Most people who lose weight regain it and more. But some people succeed in keeping it off. What’s the secret of their success? No one knows, but recently the experts have tended to downplay the “willpower” aspect. Overeating is similar to other forms of addiction exists. Keep in mind that losing weight is not a moral issue. You may hear foods described as “sinfully rich” or “wickedly delicious,” but food is not sinful. Nor are you morally deficient if you fall off the wagon. Most people do fall off occasionally, or get pushed off by circumstances. Remember that people trying to change other lifelong habits — smoking, for example — usually have two or three relapses (returns to old habits) before they succeed. ‘Such relapses usually occur within the first three months. The same is true about eating lapses. But lapses and relapses simply mean that it’s time to start over. Try to learn something from them. Did fatigue, emotional stress, or social Pressure drive you to the refrigerator? Perhaps you can avoid such pitfalls in the future.

Beyond dieting

Even before you enter the first weight loss phase you must plan to make permanent changes in your way of life. Most people benefit from counseling or a support group, but some can work out their own plans. Remember that if you can get through the initial phase and achieve your desired weight loss, the hardest part is yet to come. The transition to a permanent new lifestyle is not easy. If you are being counseled or have joined a support group, stick with it until you’ve lost all the weight you need to lose and your new way of life has become habitual.


Keep in mind that restricting calories is only part of the weight loss story. For most people a regular exercise or sports program is essential for losing weight and maintaining the loss. Not only are you likely to enjoy exercise once you get the habit, but it will also dispose of a certain number of calories. When the urge to snack is overwhelming, exercise is an effective and pleasant way to head it off. If food has been the center of your pleasurable activities or a source of emotional comfort, you need to find other things to do. If, for example, your favorite leisure activity involves eating, find new hobbies and amusements.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 1, 1988