Rethinking Thin - a book discussion - Topic 8 - Metabolism And Weight Loss




Meg
07-01-2007, 01:59 PM
Today’s Rethinking Thin topic is how weight loss affects metabolism. The metabolic changes that accompany weight loss led one researcher to say:

In trying to lose weight, the obese are fighting a difficult battle. It is a battle against biology, a battle that only the intrepid take on and one in which only a few prevail. (p 125)

Metabolism is the mechanism that regulates body weight by determining how many calories are used for basic bodily functions, daily activities, and food digestion. The studies cited in Rethinking Thin found that our bodies attempt to remain in their comfortable weight ranges (the 10 – 30 pound range we’ve previously discussed) by speeding up and slowing down metabolism to match food intake.

Volunteers in the famous World War 2 Keyes starvation studies had metabolic slowdowns of up to 40% when their calorie intake was cut by half and they started exercising:

Their body temperatures dropped; their heart rates slowed. It was as though their bodies were doing everything possible to conserve calories. (p 109)


Researchers later discovered that similar metabolic slowdowns happened to subjects who lost weight in their labs on low calorie diets:

… [the scientists] measured metabolic changes and psychiatric conditions and body temperature and pulse. And that led them to a surprising conclusion: Fat people who lose large amounts of weight may look like someone who is never fat, but they are very different. In fact, by every measurement, they seemed like people who are starving.(p 114)

Studies were then conducted to determine what happened to metabolism when normal weight people deliberately overate. Their metabolisms sped up to compensate for the extra calories and in some subjects, it took far more calories to gain weight than would be expected from the simple 3500 excess calories = a pound formula.

Rethinking Thin concludes that weight-related metabolic changes result in the “near impossibility of permanent weight loss for the massively obese” (p 116):

There is a reason that fat people can’t stay thin after they diet and that thin people can’t stay fat when they force themselves to gain weight. The body’s metabolism speeds up or slows down to keep weight in a narrow range. Gain weight and metabolism can as much as double; lose weight and the metabolism can slow down to half its speed.” … The body weight of an obese or non-obese person tends to remain constant. When the system for controlling fat storage is challenged by experimental over- or underfeeding, energy expenditure alters as a counterforce, ”bucking” the change. The overfed person increases fat storage but burns more calories, which acts as a brake on further accumulation of fat mass. The reverse occurs with weight reduction; a decline in body fat storage leads to a decrease in the burning of calories. (p 118-9)

***********************

Dr. Rudolph Leibel, currently at Columbia University, is one of the scientists mentioned in chapter 7 of Rethinking Thin. A few years ago, I attended a lecture he gave on precisely this topic of the effect of weight loss on metabolism. What I learned in that hour and a half came as a thunderbolt to me and explained so much that hadn’t made sense to me before. I came home and posted about the lecture here: Some Answers About Genes, Environment, Obesity and Maintenance (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51478)

What I learned – and have verified through hours of research since – is that there’s no question that losing weight changes metabolism. Pre-weight loss, both normal weight and obese persons burn calories at the same rate, as measured by calories per kilo of lean body mass or calories per square meter of body surface. But the “reduced obese” – people who have lost large amounts of weight - burn fewer calories than normal or obese persons. Their metabolisms have slowed.

So the act of losing weight changes metabolism as our bodies struggle to return to a setpoint weight. Scientists aren’t sure why exactly, though lowered leptin levels are suspected. Currently clinical trials are being conducted on adding leptin to people who have already lost weight in an effort to raise their metabolisms back to normal.

I was astounded when I began learning about the metabolic changes associated with weight loss. This is information that’s been out there for a long time, but I – a professional dieter – had never heard of it before. This is not something you read about in magazines at the checkout rack or in the plethora of diet books at Borders. Why wasn’t anyone talking about this? Isn’t this a vital piece of information for people trying to permanently reduce their weights? Don’t we need to know what happens to our bodies when we lose weight so that we can be prepared to deal with reality and compensate?

The book, of course, takes the information about metabolic change and concludes that it’s so unlikely that an obese person will be able to achieve and maintain a significant weight loss that it’s not even worth discussing, so end of story. Case closed. Give up.

I see it differently. Knowledge is power. It may not be what we want to hear and it goes without saying that it’s not fair, but if we have an accurate idea about what happens to our bodies when we lose weight, then we can deal. Diet books and gurus aren’t doing us any favors by pretending that losing weight is easy and quick and keeping it off afterwards is so inevitable that we don’t even need to discuss it.

Today I know that my metabolic rate is lower than a woman my age, height, and weight who was never obese. I know that I burn fewer calories when I’m at the gym than the person next to me. I know that metabolic calculators are a joke for anyone who’s lost more than 10% of their body weight. I know that my maintenance calories are significantly lower than those of a never-obese person. I know that I can regain weight at an alarming pace. I was endlessly frustrated and convinced that there was something wrong with me before I learned these absolutely essential pieces of the maintenance puzzle.

But that’s quite enough about me! Let’s talk about all of you.

Were you previously aware that losing weight affects your metabolism? Have you noticed a slowing in your metabolism since you’ve lost weight? Do metabolic calculators work for you or are they way off? How does this information affect you? Do you think you would change anything in your diet and exercise plans in order to compensate for a slowed metabolism? And most importantly, do you believe that the metabolic changes brought on by weight loss make efforts to lose and keep off significant amounts of weight futile?

Please post about anything and everything that you want to share about metabolism and weight!


4rabbit
07-01-2007, 02:10 PM
Hi Meg,

My impression on that chapter is yes, she kind of uses it as an excuse to stop trying. But I do not agree with that. I think it shows that you have to try harder. And did anyone ever tried to find out how long this starvation memory lingers in the body ? Was this tested 1, 2, 5 or even 10 years after the large weight loss??

Rabbit

Get n healthy
07-01-2007, 02:30 PM
My hope of all hope is that eventually your body will get a new set point. Maybe after 5 years, maybe after 10...surely with our bodies being so adaptive to many things it can also adapt to a new weight. My dh's set point adapted to a new higher weight, so cant i surely do the same in the opposite direction. Although, that was not the case last time, but maybe i just didnt give it enough time. i was only at goal for about 6 months before i gained almost all of it back. I have to hold on to that hope though that eventually it will reset.


Meg
07-01-2007, 02:47 PM
For what it's worth, I asked Dr. Leibel if the metabolic slowdown is repaired over time and he said no, that it's a permanent slowdown. That's why they're doing clinical trials on leptin injections to see if it will reverse the slowdown. Of course, I don't know if he's right or what he's basing this statement on; regardless, I'm operating on the assumption that my metabolism won't change. :)

I've been at goal for five years and my calorie and exercise requirements for maintenance haven't changed. I've tracked my calories in Fitday since 2001 and haven't detected any change (darn it!)

Kery
07-01-2007, 02:52 PM
"Knowledge is power" is what I think as well. Rather than giving us some kind of fatalistic view on which to fall back, I want to consider it like a reason to try even more, and to not give up. After all, if "it's very hard for you to succeed without putting in much work, so give up" was a rule, I would have given up on my first two years of college (I was crap at Latin, and keeping up with that enough to not be flunked was quite a challenge. Even if it was only for two years). So if I didn't let this deter me, I don't see why I should just throw my hands to the heavens regarding my weight. (Granted, I've never been morbidly obese, but still--either we gain on weight easily or we don't, right).

4rabbit also raises a point I was thinking of while reading Meg's post. What about those among us who were thin up until, say, 25-30 years old, then became obese? (There are many people like these on 3FC, from what I've seen in two years of being around. You know, the "I was always skinny until I had three kids, then..." and others). Clearly they weren't 'programmed' from the start, there rather was a trigger along the road, so if THEIR setpoint managed to jump from 120, or 140, or 150 lbs to something higher, why would the process not work in the contrary direction? Maybe we indeed have to give it 5 or 10 years--but since most people don't keep the weight down for long enough, and since studies probably don't take into account successful losers who haven't gained anything back for the past 5 to 10 years, how can we know? (If there ARE such studies, please point me to them, I really wish to see if some have been done in the past.)

Anyway... Yes, I'm quite positive that our metabolisms do change, slow down, whatever. But I have no idea if this is forever, or simply for the time needed for our bodies to readjust to the new, lower weight.

Glory87
07-01-2007, 03:33 PM
I'm not sure if my metabolism has slowed or not. I know that I am always freezing (air conditioning can be almost painful). At my highest weight, I was 200 lbs and am now around 128 lbs. I think my body has found it's new setpoint. If my calories are lower or higher, I seem to return to this point fairly easily. I eat around 1800-2000 calories a day to maintain (with little to no exercise - I know, I'm not proud of the no exercise thing). I have had very few issues maintaining this weight for over 2 years, the highest I have been is 131, the lowest I have been is 125.

seranab
07-01-2007, 05:42 PM
Hey guys,

I'm quite enjoying reading your posts.

Before I started "dieting" I had heard about metabolism and its effects on the body. The reason why is because my Mother was and still is a yo-yo dieter and so when I would try to lose a few pounds she would say "make sure you exercise because your metabolism slows down" but I was always under the impression that by exercising you are helping to speed your metabolism up (I guess this is because you're building muscle and muscle burns more calories than fat) not that your metabolism is just going to stay slow. Like Glory above - although I have not lost all the weight I'm hoping to and I am not maintaining I have found that I am constantly cold when before I would never leave the house with a jacket/coat but I dont think that that is to do with metabolism but rather that I dont have the same amount of padding keeping me warm lol.
Looking at the idea of the "set point" i know that the man who created the "shangri-la diet" (sp?) claims that his diet readjusts your "set point." Whether it can be done or not needs a lot more scientific experimentation.
I would also hear my mum saying things like "my metabolism is shot" basically saying that from yo-yo dieting she has basically messed up her metabolism - my question is - is is it really so hopeless that the effects are irresversible. The human body is amazing and restores cells and regulates chemicals and what not - surely it can reverse something as little as metabolism ( ;) lol ).

Thing about metabolism is - is that we all hear about it and talk about it, but very very very few of us know exactly what it is and what it does exactly, and it seems that without looking at the biology of it with scientific language and all that - that we may never really get a grasp of it. All we know is (like my mother would say) your metabolism will slow down when you diet so make sure you exercise.

ennay
07-01-2007, 07:03 PM
Volunteers in the famous World War 2 Keyes starvation studies had metabolic slowdowns of up to 40% when their calorie intake was cut by half and they started exercising:

Quote:
Their body temperatures dropped; their heart rates slowed. It was as though their bodies were doing everything possible to conserve calories. (p 109)
Researchers later discovered that similar metabolic slowdowns happened to subjects who lost weight in their labs on low calorie diets:

It really sounds like in both of these cases the studies were of fairly drastic calorie reductions.

My metabolism appears to have increased over the past 3 years, I credit this A LOT to reversing insulin resistance.

I had tracked on fitday for a long time prior to getting pg the 1st time and the metabolism estimate was only close if I was "bed bound" (and then add in exercise). When I did it recently I did bed bound + nursing calories + exercise and I was losing faster than the estimate, so I think it really has improved. It seems a lot closer to most calculators than it used to be.

Its too difficult for me right now to evaluate what my metabolism is like and I havent gotten it tested though

lilybelle
07-01-2007, 11:13 PM
I was aware that Yo-Yo dieting causes a metabolic slowdown. It had never occured to me to think that as my wt. went down that I would need fewer calories to sustain that lower weight.

For me, it's difficult to know if my metabolism is slower now than when I was obese. I started losing wt. on Atkins and yes, I did eat a total of more calories then than I able to now on Calorie Counting plan. But, Not sure if this is just because before I didn't eat very much carbs. It may just simply be that my body requires less now to maintain at a lower weight.

As for metabolic calculators, they say I should be able to mainain with 1673 calories per day. This is too many for me. I maintain great if I stay at around 1400 calories. I lose weight when I cut back to 1200-1300 calories. I gain wt. if I go over about 1450 calories. I do believe that people who have never been obese can and DO eat more than 1400 calories a day and maintain their weight. It does seem unfair.

If my Dr. said "now that you've lost the weight , we need to give you a weekly Leptin injection to be able to keep the weight off". I'd do it in a heartbeat. As for Meg's question, I have changed my diet and exercise plan many times to adjust to my metabolism.

I do not in any way think that our efforts to lose weight and maintain this loss are futile. If I thought that, I wouldn't be here. We have many of us here everyday proving that theory wrong.

I totally look at wt. loss like this. I feel great now. I like the way I look. I will continue to try to keep the wt. off. If it does somehow reappear, I'll do it all again. I refuse to believe that I'm pre-destined to be FAT for the rest of my Life.

clvquilts
07-02-2007, 12:10 AM
My doctor believes that my new medicine that drastically reduced my appetite also has increased my metabolism. I don't have any data to prove or disprove her theory because I wasn't tracking my food consumption while I lost weight.

For two months I did track what I was eating when I went from 110 to 105, I averaged 1,200 calories a day, but I'm really a little person at 5.1 and don't need much. I'm not sure how to calculate what my metabolic rate is. Can someone suggest a web site where I can plug numbers into?

Heather
07-02-2007, 12:59 AM
My story is different from Meg's. I have been obese for 20+ years. However, in all of my weight loss attempts, I never did any kind of "low calorie" diet. I did watchers, and calorie counting, but even in this attempt haven't dipped on average below 1800 calories/day and am maintaining a weight of 175+ on about 2100 calories/day. Perhaps one of the lucky ones?

I have some evidence that my metabolism is in sync with estimates of what is needed to maintain and lose weight. I used an online calculator, and for a year I entered in every morsel I ate and my main exercise (mainly to track the minutes, I know the exercise calculators are off, estimating I burn too many calories). I could get reports over 10 week periods that would calculate calories in vs expended and estimate a weight loss over that 10 week period.

Interestingly, over the year my actual weight loss was usually a little higher than that estimate. For example, if it estimated I would lose 11.5 pounds over 10 weeks I might lose 12.

Of course, a data point of one is useless, but in the studies mentioned, participants noted a drop in metabolism when they dropped calories very low, right? That may be what many dieters do, but I wonder if people who never drop their calories really low are less likely to experience this.

In other words, I wonder if it's inevitable for metabolisms to slow with weight gain, or if there are other factors involved that interact with weight.

Again, this one story isn't really evidence... but it makes me wonder...

FWIW, I do seem to be able to regain weight fairly quickly if I stray from journalling everything. I am not "set" here at this new weight and will easily let me gain more, but I was pretty "easily" able get to this point -- meaning that provided I ate a certain amount of food and exercised. Of course, I have not tried very hard to get lower than this weight, and that may enter into the equation too...

srmb60
07-02-2007, 06:35 AM
I'm in with another 'one story that does not make evidence' ...

I don't know. I've never lost as much weight as the calculators say I should be. When I did lose 30 lbs in two months, y'all know what happened.

I'm surprised now to find that I do not gain at 1800 and lose very slowly at 1600. All that with pathetic and inconsistant exercise.

My confusion, it would seem, stems from the fact that I was sooo sedentary. I found the author quite neatly avoided very much reference to exercise and/or muscle building at all.

If we assume that the author thinks intentional exericise is an 'extraordinary length' to which we must go and not a really metabolic increase ....

Meg
07-02-2007, 09:42 AM
Everyone has such great questions and points ... I get so frustrated because there are so few answers. Aside from the National Weight Control Registry, no one seems to be interested in people who have succeeded in weight loss (which is why everyone eligible needs to join!!) I sure wish some research money would get thrown at our questions. :)

Heather
07-02-2007, 09:50 AM
Everyone has such great questions and points ... I get so frustrated because there are so few answers. Aside from the National Weight Control Registry, no one seems to be interested in people who have succeeded in weight loss (which is why everyone eligible needs to join!!) I sure wish some research money would get thrown at our questions. :)

Meg-- I agree! I just registered this minute!!

http://www.nwcr.ws/

Here's the link for anyone else who's eligible.

Eves
07-02-2007, 11:35 AM
As someone who is in the process of losing weight, this chapter is the one that scares me the most. I am now to the point where I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will make it to goal within the next 6 months.

Then what? As someone who hasn`t had children and who in the future will have a couple I know that I will not be around 145 for the rest of my life. There will be this time when I will be 25-30 pounds heavier. Will I be able to lose it after children, or will my metabolism further slow down?

So far I haven`t noticed anything, I am currently losing about a pound a week on around 1800 calories. To be honest, since I`m not hungry at all I wonder if I really had to work to be at 220. We`ll see over the next 40 pounds.

clvquilts
07-02-2007, 12:04 PM
Archy - just by being aware that you must continue to adhere to your lower calorie intake after to lose the weight to maintain it, you'll be in a much better position than most dieters.

There's a lot you can learn from Meg and the others on the Maintainers forum.

seranab
07-02-2007, 12:22 PM
I've been reading the "rethinking thin" thread religiously, and I'm kinda starting to feel a little fed up. Not with you guys... you guys are fantastic, but I'm just trying to truly come to terms with the fact that I will always be "on a diet," and that I've been dealt a bad set of cards. It maybe be easier to come to terms with as I continue on in my struggles but its still a little depressing and to be honest it really really sucks. The little light that I'm seeing is from all you guys who say "its worth it" I'm hoping if I ever get to goal that I will have your attitudes. Well done girls you're all an inspiration!

Glory87
07-02-2007, 01:20 PM
I also had to come to terms with the fact I will be watching how I eat forever. Honestly, it took 20 years for me to accept it. 20 years where I was heavy and miserable and had chafed thighs when I wore a skirt and hated myself. I finally accepted it, I do watch what I eat everyday, and will for the rest of my life and I am HAPPY. I am slender, I have collar bones, I love how I look in clothes. I love to go shopping. I love the food I eat.

For 20 years, I wanted to diet short term. I wanted to be "perfect" and always went very hard core - chicken breasts, ice berg lettuce, Snackwells, Yoplait yogurt. Unsatisfying, tasteless diet frankenfoods. I was always hungry, restless and bingy. Miserable. I hated dieting and wanted it to be over so I could eat normally. It took me 20 years to come to terms with the fact that dieting for short term did not produce long term results and that when I quit "dieting" and ate normally, the weight always came back.

When I decided to lose weight this last time, I really LOOKED at my weight loss history and tried to figure out why I couldn't lose weight. What I found was - I COULD lose weight, I just always gained it back. So, I started thinking why do I gain the weight back? I realized, I gained the weight back because I always stopped dieting and started to eat "normally." This seems very clear and easy now, but it was a lightbulb moment when I really sat down and thought about it. I had to change normal.

What was key for me, was coming up with something that wasn't a "punitive diet." If I didn't like it, if I couldn't wait for it to be OVER, I wouldn't stick to it. I knew I had to stick to it. So, I came up with a plan that works for ME.


I love vegetables, so eating carrot sticks/sugar snap peas/grape tomatoes and pepper strips nearly every day for an afternoon snack works for me.
I love bread, pasta, tortillas, so switching to whole wheat versions and eating smaller portions worked for me.
I don't miss soda, creamy foods or fast food, so cutting that out of my life forever worked for me.
I can't stand to do Fitday everyday, but I don't mind estimating my calories (+/- 100) every day - I just add them up in my head.
I love going to restaurants with friends, so a weekly treat meal with a glass of wine and splitting a dessert works for me
I like cooking and going to the grocery store, so making dinner almost every night works for me
I like salads and the little cafe in my work building has a decent salad bar, I eat salad for lunch almost everyday and that works for me
I don't have to have the largest size anymore. For example, instead of the Venti full fat latte with whip, I am happy with a tall non fat sugar free latte. I love coffee and I didn't have to give it up!


It isn't a bad set of cards at all. I am healthy and happy and feel good about my food choices everyday.

What do you like, what works for you?

junebug41
07-02-2007, 02:14 PM
What was key for me, was coming up with something that wasn't a "punitive diet." If I didn't like it, if I couldn't wait for it to be OVER, I wouldn't stick to it. I knew I had to stick to it. So, I came up with a plan that works for ME.


I love vegetables, so eating carrot sticks/sugar snap peas/grape tomatoes and pepper strips nearly every day for an afternoon snack works for me.
I love bread, pasta, tortillas, so switching to whole wheat versions and eating smaller portions worked for me.
I don't miss soda, creamy foods or fast food, so cutting that out of my life forever worked for me.
I can't stand to do Fitday everyday, but I don't mind estimating my calories (+/- 100) every day - I just add them up in my head.
I love going to restaurants with friends, so a weekly treat meal with a glass of wine and splitting a dessert works for me
I like cooking and going to the grocery store, so making dinner almost every night works for me
I like salads and the little cafe in my work building has a decent salad bar, I eat salad for lunch almost everyday and that works for me
I don't have to have the largest size anymore. For example, instead of the Venti full fat latte with whip, I am happy with a tall non fat sugar free latte. I love coffee and I didn't have to give it up!

I seriously could have written this post. I'm lucky. Saying goodbye to drive-thrus and "white stuff" and regular soda wasn't any sweat off my back. I love vegetables and am ok with once a week splurges.

But, it took a lot of work for me to get to the point of "downsizing" my meals. I take a lot of flack from the people around me because it must be SO HARD to immediately order the healthiest thing on the menu or to eat salad all the time. They don't realize that A) I LOVE salad more than life itself B) I have formed these habits so it isn't really that much work anymore and C) This is important to me and I will not compromise what I have worked hard in changing just because you feel guilty about ordering a cheeseburger in front of me. End of story.

My life is incredibly different now. It's just a different routine and my pay-off is much bigger. I know the odds aren't great, but I love being a normal weight so much that I will try whatever to adjust. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but as others have said, knowledge is power.

clvquilts
07-02-2007, 03:13 PM
Now I can't even stomach the idea of a fast food burger and fries. The last time I had one - in January after more than a year of abstaining - I felt sick for a day. It made a strong food adversion memory.

Give me a salad and I'm happy. Now I feel like I'm indulging when I eat plain yogurt and fresh fruit. (I'll admit, I use Danon's regular plain yogurt instead of their non fat version, I feel the 70 extra calories are worth the taste.)

WaterRat
07-02-2007, 04:28 PM
Hmmm, lots of food :lol: for thought here. I don't have any answers, just personal observations.

I was a skinny little kid who never ever had a weight problem. I didn't reach my full height until I was a sophomore in college - all the way to 5'4" :) I didn't have a weight problem til I was in my 40's, though I did cycle through about 15 pounds from college to 40ish.

Then there was a period where it seems my metabolism slowed, and I gained much more easily. Was it because I was less active? (I was) pre-menopausal? (I had a hysterectomy at 35) or just aging? Whatever, at that point I started gaining. I went up to 180 and stayed there for a few years, then moved on to 200 and topped out at about 240 when I was 52-53.

In 1999/2000 I lost 70 lbs, and maintained between 165/170 for the next several years. (And to whoever it was that talked about WW not supporting her mother into maintenance because her goal was too high - I'm there! WW did great for me til I got to a point I was happy, but it wasn't where they thought I should be.)

So I really got no maintenance help, but during the time I lost and maintained I was much more active than I had been - lived in Seattle for 8 months and walked everywhere, plus since I didn't have a regular job, I did lots more intentional exercise. Then when I came back to Alaska, I had a job that required me to be more active. When I changed jobs and did less intentional exercise (since I was working at least 40 hrs/week and had a still-ill DH) I slowly began to gain again. But I maintained in a 7-10 lb range for about 2.5 years. But eventually I gained a lot of the 70lbs back. Sigh. I did keep many of my better eating habits, and even improved some :)

I've been working to get those pounds gone again. (I have a ton of smaller sized clothes that I'd love to wear!) But my metabolism is slower. Because I've been obese - I'm not sure. I had a pretty normal one til I was over 40. Whatever, it's been much much harder to lose this time around. I'm back to doing much more exercise, but while I've gotten smaller from that, I'm not losing any faster.

onthetee
07-03-2007, 12:25 AM
Wow. I am so glad I hopped into this discussion. Hopefully the 'brary will have the book for me tomorrow.

I graduated high school around 106. In two years, I was up to 119. Then I went on Norplant and gained 30 pounds in three months without any other changes to lifestyle. It was horrible. I not only gained weight, but it was in really weird places....

And around 154 has been my resting weight since then. After I read Meg's post, I went back through my old WW booklets (one for each baby), and 154-156 always was a long, painful plateau. That is where I am now. I have not lost in almost 6 weeks. Looking at my cal-count, I should be down 7 pounds if you take a cals in-cals out equation.

I believe that the Norplant did something to my metabolism that I have not been able to reverse. I think that I don't process things in a 3500 calorie/pound kind of way. I build in 150 cals to my day off the bat to accommodate for a missed portion size, eating a few of the kids' goldfish, having more milk in my coffee than exactly 2 T...those little things that I might in the course of a day.

However, I was ready to just quit, accept 154 and move on. Now I think I can accept that I might need to have a 4000 cal deficit per pound, and I can live with that just being part of what makes me who I am, like eye color or skin tone.

Heather
07-03-2007, 01:28 AM
But my metabolism is slower. Because I've been obese - I'm not sure. I had a pretty normal one til I was over 40. Whatever, it's been much much harder to lose this time around. I'm back to doing much more exercise, but while I've gotten smaller from that, I'm not losing any faster.

I'm wondering what menopause will do for my metabolism... nothing good, I assume! :D

rockinrobin
07-03-2007, 08:27 AM
I've always blamed my height, or should I say my lack thereof, not my metabolisim for having to consume so few calories in order to lose and then maintain.

It really is hard to believe that I will have to be this strict - forever. There's just no way that I'm maintaining at 2100 calories like Heather or even 1800 like Glory. No way on earth. I tried it out last week. I did maintain, had an almost 3 lb scare in the middle of the week. Back down to 138 by Sunday. But it was more like on 1400 calories - with about 2 hours of exercise. Sheesh. I am enjoying this new me though so very much, I am willing to stick it out for the long haul on so few calories. I really, really hope that I don't have to actually decrease that as I get older. The thing I think I will have a harder time sustaining at this point is the 2 hours of exercise.

Meg
07-03-2007, 08:40 AM
Just like everything else with weight loss, maintenance calories aren't fair. But they are what they are. :) It's all a matter of trial and error to figure out where you fall on the spectrum. Unfortunately, some of us are at the low end, like Robin, Mel, and me, while others are at the high end, like Glory and Heather. But, as with everything else in life, you play the hand of cards that you're dealt. I'm post-menopausal, hypothyroid, and have lost and gained hundreds of pounds in my lifetime, so I think I'm lucky where I am. :)

You learn to really maximize the bang for your buck with calories. And exercise just becomes part of your day. Luckily for me, exercise not only keeps the weight off but makes me feel good, so it's not hard to stay motivated.

Menopause is a huge problem for many women. We see lots of women joining my gym and despairing about their body changes (the "menopot" or "menopausal donut") when their hormones change. If you can lose the weight before you hit the menopausal quicksand, do it! It sure doesn't get any easier afterwards!

moxiesd
07-03-2007, 09:19 AM
I wish I had understood this the FIRST time I lost over a 100 pounds!!!

I am a ways from maintenance yet, but I have been wondering just how do I figure what calorie diet I need at the "maintenance" wt I chose to be??

I have been on an extremely low calorie diet....last month "I blew" beyond hope, I thought. I was shocked to see that even though I ate everything not nailed down for about 2 weeks of the month, I had lost 6 pounds for the month. I wondered if my metabolism had "temporarily" changed to accomadate the increased load. (I feel this is a DANGEROUS enigma and hope to avoid "binging", but still on some level, I wonder if the occasional increase in calories for a short period of time during entense dieting would help to keep the body motivated to increase metabolism???)

This time...losing weight is a necessity for my well being, and I feel that I will try everything I need to in order to maintain at a lower level, even if it means reducing the calorie intake per day.

If I were younger....yes I would do leptin injections daily (or even more often) in order to burn more calories. Right now, I am happy consuming fewer calories. The ABC news had a segment on weight, and it's take was that it was STRESS that was causing this problem, and scientist are very excited about the possibility of creating an antidote to block the stress hormones released....but that is supposed to be a few years off....so maybe metabolism and stress go hand in hand????? Yes we need more studies on weight management on maintenance. I feel really apprehensive about getting to maintenance, because I don't know how much change that I will need to accomodate the interval between stop loosing and begin gaining. I am so glad that the maintainers out there are here with us to "keep the light on" for us.

Heather
07-03-2007, 10:12 AM
Robin -- I know it might not explain all of it, but I'm maintaining a much higher weight than you are (40 pounds!), so that's some of why I can eat more calories.

But, just as you're willing to do what you need to maintain that lower weight, I'm not willing (at least right now) to do what it would take to go lower.

Oh, and I'm glad those 3 pounds were whisked away!!! :D

clvquilts
07-03-2007, 06:18 PM
Robin - I'm short like you and eat less than most people to maintain. I average under 1,200 per day. I eat lots of fruits & vegetable and go very light on the protein and grains. The only fat I eat is the extra virgin olive oil in my daily salads. That's what I have to do to maintain, so I accept it.

rockinrobin
07-03-2007, 08:38 PM
Wow Carolyn - 1200 calories, that's rough. Really, REALLY rough. I'm glad that you have accepted that and are okay with it. It must be hard though. I suppose you're happy with the weight that you are right now and increasing your calories would add to that. You don't think you'd be happy at 115 lbs or 110? Well of course only you know the answer to that, and obviously you ARE happy with where your weight is or you WOULD up your calories. I give you lots of credit. :)

I eat mostly vegetables, lean proteins and a little fruit - no bread, pasta, rice or any of that kind of stuff. It was really my first week trying to maintain. This week I'm trying to go a little lower then the 1400, so far so good, but the week is still early. We shall see what happens. This is all new to me.

Heather, I'm glad those 3 lbs were whisked away also. It's funny, I haven't had a swing like that in a loooong time. It did scare me a bit. But that's okay. I NEED to be scared. It made me tighten my belt a bit so to speak.

clvquilts
07-04-2007, 02:35 PM
Robin - I generally only eat two meals a day with a small snack of a piece of bread late at night so I can sleep. My med keeps my appetite low.

But we digress from the topic of metabolism...

Mudpie
07-26-2008, 07:41 AM
I lost just a bit of weight (17 lbs.) and it took me about 1 1/2 years to do it. I know most people don't want to lose weight that sloooowly but it seemed to work in my case. I also took up strength training recently to tone and firm what's left after the diet.

I think my metabolism remained at a pretty steady state throughout because the loss took so long. And I exercise every day, both for work (I'm a commercial dogwalker) and for myself (yoga and weights). I think that keeps my metabolism up too.

I'm finding maintenance to be relatively easy because I've changed my eating habits. Glory said it all in her post in this thread. That's how I eat too. I do calorie cycle now and then just to keep my body guessing. I'm also starting to do new exercise things for the same reason. I'm going out jogging tomorrow "just for fun" and to see if my body will still do it.

I think experimentation is key in keeping both metabolic rate up and in keeping the brain from getting bored and overwhelmed with the idea that this is for life. That is not addressed in the book at all.

Dagmar