When one has a substantial amount of weight to lose, it isn’t always easy to maintain progress. Nat finds stress and fatigue are ganging up to block his path to fitness. How does he plan to get back on track?
I have often lamented the weight gain that came with middle age and a change from cardiovascular training to strength training due to chronic knee and foot injuries. There is also a lack of time, stressful work conditions and a general love of good food but, at the end of the day, any reasons for getting fat are immaterial because I am still living with a heavier body than I'd like, no matter how it happened.
In case no one has heard, I now weigh over 15kgs (33lbs) more than I did 15 years ago. And that trip was by way of an extra six kilos that I've since lost. As with most weight gain, this all happened in short bursts of stress followed by long years of agonising yoyo weight gain and loss. So it was more like six kilos one year and then the other 15kgs over the course of a few years after that. As I said, I've managed to drop six kilos and now have another 15 to go before I feel happy and fit. The journey has not been an easy one but I'm not giving up, no matter how much my weight fluctuates.
I just don't want to have all the health problems of a fat old man. I'd also like to look good.
Yoyo weight loss often afflicts those of us who are trying to get our weight under control. The most famous case of this is Oprah Winfrey who has been open about her struggles with fitness over the years. Another is Erik Chopin, one of the champions of The Biggest Loser television programme . Having lost over 45 kilos (over 100lbs), Chopin later gained it all back. Having done all the work, he suffered a relapse and fell into obesity again.
What's become clear from those examples as well as my own is that the emotional component to fitness cannot be underestimated. For some, like Chopin, depression will lead to an inability to make the effort needed to maintain fitness. In Oprah's case, it is her drive to succeed that has taken precedence over dietary discipline. Recently, she blamed not making time for herself for gaining her weight back.
As someone who has a day job working for my family and a new internet publishing company, I can easily relate to Oprah. I find myself so busy that there don't seem to be enough hours in a day. The problem I'm encountering is no different from many others. Having successfully lost some weight, I suddenly have a fair degree of stress in my life. Without really noticing that this stress was accumulating, I found I wasn't sleeping as well and that it was getting harder and harder to exercise properly and stick to a diet. I was waking up exhausted and, by the time I got to the gym, I wasn't up for anything effective. Whatever exercise I got made me hungry and I would eat anything. Before I knew it, I was having a lapse.
When I was a personal trainer, I used to work with clients to make sure that a lapse didn't turn into a relapse. By lapse and relapse I mean that a week off the wagon is merely a lapse in one's diet and fitness efforts. After a lapse, one can get back on track by sticking to plans and principles. A relapse, however, is totally giving up and ditching one's programme for a month or even permanently. Of course a lapse often turns into a relapse but it needn't.
The enemy in this situation is no one but myself. From bitter experience, I know it is all too easy to get discouraged and then to throw all caution and good intentions to the wind. A lapse can degenerate into a relapse more because one gets discouraged and depressed about one's lack of success than because one's body is just deciding to get fat all on its own.
As I've said, learning to get sufficient rest has been the hardest part about losing weight and trying to keep it off.For me, stress and fatigue are the greatest enemies of being fit and in good health. I would add that recognising one's stress and prioritising down time to effectively counter it is difficult but not impossible.
So I'm taking a holiday soon.
Finding the right diet is also important. I have discussed this before and the results are quite good so far There is also having a good personal trainer or training programme that can be followed.
Luckily enough, I have not gained back too much weight on the downswing of this yoyo journey I am taking with fitness. The important thing right now is to understand that a lapse is just a lapse and that there are directions that can be followed to get back to success.
Now where should I go on holiday?
30/06/2011 - 22:08