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Are We Destined to Gain it all Back?

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Old 08-05-2012, 11:08 AM   #1
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Default Are We Destined to Gain it all Back?

I read a lot of posts here about how people came to 3FC years before, were really motivated to lose the weight, lost a large amount and felt great, only to gain it all back plus extra a few years later.

Losing this weight has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done. It is true that weight loss is at least a 90% mental game. The thought that I might finally reach my goal only to gain it all back in a few years really scares me. It doesn't scare me enough to throw in the towel and say why bother, but I just can't imagine having to lose this weight all over again.

Does the thought of temporary success but ultimate failure scare anyone else?

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Old 08-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #2
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It should scare you. I've been through it and never in a million years did I imagine that I would let myself get back to where I started. But I did.

Back in 2004 & 2005 I lost about 60 pounds by calorie counting & hitting the gym. I wasn't at goal but I felt great about how I looked. It's hard to pinpoint what happened but basically I was not vigilant about my calories. It took years to put back on. At first it was 10 pounds and I noticed my pants getting a little tight. "Oh 10 pounds...no biggie...let me nip that in the bud". But I was careless and over time I eventually gained it all back. It started with giving myself a little "reward" now & then but then I lost control.

Do I beat myself up? Yes. Have I learned anything? Yes. A lot.

My best advice would be to stay away from your trigger foods, don't let yourself get too comfortable at your new weight (and by that I mean don't get into the mindset that you can go back to a bad way of eating and it will be alright. It will catch up with you) and don't ever stop exercising. I quit the gym because I moved and I regret it. For myself, I realize that I will have to be careful and mindful of what I eat for the rest of my life.

ETA: That's not to say what happened to me will happen to you. I don't think everyone is destined to gain it all back. I know people that have managed to keep it off and not have any gain (or only a very small gain and manage to get it under control).
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Last edited by Wisertime : 08-05-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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Destined? no... Inclined? so it seems... And yes, that's terrifying.

I gained it all back then and then some plenty of times. This most recent time, I've stopped myself before gaining it ALL back. But since I had lost so much more than any other attempt, not gaining the last 20 back feels like little consolation.

But there's is only one reasonable solution, lose it again and resolve not to let the regain creep in again. There are lots of maintainers on this site. It's not easy, but it's possible. You just have to believe that you are capable and put in the work.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:22 PM   #4
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I'm not afraid of regain any more, because I know the circumstances under which gains and losses occur (for me), and I can't fail so long as I remember what those circumstances are, and act accordingly.

I think we're "taught to fail" at weight loss, because we're taught and encouraged to see weight loss in terms of dieting... temporary behavior changes. We believe that once we lose the weight, we'll be able to eat what we want (or at least more than we did while dieting).

At or near goal weight (and often before) people all around us will push food on us and argue that we "don't have to diet anymore."

This time has been different, because I've decided that I will not do weight loss the way I did before, the way "everyone does it." Instead, I decided that I would find out what works for me, and commit to doing those things forever.

In the past, when I worked at weight loss, I would change my diet and my activity level to a degree that I had no intention of maintaining forever. I often cut calories to 1200 (or less) even though I had no intention of eating 1200 calories per day forever. I would exercise much more than I planned on maintaining forever. I would joint Weight Watchers or TOPS, but have no intention of staying in the group after I reached goal weight, inevitably deciding at some point that I was ready (and needed) to "do this on my own."

I weigh myself daily. I make only changes I'm willing to include in my life forever; and I attend a weight loss support group (TOPS - take off pounds sensibly) every week, and I don't judge myself based on weight loss. Managing my weight is something I WANT to do, not something that determines my self worth. I also don't set myself up for failure, by believing that when I've made a mistake that I've "blown it, and might as well keep eating until I have the strength and will to start over, hopefully tomorrow."

I don't "start over" anymore, I just "move on." And all these changes are going to be mine forever, because if I give any of them up, I know I WILL regain the weight.

I'm not afraid of regaining the weight, because I have a plan, and as long as I stick with it, I'll be fine. The most important for me, has been the group support I get daily here, and weekly at my TOPS group. I fully expect to be in both groups forever, and I know that I'll do fine as long as I stick with that choice. If I decide I "can do it on my own," I will fail, because I can't succeed "on my own." Thankfully, I don't have to.
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Last edited by kaplods : 08-05-2012 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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Scares the crap out of me. But as Kaplods said, if you find something that you can stick with forever, it will be much easier to keep the weight off.

That's why I'm not doing any strict low carb 'diet' program like Atkins. I'm just finding an amount of daily carbs that works for me, and I will adjust as needed as time goes on. Eventually all my carbs will come from vegetables, legumes, and a little bit of fruit.

I love eating low carb so far. I don't have constant cravings for sugar, I get full much easier than with calorie counting, and I actually think about food less. If I'm vigilant and keep reminding myself of all the reasons eating low carb is best for my health and happiness, I think I can stick with this forever.

Sustainable is the key word to dietary changes. If you know now that your current eating habits will never actually be 'habit', that you'll always be fighting yourself, if you can't bring yourself to actually enjoy the food you're eating...then it's probably not sustainable.

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"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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Yes and no. Yes, I know that I can (and have) gained most of it back. No, because I know that 1) I can stop myself before I gain all of it and more back (and I did, this past spring) and 2) I can lose it again.

I also know that I have to be constantly vigilant for the slow creep. Slow, small changes to the way I eat and live that add up to pounds gained over time. Avoiding the scale when I don't think I'll like what it says so that I can ignore the pounds creeping back. Buying to buy myself a bigger size when my clothes stop fitting or when it it's a new season. I have to be constantly watching for these signs and cut it off there, because I am so much more physically and mentally happy and fit where I am now than were I was at 160 or 156.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:56 PM   #7
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If we keep the dietary habits we've learned to lose the weight then we shouldn't be worried about gaining it back. It's all about a new way of life, not losing it and then going back to the way we ate before. Does that mean we never have a "free" day? No, not at all.. but we must always stay on top and stay with what we know works.. maybe only slightly eating more calories to maintain.

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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Ok, I'm a bit over the line of 40-something, but wanted to comment on this.

Oddly, the stats don't scare me. After all, I've already accomplished something I've never known anyone in real life do, lose 100 lbs through plain old calorie counting and exercise (and keep most of it off for 2 years). So while I know it's always going to be a battle to keep the weight off, not scared of the challenge. This is one area where I feel my age/experience is an advantage. I know what didn't work for most of my life and finally figured it what I needed to do to make changes that I could stick with permanently.

Another advantage is having 100 lbs. to lose meant there were no quick fixes and then back to old habits. I made changes to my diet and activity gradually, then kept improving them as the weight dropped and I needed to do more to keep the deficit growing.

I think ignoring the math of weight loss is what gets so many regaining. The calorie level needed to support a 165 lb body is drastically less than what maintained 265. I didn't "break" my metabolism, I improved my body to the point that it needs much less to get through a day. I know it doesn't feel that way when I now exercise 6 hours/week when I used to move no more than I had to, but it's annoyingly true. Mentally it feels like being a healthy, active person should result in being able to "get away" with eating as many calories as I used to, but sorry to say, it burned WAY more calories carrying around extra 100 lbs all of the time than I'm ever going to burn through exercise now.

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:54 PM   #9
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The thought of regaining used to scare the stuffing out of me too. But as I progress, I have gained the realization that all these changes I'm making must be permanent. I've read so many personal stories of people who lost weight and re-gained and they seem to have a common theme. That theme is that once you get to goal, you're done "dieting" and you can go back to old habits. I now understand that this is simply not true. I will have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life. In effect, the "diet" never ends. That used to overwhelm me but now, I have a calm acceptance of the fact. A person over on WW put it in perspective for me with this question, "Which is harder? Weighing 300 pounds or eating properly?"
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:03 PM   #10
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I hope not. My life depends on it. I'm Type 2 diabetic.

A couple months ago, after an hour on the treadmill (hence my name here) I got an annoying blister on the bottom of my foot. Over the next week I watched in horror as it blossomed into this big ugly thing over an inch in diameter. It scared the crap out of me, and gave me the swift kick in the butt that I needed to not only cut out the sweets, but to lose weight in general.

I watched diabetes take my friend's feet, then her legs, and eventually her life. As much as I sometimes feel my life isn't worth a whole lot, I owe it to my kids to stick around. They already lost their mom (cancer). They don't need to be without dad as well.
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:56 AM   #11
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I've had successes so failure shouldn't worry me, but getting to even just one of my goals seems impossible.

I agree it's mostly in the head, and self-fulfilling prophecy (whether you believe you can, or believe you cannot, you are right), so there is probably a lot of self-sabotage that I employ to avoid reaching my goals for whatever reason.

It's complex.

I'm not afraid of gaining it back, necessarily, I'm afraid of never getting to where I want to be.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:34 PM   #12
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I dont think we are destined to gain the weight back that we've lost. I think that we will always have to be conscious of the fact that we can gain it back if we dont watch what we are doing and forget how easy it is to gain it. That means we have to weigh ourselves regularly and not let the lbs keep creeping back on.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:43 PM   #13
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I have a 40 pound range, and I've lost and regained it 7 times in the last 30 years. So about every 4 years. I regain about a pound a month--which is like 120 calories extra a day. This time, I'm just not going to switch to "maintenance." Menopause particularly scares me, because I've heard how many people gain weight then, and how hard it is to lose it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:11 PM   #14
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I've lost and regained before (50lb or more in a cycle). Last fall I started actively trying to lose weight. I lost 30lb, which put me within spitting distance of being "overweight" instead of obese.

I took a break for vacation, and came down with a minor stomach bug. That "stomach bug" took three months to diagnose and another four months to get used to living with the "new" digestive disorder. The medications make my weight spike, or give me a terrible case of the munchies. For most of that seven months I was in too much pain to exercise, and sometimes too much pain to walk. I didn't track my weight. High fiber made it worse, so I had to cut out all fruits and vegetables for awhile. I ate a -lot- of scrambled eggs and white rice, sprinkled liberally with sesame oil.

But I've learned to manage my condition. I've learned what triggers it, what soothes it, what all the trade-offs for the medications are. And I've started getting on the scale again. In 8 months of paying -no- attention to what I've eaten, I appear to be up a pound and a half.

No, I can't explain it. But it might give you hope that it's not a senseless fight. The one thing I tried to do when I wasn't tracking was to not eat when I wasn't hungry, no matter how good the food sounded. Sometimes the medication got the better of me, but I tried.

But whether I gained 1lb or 50lb, or even if I'd painlessly lost weight in those 8 months of not paying attention - I'm not where I want to be yet, so it's time to strap my boots on and start at it again.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:30 PM   #15
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I personally find it a lot harder to keep it off than to take it off. I have lost and gained it right back before and I have lost and kept it off for a little while. I have never lost and kept it off for good. So, this is definitely something that scares me, as well. I really don't know how to maintain; and that is the problem. It is the rare person who loses it and keeps it off for more than a year; let alone 5 or 10 or forever more. I believe I will pretty much always be struggling with my food issues. That doesn't mean that I don't think I will ever reach my goal. It means that I think it will be a struggle for me to keep at it forever. Historically speaking there seems to be a point in time where I just get tired of fighting it.
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