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If you have permanently lost weight, what was the deciding factor that gave you the determination to do it?


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I guess I’m looking for motivation.  I had lost about 12 lbs, but this summer was crazy, with a move and all the work that entails, plus a new job for me and new schools for half my kids, thrown in for good measure.  I really need to lose about 25 lbs AND KEEP IT OFF.

If you have done this or something similar (the amount of weight doesn’t matter, as long as it is significant to you and took sustained effort), what made you decide to do it (& what have you the determination to stick to it when it was hard)One thing I know about myself is that I really need a reason to do what I do.  I’d like to come up with as many convincing reasons as I can that I need to make my health a priority. 

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It probably won’t help you, but for me it was the fact that my DH had a medical scare with this heart and got super serious about losing weight and exercising. I didn’t want him to be all thin and sleek while I wasn’t.  

I used the LoseIt app to count calories and that worked for me. Counting calories doesn’t work for everyone, though. 

DH was motivated by his heart scare. It’s been 2 years and he still takes a power walk through the neighborhood at least 5 days out of 7. He uses his LoseIt app to make sure he’s not accidentally overeating.  And I think he’s so happy with the results that the results are what continue to motivate him. For the first time in his life, he has been enjoying clothes shopping.  He wears a size medium now and has a mostly flat tummy.  He likes the way he looks.

That’s what continues to motivate me. I like the way clothes fit me better now, too, so I am motivated not to overeat and therefore maintain the lost weight. It’s become a bit of vanity for both of us!  But just a little bit.  Just enough to say, “Ok, I am not ashamed of my weight now and I don’t want to go back to that feeling, so I’ll skip the big bowl of potato chips for tonight. I’ll just eat 10 or so and be done.”  (But only if there’s room for the calories per the app.)

 

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Hmm...my biggest motivations to keep the weight off are that I really like my clothes and don't want too outgrow them, I enjoy the confidence I feel at this weight, and I like the way I feel in my own body at this weight if that makes sense.  Someone here wrote about "thin privilege" a long time ago.  I had never heard that term before, but it stuck with me and it's something I think about a lot and appreciate in my smaller body.  It's hard sometimes and I gain weight when we travel, during the holidays, or when my adult kids are home, but I always go back to my normal exercise/eating routine immediately after and the weight comes off.  

Maintenance is actually easier for me than losing the weight.  When I'm heavier, it's so easy for me to say to myself, "What's another pound at this point" or "what's another day before getting back on track?"  But when I'm maintaining, I know I have to stay disciplined to keep seeing the number on the scale I want to see and the body fat to stay away.  I do have a lot of trouble once I "cheat" - it's a trigger to binge, but I've struggled with eating disorders for my entire life so that might not be an issue for most people.  

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I may not be the best motivator, but I’ve made a bit of a middle ground in my mind.  Health and weight are not completely synonymous. So, while I do check my weight here and there, even frequently every few months or so, I don’t have a number goal.

I think I qualify as “permanently” keeping ten pounds off at this point, and that’s mostly because my body REALLY doesn’t feel good with those extra ten pounds.  I fluctuate on another 20 and don’t feel terrific when I’ve got ‘em, but not as miserable as before.

In my absolute best physical adult shape, I was 10-15lbs over the charts. And I don’t just mean my personal best, but truly good overall fitness, bloodwork, energy, diet, and clothing fit. So numbers can, for the most part, kiss my tushy.

Though I’m not always (and definitely not currently) there, when I am, my motivation is the awesome things my body can do and the great way it feels.

The one time in my adult life that I fell smack in the middle of the “acceptable” numbers range, I felt like garbage and people thought I was sick.  I kind of was, since my nutrition and muscle tone were bad.

For me, health is definitely not reflected on a scale.

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5 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Can  I  turn this around?  I found a healthy way of eating that suited me, so that when times get hard,  I mostly  don’t feel the impulse to eat otherwise. I sometimes have to adjust a bit but it basically works.

I’m not sure I completely understand, @Laura Corin.  Is this it?— Your way of eating is so satisfying to you that eating “off plan” really isn’t a temptation.  

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6 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I may not be the best motivator, but I’ve made a bit of a middle ground in my mind.  Health and weight are not completely synonymous. So, while I do check my weight here and there, even frequently every few months or so, I don’t have a number goal.

I think I qualify as “permanently” keeping ten pounds off at this point, and that’s mostly because my body REALLY doesn’t feel good with those extra ten pounds.  I fluctuate on another 20 and don’t feel terrific when I’ve got ‘em, but not as miserable as before.

In my absolute best physical adult shape, I was 10-15lbs over the charts. And I don’t just mean my personal best, but truly good overall fitness, bloodwork, energy, diet, and clothing fit. So numbers can, for the most part, kiss my tushy.

Though I’m not always (and definitely not currently) there, when I am, my motivation is the awesome things my body can do and the great way it feels.

The one time in my adult life that I fell smack in the middle of the “acceptable” numbers range, I felt like garbage and people thought I was sick.  I kind of was, since my nutrition and muscle tone were bad.

For me, health is definitely not reflected on a scale.

I totally get this.  I’m really not after some magical number.  I ALWAYS weigh more than I “should.”   The target weights on weight tables are not sustainable for me.  I think losing 20-25 lbs from where I am now will get me back to where I both feel and look better. 

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5 minutes ago, hopeistheword said:

I’m not sure I completely understand, @Laura Corin.  Is this it?— Your way of eating is so satisfying to you that eating “off plan” really isn’t a temptation.  

More or less.  There are lots of different ways of eating (intermittent fasting, low carb, Mediterranean) that can be healthy and can also lead to weight loss/maintenance.  The key is to find something that is satisfying long-term to you, so you don't feel constrained all the time.  I eat roughly South Beach, but on the veggie/pescatarian side of that (lots of tofu, beans and fish).  I really love the food.  Every now and then, I'll eat something different, but I don't spend every day yearning for other things, or feeling deprived.

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6 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

More or less.  There are lots of different ways of eating (intermittent fasting, low carb, Mediterranean) that can be healthy and can also lead to weight loss/maintenance.  The key is to find something that is satisfying long-term to you, so you don't feel constrained all the time.  I eat roughly South Beach, but on the veggie/pescatarian side of that (lots of tofu, beans and fish).  I really love the food.  Every now and then, I'll eat something different, but I don't spend every day yearning for other things, or feeling deprived.

Thanks for clarifying! I actually think this would work for me, if only I didn’t crave sugar as one of my major food groups! 🤣

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5 minutes ago, hopeistheword said:

Thanks for clarifying! I actually think this would work for me, if only I didn’t crave sugar as one of my major food groups! 🤣

My recommendation would be to go cold turkey on sugar for a few weeks or a month, including artificial sweeteners, fruit and everything.  At the end of the time, you will probably find that your taste buds have altered.  South Beach has a Phase 1 that lasts a couple of weeks that does that.  I think that Whole Thirty does that too, but it's more extreme, giving up several food groups - which has never appealed to me.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I think you have to be in a mental space where you can handle it.   You need mental resources to lose weight and eat better.   I don't think it's good to justify being overweight by saying you are too busy or whatever.   But, I also think there are times in life where you are just overwhelmed, and simply not GAINING weight is a real accomplishment.    

This summer I've lost a lot of the weight I've been trying to lose since I had my dd.   Part of it was just from anxiety, which isn't healthy.   But, part of it was being done homeschooling my dd and finally having some energy to put towards it.   I having been paying more attention to what I am eating, when I am eating for emotional reasons, and getting plenty of exercise.   And frankly, until this summer I didn't have the mental capacity to devote to it.   I don't know if that sounds like a cop-out, but after years of berating myself it's become clear I couldn't do it until NOW.   

I don't know if that helps at all.

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Zebra said:

I think you have to be in a mental space where you can handle it.   You need mental resources to lose weight and eat better.   I don't think it's good to justify being overweight by saying you are too busy or whatever.   But, I also think there are times in life where you are just overwhelmed, and simply not GAINING weight is a real accomplishment.    

This summer I've lost a lot of the weight I've been trying to lose since I had my dd.   Part of it was just from anxiety, which isn't healthy.   But, part of it was being done homeschooling my dd and finally having some energy to put towards it.   I having been paying more attention to what I am eating, when I am eating for emotional reasons, and getting plenty of exercise.   And frankly, until this summer I didn't have the mental capacity to devote to it.   I don't know if that sounds like a cop-out, but after years of berating myself it's become clear I couldn't do it until NOW.   

I don't know if that helps at all.

 

 

I think the mental space and also mindset are what I’m really after.  I know HOW; it’s the WHY that keeps me motivated. 

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I lost 25 lbs in 2016, and have kept it off.   
 

I take steroids every day for Addison’s, have Hashimoto’s (thyroid), and PCOS.  Losing weight is a feat here.  If I’m not actively working on it, my weight inches up daily. I’ve always been on the small side, the weight gain came later in life for me, and losing it is hard, hard, hard.  I’m 49.  
 

The motivation at the start was not the same motivation that keeps me maintaining now.  Then, it was more along the lines of mental health. I want to be a happy, healthy mom for my kids, and a fun, energetic person for DH. I had a period of feeling down, and I didn’t want to spiral into depression.  I gave myself three weeks to exercise, use the eating plan my doc had recommended months before, and actually take all the supplements that she recommends.  I committed to sleeping enough, and taking care of my own needs.  And I told some friends what I was doing so they would keep me accountable.  At the end of the three weeks, if I still felt down - I was going to call the doc.  During this same initial  three week period, the kids and I did some things differently, too, we really shook up the schedule to make changes.

After about two weeks, I felt better.  Clear headed.  Refreshed.  And the scale was moving down! So I just kept going.

I used an app to track my food and exercise.  

I still have a few slight ups and downs. I weigh myself almost every morning, because the inevitable creep up is slow and insidious here, and I want to be aware so I can tighten up and use my food logging app till I’m back on track.

And ... importantly... I found an eating plan that I enjoy.  I like the food I eat, so it’s easier to stick with it.  Occasionally I’ll have something that’s off the plan, but for the most part ... I don’t want it. Ditto for exercise.  I found what I enjoy, so doing it isn’t a chore.

 

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

For me, health is definitely not reflected on a scale.

This is so true.  My nutrition is not good, but my diet keeps me thin.  

 

2 hours ago, hopeistheword said:

Your way of eating is so satisfying to you that eating “off plan” really isn’t a temptation.  

This is a must for me - I don't feel deprived with what I'm eating.  I enjoy everything I eat, which helps so much!  

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1 minute ago, Kassia said:

This is so true.  My nutrition is not good, but my diet keeps me thin.  

 

This is a must for me - I don't feel deprived with what I'm eating.  I enjoy everything I eat, which helps so much!  

What do you eat?

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1 minute ago, hopeistheword said:

Yes, I think so.  This was partly in jest—I need to strengthen my “not giving in” muscle.

LOL.  Ok.  Because I rarely eat sweets.  I gave up sugar and cream in my coffee several years ago.  For some inexplicable reason it just no longer tasted good.  And even now if I get a rare Starbucks sweet coffee I ask for half of the sugar or flavor because it gags me otherwise.  So my weakness is not sweets....it is chips and salsa and wine and delicious soups and just one more helping....I am following along here because I too would like to lose 10 pounds and I just can't seem to get motivated to do so.  

And my weight has always been the opposite of what you said....I have never been overweight according to the charts.  But these last 20 pounds I put on just make me feel terrible.  I was my happiest at 127.  But I would take 132 which would require 10 lbs to come off.

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21 minutes ago, Spryte said:

I lost 25 lbs in 2016, and have kept it off.   
 

I take steroids every day for Addison’s, have Hashimoto’s (thyroid), and PCOS.  Losing weight is a feat here.  If I’m not actively working on it, my weight inches up daily. I’ve always been on the small side, the weight gain came later in life for me, and losing it is hard, hard, hard.  I’m 49.  
 

The motivation at the start was not the same motivation that keeps me maintaining now.  Then, it was more along the lines of mental health. I want to be a happy, healthy mom for my kids, and a fun, energetic person for DH. I had a period of feeling down, and I didn’t want to spiral into depression.  I gave myself three weeks to exercise, use the eating plan my doc had recommended months before, and actually take all the supplements that she recommends.  I committed to sleeping enough, and taking care of my own needs.  And I told some friends what I was doing so they would keep me accountable.  At the end of the three weeks, if I still felt down - I was going to call the doc.  During this same initial  three week period, the kids and I did some things differently, too, we really shook up the schedule to make changes.

After about two weeks, I felt better.  Clear headed.  Refreshed.  And the scale was moving down! So I just kept going.

I used an app to track my food and exercise.  

I still have a few slight ups and downs. I weigh myself almost every morning, because the inevitable creep up is slow and insidious here, and I want to be aware so I can tighten up and use my food logging app till I’m back on track.

And ... importantly... I found an eating plan that I enjoy.  I like the food I eat, so it’s easier to stick with it.  Occasionally I’ll have something that’s off the plan, but for the most part ... I don’t want it. Ditto for exercise.  I found what I enjoy, so doing it isn’t a chore.

 

Well done!! Very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. Can I ask about the physical activity you do, and have done, to lose and then maintain your weight? 

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21 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Well done!! Very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. Can I ask about the physical activity you do, and have done, to lose and then maintain your weight? 


Thanks!

I started out running on a treadmill, because running was always my go-to exercise.  Running outside wasn’t an option for child care reasons.  C25K was my start. I set up a laptop and watched shows while running, shows I knew DH would not want to watch.

After about 6 months, I had to see a podiatrist - apparently I have a genetic toe issue, and running is out for me now.  

So I switched to an exercise bike.  At least 5 times a week, 30 - 60 mins, as time allows.  With some floor type stuff afterward on most days. I try to find a series on Netflix that keeps my interest, for days I’m not motivated - if I have a good show, sometimes I can make myself exercise even if I’m tired.

And ... (somewhat embarrassingly) Callanetics.  It’s old school, but I love Callanetics.  I do that 2 - 3 times a week after biking.  

Edited by Spryte
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I lost 25 pounds nearly 20 years ago. I put on the weight with the help of Depo and a new marriage and too much eating out. I then lost the weight of each of my 4 pregnancies 30-55#. The last time I developed Hashimotos thyroid disease and hormone issues, which was a bit of a roller coaster in getting appropriate treatment and getting too and staying in maintenance. What worked then that continued(s) working, realizing it isn't about a diet, it isn't a short term thing. This is about developing a lifestyle and habits you can keep. I counted calories the first time around and worked more on cooking food from scratch. So, I started packing healthy lunch and snacks with me so I wouldn't fall prey to fast food or bad choices from vending machines. I have counted calories off and on since then but mostly focused on eating whole foods. I followed a paleo diet for 10+ yrs. Even more restrictive diet at times to work on health issues but then found myself moving towards a less restrictive whole food diet and aiming towards incorporating more veg foods. With thyroid disease I don't feel as well eating so low carb. I do still eat treats. I eat dark chocolate near daily. I make different treats- like black bean brownies and chickpea blondies but use recipes with less sweetener (and have worked on adjusting my taste buds to like it less sweet). I exercise regularly. I've done different things over the years because it is more important that I keep moving than what I do, so if I get bored I change things up. Exercise isn't a huge factor in weight loss but is good for you anyway. I exercise as it too improves how one looks and feels and I want to be active as I age. Since we continually lose muscle as we age I always do some strength training, there are a lot of ways to build muscle though. It is hard to keep motivated with exercise at times, I find posting here is a huge help with accountability and a drive to keep doing something even if it isn't ideal. Keeping momentum going is much easier than starting new.

 

I'd also say keeping in maintenance range is now is also fueled by the fact that I'm in peri headed towards menopause, it is only going to get harder and I want to enter this time on the smaller side as the majority of women gain weight as they age (not just in the US but around the world). 

Edited by soror
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I have not permanently lost weight, and the only time I was really successful in the past was when I was basically on the verge of a nervous breakdown and just didn’t eat. 
But, I turned 50 a few months ago and basically decided I didn’t want to be out of shape. I might not be skinny again, but I could be healthy. So I started exercising 90 minutes a day. It has done so much for my mental health and my self confidence to be able to hike with my husband and bike with our friends. 
I have no idea If I’ve lost weight, because we threw out the scale. I would get so frustrated when I felt like I was doing so much work toward losing weight and there were no results. Then I’d say screw it, it’s not worth it. 
So now I exercise, it’s recordable, I can see my stamina improving, and I feel better, mentally and physically. Eventually I hope to see some noticeable physical changes because I like cute clothes😀But for now, this is working. 

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Agreeing with others that I changed my mindset.
I realized I was aging, losing my agility, not wanting to outgrow my clothes, wanting to hike easily with our family.
I began exercising to the point of hard sweat (like Couch to 5K) every single week day.
Recently, I switched to a big bowl of broccoli & zukes for supper 6x per week.
I don't eat a specific diet, but I don't ever get a 2nd helping (even at Tgiving, or church potlucks).
I just remind myself that I'm in a different (older) season of life & I need to guard my health.

Also a big thumbs up to the mental, emotional & spiritual boost I continue to get from daily "hard sweat" exercise.
I TRULY was just trying Not To Gain Weight . . . and that goal was sufficient.

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Parental health issues motivate me. I was trying to drop 10 pounds when my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (she died 3 months later). My kids were still small, and I just decided that I needed to be healthy for them. I was stuck at a certain weight, but it was much easier to drop a few more pounds that summer (I'm sure the stress helped too). But I kept it off for years. Now my dad had a heart attack last month and coronary bypass surgery. I know I have high cholesterol genetically. I'm tweaking things now to optimize heart health--I don't want to have bypass surgery ever.

Edited by Ali in OR
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Health was the motivator for me - seeing older relatives and their myriad of health problems (diabetes, dementia, heart disease, & many others) after a lifetime of eating the standard American diet. Dh and I decided we did not want to go down that same path, so I started reading and studying all the nutritional information I could get my hands on. Came to the conclusion that the problems were sugar, artificial sweeteners, animal products, and processed crap. We got rid of all of those and have been eating a whole food plant based diet for a few years now. We both lost weight right away and have kept it off and feel great.

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2 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

The hard sweat level of exercise is especially important for those of us who have the MTHFR mutation. 

Yes!  
 

I don’t know that it impacted my weight loss, but one of the supplements that I started taking in earnest was because of the MTHFR mutation.  I suspect it helped me exercise more/better because I feel differently when on it.  And then the exercise probably helped.  So a spiral of positives.  

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9 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

The hard sweat level of exercise is especially important for those of us who have the MTHFR mutation. 

Talk to me more about this.  How do you know you have it (genetic testing, yes?), but how did you know enough to even get tested?

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6 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Yes!  
 

I don’t know that it impacted my weight loss, but one of the supplements that I started taking in earnest was because of the MTHFR mutation.  I suspect it helped me exercise more/better because I feel differently when on it.  And then the exercise probably helped.  So a spiral of positives.  

What supplement is this?

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9 minutes ago, hopeistheword said:

What supplement is this?

I take Boluoke.  I don’t know that it’s recommended for everyone with the MTHFR mutation.  DH and I both have MTHFR mutations, and doc has us both on it, but only after testing positive for hypercoagulation.  We both happen to have “sludgy blood.”  (Ewwww.) When I use it, I have more energy, fewer migraines, am more likely to exercise.  You might want to ask your doc though!  
 

Here’s a link:  https://www.researchednutritionals.com/product/boluoke-lumbrokinase-120-caps/

There are other supplements for MTHFR mutations, but I can’t take them all due to the Addison’s Disease.  

I also take a Thorne multi, and a myriad of others that are tailored to me.

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I have always eaten a plant based diet and healthy options within those (whole grains, cooking from scratch, eating salads, healthy fats, no junk food, zero fast food, no bottled beverages, vitamins and supplements, controlling what goes inside everything I cook etc etc). I am also relatively active and do a lot of physical labor intentionally because my job is sedentary and I don't want to develop diseases by sitting for 10-12 hour stretches.

The motivation to maintain my weight for me: I am active and feel depressed when I cannot be active. Gaining even 15 pounds makes it really hard for me to be active and as I headed towards my 40's which was the most difficult part of my life, the extra weight came with creaky joints, hip pain, back pain etc. The sensation of waking up with joints aching was jarring enough to make me lose weight. I am a witness to older relatives battling cancer, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, autoimmune disorders etc etc. Every conversation with them is a grim reminder that I should keep up my own good health to avoid a lot of those problems. I want to be independent and live a peaceful life for as long as possible. That is my motivation.

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I was determined not to gain weight during the COVID shut down.  That led to starting DDPYoga and weight loss.  I am now down 30# and counting.  I need the lose a total of 75+ so this will be a long journey

I have a friend that lost 106# in the year before she turned 50.  My goal was 25# by my 50th birthday and I met that.  Now I have another goal by the end of the year and one for spring.   They are modest goals of 1/2 pound or so a week....but ones I want to be sustainable.

I do DDPY with a modified old style Weight Watchers Points.  

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I can't claim to be part of the "and kept it off" crowd, but I have been steadily losing 1lb a month since January.  I know that sounds like a small amount, but at 5ft1in, I cannot have a huge calorie deficit.  My TDEE is only about 1400 calories.

BUT, I'm proud of that slow and steady progress.  I'm using a time-restriction method (early time-restricted eating, aka intermittent fasting).  But I had a big breakthrough at some point while reading the book How Not to Diet, by Michael Greger.  He addressed two of my mental pitfalls, almost as an afterthought in the book, just a few short paragraphs, but it really addressed my stumbling blocks.  

- the I've already gone off plan this far, may as well go crazy for the rest of the day/week/month/year.

- the "last meal" effect, where we decide we are dieting beginning Monday, and spend the weekend eating ourselves into a coma.  

I realized I fell into both of those traps frequently.  The other mental roadblock is that when I decided on IF as a method, I would then cook something for the rest of the family for dinner, decide it looked too good to pass up, and break my fasting window.  But since I'd already tried to pre-load calories by eating a generous breakfast and lunch, I ended up eating MORE than I would if I hadn't restricted at all.  Once I recognized that behavior pattern, I told myself, "If you really want ravioli/chips/xyz that bad, you can cook yourself some for breakfast or lunch tomorrow."  By the next day, the craving was completely gone, but on the rare occasions it is still there in the morning, I do indeed cook myself that item and eat it during my window.  Giving myself permission, but delaying gratification has worked great.  

 

None of that is meant to say that IF is the One Way- it certainly is not.  It's actually to say that analyzing the MENTAL roadblocks is as important as identifying the food temptations.  

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I am going into nursing and I decided both to protect my body and, tbh, to make me more marketable, I needed to lose about 40lb. I've gained about 5 of that back over quarantine but I'm determined not to fall back into old habits. I also REALLY notice how crappy I feel when I'm eating poorly. 

I've been sliding into some bad habits the last few weeks but I have a plan to turn it around.

 

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1 hour ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

I can't claim to be part of the "and kept it off" crowd, but I have been steadily losing 1lb a month since January.  I know that sounds like a small amount, but at 5ft1in, I cannot have a huge calorie deficit.  My TDEE is only about 1400 calories.

BUT, I'm proud of that slow and steady progress.  I'm using a time-restriction method (early time-restricted eating, aka intermittent fasting).  But I had a big breakthrough at some point while reading the book How Not to Diet, by Michael Greger.  He addressed two of my mental pitfalls, almost as an afterthought in the book, just a few short paragraphs, but it really addressed my stumbling blocks.  

- the I've already gone off plan this far, may as well go crazy for the rest of the day/week/month/year.

- the "last meal" effect, where we decide we are dieting beginning Monday, and spend the weekend eating ourselves into a coma.  

I realized I fell into both of those traps frequently.  The other mental roadblock is that when I decided on IF as a method, I would then cook something for the rest of the family for dinner, decide it looked too good to pass up, and break my fasting window.  But since I'd already tried to pre-load calories by eating a generous breakfast and lunch, I ended up eating MORE than I would if I hadn't restricted at all.  Once I recognized that behavior pattern, I told myself, "If you really want ravioli/chips/xyz that bad, you can cook yourself some for breakfast or lunch tomorrow."  By the next day, the craving was completely gone, but on the rare occasions it is still there in the morning, I do indeed cook myself that item and eat it during my window.  Giving myself permission, but delaying gratification has worked great.  

 

None of that is meant to say that IF is the One Way- it certainly is not.  It's actually to say that analyzing the MENTAL roadblocks is as important as identifying the food temptations.  

Thank you for sharing this.  This is EXACTLY what I need help with—the mental roadblocks.  The most successful strategy for me by far is following WW, and I’m an online member.  Spending time on the message board there is extremely motivational for me, but once I go “off plan,” I lose my desire to pop on there due to guilt (I think).  Also, reading books (the one that has helped me the most is The Beck Diet Solution—kind of CBT around dieting) can be helpful but also guilt inducing (& hence I avoid it just when I need to read it most.). Makes me realize that it’s mostly a head game and not about food for me.  I self-sabotage be a lot. 

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I have done many attempts at dieting in the past 30 years,  up the only time the weight loss ever amounted to more than 10-15 pounds was when my physical size made doing something that I always wanted to do impossible. I came back from that trip and started on a meal replacement program and lost 75 pounds. I felt so much better and several aches and pains went away. My weight has slowly crept back up over the last couple of years, and I am staring to feel the physical effects of additional weight, so I am back to trying to lose weight. I want to get back to the level of fitness I felt at a lower weight. I have plans for my empty nest time of life that I won’t be able to accomplish if I let myself gain more weight.

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Does it count that I did it once and then COVID hit?

The real solution for me was to reduce my stress levels and treat the underlying depression issues.  It worked.  I was happy.  I was down 50 pounds.  Life was good.  And then covid happened.  My stressors were causing problems again.  And new stressors too.  The meds still worked but not enough to overcome the stress problems.  
So I am back working on getting the quarantine 20 to go away.  It is truly difficult.  I am finally able to get to the gym which is helping massively.  I am walking lots and lots and lots (a little over 11 miles today) to avoid the stress that is in the house.  I don’t know when my stress levels will go to more manageable levels.  It won’t be until at least January for sure and it may be more like June.  
(This is the introvert nightmare.  My extroverts have no one to talk to but each other and I can’t get away except by walking, which is why I am walking so much.  But it only helps while I am out and then I come back... ). 

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I have lost over 60 lbs and kept it off for about 8 years. The loss wasn’t linear; there were a couple relatively short climbs back up—the last one when I got a bout of food poisoning that made my gut cranky for several months and required a low FODMAP diet. That broke my previous healthy eating patterns, and I had to reset them when I was able to go off the FODMAP stuff. 

My why was about health. After my journey, I wanted to help others so became a health coach. (Not the kind who tells people “Do this, or do that, follow my plan” but the kind who helps people figure out what path is best for them.)

You are very wise to be working on figuring out your “WHY.” That’s because “weight loss” is an outcome, but to get to that outcome, you’ll have to do some things differently. IOW, it will requiring changing behavior. (You are also very wise to be looking for how to maintain weight loss after losing it. That goal  is different than simply losing the weight in the first place. Check out the National Weight Loss Registry for research done by surveying people who have been able to maintain significant weight loss. In addition to the US registry, several other countries have them and you can find occasional research about the whole group of them)

Here is a key thing to be aware of: any time we set out to change behavior, we encounter ambivalence: part of us wants to keep doing what we’ve been doing and part of us wants to change. Think of a balance scale in your head: on one side are all the reasons you want to keep doing what you’re doing and on the other side are reasons you want to change. There are “whys” on each side of the balance. In order to help yourself change, you have to put your finger on the scale of what you really want most---which is what, I think, you mean by finding your WHY.

Why would we want to keep doing what we’ve been doing when we want to change? The status quo is the status quo because it works for us in some ways. Status quo decisions typically involve immediate rewards. Any reward that happens immediately is going to “weigh” a lot on the scale of ambivalence. Additionally, status quo decisions are built on habitual behavior and thus easier. Finding your larger WHY and learning to keep it in the forefront when you are making those small daily decisions about what you are going to do. Additionally, as you begin to make new behaviors habitual, that side of the scale will have more “weight” as well.

So how to find your own why:

The whys that will motivate you will be the one(s)  most  strongly connected to your most cherished values. So spend some time first thinking about what you value most in life. You can do this in whatever way suits your personality: you can make a bullet list, doodle about them, write in a journal…. You can start without any structure or use a question such as “At the end of my life, what kind of life will have given me the most satisfaction?  What regrets might I have if I continue on “as is”?”

People’s deepest values frequently involve:  1) relationships and 2) dreams of doing things (bucket list type stuff)  or 3) aspirations to do something to make the world a better place.  

In that sense “health” is an intermediate level of “why” not the deepest level:  health is the resource we draw on to do anything else in life.

 

Once you have your values in mind, you need to connect them directly to your goal of weight loss (if that remains a goal) Three methods:

1.       Ask yourself a series of questions: Why do I want to lose weight? I want to be healthier. Why do I want to be healthier? I want to be able to be an active mom.. Why do I want to be an active mom? I want to be a good role model for my kids and be able to make memories together. My family is what I cherish most on earth. (You can also ask questions like: Why is that important to me? Instead of just why)

Another example: Why do I want to lose weight? I want to be healthier. Why do I want to be healthier? I need more energy. Why is that important to me? Well, I don’t feel my best and now that the kids are grown, there are some goals I have been wanting to achieve in my life. I will need to be functioning at my best to achieve them. What do I dream of achieving?

2.       Journal about your whys and how your weight loss relates to your specific values.

3.       If you’re visually oriented, make a vision board. (You can google that for ideas )

 

There are other layers to it (like how to call up your deep whys at the crucial moments of decision) but that should give you a start.

 

Also, you may want to ask yourself if “losing weight” is your actual goal. “Weight” is the number on the scale and includes bones, skeletal muscle, weight of your organs, water weight etc as well as fat (“adipose tissue” in medical literature) . What most of us mean by “losing weight” is actually “losing adipose tissue.” We are not keen on losing bone mass or muscle mass for good reason. But not distinguishing between the two can affect the approach we choose.

If health is a reason you’re thinking of losing weight,  the type of adipose tissue most dangerous to health is visceral adipose tissue—not the kind you can grab handful of (that is subcutaneous adipose tissue) , but the kind packed deep around and marbling internal organs. The best measure of visceral tissue short of a DEXA  or PET scan is not the number on the scale, but your waist measurement. (NIH standards are to measure right at the top of your hip bone; usually that intersects your belly button. WHO standards are the smallest place between the hip and the bottom rib)   Waist circumference is highly correlated with amount of visceral fat using DEXA, PET, etc.  Recent research indicates that even people with a normal weight can be at greater health risks if they have an elevated waist measurement.

To lose visceral tissue, you do not necessarily need to lose weight . You can gain it even without gaining weight by being sedentary and you can lose it even without dieting by a significant amount of exercise . You can maintain your current level by the equivalent of about 30 min walking a day.  (See the STRRIDE I and II studies from Duke for instance.) Visceral adipose tissue is not unexpectedly best lost by diet + exercise, however. You are best off googling “Visceral adipose tissue” rather than “lose belly fat” if you want to skip over possibly misleading information.  There is some thinking that the fact that the loss of 3-5% of body weight has such a pronounced effect on health parameters is because the body may shed visceral fat first. In fact, there is some thinking (not yet definitive) that extra weight in the butt and thighs may actually be protective in terms of health.

 

As for the “how” the specifics are going to be different for different people. Some things that I think are pretty universal, however, are:

·       Avoid labeling yourself (“I was a good girl today” or “I don’t have enough self-control) . Likewise, avoid putting foods in moral categories (bad vs. good foods; clean vs. unclean, etc.)  Labeling yourself contributes to a cycle of self-shame that perpetuates the behaviors you’re trying to change and also cuts short the kind of analysis that actually leads to progress.  (Consider the difference between “I have no self-control” as an explanation for why you ate the cookies on the kitchen table vs. “Hmm. How did that happen?  When I saw the cookies, I started eating them even though I didn’t want to . The visual cue started the whole sequence. Maybe I can ask my kids to be sure to put the cookies in the back of the pantry when they are done.”) 

·       Let flexibility be your mantra. Avoid rigidity. For instance, following from above: Foods are not inherently good or bad. Some foods give you a lot more nutrients for your calorie “buck” so it’s wise to build a habitual eating pattern around those. Other foods provide primarily fuel with few nutrients, but can be thoughtfully incorporated occasionally into an overall eating pattern. Using thoughtful flexibility tends to prevent a sudden boomerang back from total restriction.  (The circumstances in which you intend to be flexible are best determined ahead of time, not on the spot, however. Deciding that you’ll have cake at the birthday party this weekend is deciding ahead of time to be flexible and enjoy a food you normally limit.  Deciding to eat the cookies on the kitchen table because you laid eyes on them is OTOH, not what I am meaning by “flexibility”.  J )

·       Remember that everyone “falls off the wagon.” It’s not the act of falling off that’s the cause of not reaching a goal; rather it’s not getting back up on the wagon after a fall. Reducing the time between the “fall” (meaning you made a choice or series of choices not in accordance with your long-term goals) and getting back on the wagon is the key to success. Think about learning to ride a bike. It’s normal to fall. The kids who learn fastest are the kids that get right back up again and keep trying.  So plan to fall off in the sense that you make a plan ahead of time for when you fall off.

Also: with regard to weight loss: if you are not getting 7 hours of good quality sleep, you may want to start with that as a goal. Messed up sleep increases hunger hormones and decreases creative thinking and problem solving. Taking care of that first can be the key that unlocks the door to weight loss for some people. 

I have not been on the Chat Board since the big board change, but was alerted to this thread by another member.   I do post regularly in the Weight Loss club, though, in the "daily check in" as it's helpful to keeping myself on track. (Just saying b/c I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them if you respond to any of this without tagging and I don't respond back! ) 

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17 hours ago, Laurie4b said:

I have lost over 60 lbs and kept it off for about 8 years. The loss wasn’t linear; there were a couple relatively short climbs back up—the last one when I got a bout of food poisoning that made my gut cranky for several months and required a low FODMAP diet. That broke my previous healthy eating patterns, and I had to reset them when I was able to go off the FODMAP stuff. 

My why was about health. After my journey, I wanted to help others so became a health coach. (Not the kind who tells people “Do this, or do that, follow my plan” but the kind who helps people figure out what path is best for them.)

You are very wise to be working on figuring out your “WHY.” That’s because “weight loss” is an outcome, but to get to that outcome, you’ll have to do some things differently. IOW, it will requiring changing behavior. (You are also very wise to be looking for how to maintain weight loss after losing it. That goal  is different than simply losing the weight in the first place. Check out the National Weight Loss Registry for research done by surveying people who have been able to maintain significant weight loss. In addition to the US registry, several other countries have them and you can find occasional research about the whole group of them)

Here is a key thing to be aware of: any time we set out to change behavior, we encounter ambivalence: part of us wants to keep doing what we’ve been doing and part of us wants to change. Think of a balance scale in your head: on one side are all the reasons you want to keep doing what you’re doing and on the other side are reasons you want to change. There are “whys” on each side of the balance. In order to help yourself change, you have to put your finger on the scale of what you really want most---which is what, I think, you mean by finding your WHY.

Why would we want to keep doing what we’ve been doing when we want to change? The status quo is the status quo because it works for us in some ways. Status quo decisions typically involve immediate rewards. Any reward that happens immediately is going to “weigh” a lot on the scale of ambivalence. Additionally, status quo decisions are built on habitual behavior and thus easier. Finding your larger WHY and learning to keep it in the forefront when you are making those small daily decisions about what you are going to do. Additionally, as you begin to make new behaviors habitual, that side of the scale will have more “weight” as well.

So how to find your own why:

The whys that will motivate you will be the one(s)  most  strongly connected to your most cherished values. So spend some time first thinking about what you value most in life. You can do this in whatever way suits your personality: you can make a bullet list, doodle about them, write in a journal…. You can start without any structure or use a question such as “At the end of my life, what kind of life will have given me the most satisfaction?  What regrets might I have if I continue on “as is”?”

People’s deepest values frequently involve:  1) relationships and 2) dreams of doing things (bucket list type stuff)  or 3) aspirations to do something to make the world a better place.  

In that sense “health” is an intermediate level of “why” not the deepest level:  health is the resource we draw on to do anything else in life.

 

Once you have your values in mind, you need to connect them directly to your goal of weight loss (if that remains a goal) Three methods:

1.       Ask yourself a series of questions: Why do I want to lose weight? I want to be healthier. Why do I want to be healthier? I want to be able to be an active mom.. Why do I want to be an active mom? I want to be a good role model for my kids and be able to make memories together. My family is what I cherish most on earth. (You can also ask questions like: Why is that important to me? Instead of just why)

Another example: Why do I want to lose weight? I want to be healthier. Why do I want to be healthier? I need more energy. Why is that important to me? Well, I don’t feel my best and now that the kids are grown, there are some goals I have been wanting to achieve in my life. I will need to be functioning at my best to achieve them. What do I dream of achieving?

2.       Journal about your whys and how your weight loss relates to your specific values.

3.       If you’re visually oriented, make a vision board. (You can google that for ideas )

 

There are other layers to it (like how to call up your deep whys at the crucial moments of decision) but that should give you a start.

 

Also, you may want to ask yourself if “losing weight” is your actual goal. “Weight” is the number on the scale and includes bones, skeletal muscle, weight of your organs, water weight etc as well as fat (“adipose tissue” in medical literature) . What most of us mean by “losing weight” is actually “losing adipose tissue.” We are not keen on losing bone mass or muscle mass for good reason. But not distinguishing between the two can affect the approach we choose.

If health is a reason you’re thinking of losing weight,  the type of adipose tissue most dangerous to health is visceral adipose tissue—not the kind you can grab handful of (that is subcutaneous adipose tissue) , but the kind packed deep around and marbling internal organs. The best measure of visceral tissue short of a DEXA  or PET scan is not the number on the scale, but your waist measurement. (NIH standards are to measure right at the top of your hip bone; usually that intersects your belly button. WHO standards are the smallest place between the hip and the bottom rib)   Waist circumference is highly correlated with amount of visceral fat using DEXA, PET, etc.  Recent research indicates that even people with a normal weight can be at greater health risks if they have an elevated waist measurement.

To lose visceral tissue, you do not necessarily need to lose weight . You can gain it even without gaining weight by being sedentary and you can lose it even without dieting by a significant amount of exercise . You can maintain your current level by the equivalent of about 30 min walking a day.  (See the STRRIDE I and II studies from Duke for instance.) Visceral adipose tissue is not unexpectedly best lost by diet + exercise, however. You are best off googling “Visceral adipose tissue” rather than “lose belly fat” if you want to skip over possibly misleading information.  There is some thinking that the fact that the loss of 3-5% of body weight has such a pronounced effect on health parameters is because the body may shed visceral fat first. In fact, there is some thinking (not yet definitive) that extra weight in the butt and thighs may actually be protective in terms of health.

 

As for the “how” the specifics are going to be different for different people. Some things that I think are pretty universal, however, are:

·       Avoid labeling yourself (“I was a good girl today” or “I don’t have enough self-control) . Likewise, avoid putting foods in moral categories (bad vs. good foods; clean vs. unclean, etc.)  Labeling yourself contributes to a cycle of self-shame that perpetuates the behaviors you’re trying to change and also cuts short the kind of analysis that actually leads to progress.  (Consider the difference between “I have no self-control” as an explanation for why you ate the cookies on the kitchen table vs. “Hmm. How did that happen?  When I saw the cookies, I started eating them even though I didn’t want to . The visual cue started the whole sequence. Maybe I can ask my kids to be sure to put the cookies in the back of the pantry when they are done.”) 

·       Let flexibility be your mantra. Avoid rigidity. For instance, following from above: Foods are not inherently good or bad. Some foods give you a lot more nutrients for your calorie “buck” so it’s wise to build a habitual eating pattern around those. Other foods provide primarily fuel with few nutrients, but can be thoughtfully incorporated occasionally into an overall eating pattern. Using thoughtful flexibility tends to prevent a sudden boomerang back from total restriction.  (The circumstances in which you intend to be flexible are best determined ahead of time, not on the spot, however. Deciding that you’ll have cake at the birthday party this weekend is deciding ahead of time to be flexible and enjoy a food you normally limit.  Deciding to eat the cookies on the kitchen table because you laid eyes on them is OTOH, not what I am meaning by “flexibility”.  J )

·       Remember that everyone “falls off the wagon.” It’s not the act of falling off that’s the cause of not reaching a goal; rather it’s not getting back up on the wagon after a fall. Reducing the time between the “fall” (meaning you made a choice or series of choices not in accordance with your long-term goals) and getting back on the wagon is the key to success. Think about learning to ride a bike. It’s normal to fall. The kids who learn fastest are the kids that get right back up again and keep trying.  So plan to fall off in the sense that you make a plan ahead of time for when you fall off.

Also: with regard to weight loss: if you are not getting 7 hours of good quality sleep, you may want to start with that as a goal. Messed up sleep increases hunger hormones and decreases creative thinking and problem solving. Taking care of that first can be the key that unlocks the door to weight loss for some people. 

I have not been on the Chat Board since the big board change, but was alerted to this thread by another member.   I do post regularly in the Weight Loss club, though, in the "daily check in" as it's helpful to keeping myself on track. (Just saying b/c I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them if you respond to any of this without tagging and I don't respond back! ) 

Thank you! There is so much to chew on here.  I hope I can come back to it this weekend when I have a little down time. 

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On 9/22/2020 at 9:35 PM, JenneinCA said:

Does it count that I did it once and then COVID hit?

The real solution for me was to reduce my stress levels and treat the underlying depression issues.  It worked.  I was happy.  I was down 50 pounds.  Life was good.  And then covid happened.  My stressors were causing problems again.  And new stressors too.  The meds still worked but not enough to overcome the stress problems.  
So I am back working on getting the quarantine 20 to go away.  It is truly difficult.  I am finally able to get to the gym which is helping massively.  I am walking lots and lots and lots (a little over 11 miles today) to avoid the stress that is in the house.  I don’t know when my stress levels will go to more manageable levels.  It won’t be until at least January for sure and it may be more like June.  
(This is the introvert nightmare.  My extroverts have no one to talk to but each other and I can’t get away except by walking, which is why I am walking so much.  But it only helps while I am out and then I come back... ). 

I can for sure relate!  I did fairly well at the beginning of quarantine, but then our move and my new job has totally thrown me for a loop!

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