Watching Weight

Photo by Alina Yu

A few weeks ago, as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, senior Megan Cline made several resolutions: to maintain good grades, clean her room at some point, grow closer to her family and, first and foremost, to lose weight.

“For a long time I’ve felt that my weight wasn’t exactly the healthiest for someone my size. So this year, before I go off to college, my goal is to lose at least 30 pounds by April, which is when my birthday is,” Cline said.

Cline isn’t the only one looking to lose weight in the new year; according to a study by Statistics Brain, losing weight and eating healthier are the most common New Year’s resolutions for 2017.

Heather Fink, a dietician at Nutrition and Wellness Solutions in Carmel, said this is often because people perceive New Year’s as an opportunity for a clean slate.

“I think most people find that it’s the time of year for a fresh start. And that they (people who make losing weight their resolution) are wanting to change things up and improve themselves in whatever way. And the concept of a New Year’s resolution lends itself nicely to starting fresh, and starting with a new routine and new goal,” Fink said.

However, research shows that losing weight is also the most commonly broken New Year’s resolution. In 2012, Time revealed that 60 percent of gym memberships created during New Year’s go unused, and despite overcrowding in gyms during January, gym attendance usually returns to normal in February.

Fink said she attributes this to overeagerness and an unnecessary sense of urgency when it comes to losing weight. As a result, people quickly lose motivation and are unable to accomplish their goal.

“The biggest thing is they make dramatic changes quickly that end up not being sustainable. So they can do it for a week, a month, or whatever, but they can’t do it for the rest of their life. And so then they go back to their old ways and they re-gain the weight,” Fink said. “We have to put our arms around the idea that weight loss should be slow. I usually recommend a half pound per week, up to no more than two pounds per week in terms of the rate that people are losing weight.”

Photo by Alina Yu

It’s a lesson Cline has learned after a few short-lived attempts at weight loss in the past, none of which lasted more than two months. So this time, she decided to lose weight with a friend in order to make the change more permanent and to keep her focused throughout the entire experience.

“It’s for motivating each other, because we both want to lose weight, and she thought it would be better if we both did it at the same time so we wouldn’t give up while the other one goes on,” Cline said. “I found it really helpful, because there are days when I feel like giving up on the regiment and then my friend goes, ‘hey, let’s go walk around the neighborhood for a little bit’ and then it puts me back into the mood. I feel like, with somebody by my side, it’s much easier to actually complete it, instead of just giving up when I’m on my own.”

It’s also a lesson sophomore Victoria “Tori” Moss learned after ordering diet pills online as a surprise for a friend. Shortly after the purchase Moss learned that her debit card had been used for a 12 dollar purchase in China, and the items she had bought were not only non-refundable, but also cost $50 per month unless she shipped them back immediately.

“I saw an ad online, and looking back, it was probably more of a fake news article than an actual ad, but I thought that the source seemed reliable,” Moss said. “I probably should’ve been wiser to it, because there’s been so many diet pills and other scams out there, but it said it came from some exotic fruit so that seemed more reliable. Just like something made out of a laboratory. But it was basically like a Miracle Pill or something like that.”

Again, Fink said she believes this is due to people being too impatient when they first begin losing weight.

“Of course everyone wants to lose 30 pounds and they would like if it could happen by next week. And it should not happen that way, and we cannot expect it to. But people get sucked in with these great promises from these different products. Of ‘effortless weight loss, it will just peel off of you, and you won’t even have to do any exercise’. So we need to give up the idea that weight loss is going to be effortless,” Fink said.

Cline reflected these views, and said she advises anyone trying to lose weight to take their time and make a real change.

“Do it slowly, so that it’s healthy for your body instead of rapidly losing weight,” Cline said. “Pick something that you’ll actually enjoy to help you lose weight, instead of something that you’ll end up hating later on. And keep your end goal in mind, and how glad you’ll be when you actually reach that point, instead of giving up when you don’t see result immediately, because it takes a little bit of time for you to get the results that you want.”

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Alanna Wu