William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States, battled obesity constantly during his lifetime. A recent New York Times article discusses his struggles.
What struck me first was the title, “In Struggle with Weight a Century Ago, a Diet From Today”. Not much has changed in the world of dieting during the last century.
Working with a personal trainer, then called a “physical culture man”, and a personal physician, Taft had no better long term success than many dieters today. He followed the all-too-familiar cyclical pattern of starving and giving up that so many people still try in their desperate quest for quick weight loss.
He was constantly hungry on his low-fat diet that included small lean meals that would leave even a small person constantly craving. When will we learn? Constant discomfort is not sustainable! Your body will kick back, and the psychological effects are often even more devastating. A lifetime of food obsession is no way to live, yet this is what happens when the human body is denied enough food to feel alive and well.
Quick weight loss understandably feels good when looking at the scale, but anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it off will have to work with their body, not against it. Subtle changes, refining eating habits, and listening with curiosity to messages the body sends: these are the tools that will allow the best possible outcome.
It doesn’t matter if you are a US President or Oprah Winfrey. The human body will not cooperate with this craziness.