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Friday, August 3, 2007

Expectation Letdown Fatigue


Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!

8 minutes a Day to a Slimmer, Sexier You!

Fab Abs by Wiggling Your Toes for 2 Minutes a Day...Not Vigorously, Of Course!

Magazines with headlines like these really irk me. False promises like these are a main cause of what I like to call, expectation letdown fatigue.

Jane Wannabefit makes a decision that swimsuit season is just around the corner. She's put on a few pounds since last year, and it's got to go. The problem is, it's July and she's got to act quickly. Standing in the checkout line at the local Grab 'n Go, lo and behold, like an angelic gift from the heavens, out from the magazine rack jumps the headline, "Lindsay Lohan loses 10 pounds in 10 days! Find out how she did it!" What good fortune, it just so happens Jane's got 10 pounds to lose and only 10 days to do it in. Three point nine five smack-a-roos later, Jane has taken her first steps into fitness nirvana. Now the article, more often than not, is pure drivel, but this time Jane is lucky...the article actually contains a good plan for eating and exercise. She follows the plan perfectly for 10 days. Finally, she gets on the scale for the moment of truth. TWO POUNDS! She's only lost two pounds in ten days and she couldn't be more disappointed. What did she do wrong? It must be bad genetics.

The problem with this scenario is that is happens all the time. Even if the article contains good information, the results never meet expectations because all of the magazine articles exaggerate what is possible. Two pounds in a ten day time frame is a great result! It is a healthy, sustainable rate of weight loss. There is so much misinformation out there about weight loss that folks who make good progress give up because they are led to believe that they are making unacceptable progress. A few cycles of failed crash dieting with unrealistic expectations and Jane simply throws in the towel and begins to accept the (wrong) belief that she just wasn't born to be fit. The result...expectation letdown fatigue.

What is considered a healthy rate of weight loss?

As a guideline, you should not be losing more that 1.5 pounds per week. If you are losing weight at a rate greater than this, you are losing lots of muscle and not much fat. If you do manage to starve yourself down to your goal weight, the result won't be a "toned" you, but a smaller version of you still with too much fat.

So what do you think? Do you buy those magazines in the hopes that they will contain the magic formula for weight loss, some newly rediscovered, ancient secret that kept the Mayans thin? Or while waiting in line at the checkout counter do you skip over the gossip rags because you're too busy telling your kid for the 10th time, no, he cannot have a candy bar?!

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