The Right Way to Fight Fat Creep

It’s no secret that America has a problem with weight gain. But according to a new Reader’s Digest and Yahoo! Health poll, when it comes to losing weight, many Americans are going about it all wrong.

By Lauren Gelman
The Right Way to Fight Fat Creep© Hemera/ThinkstockFat creep is catching up with all of us, but there are easy steps you can take to avoid it.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked in the mirror and noticed bumps and lumps that seemed to show up overnight—a muffin top rolling over your jeans, or back fat bulging out of your bra. More than 80 percent of women and 70 percent of men say they’ve gained weight in the last 10 years, and 17 percent of people blame it on sneaky fat creep, according to a new survey from Yahoo! Health and Reader’s Digest. Reader’s Digest just published The Digest Diet, a healthy-eating plan designed to help you release fat and slim down quickly and safely.

Related: What Is the Digest Diet? »

For most of us, fat creep is due to a series of little things: Small shifts away from self-care, which over time add up to a bigger you. Maybe it came from moving a little less (your commute turned from a walk into a car ride). Maybe it came from eating a little more (you began to eat dessert every night instead of once or twice a week). Or maybe it came from gaining a pound here and there during special occasions or vacations, then never quite taking them off.

Related: 13 Foods That Release Fat »

What’s more, it seems that America is becoming more accepting of fat creep. In perhaps a sign of these troubled economic times, 78 percent of survey respondents would rather gain an extra 10 pounds than take on an extra $10,000 in debt. And some are willing to gain even more: 46 percent said they’d gain 50 extra pounds instead of that $10,000 debt!

America’s Main Motivations for Beating Fat Creep

Some 70 percent of our survey respondents said getting or feeling healthy was their main motivation for losing weight, 54 percent said they wanted more energy, 30 percent wanted to feel younger, and 28 percent said their doctor recommended they shed pounds.

Social motivations loom large too: 54 percent of those surveyed said they wanted to lose weight to be more attractive and 41 percent said “seeing a really bad picture of myself” drove them to want to slim down.

Which is better? Well, there’s a subtle but distinct difference between wanting to lose weight and loathing the weight we have. Too many dieters think of their bodies as the enemy, and they wind up cycling through an endless loop of deprivation, success, and retreat as they fall back into the self-loathing habits and behaviors that got them into trouble in the first place.

What successful dieters—the people who lose weight and keep it off—have in common is that they love and respect their bodies, excess fat and all. They think of their bodies as sacred and worthy of respect, attention, and love. And research shows they are more successful at staying motivated and at losing weight long-term.

Related: 8 Habits of Successful ‘Losers’ »

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