Weight Loss Suicide

by Helen M. Ryan
woman with a sword

Stop the “Kill Bill” way of dieting. Just stop.

When does one brownie (or cookie, beer, or chip) have the power to break you? When you go on a diet.

Diets make you see things in black and white. And seeing things in black or white (all or nothing) is what derails your best intentions to lose weight. For some of us, it’s an easy exit out of our current diet of choice.

How often have you thought, “I ate a piece of chocolate, so I’ve blown my diet and I might as well eat this half of pizza, too?” (Ihave, Ihave, Ihave.)

Time marches on whether we take care of ourselves or not, so we might as well take care of ourselves. The little steps you make every day to lose weight and get healthier (walking, taking the stairs, eating more vegetables and protein, drinking more water, getting more sleep) moves you towards your goal easier than an extreme diet and exercise program will.

The thought of losing weight fast is what we all want, and we start out gung-ho and full force—or as I call it, “Kill Bill style.”

But unless you’re extremely motivated and dedicated (we’re not JLo), “Kill Bill” will wear you out and wear you down. Then, when you’re worn down and you eat the nachos, you’ll feel the “L” on your forehead and give up…hoping to start again tomorrow. And then the next tomorrow. And the next.

How do you overcome this and finally succeed with weight loss? By:

  • Realizing that one slice of cake really won’t make a difference in the long run (in fact, two slices of cake won’t either, but stick to one).
  • Taking your health seriously.
  • Making small, everyday changes instead of gigantic ones.
  • Creating new healthier habits (like eating a protein-rich breakfast or using smaller plates).

While the temptation to lose 12 pounds in a month is strong, in reality what do you have to sacrifice to get there? If you need to lose 40 pounds, that’s about 3.5 months’ worth of giving up everything you’re used to eating (or drinking) and completely changing your exercise habits. Are you ready to go that far so quickly?

Remember how you felt right about day five of the last rigid diet and exercise program you embarked on? Not so good.

Can you go another 100 days like that? Most likely not.

If you make small regular changes, though—and lose only four pounds per month—it will take you ten months to lose those 40 pounds. But taking ten months to reach your goal weight is better than making no progress at all, which is often what happens with “quick fix” and rigid diets. You’ll sacrifice less, but actually reach your goal—it just takes a little longer. And...bonus! You’ll be more likely to keep the weight you lost off because you’ll learn what type of healthy lifestyle choices work for you.

Do you want to know how I ended up gaining almost 90 pounds? Through unrealistic diets, blowing it, and starting the diet “tomorrow.” Every morning would start out strong, and every evening would end with a carb and “beat-myself-up” fest.

It was only when I stopped trying to diet—when I decided to just become a healthier person—that I started to finally lose weight.

I eventually went from a size 20 to a size 4.

Baby steps. Small changes. No more “black or white” thinking. Are you with me?

Published November 28, 2012