Question:  I have read the book, re-read parts, and implemented the techniques but the scale is not budging.  I have stayed within the same 2 pounds for at least 3 months – even with exercising 5-6 days per week and cutting my calories.  I am afraid the answer may be to accept this weight and call it maintenance because I cannot see adding more exercise or decreasing calories as I am already doing what I think is the most I can.  BUT- I am not totally comfortable at this weight and I only have about 10 pounds to lose to be at my ideal weight.  Any feedback would be appreciated. 

Answer: I first want to tell you about our concept of ‘ideal weight’ – it’s the weight that you get down to when you’re eating and exercising in a healthy way that you can maintain.   Now this weight may not the weight of your thinnest friend, it may not be the weight you were at in college, and it almost definitely isn’t the weight of the celebrities we see on television.  In our minds, your ideal weight is the weight that you can get down to and stay at, not the weight that you can get down to, then gain some weight back, then work on losing it again, then gaining it back again.  We just don’t believe that it’s worth getting down to a weight that you ultimately can’t maintain (by either exercising or eating in a way that is not sustainable) because you’ll just gain it back and then feel very discouraged.

It’s also important to know that most people, when they lose weight, get down to what we call their lowest achievable weight. However, most people don’t stay there! They eventually end up relaxing their habits just a bit and gaining a few pounds back and end up leveling off at we call their lowest maintainable weight.  Their lowest achievable weight is probably not their lowest maintainable weight because it would require intense focus on their eating and exercise. 

 Without knowing the specifics of your situation, it sounds like you likely are right around your ideal weight (in the way we define it), and at either your lowest achievable or lowest maintainable weight – it’s hard to tell at this point.  Remember, losing weight is basically a matter of calories in and calories out.  So could you lose more weight? Of course you could if you cut your calories really low and/or exercised an abnormally high amount.  But those things are never maintainable, so it’s not worth it because the only thing that will happen is you’ll get down to a weight that you can’t maintain.

 All this being said, it doesn’t mean you have to be at all unhappy with where you are now.  In fact, you should be extremely proud of yourself for the weight you did lose and for all of the hard work and dedication you put into it. Instead of focusing on the 10 pounds you didn’t lose, think instead about all of the weight you did lose. Even if you’re not quite at the weight you wanted to get down to starting out, think about what life was like at your higher weight and before you really gained control over your eating. My guess is that life is different and better now in so many ways.  Do you feel better about yourself? Are you fitting into more clothes? Are you happier with what you see in the mirror?  Can you do more activities and/or do them more easily?  Are you less self-conscious? Do you have fewer aches and pains?  Is your health at all improved?  Do you feel less at the mercy of hunger and cravings? Do you no longer fear going into situations in which there will be a lot of tempting food? Do you feel better about your ability to exercise?

Likely you’ve already experienced many benefits of losing weight, and it’s important to recognize them.  You can also ask yourself:  How would my life really be different if I lost another 10 pounds? Would the differences be so significant?  Is it possible that I’m already experiencing many of the things I wanted to achieve, even though the number on the scale isn’t what I initially had in mind?  It sounds like it may be worth working on changing your concept of your own ideal weight, feeling proud about where you are, and move forward appreciating all the wonderful changes that have come about as a result of losing weight.