Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do the Healthy Dance

Today I was watching a health and fitness video, one component of a fitness program I'm participating in, about three phases or stages a person will experience during weight loss. The first stage they called the "honeymoon" stage, followed by the "frustration" stage, and lastly the "acceptance" phase.

I thought it was kind of interesting, since I've spent some time thinking lately about how a person can maintain weight loss and changes in lifestyle habits over a long period of time. Most people who are successful in losing weight actually fall back on hold habits and regain the weight, regardless of the program or "diet" they were on to lose the weight in the first place. So it's worth considering.

The "honeymoon" stage is when a person is just starting on a program and is seeing plenty of results. The person is losing weight rapidly and usually with relative ease, is enthusiastic about going to the gym and meeting with trainers and dietitians, carefully tracks their nutrition daily and works out regularly. I'm probably still in this phase, actually; I even enjoy talking (and blogging, tweeting, etc.) about the program.

But after a while, the person will become frustrated, either with the work involved or maybe less drastic results, and might start slipping in their meal tracking and workouts. That's the "frustration" stage. Of course, that can turn the weight loss around or at the very least make it stall, which causes a person to become even more frustrated and start looking towards their previous bad habits, from when life was "easy."

The key to success, however (apparently, at least, according to this video) is reaching another stage, called "acceptance," when the person understands the body's needs and is able to make a real lifestyle commitment to health. Eating healthy becomes a way of life, and so does exercise, until it doesn't seem like drudgery (to quote the video) to have to work out and watch food intake.

Obviously succeeding at maintaining weight loss is complicated, with many factors involved. But thinking of it this way makes it seem that if you can just get through the "frustration" stage without turning back to food for comfort, or slacking when it comes to nutrition or exercise, then it can become permanent.

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