This is a touchy subject for a lot of folks, but I'm so curious as to what other women's experiences have been.
I've never really "committed" to losing weight before - always a half-hearted attempt, gone hard-core for a few weeks and then given up. Whatever was lost came back with a vengeance, and brought a few friends back with it! I think the most i'd ever lost before was 24 lbs., now I'm up to 35 gone with a lot less effort than before -- just better choices and getting my *** moving.
Now to my question: Has anyone experienced losing a significant amount of weight, ie. 100 lbs. , only to gain it back and then some?
If so, any advice on how to avoid that happening? I'm terrified, I mean "cold sweat" terrified, that all i've lost will come back and then some.
09-20-2007, 12:31 PM
I will say that in 3 1/2 years, I have not had a major regain. I've had 5-10 lbs here and there but I basically lose, maintain, lose, maintain. I know some people do regain but if you remain vigilant then I don't see it happening.
1) Incorporate some form of exercise into your life
2) Make realistic dietary changes
3) Always keep a scale handy - know if you are gaining weight
4) Donate old clothes
09-20-2007, 12:37 PM
To answer your question: YES! It can stay lost!
I lost about 70 pounds rather quickly a year or so ago, gained back about 10-15, and have been maintaining that weight for a year. Sometimes it feels frustrating that I'm not losing more, but it's also great to know that I'm learning to maintain and not gain.
The pattern that I notice is this: I get a little wayward with food, then oops! the clothes start fitting a little tighter, my backaches start coming back, and I notice an accumulation of ketchup packets and napkins in my car (fast food purchases, which are mostly a no-no for me). I've learned to pay close attention to these non-scale signals and use them as a compass to get back on track. When I start making conscious food choices again, the 10 pounds whittles back off.
09-20-2007, 12:41 PM
This book was recommended to me by the Maintainers here.
Many people believe that once they've lost the weight, then they can go back to eating the way they did before. What maintenance really looks like is doing the same things you do to lose weight, but you add a few more calories so that you're not continuing to lose.
While the pounds came off pretty slowly the last few years, I've managed to maintain the initial loss for four years now. It takes vigilance. Check out the maintainer's forum for good information about maintaining weight.
09-20-2007, 02:17 PM
I am still very much in the loosing process, but I am going to throw in my 2 cents worth ~
I think it all has to do with how you look at what you're doing. IF you look at it as a "diet" - all "diets" have a beginning and an end. At the end most folks revert back to their "normal" or old eating habits - which are usually NOT good. I have found that this time, I have not looked at this as a "diet" but as a way of life I HAVE to live from now till forever. I HAVE to do what is realistic for me, for that reason. It HAS to be forever, not for a finite amount of time. And for that reason, I KNOW this is the last time I will loose this weight.
09-20-2007, 02:19 PM
I have never lost a signifcant amount of weight prior to this. For me it was steadily up and up and up.
I will never go back to the way that I was. But without a doubt my tendencies towards overeating are still strong. *sigh*. I could see how it could happen (gaining back the weight) if one does not remain vigilent. So, I'm gonna remain vigilient.
I've incorporated great habits into my life that I know I will have to adhere to forever.
- I will weigh myself every day. Not to be crazy, but to make myself aware and intune with my body and the number on the scale. Seeing that number every morning is a reality check.
-I will continue to plan my meals. I can't leave things to chance.
-I will continue to focus on healthy foods, as they keep me the most satisfied and well duh, the most healthy.
-I will continue to count or at least estimate my calories, it's the ONLY thing that allows me to set limits for myself
-If I go off plan, for a meal or a day or even 2, it means nothing. I will NOT allow myself to STAY off plan any longer then that. Period. It's just not an option. It's not even a fleeting thought. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed on this one. But even if it should be more then 2 days, it will absolutely not spiral much further then that. I''m hoping to get more and more confident of this as I get a bunch of years under my belt.
-I will continue to exercise. No matter what. At least some sort of activity, even a brief walk 7 days a week. Gotta keep moving. The healthy food and the exercise go hand in hand for me. They feed off one another.
-I will remember just how miserable I was when I was 287 lbs and how I could barely move and every day was like living a nightmare. I'll remember all the worries and anxities that my extra weight brought about.
-No matter how hard the struggle, no matter how much work it takes to stay a healthy weight - it's about a million times better then being morbidly obese.
09-20-2007, 02:39 PM
It happened to me..I lost 70lbs and gained back all of it.:(
I know where I went wrong though. I let myself get distracted by something that was happening in my personal life, and I stopped everything. No more exercise, and I stopped weighing. Unhealthy foods took over again, and it was all downhill from there. This time around, my plan is much like Robin's.
09-20-2007, 03:37 PM
I lost a lot. 133 pounds (I had so much denial about it, I hadn't even done the math right and thought it was 120 for years. Duh.). And I gained it all back plus 18. It was horrible. There were several factors that I hope I am getting under control this time.
1. I was under so much stress at the time and the only way I wanted to feel better was to eat. And eat I did. Along the way I would think, I'll stop soon, I can stop at anytime, there's no way I'll gain it all back, blah, blah, blah. All lies. Sound like any addicts you've heard of? I'm working on learning new coping skills because stress is part of life.
2. I was disappointed that my body didn't look the way I wanted it to look. I looked terrific in clothes, but if I'm being honest with myself, out of them I thought I almost looked better fatter. It was the saggy skin. This time, I plan to have it fixed. Everyone's different (and I have the utmost respect for those who are okay with it), but I would feel better about scars than being saggy.
3. I got lazy about eating and frustrated that I couldn't eat like my always-thin friends and family could. I just can't handle as many calories as they can. Period. I'm okay with that now.
4. I was unprepared for the attention and expectations that came with my new body. I really hid behind my fat. Suddenly I felt totally exposed. My outside no longer matched my inside. And while you can be happy with your new exterior, the contradiction between that and your old identity can be hard to reconcile. Part of me was upset that people who didn't want anything to do with me before now wanted to be my best friend, date me, etc. My parents, who always said they were proud of me, seemed prouder than before; showing me off. This one I'm not sure how I'm going to fix, but now I have a therapist AND 3FC so I hope this will be easier next time. ;)
Anyway, it's a good question. I think it's true that losing the weight is the easy part - keeping it off, and not sabotaging yourself, are the hard parts.
09-20-2007, 04:05 PM
That was a really powerful post, C.C. Thanks for sharing it. You provide a LOT of insight into what really goes on mentally and emotionally when you lose a lot of weight. I think that insight will help people prepare for the changes that may happen, and probably help more people keep the weight off because of it. Thank you!
09-20-2007, 04:34 PM
Thank you, Sheila! I do hope it helps someone. I wouldn't wish the shame and embarrassment of regaining that much weight on my worst enemy. It's good for me to revisit too, so I don't make the same mistakes again.
09-20-2007, 06:34 PM
Definitely some food for thought.
I must say, and I don't want to scare anyone, especially the younger ones here. I don't think I could have tackled this when I was younger. I'm 43 now, started when I was 42. I don't think I could have handled all the new found attention CC mentions. The being exposed, the not having the fat to hide behind. I'm not sure if I could have found different avenues for dealing with the stress. I'm just not sure.........
Anyway, for all of you wonderful young girls on this forum and you know who you are - don't let me uncertainty stop you from getting to your goals right this very minute. Just be aware of all these things. Take measures to deal with them. And by all means speak to someone about your fears and concerns. Cause' even though I said I don't know if I COULD have dealt with that stuff, I sure as heck wish I would have given it a darn good try. I wasted so many precious years being miserable and living an inferior life because of my weight.
09-20-2007, 06:36 PM
I have the same terror and so far MY answer to your question would be NO. I've lost large amounts of weight 5 or 6 times over more than 20 years and never kept it off. I've managed for 2 or more years to maintain but I always slip back. Can't really say why but usually some big life event knocks me out of kilter and I can't get back. My last big loss 5 years ago now I maintained for nearly 2 years, then was suddenly hospitalised and needed surgery on my eye. During recovery I started 'treating' myself partly because I was bored and lonely at home and partly because I felt I deserved it.
I'v been back on track since May and doing great, as I know I can do. But I'm still always asking myself the question, can I keep it off and what will be different this time round. I still don't know the answer but hope to discover it soon.
09-20-2007, 09:00 PM
In 2001, I lost 50 pounds and then I gained it all back plus a few. This time, I've lost 108 so far and I honestly don't think it will come back. I hope I'm right, but here's what's different this time:
*I've reached a healthy weight, and knowing what it's like to be at this weight is just REALLY powerful motivation. When I lost weight before, I got to 221, so I was still obese. Now that I know what it's like to be at a healthy weight, I can't imagine going back.
*I fully understand that maintenance is VERY similar to losing. I accept that I'll always have to watch my calories, and I'm ok with that.
*I made a plan for maintenance before I ever even started losing weight. I didn't do that back in 2001. This time I've continually thought about it along the way, preparing myself for it.
*I became a runner. This is BY FAR the most important part of my maintenance plan. I figure if I'm always a runner, I can't possibly gain tons of weight back. And if I keep signing up for races, I'll simply HAVE to run, even if my love for running wears off a little (which I don't see happening).
To sum it up, make a plan for maintenance NOW, become an athlete by finding an activity you love and will do forever, and accept that you will always have to pay close attention to your eating, and the pounds should stay away, right?
09-21-2007, 06:22 AM
Thank you Lisa Marie I think your post has helped me. I can relate to your first point in that I've managed to be not obese before but never in the healthy BMI range. I've also thought about maintenance and too have realised that it needs just as much work as the weightloss itself. Where I fall down however is that I can never see me finding an exercise I want to do for the rest of my life. I have to force myself to do it and even if I enjoy it at the time it still doesn't make me crave more.
09-21-2007, 11:28 AM
I've lost the same 30# many times and always gained it back and then some, mostly thanks to upsets in my personal life, divorce, job loss, new marriage (honeymoon syndrome), etc. I am such an emotional eater that I let myself go and never look back until one day-boom- all the weight is back and I hate myself all over again. I can only hope and pray that this time (with the support of all of you at this site) I can remain on track and lose consistently. When I was much younger (20-30) I could lose 10# in 2 weeks, of course I was much slimmer then also--but at 60 it is much harder. My advice to you young folks is do it now and maintain-never let it get the best of you again.
09-21-2007, 08:03 PM
When I was 25 (I'm 57 now) I lost 95 lbs to 145. One more pound would have kicked me from normal weight to overweight. I kept it off for oh, maybe 4 months. I gained slowly and steadily back to 240. Every once in a while I'd lose about 15 lbs, only to gain it right back. At about 42 I went on Optifast and lost 50 lbs, gained it back. At 46 I had 3 liposuctions, which for some mysterious reason triggered a 60-lb. loss. Gained it all back, then 35 more after menopause. Four years ago I lost 40 lbs. mostly by starving, gained it all back again.
Now I've lost 35 since May, and feel as though I have made a permanent change in how I look at food. This time is easier than anything else I have ever done. I'm doing Atkins. I think it's easier because one, I'm not anticipating the day I can go back to KFC and Ben & Jerry's. Atkins completely killed the craving. Two, I just kept looking until I found a sensible and healthy way of eating that appeals to my taste (what I'm eating has to make me happy, and I'm a dedicated carnivore). One wonderful side effect is that my blood sugar is marvelous, my cholestorol and LDL plummeted while HDL went up significantly -- my dr. is thrilled. Three, I have learned to enjoy exercise. Four, I weigh myself daily. I know immediately when the scale starts to go the wrong way, and can nip it in the bud. Five, I write down everything I put in my mouth, the carb count AND the calories. No more living in my happy delusional world. Six, and maybe the most important, I have a support system now that I never had before called 3FC. I think maybe this is impossible to do alone!
I don't know, maybe I finally grew up. Anyway, this feels completely different than a "diet." I don't feel deprived. I am willing to put time and energy into good food, rather than just grabbing something wrapped in cellophane, out of the freezer, or from a fast "food" restaurant. I am putting emphasis on healthy food, lots of raw crunchy green stuff, and avoiding processed food as much as possible -- tho I admit to cooking bacon a pound at a time to crumble up and freeze for salads and quiche. What I'm eating now makes me happy, and feels like something I can pretty readily do forever.