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Robaxin (Methocarbamol)

If you’ve never had to diet to slim down, you really are exceptional. Medical surveys show that more than half of all Americans have tried dieting at least once to drop poundage. Many have succeeded, too-only to regain the weight. At this moment, spurred on by the millions of newspapers, magazines, and books that constantly promote diets, 40 percent of the nation’s women and 20 percent of its men are struggling to lose weight and keep it off. Keeping it off is the issue.
There are all sorts of diets. They range from simply counting calories to very low-calorie liquid diets to heat-and-eat, portion-controlled, low-fat meals. And with them, almost everyone can take off weight-for a while.
For example: In 1983, at the University of Pennsylvania, three effective weight loss methods-a very low-calorie liquid diet, behavior therapy, and a combination of the two-were tested by Dr. Albert Stunkard and Dr. Thomas Wadden. Subjects using either method alone lost large amounts of weight. Those who combined methods lost even more. But, within 3 years, each regained all the weight lost, and then some.
For most people trying permanently to shed at least 30 pounds, dieting is probably futile. Conceding this has led many overweight persons to join a growing “non-diet” movement and raise the cry, “No more diets! Accept me as I am.” Some have joined the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. The group’s chief, Sally E. Smith, says of its goals, “We’re trying to end discrimination and to help fat people demand and make use of their rights.”
Jill Fuller, 40, of Denver, says that, having tried them all, she won’t follow diet programs anymore. She is 5 feet 10 and “thinks” she weighs 300 pounds (she avoids the scales). For more than 20 years, hers was the “yo-yo” diet/weight syndrome typical of most obese men and women: If she was dieting, her weight dropped down; if not, it bounced up.
“Yo-yo dieting had destroyed my metabolism,” she says. “My body didn’t know if I was fasting or feasting.”
Now, with a new lifestyle, Ms. Fuller is slowly losing weight. She eats foods low in fat-30 grams or less daily. She does not count calories and eats as much as she wants. She walks her dogs at least a mile a day and says she opts for stairs over elevators.
“A couple of years ago, when I weighed 350 pounds,” she says, “I decided to stop dieting. Since then, I’ve been eating low-fat foods. I think I’ve lost 40 pounds-I don’t know. I probably will level out at 240 pounds. I feel really good.”
By not aiming for the weight that insurance tables term “ideal” for her, Ms. Fuller may be on the mark. Some suspect that the “yo-yo” pattern might lead to diabetes, arthritis, heart problems, even cancer.
O. Wayne Wooley, as co-director of the eating disorders clinic at the University of Cincinnati, knows uncontrolled eaters intimately. He says erratic dieting is unhealthier than excess poundage and adds, “After a failure, it takes twice as long to lose the same amount of weight, but only half as long to regain it.” Our bodies, he says, were designed to hang onto fat to survive as cave dwellers.
Dr. Stunkard points out that, prehistorically, humans burned calories while hunting and foraging for food. Now, we sit and devour unneeded food, our bodies store unused calories, and we gain weight. Then we diet to lose it. This works at first. But eventually, after prolonged dieting, the body burns fat slowly (to avoid starvation), and losing weight gets increasingly harder.
So, is dieting all for naught?
“No,” says Dr. George Blackburn. “There’s a lot of hope. Dieting may not take off 50 to 100 pounds, but it certainly will take off 10 to 20 pounds.”

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