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May 13, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Mental Test Begins When Weight Loss Ends
Jimmy Moore
April 23, 2006

The following is a reprint from the blog "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":

Congratulations to Matt and Suzy from "The Biggest Loser"

Speaking of "The Biggest Loser," did you hear the news about Season Two winner Matt Hoover and 2nd runner-up Suzy Preston? THEY GOT ENGAGED on March 28, 2006 and are making plans for their wedding as we speak. CONGRATULATIONS to Matt and Suzy. Now here is a couple that understands the monumental acheivement of weight loss with Matt and Suzy losing 157 pounds and 95 pounds respectively in front of a national television audience. That is remarkable to say the least.

But as they embark on this new lifelong journey of weight loss now with each other, I was struck specifically by this love story between Matt and Suzy and how it underlines the real challenge for people after they lose weight. Anyone who has been through this process will tell you that the most difficult part is not the weight loss itself but rather the mental test that begins once the weight loss has stopped.

For Matt, this mental change began for him when Suzy cut his hair on the show.

"When she cut my hair she was a big part of my transformation," Matt said referring to Suzy while they were still contestants on "The Biggest Loser" this past season.

For Suzy, she noticed Matt change from that point on not just in his physical appearance but in how he saw himself as a person.

"Seeing the man he started becoming, with his changes, watching him come from what everyone wanted him to be to who he wanted to be," Suzy stated.

Like Matt's hair, Suzy got rid of her glasses to come out of her shell

All of us who have ever been overweight or obese have something that we hold on to as a crutch to cover up the fact that we are fat. For Matt it was his hair and for Suzy it was her glasses. For me, it was the illusion that I had created in my mind that I was a "healthy" 400-pound man. I had convinced myself that since I was active and felt good that I was okay. What a lie that was! Finally letting go of these things we create for ourselves to excuse our excess weight problem is the first step in the process of transforming yourself into the new person that you are destined to become through weight loss.

The mental test that follows weight loss is a neverending process either. Although I have triumphed over my obesity and have now kept it off for over two years doesn't mean that I no longer have to worry about my weight. Don't I wish! Actually, the mental strength to KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF is needed much more NOW than it was when I was losing weight. That may seem hard to believe, but most of us "losers" could attest to the challenges that come our way. I'm sure it will get a little easier over time, but don't kid yourself into thinking after you reach your goal weight that you are home free.

Now I am not saying maintaining your weight loss has to be hard once you find a great way of eating like livin' la vida low-carb to help you do it. But there are temptations and circumstances that will rise up like a little school-aged child sticking his tongue out at you and sarcastically saying, "Nanny nanny boo boo, let's see how long you can keep that weight off!"

I don't say all of this to scare you away from wanting to lose weight, but to help you realize the battle has just begun after you lose the weight. There will be forces at work that will attempt to discredit the remarkable job you have done to lose weight and you will need to be ready for them. Preparing yourself NOW will make it a lot easier when you get to that point in your journey. Start flexing your mental muscles to body slam these negative thoughts when they come.

Of course, going through the low-carb route to weight loss will get you battle-ready WHILE YOU ARE STILL LOSING with all the criticism that so many people will throw your direction. If you can somehow survive all the insults and "advice" that people give you about low-carb living while you are losing weight, then making this your way of life for the rest of your life to keep the weight off will be a much easier road. While it's hard to argue with someone about their weight loss method after they have lost 180 pounds on it, you'd be surprised how many people still give me grief over it! That just beats all I've ever seen. :-~

For Matt and Suzy, they know that this weight loss gift they have been given is going to force them to "watch our food forever." Otherwise...

"I could end up on Biggest Loser 4 if I don't watch it," Matt revealed.

Matt is exactly right. As successful as he has been at losing weight, the real test is whether he can keep it off for good. No more mindless eating for no apparent reason. No more "just this one time" meals. No more eating food because you don't feel good, are depressed, or bored. Nope, none of those reasons for eating stuff you shouldn't have are good enough.

Instead, after you lose weight, the best way to congratulate yourself is to recommit to a lifetime of healthy eating choices, a regular exercise routine, and a better way of life. I am constantly reevaluating all of those things in my life at a point where I have supposedly "made it" in my weight loss. But if I EVER just settle for what I have accomplished, then I am setting myself up to fail and gain the weight back again. Passing this mental test will be something I will be attempting to do for the rest of my life and gladly so!

At the end of their interview, Suzy said something that summarizes exactly what I've been talking about.

"We're still getting used to our new bodies and really believing it's us," Suzy explained. "For so many years I had lived in that other shell. I will probably be making that journey the rest of my life."

It is still sometimes hard to believe this body I have now is mine even after living in it for well over a year. Getting your mind to think of yourself as a thinner person than you used to be is VERY difficult to do. While everyone around you compliments you on how skinny you have become or how proud they are of you that you have kept your weight off, somehow that message has a hard time making its way into the brain of the person who lost the weight. We're our own worst enemy!

This lifelong journey is not just about keeping the weight off that has been lost, but also convincing ourselves that we are different than we were before. I still struggle with feelings of being fat from time to time because of the excess hanging skin that I still have in my abdomen and inner thighs. But I don't let those feelings get me down or cause me to eat my troubles away. Nope! Instead, I'll hit the gym and get in a nice 30-45 minute workout to ease the stress and do my body good.

How you handle the mental tests that inevitably come after weight loss will determine if you are a long-term weight loss success or if the pressure becomes so great that you fall back into your old habits again. Don't say you haven't been warned about the tests that are coming. Ready yourself now for these challenges that await you so you can overcome them when they come to destroy all the hard work you have invested. Trust me when I say this: YOU WILL OVERCOME! 

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