The mayor of Toronto, Canada, Rob Ford has abandoned his weight loss attempt. He had declared in public that he was going to lose 50 pounds (almost 4 stone), however five months later, with slow or non-existent progress, having missed his last five public weigh-ins, he decided to abandon his effort partway through.
On the surface, this sounds like a familiar story of:
1. Good intentions. Deciding to reduce one’s weight
2. Telling everyone about one’s weight loss plans (in this case, everyone was three million people)
3. Despite high hopes, struggling to keep to the “diet” because of poor willpower
4. Eventually realising that the weight target was never going to be reached
5. Giving up and feeling (possibly) humiliated
This sort of experience is enough to put people off even trying to lose weight. And many people after a few such experiences decide that they are incapable of losing weight.
But let’s look a little closer at the chain of events.
1. Deciding to lose weight is good.
2a. I am not so sure telling everyone else about your weight loss intentions is a good idea. Better to let them see your progress.
2b. I don’t believe in weight loss deadlines. If you set a goal with a deadline, you are going to be more likely to make short term changes rather than try for more long term habit change.
3. The mayor had what can only be described as a deprivation diet:
“He says he is “eating like a rabbit,” running laps around a track, gulping water, and, to distract himself from hunger pangs, returning constituents’ phone calls.”
This sort of diet, might deliver some short term progress, if you can tolerate it. But most people can’t. It’s a poor choice of strategy.
4. Relying on willpower to lose weight is also a poor strategy. Willpower is a limited resource. It is not a long term solution.
The media response seems to be bordering on mockery as if his failure to lose weight was a reflection of character weakness. But having chosen the worst way of achieving his dramatic weight loss goal, the mayor was always likely to fail. Nothing to do with character and everything to do with his chosen method and approach.
So how does this relate to you? 6 steps to take to losing weight:
1. Set a reasonable goal
2. No deadlines
3. Don’t tell anyone
4. Don’t rely on willpower
5. Don’t cut out ALL the foods you love
6. Make steady small changes towards your goal
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
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