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Your Body as a Rubber Band: A New Way to Think About Dieting

Instead of tracking your weight by a single goal weight, pick a range of weight that’s comfortable for you. From You: On a Diet by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

Know Your Fighting Weight. In all likelihood, the most common way you’ve measured your so-called dietary success or failure is by pounds lost. If you’ve lost down to your target weight, then you’ve won. If not, you’ve lost. But the reality is that over the long term, all of us will intermittently gain and lose small amounts of weight, even when we’re trying to lose it. For one, our water weight often fluctuates depending on what we’re eating. The reason why so many low-carb dieters lose weight fast is because the lack of carbohydrates causes them to lose glycogen stores from their muscles, and with this loss of glycogen comes a loss of a lot of water; as soon as they reinstate the carbs, the glycogen comes back to the muscles and attracts the water. That adds the pounds right back. So the first five to eleven pounds of weight loss on a low-carb diet is the fake loss due to a temporary loss of water.

Instead of tracking your weight by a single goal weight, of say, 145 pounds, what you’re going to do is pick your weight class. You’re going to pick a range of weight that’s comfortable for you — say, 142 to 148 pounds (or 31 inches to 33 inches of waist size). When you divulge your weight to someone (not that anyone will be asking), it should never be in one number; you need to think of your weight as an ideal range. For one thing, this allows for the natural fluctuations that occur. For another, it also does something even more crucial to you psychological success: It stops you from focusing on some arbitrary number that promotes the idea of all-or-nothing success of failure. And it puts your mind in the right programming mode — to remind yourself that your body is supposed to change.

Stay Accountable. You can use your weight range to tell when you’re pushing the upper boundaries of your ideal weight/waist with periodic checks using a measurement too — be it a tape measure around your waist, a scale, or, hey, how about a plastic waistband that you keep around your waist to alert you when you’re getting too big, like a large version of one of those Lance bracelets? Whatever your accountability tool, we suggest checking it every Saturday around midday to keep yourself honest with your weight and waist class. Think of your body as a rubber band, stretch it a little, and it can certainly snap back into shape. But once you stretch it too much, it’s going to lose its shape and make it more difficult — if not impossible — to return to the original size.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is a New York Times bestselling author and cofounder and originator of the very popular RealAge.com website. He is professor and chair of the Division of Anesthesia, Critical Care Medicine, and Pain Management, and chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic. Mehment C. Oz, M.D., is also a New York Times bestselling author and the health expert of The Oprah Winfrey Show. He is professor and vice-chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian Columbia University and the medical director of the Integrated Medicine Center and the director of the Heart Institute. They are the coauthors of YOU: On A Diet (Copyright © 2006 by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Oz Works LLC, f/s/o Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.) and YOU: On a Diet Revised Edition.

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