Dampening the Oscillations

Like many people, my weight fluctuates. I’ve never had a major medical problem related to my weight, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stay where I want to be.   Over the last couple of years my pants gradually grew tighter, until February when I decided to make a change. Something clicked, and I thought, I am not buying new pants and I decided to lose an inch.

Through a combination of portion control, better meal choices, and reduced snacking I lost about a pound a week for three months. I weighed myself every morning, stayed focused on my goal, and continued my regular exercise schedule.   Ending my late evening snack habit was the hardest part, but it worked. The total was about 13 pounds or so, which is about 1½ inches off my waistline.

Now comes the hard part, maintenance. It’s been several months since I achieved the targeted result and I can see the old habits returning. Unhealthy snacks at work and in the evenings are starting to creep back into my routine. I’ve been eating out more and not always choosing healthy options or portions. Hmm… How long will it be before my pants are tight again?

Good question. It’s probably not realistic to think it won’t happen again since it has happened before. This is just how it is for many people. We oscillate. The weight goes down for a while then the weight climbs back up again. You workout regularly for months at a time, and then you fall off the wagon and turn back into a couch potato for a season. Eventually you begin to exercise again. This same concept applies to many areas of life – overcommitted vs. bored, cluttered vs. orderly, flush vs. broke, etc.

How can we end this back-and-forth, up-and-down cycle that seems endless? Some give in and give up. (Let’s not do that.)

Some people have a “conversion” experience that seems to fix them once and for all, but that appears to be rare.

I’m trying to recognize the oscillations as normal and work within the cycle rather than fight it, sort of like jiu-jitsu in which the goal is to redirect the opponent’s force. Can I dampen the cycles?

Perhaps I am already doing that without thinking about it. The first time I ever chose to lose weight about 30 lbs needed to come off. When it happened again years later the target required 20-25 lbs. This time it was only 13 lbs. And my exercise has been reasonable consistent for over ten years now. I’ve had ups and downs in intensity but haven’t quit in that time.

What throws me off track? Typically I think it’s my emotional state. Stress, anxiety, boredom are the enemies of healthy behaviors. As you know, I’m working on better managing my stress level and all of my emotions.

So I’m going to place more focus on being aware of the cycles and their drivers, asking myself questions like, How am I feeling about myself and my life right now? What stress am I under? What’s motivating me from day-to-day? How is that translating into my health habits? Do I need to make a change? Hopefully with awareness, I can make small changes early to dampen the oscillation and stay where I want to be.

What do you think?


  1. Tonya Hollowell says:

    Hi Dr. Weiss –

    Not sure if you remember me or not, but I work at HFHP in the Quality Department. A co-worker forwarded me one of your posts and I have signed up to receive them regularly.

    I find them very interesting and thought provoking and I appreciate your honesty with your struggles and continual desire to improve yourself as well as others, with God being the ultimate guide.

    Tonya 🙂

    • Peter Weiss says:

      Thank you Tonya. Of course I remember you, and I’m glad that you are enjoying the blog. I am trying to be honest and put my thoughts out there (without “over-sharing”) because I believe that is the best way for me to help others. So far so good.

      Pete 🙂