So, remember the other day when I was talking about my workout addiction? Well, besides craving the emotional highs that working out inspires in me, I have to say that one element that keeps me going back to the gym is pure, naked fear. Fear of waking up one day with all the pounds back on.
The thing is, I've read the studies. Just a small percentage of people who lose weight keep it off for more than a year.
Check out the New York Times, which, on New Year's Eve, offered cold comfort to those who would make resolutions to change themselves. The article opens with the widely picked-up confession of Oprah Winfrey that she gained back a large portion of the weight that she had lost in the 1990s and was now more than 200 pounds again. Granted, in the photo accompanying the piece, she looks awesome in her red gown, all drama and curves. But given the tenor of her remarks (“I didn’t just fall off the wagon. I let the wagon fall on me.”) she's unhappy with her weight gain.
So, if Oprah with all her money to hire personal chefs and trainers can't keep the pounds off, how can I expect to beat the odds?
Amid the gloomy predictions that 80 percent of resolution-makers will give up by Valentine's Day, the article does offer some advice, including that old chestnut: "Act like the person you're trying to become." In other words, fake it 'til you make it. This has actually worked for me, because almost from the beginning, I was pretty sure that going to the gym regularly had turned me into some sort of super athlete. It hadn't, of course, but that perception was pretty useful in helping me exercise regularly.
It's hard to see myself going back to the way I was before, but I know that it actually wouldn't take much: an injury that kept me out of the gym, a stressful job that took up lots of time, an emotional crisis--any of these could start me on a road that could lead to the same end as Oprah's.
I guess the only thing to do is take it day by day. For now, I'll consider myself an athlete and eat, exercise, and rest accordingly.