to food to do the impossible—to make emotional pain go away, to avoid loneliness, and to improve high-anxiety moments. People want food to solve some basic issues of life. It can't. It has no power. You have the power to do those things.

If you have ever hoped that food would solve things, just remember how disappointed you were when the food failed you. Perhaps you have returned to food again and again, seeing whether things have changed and that somehow food could solve anything.

By now, you absolutely know it can't. But are you still hoping? This kind of hope is terrifically fattening. Give it up. Find wiser ways to solve life's problems.

Food is also not the same as love. Certainly, we prepare food for our families because we love them, but whether they eat the food has nothing to do with whether they are accepting of our love. Ditto for someone preparing food for you. You are not required to eat everything just because someone made it for you. Show your love in many other ways and let food be just food.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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