I saw another weight-loss reality TV show advertised the other day. They are so popular. They are enthralling, compelling dramas. Unbelievable amounts of weight are lost in astonishing amounts of time. Trainers push heavy people to do more. They all scream, sweat and cry. Many look temporarily defeated. We cheer for them to get up. The results are stunning.
I suspect these shows have motivated thousands to get up and do something about their situations, shaking their fists to the heavens and avowing, “No more! If they can do it, so can I!”
Getting started is hard. But is that the biggest hurdle?
The question got my mental gears turning. What’s the difference between a short-term weight fix and a long-term (I almost used the word “permanent” but ruled it out) weight fix? Obviously, the one that keeps the weight off is the long-term solution, but we don’t usually know the answer on the front-end. I thought of lots of products and services beyond reality shows — shakes, pills, injections, surgeries, gadgets. They all share the hope of “do something now” and purport longer changes.
When you lose weight, you get a lot of attention for the pounds lost. You buy new clothes in styles you wouldn’t have entertained. You look for chances to run into old friends, just for the jaw-dropping moment. The act of losing weight, once you get the ball rolling, becomes its own reward.
But what happens to people when all the weight is lost? When the newly famous reality-TV stars go home? When the weight-loss pills or injections are finished? When the attention wanes? What happens when no one notices anymore, or even cares? When the emotional momentum has evaporated and your new body is just your new normal?
I’ll tell you what happens. Your life, with its old routines, stresses and ingrained habits, is standing there, arms akimbo, patiently waiting for you. As hard as it is, losing weight is way easier than keeping it off — crazy as that sounds. The real challenge is facing off with your life for the long term. It can be one tough sucker, especially when the fanfare is over and you are all alone.
• Shannon Sorrels is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and owner of Physix LLC in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (480) 428-5660 or www.azphysix.com