That’s the theme song of the Civil War documentary which I’ve been watching this week. As I watch it, I am struck by the problem the generals faced suiting their tactics to the realities they were facing. Bayonet warfare against rifles. The birth of trenches. Sherman’s total war, which got him cashiered at the start of things, which would have ended things much sooner. Though if things had ended sooner, slavery would not have been abolished.
What also strikes me is the confusion over what they were fighting over… union or emancipation? If we look at maintenance as a conflict, are we seeking vanity or health? Youthfulness or life? Do we wait, as Mclellan did, for the fight we know we can win? Do we love our troops too much to risk them, or do we love that for which they fight? Do we love freedom? Freedom from blindness, freedom from heart disease, freedom from cancer? Maybe it’s focusing too much on the negative. I’ll take that chance.
ABC news did a feature on the 6 Secrets of Super Dieters, which turned out to be maintenance predictors for the National Weight Control Registry. ABC’s title does have more snap to it. Here’s what they had:
“Rule No. 1. Don’t ever cheat (no breaks for weekend or holidays)
Rule No. 2. Eat breakfast.
Rule No. 3. Get on a scale every day.
Rule No. 4. Put in the equivalent of a four-mile walk seven days a week.
Rule No. 5. Watch less than half as much TV as the overall population.
Rule No. 6. Eat 50 to 300 calories less than most people.”
They cited the failure rate of most diet efforts at 85% and mentioned things get easier after 2 years.
I guess I would rephrase these as:
Splurging programs your brain pathways and gene expression for future splurging. The more you splurge, the less likely you are to maintain weight loss.
Skipping meals makes it more likely you will overindulge later, and such overindulgence will total more calories than being reasonable twice. You should track calories if you have not observed this before. Eating regularly also keeps your mood from crashing.
Weighing is an important objective accountability. Learn the patterns that cause your weight to shift around.
Exercise not only burns calories, it conditions the metabolism and helps your mood, appetite, and sleep regulation.
Watching TV depressed metabolism, increases stress, and generally exposes you to professionally crafted temptation. You don’t have to be a monk, but cut back where possible.
Know how much you eat, and how much you really need.
My why in working with maintenance issues is a passionate feeling that anyone who wants to maintain weight loss should be able to find the tools and support to do so. Relapse rates of 80 and 95 percent suggest this isn’t happening, and I think that is a avoidable tragedy. That’s pretty much it.