Know Why You Gained Weight: It May Stop Your from Regaining It
Sharon, my new weight-loss client, laughed when I asked her whether she had been on any other diets. "How much time do you have? My mother probably put me on a my first diet when I was around eleven. since I am now fifty, that means forty years of dieting."
I nodded. The story was a familiar one. The only clients who had never been on a diet were people who had gained weight from medication such as antidepressants. All the rest had bounced from one weight-loss program to another, often following whatever was fashionable. Some had even had bariatric surgery to reduce drastically the amount of food they could swallow. Yet they had managed to gain weight by constantly eating small amounts of extremely caloric foods.
Sharon talked about her inability to control her eating when she switched from liquid low-calorie beverages or calorie-controlled prepackaged meals to her own food. She related how much she overate when she went off of diets without carbohydrates or three-day fasts or a week of residential spa food. She was now considering surgery but she wasn't heavy enough to qualify.
She told me that she thought her weight gain was due to her love of food but when I pointed out that many thin people love food also, she grew quiet. Eventually she said that she suspected she ate out of emotional needs. "My needs keep changing but my response is always the same. When I eat, my problems disappear -- for the moment."
Dieters like Sharon are likely to regain their weight unless they have insight into the causes of their overeating and are helped to develop strategies to control it. Unfortunately, diet programs tend to focus on how to get the dieter to his or her weight-loss goal rather than giving the dieter tools to prevent the weight from reappearing again. Even Oprah Winfrey, who certainly receives more support in her weight-loss efforts than the average dieter, has lost and regained weight continually during her television career.
The most effective way of preventing weight gain after a diet is to tackle the problems that caused it. Although each of us has our own overeating triggers, usually they can be grouped in a few categories.