Over the weekend I held a session with our guests called Weight Mapping. Each person completed an exercise that involved charting their weight over their lifespan, so that we could look at patterns. We compared the trends to 3 patterns: yo-yo weight cycling, event related weight cycling, and progressive (steady) weight gain. This exercise can be very insightful, especially when you put the information in visual form, such as a chart. As the guests weighed in, here are some of the connections that were made, related to their individual weight map:
- The weight loss periods of Yo-Yo weight cycling often appears to correlate with a very strong motivator, often an event such as a high school reunion, a wedding, or even a medical procedure such as gastric bypass
- Weight loss success using extreme diets, periods of low/no caloric intake, or other sudden changes in behavior does not result in long term success
- Steady weight gain is often experienced by individuals who may not have had problems with weight and therefore diet and exercise may not have been top of mind
- Success with long term weight loss is associated with practicing habits you are willing to maintain beyond your “weight loss” period and into weight maintenance... and exercise plays a critical role here
- It is important to establish a habit of getting on the scale – whether you are trying to lose weight or not. The “reality check” may help turn around an upward trend earlier than if you do not get on the scale. Once per week is a good rule of thumb.
Try charting your weight each week to help you stay focused on the big picture – acknowledge big picture success over short term “failures”. Among the frustrating weeks that you see no change or even a change in the wrong direction, you’re looking for an overall downward trend (or level trend if you’re at maintenance). Focus on behaviors week by week, but your weight should be monitored over time.