So are we semi-starved? Are we neurotic? Is normal weight actually abnormal for some of us?
I think this is another case of true for some, not for all. I don't know about being semi-starved -- I know that a lot of medical weight loss programs involve cutting calories to levels under 1000/day using nutritional liquid food supplements and the like. I think if you go on a program like that, yes, you are starved. You will also drop the weight pretty darn fast, especially if you're 300lbs to start with since you burn so many more than 1000 calories/day. But, if you are 300lbs, there is a good chance you will lose weight if you are eating 2500 cals/day because you are still eating less than you burn. Does this have the same biological "starvation" effect? If I cut 100 cals/day from my diet, theoretically I will lose about 1lb/month. Keeping that up for a few years you can lose a significant amount of weight. Does that cause the same impact on your body? I don't know. People cut more calories because they can't stand to lose weight at such a snail's pace (myself included, it took me nearly a year of weight loss before I could accept that it was okay to lose less than 1lb/week).
As for neurotic, sure, some of us are neurotic. Does losing weight make you neurotic? I say no. If you were neurotic when you were fat, losing weight won't fix it, and the other way around too. I still do all the same neurotic things I used to do (like alternating which feet step over cracks in the sidewalk, chewing the same amount of food on both sides of my mouth, etc). I think about food and eating and weight a lot. I thought about them a lot when I was fat too. The difference is now I am concerned about regaining weight and staying healthy, whereas before I was concerned about how much people would hate me because I was fat.
OK, I’m a mod here at 3FC and became a personal trainer. Did I make weight loss/maintenance into my life’s work? Is it yours? Must it be one’s life work in order to succeed?
Sounds to me like you made it your life's work.
I have thought about making a career out of something similar (nutrition, training, etc). I haven't actually done it, because I'm satisfied with my career at the moment, but I keep that thought on the backburner. I intend to keep coming to 3FC to keep maintenance on my mind though because I think if I stop posting I will slip up and go back to bad habits. I gained the most weight in my life during periods where I did not own a scale and therefore had no accountability. So I don't think it needs to be your actual career, but I do think it needs to be on your mind for the rest of your life.
What do you think works for successful maintenance? What separates the 95% who regain all lost weight from the 5% who maintain? Does acknowledging that we’re different make it easier to keep the weight off?
I am with whoever said that "something clicked." I didn't *get* the whole lifestyle change thing when I started losing, but I get it now. I love the food I eat, I never eat food I don't like just because it's low-cal. I am perfectly happy making all my recipes from Cooking Light instead of Martha Stewart. They taste just as good to me. My fiance has high blood pressure so we don't put salt in anything -- I don't feel like our food is lacking in taste at all. I think if during weight loss you are eating food you don't like, or that you can't imagine eating forever, then you will have a problem and will regain.
With the donuts and celery thing . . . I hate celery. Despise it. I leave it out of every recipe because I think it tastes so gross. I have never eaten it to help my weight loss because why should I eat something that I can't stand the taste of when there are so many delicious options? I do eat donuts. Occasionally. Like, once every 6 months. I ate donuts while I was losing too, and cake, pie, ice cream, cookies, brownies... I still lost weight. I limit those foods to infrequently though -- usually I go out to eat on Saturday nights and order a dessert to split, then during the week have more healthful snacks, like watermelon or a piece of wheat toast with low-sugar jelly. I know the moderation method doesn't work for everyone, but it works great for me. I just need to catch myself when I find myself eating "junk" more frequently, and fix the problem before it turns into 2 desserts at every meal like I ate when I was overweight.
Do you agree that we're different? If so, what does this mean for weight loss maintenance?
I do agree we are different from someone who has never been fat. Thanks to Meg for the blood test info, I am definitely cold all the time!
I probably spend a lot more time thinking about what I'm eating than many people who have never been fat. I doubt many never-fat people come to diet websites regularly like this one!