This story came into my inbox over the weekend about an American X-Factor winner who has been told to lose weight to help her be more marketable.
What the article describes is quite expected, but also a little sad.
The singer in question is called Melaine Amaro and she won the first season of the US X-Factor.
According to the article:
- Melanie has lost 6 pounds out of a planned 30 pounds
- She is working with a personal trainer
- She is following a strictly regimented diet
But this is the best quote of the article:
“So far the hardest part of Melanie’s weight loss is her love for her family’s unhealthy home-cooked meals, and her lack of motivation in the gym”
Shame on her for loving home cooked meals and lacking motivation to go to the gym!
Of course, I don’t have accurate detailed knowledge about her weight loss programme, but the average person reading the article will probably draw the following conclusions:
1. I must follow a very strict diet to lose weight
2. Home cooked meals or other enjoyable foods are the enemy
3. If you lack motivation to go to the gym, then you are bad and don’t deserve to lose weight.
I would say that for most people, Melanie’s weight loss is a blueprint for how NOT to lose weight. It is the typical short-term-focused plan that our society equates with weight loss.
1. Replace your normal diet with something completely different
2. Focus on it very intensely to get the results you want
3. The quicker the weight loss, the better
4. No pain/ no gain. If you are enjoying it, you’re doing it wrong.
5. Similar to point 4, stop eating any foods that you enjoy.
Now having said that, for Melanie, this might work in the short term:
- she is 19, so weight loss is much easier now than it will be in 20-30 years
- she has a strong motivating factor (promised career success) to lose weight
- she also probably has a lot of people “pressuring” her to follow this plan.
But Melanie will not learn long-term ways to manage her weight. She will resent not being able to enjoy home-cooked meals. She will crave the foods she loves. She will hate the deprivation until one day, she will “snap” and want to revert to “normal” eating. These (totally understandable) moments of wanting to eat normally, will mean that she gains weight back and then yoyos between slim and not so slim states, depending on how motivated she is to deprive herself.
For the rest of us, without the same pressures as Melanie, we would struggle to even lose weight with her approach. Most people would give it up long before they got results, because it is so unpleasant.
So what’s the ideal solution? For Melanie? For you?
1. Aim to lose weight in a way that you know you can maintain
2. Make small changes that you know you can live with
3. Don’t set deadlines. This is hard when you have a recording contract or a wedding coming up, but deadlines are like poison for weight loss. They make people take shortcuts instead of making sustainable changes. As I like to ask my clients, would you rather lose weight over 4 months and keep it off, or lose weight over 2 months and be doomed to keep losing it over and over again?
4. Make changes as pleasant as possible. If you love home-cooked meals, design your life in a way that you can enjoy them as well as manage your weight. It is possible. I help people do it every day.
Dr. Khandee Ahnaimugan (Dr. K) is a medical doctor, weight loss expert and author of the best-selling book, “Slim and Healthy without Dieting”. He provides individual consulting programmes for people wanting to lose weight without dieting. Try his 7 Day “How to Lose Weight without Dieting” Email Course for FREE at www.doctorkweightloss.com