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Old 06-29-2008, 06:44 PM   #1
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Default Lets be realistic.

I'm a somewhat newbie and decided to finally post. I'm excited to say that my mother is finally having gastric bypass surgery. She has Type 2 diabetes, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure. As I am excited and happy she is having the surgery, it lead me to view things from my own standpoint.

I have been overweight my entire life. I have no idea what it's like to be thin, or how to even be thin. Being overweight has not really bothered me, my whole family is just big people, and my self esteem has not really been low. I see the road I'm going down though, and my family. My sister and I have been on countless diets, trendy diets, exercising, you name it, we've tried it, just to get healthy. Nothing seems to work. Neither of us seem to really understand how we can actually lose weight. Does it really have to come to us both having gastric bypass to help us lose weight? I decided to post in here for help, everyone just looks at us and assumes that we've never tried to lose weight because we are so heavy. When we ask for advice from thin friends its usually "oh you look fine," or bluntly "you've not been trying hard enough." I guess ultimately what I'm trying to ask is for advice from other people who are as heavy as we are. Any help or suggestions would help us so much.
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:20 PM   #2
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Here's my viewpoint, for what it's worth. I've been overweight since kindergarten. I've been dieting since kindergarten. So much for the theory that fat adults have never tried to diet.

There are a lot of reasons people become overweight, and lots of reasons they may have found it difficult or impossible to lose weight. Few of those reasons are due to laziness, or stupidity. Sometimes the reason is trying the wrong methods, not a lack of commitment to those methods.

I'm 42, and just starting to figure out what is working for me. Mostly I've had to realize that "working" doesn't mean what allows me to lose 2 lbs per week. Apparently, the answer to that one is nothing. My biggest mistake, I really feel, is dieting like we're all taught to diet. Be very committed at first, to an unrealistically rigid plan, and as soon as the weight loss slows, and the food becomes monotonous and tiresome decide that "I just can't do this," and quit. A few months later, try again - maybe a different diet, but the exact same process.

It has taken me 3 years to lose 50 lbs. There are many factors, and I'm not going to say all of them were out of my control. I could have put more effort in, and I made off-plan choices and tried to prove myself wrong so that I could eat things I knew I should avoid. But the one thing, and the only one thing I've done differently this time, is not decide not to ever quit. Sometimes all I could commit to was "I know I can maintain my weight." Sometimes I did think "I can't do this" (meaning lose weight), and I did have a day of uncontrolled eating, but I never let it into many days of uncontrolled eating and never let a no-loss week inspire feelings of failure or surrender.

I'm used to the weight loss waning. Fast at first, and ever slower. I think in many ways, I'm now going in reverse. Health issues turned into disability, and an accident and inherited bone/joint issue put my husband in the same place. He's 38 and I'm 42 and we have the health problems of people twice our age. Some of these are diet and fat related, some are not. But it does change the way we have to approach getting healthy. We can't do "Biggest Loser" style weight loss. It would kill us (probably day one).

We joined TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly). I really heartily recommend a weight loss support group. I have an admitted bias towards TOPS because it is quite inexpensive and no specific food plan is required (they do have a weight loss manual available, but not required, for sale and it outlines an exchange plan). The weekly weigh-in and the support from the group really helps me stay focused.

I've been told - even by a doctor - that there was "no way" anything but WLS would work for me long term. I don't buy it. I know that change (of any type, for any purpose) is often extremely difficult, and this journey might take me a lot longer than I expect it to (in fact it already has), but that's ok. Progress not perfection, will ultimately get me where I need to be. Although even if I don't, each step is progress in an of itself. And I've experienced health and quality of life changes already. My strength and flexibility have improved, my sleep apnea and asthma have disappeared, my bloodwork is improving, I'm able to be more independent and active.... If I never lost another pound, I can't discredit the progress I have made. Maintaining a 50 lb loss, even when someone still has 200 to lose, is still an astonishing feat, and it needs to be acknowledged.

I think NOT being ashamed of the weight, has really been key for me. I'm not ashamed to go to the pool, because water allows me to be active without pain. Hubby and I bought bicycles a couple summers ago, I was afraid to bike in the neighborhood, I had to remind myself that I have a right to exercise and have fun doing so, and even if people did laugh or make fun of me - they were the idiots, not me.

Hubby and I recently began volunteering at the animal shelter. He to groom cats while I walk dogs. We're also going to the warm water therapy pool once a week to swim. When he gets stronger, he will probably go with me on the dog walks.

We can't find our GPS, so it's on our wish list (along with a Wii) for health encouraging toys. Because exercise is often more motivating when it is play rather than work (at least for us).

For me, I've also learned that processed carbs (sugar and flour) really mess with my hunger. I am starving on a high carb diet, especially low fiber or processed carbs. I can even overeat "healthy" carbs (I have to be careful with some fruit, as I can literally eat a whole medium watermelon in one day).

For me, it was important to learn my weaknesses and binge triggers. I'm still learning.

And you will be too. This whole journey takes a while to master. I know it doesn't have to take 36 years, at least if you don't repeatedly try what already hasn't worked, and can avoid "vacations" from the process. Quitting, even if it's only for short periods can be hazardous, as it's amazing how much relapse can happen in a week, a month, a year.

So anyway, that's MY story.
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:30 PM   #3
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Hi, and welcome!
It certainly is hard to lose weight, and the only thing I can say is, you just have to stick with it (any diet) to make it work. There's some questions to be asked too, like what plan were you on? How many calories were you eating? What about portion sizes? How much water were you drinking?

So many of us here just started out with baby steps. Finding a plan that we thought we could stick with, basically, for the rest of our lives. We had to commit to it, be vigil, and slowly start working exercise in, which I still have problems with.

It's a long road, but well worth it. I'm 53 and I've lost 75lbs in 14 months, and I'm off my high blood pressure meds and my diabetes meds. So many of the ladies here have whole new lives because they can move around more and be part of life instead of just watching it from the sidelines.

If you should fall off the wagon (binge or eat whatever is around), hop back on the very next day. Don't think it can wait a couple days, it just gets put further and further on the back burner.

I hope that you can find something that works for you and you're successful in committing to a better life.
Good luck to you
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:45 PM   #4
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Hi h rose20,

I have a somewhat similar situation, expect I am the fat one in my family. My mother and sisters are all overweight, but not nearly so badly as I am. And my younger sister lost all her baby fat in one season of a high school sport. Needless to say, I am jealous.

I’ve done everything, from weight watchers to L.A. Weight loss, sauna suits, working out twice a day and detoxing far more than recommended. I’ve never even been granted the luxury of Yo-yoing! I just simple do not lose weight! I am working now, and just trying very very hard to make the best choices and stay active and I’ve been granted a little success and it’s rather addicting. SO I am no closer to a break-through than you, I don’t think, and I am sure there are many more people on here who are amazing and give you better advice. But I will tell you what I have learned about myself anyhow!

I can’t journal, or count calories or count points. It wears me out, and makes me feel like my whole life is about food, even when I’m not allowed to eat it!
I have to workout regularily, or it’s impossible. One day missed throws a monkey wrench in my whole plan. But working out isn’t bad, the terrible part is every second that leads up to the beginning of the work out. I work out at home because the mere act of driving to a gym and walking inside, signing up for a machine ...is like crossing a mine field! I simply don’t want to do it, ever. I really really like belly dancing videos. They are fun and make me feel sexy (even though if I was doing it in front of a mirror I might die of embarrassment)

Starvation doesn’t work, and totally avoiding foods you really really crave doesn’t work. Moderation is key and having fun.

You seem really lucky in that you never let your weight bother you. I remember being bothered by my weight in pre-school, and every day since then. I’ve let it destroy me emotionally and my self confidence is so terrible, I have people who question me on it all the time. So kudos to you on that, if I could find a way to start liking myself, I would do so in a heartbeat. Do you have any advice for me on that?

Either way, you made one of the most important steps (in my mind) which is, coming on here and getting to know the people. They are the best encouragers, advice givers and experts on not just losing weight but on life too. So welcome!!

Dusty

Ps. I hope very much for your mother’s success too. It is a really big step and I am glad you and your sister can support her along the way.
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:48 PM   #5
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I'm a believer that most people can do it without surgery. That's not to say that some don't need it. I think you need to seriously try and change your lifestyle before you consider surgery. Forget fad diets. They rarely work and a lot of people gain once they go back to old eating habits. I keep trying to work on a generic help list, but off the top of my head.

1. Your old style of eating has to go. The method of losing weight should be a way of eating that you enjoy. It's not good enough to lose weight and then go back to eating what you eat now. Obviously you're going to just gain it back.

2. Find something that works for you that you could do forever. Learn to cook if you don't know how. Do not rely on frozen dinners, 100 cal snack packs, etc. Ask yourself can you really eat this way for the next 40/50/60 years? If the answer is no, find something you could do.

3. Pick a reasonable starting calorie level. I'd suggest at least 2000 calories (you can adjust it down later if after a few weeks it's not working). You're not going to get the 10 pounds in 8 days that fad diets will give you, but who cares.

4. Track every bite of food you take. Get a kitchen scale and weigh things particularly high in calories (peanut butter, cheese, nuts). And a Tb is level, not rounded. You may not have to do this forever, but it should give you an idea of how much you're taking in now. Myself, I know I'll need to track until I'm at goal, and probably for a while after.

5. Avoid too many empty calories, especially in liquid form. This means coffee drinks filled with sugar and cream, soft drinks, and fruit juices. They don't give you a lot of bulk for your calories.

6. Find an activity you enjoy doing. Swim, bike, hike, lift weights, whatever. If you enjoy it there's a better chance you'll continue it. Start slow. You mentioned your sister - even better, find something you both want to learn. I was always horrible at tennis, but that might be fun (free if there's a park with a court).

Myself, I like to cook, and enjoy taking recipes and making them lighter. Egg whites mixed with a single egg makes just as nice an omelet as the 3 or 4 egg ones I used to make. An ounce of cheese in my omelet is just as nice as the big handfuls (guessing 2 oz) were. I still eat a wide variety of foods, and I'd class little of what I make as diet food. I've served meals I make myself to company and nobody knows the difference.

I discovered that I love lifting weights. I'm lukewarm about cardio (walking, jogging, treadmill), so I do less of it. I may (as I get lighter) enjoy the cardio more, but the lifting I know I will keep doing forever.

Wow, kind of preachy at times, but I hope you find something of use in the post. Best of luck.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice girls! It's nice to have someone say "yeah, I've been there." I'm going to start working on portion control and counting calories again, my question here is, how do you keep from being hungry? I try to do something else and just avoid the fact I still feel hungry, but in the end, that's what always gets me off my diet.

As for keeping a positive body image, it's always been obvious i'm overweight and I have flaws I need to work on, but my skinny friends feel the same way. Fat or thin you could let your imperfections get to you, so I see no need to worry about something as meager as "I look fat". I just try to have a good time and get along with whomever. People are going to be jerks, that's the human nature, but it's living is worth a shot. That's just my opinion.
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:39 PM   #7
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I have been overweight my whole life too. A few years ago, my dad had triple bypass surgery and it "woke me up". I decided to try working out with a trainer at a gym here in town. One of the first things she did was to use this machine thing to determine my resting metabolic rate (how many calories I consume by breathing). Then, she recommended a calorie-per-day target for me. Initially this was 2200 calories. I was blown away. Every time I dieted before, they recommended 1200-1500 calories for weight loss. Well, maybe if you are close to a normal BMI, but not if you weigh 300+ and are being active.

For the next 9 months or so, I kept counting calories and working out, and I lost 65 pounds without ever feeling like I was starving (like I had with previous weight loss efforts including Body For Life which was my previous most successful attempt).

However, as the weight came off, my anxiety level increased. [It may sound strange, but I felt more and more uncomfortable as more and more people noticed my weight loss.] That, combined with a couple of trainer changes, a new job that had me traveling a lot more, and a MBA program, got me off plan. Way off plan. I ended up putting back on 60 of the 65 pounds I lost.

A couple of months ago, I decided to get on plan again. I started doing the things that had worked before (counting calories, aerobic and strength exercises, and posting here ) and added some things to help with what hadn't worked before (therapy, understanding Emotional Eating -- i.e. if you're starving but only for chocolate, that isn't really hunger, and getting a workout buddy that I meet with 2x/week).

I think we all have to find what works for us -- this site is a great resource for that because there are all sorts of folks doing all sorts of different programs and everyone is very friendly and helpful. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:36 PM   #8
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The only way I can avoid hunger, especially that feeling that you have to eat or you'll just die (even as you realize it would take you months to starve to death), is low carb.

I don't advocate starting with anything as strict as Atkins, or even South Beach induction. My personal belief is that gradually reducing trigger foods and/or high glycemic carbs is a better way to go, even though results are inevitably slower.

Eliminating sugar and white flour is enough for many people. Others have to also eliminate white rice and white potatoes and even anything with corn in the ingredients.

I don't know if I am a freak from birth, or whether 36 years of dieting has made me one, but I have to be very careful even of high fiber, low glycemic starchy or sugary carbs. I can overeat wheat berries and apples just as easily as Doritos. So, I use an exchange plan as a backup and try to pick whole grains and lower sugar fruits as much as I can for my "starch" and "fruit" exchanges.

Two things that do control my hunger dramatically are the carb-restriction and changing my birth control to something like Seasonique. I just start a new pack of my regular low-dose birth control (Necon 28) on week four instead of taking the placebo pills. I therefore don't get a period until I decide to - about 3 to 4 times a year. I got my doctors ok to do this before I tried it. Apparently stacking the regular bc is the same as Seasonique, but a lot cheaper.

If I had discovered these "secrets" I would have mastered my weight 20 years ago.

Literally, on a lower carb food plan, I can "forget to eat." For most of my life, I have thought of food 24/7 (well, at least during all of my waking hours - and often much of my dreams).

It's a relief to finally have food (or lack of it) no longer be in the top ten most important things in my life.
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:39 PM   #9
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Something I've found that keeps me from feeling hungry is eating foods high in fiber, yes you eat more often, but you don't take in near as many calories.

Another thing to try is actually learning your body type, ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph... you may not fit into one category you may be one with tendencies of another- it really does help in figuring out what foods you shouldn't eat. It's something that body builders tend to pay a ton of attentiong to.

if you and your sis can come up with a workout program together- all the better, you'll be more accountable for not only yourself but each other.
find something that's fun to do. I ended up boxing lol I would work out for an hour and a half at the gym in the mornings with a crappy p/t and hated exercise... i wanted it to be fun.. but it wasn't lol I couldn't breathe, sweating *of course lol* and didn't feel like I could stick with it. It's important to find something you can enjoy doing!

I'm much like you- hoping that I can get into better physical shape without having to go through surgery, best wishes to your mom

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Old 06-30-2008, 12:20 AM   #10
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h rose--

Wow, lots of good advice on this thread.

I just want to chime in and say that if you weigh over 300 pounds you NEED more calories to do EVERYTHING than people who weigh less. So, it may be that you are hungry because you are eating too little. It's hard to sustain that kind of diet, so people end up falling off the wagon and don't come back.

If you are calorie counting (and you have to count everything you eat and drink) you probably can lose weight on 2000 calories/day. Maybe more. I started calorie counting at 280 something pounds, ate an average of 2000/day. As I lost weight I dropped calories a bit, but I lost 100 pounds in just over a year not generally going much below 1800 calories.

Now, what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all, but if you're hungry, eating enough food is important. And like some others said, I think it helps if that food is of good quality -- some foods help keep you full longer than others.
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:17 PM   #11
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I believe WLS has its place, and I was a few steps away from figuring how to get it myself so I understand the mentality.

I also believe that anyone who's had minor success in losing weight has the ability to do it and make it work long term. It's not that you can't lose weight right? Its that one gives up and reverts to old habits. Somewhere deep down I knew because I had lost up to 50lbs before (always gaining it back) that I had it in me I just had to figure out why it wasn't working for me.

I too have been overweight my whole life and obese since high school. I've been trying differnt diets my whole life. I'm now 34, and yes it's taken this long to start finding my way out of this mess.

Realistically for most of us it's possible to lose most of the weight. It might not be quick. It might not be easy, but it's SO worth it.
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:25 PM   #12
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hrose - Also you ask about how to not be hungry... The other girls pretty much alredy spelled this out but here is my take on it.

1 - Emptry carbs don't fill you up but what's worse is they make you want more and zero out your willpower to not continue to eat. Try and make your snacks more complex with complex carbs and protein.

2 - You need to be eatting enough like Heather points out. 2000 or more is liekly MORE then enough for you to feel satisfied and still lose weight. It won't fly off, but who care it will GO. You can learn along the way how to make lower calorie choices so if you do have to go below 2000 after you've lsot a bunch you will have had time to experiment

3 - Exercise allows you to eat more calories. So say you lost 100lbs and now you can only eat 1500 to lose 1-2 a week. If you Exercise 500 calories a day you can STILL eat your 2000 and lose weight. Sweet right?
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:08 PM   #13
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Even weight loss surgery only has about a 40% success rate, so most people still gain it back.

Not saying it isn't worth the risk for many people, but you've got to take that risk very much to heart. WLS doesn't FIX anything, it is only a tool that a commited person can use to succeed.

I don't really have much to add, but just wanted to stress exactly how much controlling carbs can help control hunger. I have spent nearly all of my living memory obsessed with food. I have one clear memory from age 4 (of splitting my head open and getting stitches), but mostly I remember kindergarten on - being overweight (I was skinny until kindergarted) and being OBSESSED with food 24/7. Even a dirty piece of candy stuck to the floor of the school bus, would get my wishing I could wash it off and eat it (eating disordered thinking at age 5 - what comes of putting a 5 year old on a strict diet, but what did my mom know).

All of my life, I've never gotten enough food. Even when not dieting, I could eat until bursting and still feel starved. It really was like that tv commercial for lapband surgery with the hunger "lion" turning into a hunger "kitten" after sugery. Only my hunger lion wasn't nearly as friendly as the one in the commercial, calmly walking through the house with only a few growls to look serious. No, my hunger lion was not only hungry, but angry AND rabid.

Low carb and eliminating TOM did turn my lion into a kitten. If I had learned this before I became insulin resistant and less active due to disability, like maybe when I was in my 20's, the weight would have just fallen off. Ah, but hindsight is always 20/20 as they say.

The important thing really is to focus on progress, not perfection. The idea that you have to be very strict and "perfect" from the start, and lose weight quickly in the first few weeks and then be satisfied with more slowly. Well, I think that's just garbage. If I continue to lose weight at less than 20 lbs per year, it's going to take me 10 years to get to goal weight (and on the other hand, even if I do continue to lose weight at this pace, isn't it better than staying the same or gaining during those 10 years?) I think instead gradual changes gain momentum in a spiral. I don't think I will be losing 20 lbs a year. Maybe this year it will be 50 lbs, and maybe it will take another two or three years to get off the rest. Three to four years instead of 10, that would be great.

You don't HAVE to be disappointed or ashamed of slow, comfortable changes.
In the long run, they really are more sustainable, even if very few people have the patience for them.

Don't put your life on hold until you're at your goal weight. Live, love, and laugh NOW. Find active hobbies you enjoy and learn not to worry about what other people think. I know that many people look at me and think "freak". It was difficult, but I learned not to care. People will always judge others by inconsequential criteria - how you look, how much money you make, what kind of clothes you wear - what job you have or what church you go to (or don't). Being fat does not mean you can't DEMAND and TAKE a life from this world.

Make a list of all the things you want to do "when" you reach goal. Whether it's go to school, swim, hike, bicycle, date, get married, leave an abusive relationship, get a job - or a different job, move to another city or state, mountain climb, ride a horse, sky dive, ride a rollercoaster -- write it down.

And then, look over your list and look at which you don't have to wait for. Looking at my list: I went to graduate school, swim regularly, hiked, bicycled, dated, married, got many great jobs, moved, and rode rollercoasters - all while being over 300 lbs, and even close to 400 (met hubby at 375 lbs and married him at nearly 400). And, I hope to go horseback riding before I lose another 50 lbs (my fibromyalgia may stop me, but my fat won't).

Go out and grab that life you want. You will have stuff to live for before and during your weight loss. Weight loss is an important thing, a very important thing, but it isn't the only thing.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:59 PM   #14
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This thread is turning out to be fantastic. So much advice everyone, I'm so appreciative of it. I've had my calories at 1500 a day for about 3 months and I've actually gained weight. It's all so discouraging. I keep trying though, although it just seems like nothing I do works, I stay hungry in hopes that I'll lose weight. I don't have time or the means to go to the gym, I do go walking with my other friends that want to lose weight. They've ended up losing and I have lost nothing. The only way that I have lost any weight at all was by taking adipex but I can't afford it anymore so my weight loss has been at a stand still ever since.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:21 PM   #15
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If you're eating 1500 calories (unless you're binging at least once a week and not figuring that in), I would strongly suspect insulin resistance or hypothroid. You probably should get a good checkup and ask the doctor to check your blood sugar, and check fo insulin resistance and hypothyroid.

It's very possible that there is a physical cause that you're unable to lose weight.
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