Thursday, April 19, 2018
Features and More

Lighter approach to losing weight can do the trick

There are many reasons people fail at weight-loss attempts. But many of my patients admit that their biggest problem is this: They cannot keep the commitment they made to themselves.

They may start a new diet and exercise plan, and even feel psyched to lose weight. Yet they give up, regain the lost weight (plus a few more defeating pounds) and have to start all over again. That is, whenever they can muster the emotional energy to renew their commitment.

Millions of people lose millions of pounds each year but fail to maintain the healthy lifestyle that lasts for life. Why is that?

Perhaps too much focus is put on the weight-loss portion of the equation, rather than the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve long-term success. Watching the numbers drop on the scale is exciting; keeping them down may not be.

But just being tired of the roller coaster doesn't mean you know how to stay off it.

This type of commitment requires a few important steps:

• Easy does it: Diets cause weight loss, not the means to maintain that weight loss. That's especially true for rigid, quirky diets. Nobody can subsist on cabbage soup or boiled eggs indefinitely. Sooner or later, the dieter falls back on the behaviors that led to the weight gain in the first place.

So make sure you enjoy the food you'll be eating and the exercise you'll be doing during your weight loss, because you should plan on doing it (with minor variations) for the rest of your life. After all, who wants to waste time on something that's destined to fail?

• Roll through the rough spots: Rough spots are a part of life, so we need to accept that fact if we want to stay committed to our fitness intentions. Difficulties are inevitable; the question is how we deal with them. Be realistic and do the best you can while remaining as relaxed as possible. The tough times will pass and you can get back to normal soon.

• Bench the judge: Let go of harsh judgment about your performance with weight loss and fitness. Punishing yourself is the quickest way to get derailed and lose commitment. Focus on praising yourself for your efforts and achievements.

• Be real: There's no room for perfectionistic expectations in life because life isn't perfect. So, trying to be perfect at weight goals is a waste of time and will only get in your way. If goals and expectations are realistic, staying committed becomes possible.

• Be a perpetual student: We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Therefore, we shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes or to face them. People who ignore mistakes tend to repeat them more than those who try to learn from them. The key is to own your mistakes, not beat yourself up over them. The art of commitment involves studying mistakes in order to reduce them in the future.

In the end, commitment to a healthy lifestyle is like commitment to a good marriage. A good marriage isn't perfect. But the positives outweigh the negatives, and should be the focus. Difficulties need to be addressed in a constructive manner in order for the marriage to stay healthy and for the partners to stay committed — happily.

Being committed to a fit life is not supposed to look perfect either. It has its ups and downs, but by accepting those and continuing on, we can maintain the commitment.

Commitment is also not about willpower.

It's about sensible, logical thinking about ourselves, and our behaviors. It's about staying relaxed and positive, learning from experience and focusing on getting better rather than being perfect. This kind of commitment is possible, enjoyable, and it can last a lifetime.

Lavinia Rodriguez, Ph.D., is a Tampa psychologist and expert in weight management. She is the author of "Mind Over Fat Matters: Psychological Barriers to Weight Management."

Comments
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline?One last pun, just for fun.It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish.Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the Times’ movie ...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Published: 04/18/18
Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

TERRA GAUCHATerra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, a classic churrascaria-style Brazilian meatery — you know, where the guys in South American cowboy attire walk around with the swords of meat until you capitulate in a carnivorous haze — has opened a loc...
Published: 04/18/18
This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

This is a week to spring clean instead of hitting a movie theater.

It’s a spring cleaning weekend at multiplexes, with studios vacuuming every dollar from current releases before the Avengers and Amy Schumer drop in next week. If you’ve seen A Quiet Place, Ready Player One and Black Panther, this is probably a good ...
Published: 04/18/18
Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

Desi Oakley savors pie making in ‘Waitress,’ orchestra does Verdi’s Requiem

HEAD WAITRESS: DESI OAKLEYThe blue collar mother who drives the plot of Waitress never thought she could win a pie-making contest, let alone start a business."She doesn’t even have the capacity to understand that she could do this," said Desi Oakley,...
Published: 04/18/18
We critique the best and worst brands of sparkling water

We critique the best and worst brands of sparkling water

Sparkling water, much like when you shake it before opening, has exploded in the United States the past few years. The fervor for fizzy water has soft echoes of the meteoric rise of bottled water during the early 2000s, just with more pastels perfect...
Published: 04/18/18
How much water do I need? Plus, other H20 facts

How much water do I need? Plus, other H20 facts

Okay, really, how much water do we need? The Mayo Clinic says there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this because of differences in exercise, environment, overall health and factors like pregnancy or breast-feeding. The National Academies of Science...
Published: 04/18/18
A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

BROOKSVILLEThey brought it in glass carboys, in jars, in 2-liter bottles. It stacked up at the entrance to the auditorium, some of it just slightly murky but most of it crystal clear.Water. For more than 15 years the members of Region IV Florida Sect...
Published: 04/18/18
Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Whenever I fly, I pay way too much for food. I’ve stumbled jet-lagged into fancy wine booths and nearly bankrupted myself with cheese plates. I’ve purchased granola bars that cost more than my plane ticket (okay, maybe it just felt that way). If you’...
Published: 04/18/18