Friday, May 4, 2012

How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off: You Can Do It

Wilma Goodfellow over at The Prozac Monologues has been writing a series of posts about the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in general, and particularly in the mentally ill.  She herself recently decided to lose weight.  Last week's post was about how to "reprogram" yourself to do it.  I highly recommend it (and the rest of the series) to anyone who's trying to get healthy.  You will learn not just about how to lose weight, but the mechanisms that cause overeating and overweight in the first place.

In her first post in the series, she quotes from the CIA World Fact Book that the United States ranks 50th in the world in terms of life expectancy.  Now that's something to be proud of, right?  Right?

Among the severely mentally ill, the figures are far, far worse: we have an average life expectancy of someone in Sudan.  To refresh your memory about Sudan, the last decade has brought them civil war, genocide, and famine.

These numbers are due to several factors.  Many of the drugs we take cause us to gain weight, or cause us to crave food (lookin' at you, Lexapro!).  Many of us also face inadequate medical care; we don't have access to nutritionists, dietitians, or physical trainers that can help us lose weight.  Goodfellow's series shows us that weight loss is still possible.

As they say, weight loss isn't easy.  To sustain it, you need to change your lifestyle, and change it permanently.  Sound hard?  It is.  Three years ago I lost 60 lbs, because I was 33 years old and already developing back and knee problems.  It was a struggle, but it was worth it -- both in terms of my current quality of life, and the extra 15 years I may have because of it.

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