No More Yo-Yo on Weight Loss

she’S gotten past THE frustrations” with a commitment to something more than fitting in that party dress

Johnnie had an invitation for a party, but she was very discouraged.

“I have nothing to wear,” she said, lying on her bed in the dark, quite discouraged as she looked at the wardrobe full of dresses and slacks that were all too small.

Then Johnnie’s mind flashed back to happier days as a child, when she loved playing with the colorful yo-yo her mother gave her. Up and down and in and out went the multi-colored circle.

Many holidays had come and gone since then. Johnnie had gone to many dinner parties and eaten a lot of good cooking. Now she looked at her wardrobe, forced to deal with the fact that her gorgeous dresses were hanging in the closet because they were too tight.

Johnnie knew that she had put on more weight.

It’s wasn’t the first time. After months and years of diets and milk shakes, diet bars, starvation diets, and even a membership in the local gym, Johnnie did lose some pounds from time to time. But they always came back. She would lose 10 and gain 15. This went on for years. Up and down, in and out—just like the yo-yo.

Johnnie was discouraged.

When she stood in front of her closet and looked at herself in the mirror, she would say to herself: “I am ashamed, and I thought I was doing so well.”

She thought again of that old yo-yo. Losing five or 10 pounds is never a problem, she thought. But there’s always a holiday season coming up, or a wedding party. The weight comes back. The clothes pile up in the closet.

It’s more than a wardrobe problem, too. Johnnie realized that she’s getting older, and finding out about health problems that are a direct cause of years of build up weight. She decided that it’s time for a real change.

But how?

Johnnie remembered an article in a health magazine she had read recently. It talked about changing eating habits and exercise such as walking. She remembered the health classes that she went to several years ago, where she heard about ‘lifestyle changes’. But she wondered: “How do these ideas come together for me?”

She took another look in the closet full of designer jeans and colorful dresses that she couldn’t wear because they were too tight. She dug down deep inside herself for help.

Self determination came forward. Johnnie went into the cluttered drawer and fished out her motivational poster. She reached for the glue and pasted the poster to the fridge door, covering the coupon that said “Buy One Burger Get One Free.” Then she searched through some old envelops and found a photo from years gone by. Johnnie decided that she would become slim and trim again.

The first step for Johnnie was simple to identify: No more trick diets. Then she found a “buddy”— a friend for support. Working with someone else, or even a small group at times, helped keep her motivated—and kept her from feeling alone, isolated and bored.

Johnnie also changed her routine. She stopped sitting in front of the entertainment box. She started taking walks through her neighborhood. At first she got tired real fast, but little by little her resistance built up.

The third step came when Johnnie cut back on her portions of food at meal time. She soon was eating just half of everything that she used to have on her plate.

These small changes led to more changes—and even some goals. Johnnie decided to do more than just lose some pounds. She committed to getting fit and staying fit. Simply fitting into the clothes in the closet was no longer the goal. Johnnie wanted to be her ideal weight—she decided to dream of being mean and lean. Johnnie has decided that her long- term goal is nothing short of living healthier and longer.

There’s still a lot of work to do. Johnnie now reads more health magazines and wellness books. She even plans ahead for her meals. No more fast decisions—or fast food. Eating has become more enjoyable and meaningful for Johnnie. Her self-education about health and wellness has made her focus on healthy habits, changing her lifestyle.

The pounds are going away and staying away because Johnnie stopped playing games and threw that old yo-yo away.

(More about Johnnie next time).

RMJ is the author of “Afraid no More”

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