Weight Loss Support - Those Dratted Statistics!




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srmb60
08-15-2008, 09:57 AM
I hardly know where to start, I'm so upset by the statistics that BillyG spoke about in his heartwrenching posts.

Firstly, I wish everyone who even fleetingly considers weight loss should read Anne M Fletchers book Thin for Life -or- in the very least, the 3FC discussion of it posted here

http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=169

Then, I'd like to debunk this dismal statistic ... the 98% of weight losers who fail??? I've heard 95% and can think of so many reasons that's not an accurate reflection of what's really going on.

So can you, can't you? We all know successful losers. We all know the vagarities of statistic collecting ....

The first thing that pops to mind is ... who did they ask? And who is they?

Another is ... what's failure? If you meant to lose 40 lbs only lost 20 and maintained that for thirty years, where do you fit in those statistics?

And the dreaded perception ...
Have you tried to lose weight in your lifetime?
Why, yes I have!
Did you lose weight?
Yes, yes I did.
Do you have the body of your dreams now?
Er ... no ....
Aha! Chalk on up for failure ...


suitejudyblueeyes
08-15-2008, 10:34 AM
Thank you for posting this, Susan.

Anyone who looks at a statistic like the one quoted by BillyG and uses it as an excuse not to lose weight never wanted to really lose the weight in the first place. So what if some mystical, vague "they" failed 98% of the time? What does that have to do with YOU or ME? (I'd like to see who funded these studies actually - the sugar industry? The corn industry? Elastic waistband society of America? :lol:)

I know I can do it, and so can everyone else who is committed to the cause. It's not easy but it sure isn't impossible, either.

ronni62
08-15-2008, 11:28 AM
I agree totally with both of you! The most important thing I gained from my college statistics class is that all statistics can be skewed-not only by the built-in margin of error, but by the way the researcher asks the questions, whether it's worded positively or negatively, and many other methods that the 'researchers' can actually use to obtain the results they want to see for the point they are trying to make! In some cases, the margin of error is so large that the stat becomes meaningless (think about political polls:p).

My own statistics show that I have failed on diets 99% of the time, but this time, I AM SUCCEEDING! And, that's the only stat that's important. I'm ready to renounce my membership in the Elastic Waistband Society of America!;)


JayEll
08-15-2008, 11:43 AM
Statistics... They are just meaningless when it comes to individual cases... Who says that "I" am not in the 2% who are successful? And, who cares what someone shows with numbers? Yes, statistics can be useful--they show that overweight people are much more likely to develop diabetes, for example, so that can be motivation to have a normal weight. But, it doesn't mean that someone of normal weight will not develop diabetes!

Here is my favorite statistics joke:

Three statisticians were at the archery range. One statistician stepped up to the line, drew back the bow, and fired the arrow. It landed 10 feet to the right of the target.

The second statistician took his shot, and the arrow landed 10 feet to the left of the target.

At this point the third statistician got all excited. "We hit it! We hit it!" he yelled.

:lol:

Jay

srmb60
08-15-2008, 11:51 AM
:rofl:Elastic Waistband Society of America

and Jay's joke:rofl:

KLK
08-15-2008, 12:08 PM
I agree, a lot of dismal statistics get thrown around these days -- the success at weight loss statistic, the successful marriage statistic (what is it now, one successful marriage in 11,000,000 or something?). Personally, while I think these kinds of studies can be useful just for general information, as others have said the how, who, when and other such details are often omitted from the ****ALARMING STATISTIC!!!!**** that gets reported on the evening news and quoted over and over again.

I too think that people use these numbers as excuses -- to either stay in a bad situation or to feel a bad outcome is inevitable "Look at those statistics -- no wonder this didn't work out!" AND as an excuse to be passive "If I try to change this bad situation, I won't be successful anyway since so many other people fail, so I might as wel just accept how things are." I'm sure some of that passivity must come from genuine depression, but much of it is also a cloud of failure that surrounds these statistics.

Personally, I think these kinds of statistics are all part of the culture of worry/money currently enveloping the US ... you may have this illness, you may need this drug, 1 in 5 people will be effected by this sickness, 1 in 3 people is obese but according to this statistic only 2% of those who try to lose weight will do so successfully but this medication can help!, this fad diet can keep it off for good!, etc etc etc.

I also think this feeds into the desire for the "miracle cure." Obviously, it's partly just human nature to try to find the easiest/fastest way to achieve a goal and finish something, but I think too that if a person keeps hearing that ONLY 2% of EVERYONE who tries to lose weight does so successfully, it makes it seem like those who are successful must have found some special way to lose the weight -- a miracle happened! -- what diet did they go on? what pill did they take?? Did they just wake up thin one morning? Hearing "eat better foods and fewer calories and exercise regularly" just seems like a crock of poo... and then the weightloss/diet commercials begin, money is wasted, etc.

kaplods
08-15-2008, 12:14 PM
Looking at my own personal statistics, I would say that I have failed 95% of the time, or even more. I've made far more than 100 serious attempts at losing weight.

So, it wouldn't surprise me at all that 95% of those who attempt to lose weight, fail. And I don't assume that I "didn't want it enough," nor that have any of those who may have failed so much they've become sick of trying and have just given up. I nearly did.

People fail for a lot of reasons, and some of them may have nothing to do with "wanting it." Most of what we think we know about weight loss just isn't true, and what we DO know often isn't popular advice. For me, wanting it "too badly," meant trying to do it FAST, even doing crazy, stupid things to lose weight, which just doesn't work in the long term. I could easily never have stumbled upon what HAS worked for me. Changing my birth control, eating lower carb (which I'd always thought too unhealthy to attempt until it was recommended by two different doctors) and most recently being able to get off prednisone a medication that lowers metabolism, causes water retention and extreme hunger (a triple threat to weight loss).

Can "everyone" lose weight, I'm not even going to say yes. I don't know, but I was able to succeed by making those several hundred attempts. Many of them caused more failure than success, and if I could go back and advise my young self, to spare her all of those attempts, I would.

I think it's wise for a person to know the statistics, and carefully consider what they are going to attempt. I strongly believe that each diet (whether you call it a diet or not, each period of "calorie restriction"), particularly if it is extremely low in calorie lowers metabolism, so if a person can increase their odds of success by knowing what does tend to work, and what doesn't that would be emmensely beneficial. The only problem is, that information really isn't available yet, and the way most obesity research is conducted, I don't see it coming down the pike anytime soon. Which leaves us all as lab rat and scientist.

If we ask most people trying to lose weight whether or not they'be been successful, unfortunatly many will say "no," even if they're maintaining a loss, because in their mind it "isn't good enough." We are taught to a large degree, that only perfection counts as success. I think many of us had to throw away the idea of perfection in order to succeed. It's ridiculous to think that if we couldn't lose it all, we might as well gain it all back, and yet that is a common reaction to weight loss.

Ignoring the statistics could make a person think this is easy, and going in with that attitude is preparing you for failure. That doesn't mean it has to be so bone-crushingly difficult that you're miserable every second of the attempt (which many people also believe, so they're afraid to start - or they make it so, and then can't stand the deprivation and misery).

That, I think is why I cringe when I hear "you have to want it badly enough," because that SO implies that the attempt is going to be a test of will - that it is going to be so incredibly miserable and difficult, that only the strongest willed persons will succeed. That takes the air out of many sails. Especially since if you believe that, that' is how you're going to make the attempt. If you're NOT miserable, you're going to think you're doing it wrong.

I think attitides have to change about what success is, and how to go about it, before we see the stats improve. That doesn't make us all failures, it makes us pioneers. We're learning what DOES work, and we're sharing those messages of hope.

HOPE, that's what it really takes to begin to succeed. Not just the kind of hope that says maybe there's a small chance that I might be able to do this, but hope that is strong enough to turn into (with a little work) FAITH - the knowledge that we can do and get what we want. Not just on the scale, but out of life.

Kofarq
08-15-2008, 12:26 PM
SusanB, the people who 'fail' by gaining all the weight back are usually uninformed about maintenance. And labelling anything less than perfection as a failure is inaccurate. If I wanted to lose 30 lbs, and only lost 20, I consider that a WIN! Think of it this way, if quitting smoking is so hard, and everyone fails, why can I name 16 people in my near family that have been smoke-free for more than 5 years? Yes, we had to quit more than once for it to keep, but we did it!

BillyG doesn't want to lose weight, he just wanted to poke us with a stick to see if we'd yelp.

KLK
08-15-2008, 12:34 PM
I think so too. I hope I'm wrong and he's really looking for help and motivation to start a real weightloss attempt, but I don't think so.

BillyG doesn't want to lose weight, he just wanted to poke us with a stick to see if we'd yelp.

mamaspank
08-15-2008, 02:15 PM
I'm glad you bring this up, Susan B. Not that BillyG wasn't entertaining, but I can't help but feel he was poking a little fun at us "losers." Either he is in a really dark place at the moment and feeling like it is all just a waste of time or he was just trying to rile us up (which he did splendidly). I'm curious what your thoughts are on this. By the way, I loved that you had the pluck to ask him what it was he wanted from 3FC.

srmb60
08-15-2008, 02:50 PM
My thoughts on ... ???

As always I was super impressed by the number of 3FCers who wanted better for a Billy even when he 'seemed' to want nothing.

I'm thrilled with the confidence many posters showed. Somebody's doing it, why not me?! Why not you?!

Except on debate team, folks don't argue something they don't feel strongly about. The responses appear to indicate that 3FCers know that weight loss can be done and know that they can do it. Sticking up for what is right.



No man is an island. No one, nobody functions independently from other human beings. They may think they do. They may think they don't care for anyone else nor what anyone else thinks or does. I just don't believe it.
In the very least, his blog and posting here indicate the need for validation. Right or wrong I need someone to agree with me.

If it's true ... that he cares not for family, friends, future, life (quality or quantity) ... that's suicidal ideation and needs professional treatment.

I don't like to doubt people. I don't want to think that Billy is simply yanking our chain. He spent quite a bit of time and thought corresponding last night. Some things he said rang true. I'm hoping he was just in a pretty low place last night. We can help with that and what was gloriously apparent was that we want to.

yoyonomoreinvegas
08-15-2008, 03:07 PM
Statistics? Poo on statistics anyway. The only stats I care about right now are the ones I post in my personal log :D I look at it this way - you know that thing about "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"? Well, I'm pretty sure that for every *study* there is another *study* that proves the total opposite of the first study :lol:

JayEll
08-15-2008, 03:09 PM
Isn't this thread getting a little... um... gossipy? I mean, we're talking about another member as though they aren't here... Who should we discuss next... :o

Jay

srmb60
08-15-2008, 03:13 PM
You Jay ... you're too smart for me ;)

I didn't mean to gossip. Billy G is welcome to come read what I wrote. Some encouraging things have come from that thread.

However .... this thread is supposed to be about how we feel about those statistics.

JayEll
08-15-2008, 03:36 PM
Thanks, SusanB!

Jay

yoyonomoreinvegas
08-15-2008, 03:38 PM
As usual (heavy sigh :D ) you are right - I have edited my post so all that's left is my opinion of *statistics*

Heather
08-15-2008, 03:43 PM
As a researcher, I have a healthy respect for statistics. But they need to be taken in context, and are not inevitable. I could even believe a statistic that 95% of people who lose weight gain it back in 5 years (I don't know that's true or not, but for the sake of argument, I'll assume it is).

But what about the 5% who keep it off? If they engage in X behavior, and that was a key to maintenance, if more people start doing X, then the statistic should improve!

I don't know if I'll be a statistic who keeps off the weight or one who doesn't. But from the examples on this board, I feel like I have a lot more information to make me successful.

So, sure, that statistic may be true, but it doesn't HAVE to be! And I think we're on the front line here at 3fc!

Let's change those depressing weight loss statistics!

srmb60
08-15-2008, 03:50 PM
Knowledge is power. I truly believe that when it comes to nutrition, health and fitness.

3FC frontline weight loss educators!

Just as current trends are about increasing obesity ... trends can change. If enough folks think they'd rather be part of the 2%, sooner or later it'll be more percents.

Statistics as a learning tool. A tool for change.

Someone came to the door and I lost my chain of thought. Sorry, hope that made sense.

yoyonomoreinvegas
08-15-2008, 04:04 PM
oh and Jay - thank you for using your usual (and enviable) restraint and using the word "gossipy" instead of that other word you probably would've rather used :lol:

I also kind of think that negative statistics can become a "self fulfilling prophecy" of sorts. I mean how many people out there (like that poor other poster) might make one or two stabs at "dieting" then just give up because The Statistics tell them they are doomed to fail anyway? Or people like me who, when we actually poked our head out of the denial hole, would have latched on to a statistic like that and used it to drag ourselves over to the excuses hole?

I'm with Heather - Let's tip those scales (pun intended :D ) in the other direction!

kaplods
08-15-2008, 04:06 PM
In all honesty, the thought that Billy could be a thin person, mocking fat people did cross my mind. And Billy, I mean no offense to you personally, but in an online community (and in real life sometimes too) there are always people who are not actually who they pretend to be.

Either way, I think the appropriate response is the same. Calm and rational discussion. By taking the post at face value and not getting angry or defensive, we give the "right" response to someone who is sincere and reaching out (whether they realize that's there motive or not) and it also is the best response to someone who is deliberately trying to provoke us (whether they're in the situation they say they are or not).

I am a "freeloader" upon society right now. And while I'm not proud of it, I'm not really ashamed of it either. Not because I don't care that I can't contribute much right now, but because I know what led to that dependence is complicated. I burnt the candle at both ends for many years, trying to prove to myself and society that I might be fat, but I wasn't lazy. That probably led to my having to go on disability more than the weight itself - sacrificing my health for my career - not an unusual response in our society right now (of people of all weights). I didn't eat properly or rest properly and I am paying for that - in more ways than society is. I'm still a "contributing" member of society, in that I still do feel a responsibility to the folks that are taking care of me, so I care back as much as I can. I do volunteer work when and as much as I can and I'm working at getting back enough health and stamina to return to the workforce in at least a limited capacity.

I think many people do give up in my situation. Billy's comments are not ones that I haven't heard from others, or even thought myself in my darkest times. In that respect, whether or not they are true doesn't matter, because they COULD be true and our answers could help more than just Billy, but anyone feeling so helpless and hopeless that they believe nothing else is possible (and maybe even that they prefer it that way).

I can understand being content (and maybe even calling it happy) with a small life, but the moment a person realizes it has become a "too small" life - only they can make it bigger. People can help you, but only with your assistance and consent.

I think the mental preparation it takes to lose weight is very similar to the stages of grief. Maybe we're grieving for the person we could have been, or the person we are and wish we weren't. I don't know, but I know that I have gone through all of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I've gone through the stages many, many, many times in my life.

The acceptance once took the form of accepting my weight as inevitable, and deciding to live as full a life as I could (and if I'd done that at 180 lbs rather than over 300, maybe that could have been a workable solution).

Now, I accept that I will always have to make a conscious and concerted effort to lose and maintain those losses. And I do so, knowing that I do so for selfish reasons (and finally giving myself permission to be selfish) I want to have a bigger life. Losing weight is a means to that end. That's all. I don't need to be "cute" anymore. I do need to be stronger and healthier to do some of the things I want to do, so that's why I'm working on the weight loss. Simple and selfish. And not so selfish too. My husband doesn't want to lose me, so I owe him a bit too (just as he owes me). And all of the people and animals I want to help, I can't do that without helping me. For many years I didn't understand that. Taking care of myself last, was a "good thing," I thought, but when you don't take care of yourself, you're often left in no position to help anyone.

This whole "mess" is very complicated, and so are our emotions. Anyone feeling like Billy, is responding well within the range of "normal." Sometimes depression is an UGLY critter and that eats away at the ability and willingness to rise above it. We can't give anyone hope if they won't take it, but telling our stories I think can help. It shows others (even if Billy isn't ready, someone else may be) that whether the odds are 5% or 2% or any other possible number that it CAN be done.

mamaspank
08-15-2008, 04:16 PM
Gossipy? Jay, I hope I don't come off that way. I mentioned in my post to BillyG that I thought he might be pulling the wool over on us. I also told him that regardless of whatever his motive was that I still meant what I said about his ability to relay what he was feeling with words, that he definitely had a knack.

nancylmrn
08-15-2008, 04:19 PM
I look at the numbers and for me that is just what they are numbers to be absorbed and I can either buy into it or not. They may be true but they don't have to be numbers that dictate my outcomes

yoyonomoreinvegas
08-15-2008, 04:28 PM
I am a "freeloader" upon society right now.

I think the mental preparation it takes to lose weight is very similar to the stages of grief. Maybe we're grieving for the person we could have been, or the person we are and wish we weren't. I don't know, but I know that I have gone through all of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I've gone through the stages many, many, many times in my life.

First of all, you are NOT a "freeloader"! A freeloader would be someone who is fully capable of doing more for themselves but simply chooses not to. You, on the other hand, are actively striving to make changes that will ultimately result in your being back on your feet. 'nuff said.

I hope the medical community lurks around 3FC and reads your observation on mental preparation. I think if more of the people we turn to for help and information when we're stumbling around trying to get started were to view weight loss in that light, they would be able to be much more supportive.

midwife
08-15-2008, 08:21 PM
Susan,

Interesting thought on the statistics.

Here's my thought. :) As with anything else, I take what is meaningful to me and leave the rest. Assuming there is an overwhelming and abject failure to maintain by most people who attempt weight loss, what does that mean to me?

It means I have been there---twice. I regained. I was that statistic.
It also means that I have learned how to NOT be a regain statistic.
I need to continue to make food and movement choices that enhance my health. I am not perfect. Thankfully I don't have to be! But I can make better choices for health most of the time and that is enough for me.

I hope that all people who come to 3FC meet and maintain their weight loss goals. But the bottom line is that everyone else's chances and statistics don't really effect me. The only statistic that matters to my maintenance is myself---an N of 1. Coincidentally, that is the only statistic I can control.

So I shall continue to defy statistics. In a world where over 50% of girls never get to go to school, I am an educated woman. In a country where midwives catch 10% of babies, I work in a practice where midwives catch >80%. In a society where lots of kids live with just one parent for a myriad of reasons, I have married to my high school sweetheart for 17 years---my kids come home to both parents. In my mid-thirties, I've gone from an overweight couch potato to a runner (9 minute mile, baby!).

Screw the stats. It is my life. I will control what I can and build my future.

Pandora123a
08-16-2008, 02:35 AM
Statistics...I worked in a neonatal intensive care unit for a while and I learned a lot about statistics. Everyone wanted them...what was the percentage of babies who lived, who had complications, who had siblings with the same problems etc.

One doctor I know taught me a big lesson. When parents would ask he would say "Statistics are very useful to talk about a large population...but you have one baby. Maybe less than 1% of babies have this problem, but sadly 100% of this baby has the problem."

The same thing goes for me. 98% of everyone who ever seeks to lose weight may regain it. That says that in a large population 2% don't. I am only one person, so I am choosing to be part of the 2%. It is what midwife said, we are an N of 1!

Good luck everyone...let's show that the odds are just a little better for those who join 3FC.

WebRover
08-16-2008, 06:20 AM
Warning - Statistics may be intentionally misused in this post.
LONG post ahead

This is a somewhat lighthearted look at the 2%/5% statistic - the success side of 92-95% of dieters regain the weight.

First of all, I'm going to use the 5% because it makes the math easier and because it better supports my end claim (hey, I did warn you. :D)

This makes the claim "5% of dieters keep the weight off" and since I don't know what the original statement really is "5% of dieters keep the weight off for 5 years or more". Keep in mind 5% is 1 out of 20. (This is a true part, not any of the misused part.)

At any given time when 100 dieters are being interviewed (I'll say interviewed so I don't have to keep saying interviewed, filled out a questionnaire form, answered a survey on line, on the phone, etc.) . . . At any given time when 100 dieters are being interviewed, 5% or 5 of them are reporting success. At any given time when 20 dieters are being interviewed, 5% or 1 of them are reporting success. And keep in mind, they are being interviewed at a particular point in time, not 5 minutes after they stop "dieting" for the very last time.

The others are in various stages of: been on a diet now or in the past and didn't lose anything, didn't lose it all, lost some and gained it back, lost it all and gained it back, lost some and kept it off a short time, lost some and kept it off a long time, lost some and weight crept back up, etc. etc. Some have tried to lose it once, some on their second try, some on their 18th try, 19th, 25th, etc. Remember in the headlines, all those different results are lumped in the same category - didn't lose it all and didn't keep it off for 5 years. People who tried half-heartedly, didn't read the book, didn't really follow the plan, cheated every day, will still be reported as dieting - most likely unsuccessfully. :dizzy:

If the same people are surveyed a year later, some will have tried dieting again or continued dieting with the same or different results.

At some point some people will have given up, some will have tried less than 20 times and some 20 or more. But statistically they all will have been counted at some phase in their dieting life. Only 5% will have been counted at the "completion and maintenance" phase. You have to believe some will have learned something about weight loss and nutrition that they will apply to a future "diet" or will cause them some incremental success in their current "diet".

Now let's say enough time passes that everyone who is going to diet times has done so as many times as they ever will. They've either lost their weight and kept it off, lost some of their weight and kept it off, or are back at original weight or more. At this point the same group of 100 is reinterviewed. Assuming that this is the end stage of dieting, I think you'd have a much higher % of success. You're interviewing the folks at the end of dieting, not all the ones who haven't gotten there yet.

I'm relating this to the research concept that if you interview people in a store on one single day and ask how often they frequent that store, and you use those values straight up, your results are skewed.
How often do you shop?
Daily? 10
Weekly? 10
Monthly? 10

If you think from this that of 30 customers, on average 10 shop daily, you would be wrong. The 10 customers who responded daily will be the same 10 who will be there tomorrow. Assuming your customers are evenly distributed through the week, the next day the same 10 daily customers would be there, but a different 10 who shop weekly and a different 10 who shop monthly. In the end there would be 10 who shop daily, 70 who shop weekly and 300 who shop monthly.

So applying or misapplying that concept back to our 5% of successful dieters: In the end out of 20 people interviewed there are 19 who are on the journey to success and 1 who has reached it AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

JayEll
08-16-2008, 08:29 AM
Wow! That's good! :bravo: Thanks, Webrover!

Here's another statistics story: A friend of mine was considering whether to have a test her doctor recommended. She asked, "So, if I get a positive result, then it means I have the disease?" The doctor said, "Well, not exactly. This test has a certain percentage of false positives, so we wouldn't know for sure."

"Oh," she said, "Well, then if I get a negative result, it means I don't have the disease." The doctor said, "Possibly, but the test also has a percentage of false negatives, so we wouldn't be absolutely sure of that, either."

"In other words," my friend said, "We could just toss a coin and say there's a 50/50 chance!"

The doctor didn't know how to answer that. She didn't have the test. And in her case, she didn't have the disease, either.

Jay

SkinnyDogMom
08-16-2008, 09:11 AM
My few cents worth...
Many people lose weight successfully, but don't report it to anyone.
I am reading Thin For Life by Anne Fletcher right now, I'm about half way through. I really like that her approach was to go to those who have been successful and ask them how? why this time? etc.
I also didn't have knowledge of the National weight control registry until reading this book, but I think I saw a link to it here on 3FC??
Maybe those maintainers here at 3FC can help change those stats for the better?
I also read Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata. It is an overview of dieting programs. It includes historical aspects of dieting as well as following current dieters through a research based weight loss program. The book could be perceived as discouraging, but for me, it makes me think about my own attempts in the past and how I can approach this differently to facilitate my own success.

kaplods
08-16-2008, 10:49 AM
If weight loss was a well understood science, I would pay a lot more attention to the statistics, but we're still in the dieting dark ages. We don't know which programs work best (probably because we're asking the wrong question - which program works best for which people, might be a better one. We don't know why some people succeed and others fail, or why a person may try 100 times and why the 100th time worked for them when the first 99 didn't.

Our cultural ideal of dieting is for the most part, still pretty stupid. Crash diets are more the norm than the exception. Eating primarily for health, and secondarily for weight loss, is a revolutionary concept. Heck just the first part, is a pretty novel idea. We're also often expecting perfection from the start - when a person can't pick up a saxaphone for the first time and start playing jazz, we don't call them a failure at the saxaphone - they haven't learned the skill set yet. That's not failure, that's learning curve. Geez. Besides that, we don't allow for learning curve, in the cultural experience of dieting, the general idea is that you start another diet just like the one you failed at. If the Wright brothers had kept getting into their faulty model of the airplane, expecting to fly, attempt 99 isn't going to be any more successful than attempt 1. Instead, we're often expecting to get on the same horse that threw us, at some point a sensible person has to consider a new horse.

To lose weight successfully, you have to wade through many of the diet myths that pass for "information." You have to be willing to think outside of the box, and learn what works for YOU. When the common dieting "wisdom" is true wisdom, the stats are going to look very different.

chick_in_the_hat
08-16-2008, 06:01 PM
Ya know what? If we are "outside of the norm" because there are so many successful losers here....then yay us.

Maybe more people ought to hang out here with us.

I still think a 98% failure rate is a load of hooie. Am I supposed to count myself in there because I haven't gotten to my stated goal yet? Yeah...I guess I'm a failure because I've only lost 95 pounds and not the 115 I wanted to. WHATEVAH. :devil:

Mom2QJandT
08-16-2008, 06:53 PM
I only came into this thread to say 74% of statistics are made up on the spot ;)

But, it's a good discussion, I enjoyed reading the thread.

Hat Trick
08-18-2008, 10:11 AM
I agree totally with both of you! The most important thing I gained from my college statistics class is that all statistics can be skewed-not only by the built-in margin of error, but by the way the researcher asks the questions, whether it's worded positively or negatively, and many other methods that the 'researchers' can actually use to obtain the results they want to see for the point they are trying to make! In some cases, the margin of error is so large that the stat becomes meaningless (think about political polls:p).

Hey this is exactly what I got out of Stats I and II as well. There are so many variables involved in coming up w/these numbers and you never know what those variables are. Statistics are malleable bits of information that can be presented for whatever result you intend.

Statistics? Bah, who needs 'em! You never fail unless you fail to try.

Heather
08-18-2008, 11:29 AM
As a researcher, I hate to see statistics get a bad rap. On the whole, I think the posters above are correct, but in the defense of statistics, they really are very useful tools -- for example, in understanding how likely events are to occur. I really do think they are beneficial.

However, they are misunderstood and misused. For example, if you did research with a certain sample or using certain questions, you can't apply the statistics beyond the sample or questions, and yet people (including researchers) do that all the time. In other words, it's not always the statistics that are the problem, but how people use them.

InkyMama
08-18-2008, 12:19 PM
Statistics as a learning tool. A tool for change.

Great point! :)

JulieJ08
08-18-2008, 02:50 PM
I think it's statistics like that that are responsible for much of the success here. It's those statistics that tell us that the common attitudes and methods don't work and we need something better. It's statistics like those that made many of us sit down and think and figure out how it was going to be different this time.

kaplods
08-18-2008, 03:15 PM
Statistics are a tool. To someone who understands them, they're a very useful tool. To someone who doesn't (or someone who uses them intentionally to mislead) they become meaningless (or outright lies).

I think it's the interpretation that gets people into trouble.

Consider:

Everyone who eats, dies, therefore eating causes death and you should not eat.

Now that is an easy one, because it's easy for anyone to see the fault in that logic. But the same type of logic is often used in situations that make it a lot more difficult to see the fault in the logic. If a statement "makes sense" it is often assumed to be true without considering that the logic could be faulty.

Statistics when used correctly, can give us alot of information we otherwise wouldn't have. Research is important in many situations (I wouldn't take a drug that hadn't been tested), and the only way to evaluate research test results are with statistics.

The statistics that suggest that support groups tend to increase the success of behavior change (not just weight loss, but smoking, drug addiction, compulsive behaviors...) certainly influenced my decision to join TOPS. Does that mean that I think I couldn't lose weight without a support group? NO - but it did reinforce my decision that it was worth a shot and I could find it helpful (and I have).

I think the reason weight loss research is so sketchy, is that we're still treating weight loss as if it were a single behavior instead of as the dozens it probably truly is.

Spoz
08-18-2008, 03:19 PM
I know countless people who say 'Oh I'm on a diet' but dont take it at all seriously. I mean who doesnt know those people who always say theyre on diets and are on different diets every week?

If you looked at statistics of people who SERIOUSLY want to lose weight in the long run, like on this website for example then the statistics are going to be much more acurate.

SkinnyDogMom
08-18-2008, 06:41 PM
I would encourage everyone here to take part in the national weight control registry. The requirements are: 1.lose at least 30 pounds 2.keep it off for at least 1 year or more.
Even if you are not to your goal weight, and are still trying to lose more, you can still join if you meet those 2 requirements.
Lets help those stats!

I still have 6 more pounds to lose and then keep at least that amount off for a year before I can join. I will sign my husband up as soon as his year is up. He reached 30 pounds lost back in May.

Hat Trick
08-18-2008, 06:44 PM
I would encourage everyone here to take part in the national weight control registry. The requirements are: 1.lose at least 30 pounds 2.keep it off for at least 1 year or more.
Even if you are not to your goal weight, and are still trying to lose more, you can still join if you meet those 2 requirements.
Lets help those stats!

I still have 6 more pounds to lose and then keep at least that amount off for a year before I can join. I will sign my husband up as soon as his year is up. He reached 30 pounds lost back in May.


But couldn't you just fake your numbers and your maintenance to skew the results? Sorry, just being a bug today. ;) :)

SkinnyDogMom
08-18-2008, 06:51 PM
:frypan:

squashing a bug!!!

Of course anyone can lie. I don't see why someone would take the time to go to the website, fill out the information just to skew results...but then again, I am an optimist and believe in the good in others.

WebRover
08-18-2008, 06:59 PM
You never fail unless you fail to try.
That's a great way to look at it. Hurray for the positive approach that is so universal here at 3FC.

I think it's statistics like that that are responsible for much of the success here. It's those statistics that tell us that the common attitudes and methods don't work and we need something better. It's statistics like those that made many of us sit down and think and figure out how it was going to be different this time.
Yes - we know it's not going to be easy and we'll have to work at it and keep keep keep trying.


For example, if you did research with a certain sample or using certain questions, you can't apply the statistics beyond the sample or questions, and yet people (including researchers) do that all the time.
Just wanted to comment - and you can't use the response values in ways they weren't collected to support. I've seen too many reports that "averaged" non-mathmatical choices like A,B,C,D,E for example. On the whole though, I think statistics are beneficial.

CaffeineIV
08-18-2008, 07:37 PM
Ok, I'm new and have no idea where the statistics started from. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

Just taking the people in my life that I know are dieters...me, my sister, my mom, my best friend, her friend, and my dad...the statistics are that 2/7 have taken weight off and kept it off.

My best friend's friend took off over 100 pounds and kept it off for something like 7 years. My sister lost something like 25 pounds and has kept it off but has also gotten way too thin at times.

My mom has been one of those that will jump on something, do it for a couple days, then claim that she can't lose weight because she's older and in menopause. She has had so many different pieces of exercise equipment that generally just gather dust. I have a treadmill they got, then gave me because it wasn't uses...they have a new one. She gave me "the bean" because she didn't use it. My sister has something they gave her, my best friend has something they gave her (and again...got a new one). They have an eliptical machine that has been sitting in their garage for well over a year...more like 3 I think. She just got a new piece and they have an exercise bike that doesn't get any use except when my kids get over there. Is she the sort that is going to get the weight off and keep it off? No, not till she finally decides that she will work at it and do what she says. She wants the magic pill.

My best friend tried and was doing really well for a while, but gave up because she didn't want to take the time to make the meals that the diet recommended. She and her mom are both going to be starting it in another week or two...supposedly. We'll see. She's been overweight her whole life, but it truly is in her genes...heck, she and her twin were over 8 pounds each at birth which is NOT normal for twins! She just is comfortable with herself really, is part of a family that is almost all overweight except for those that don't take after the Inuit part of the heritage (ie., the blonde kids). I would love for her to be able to get to where she is more thin, and I hope she can do it if her mom is doing the same diet with her. It remains to be seen though. I have more faith in her doing it than I do in my mom.

My dad doesn't really care. He'll try to eat healthy, and generally does...steams everything and eats low fat soup low sodium salt. Still...he doesn't care. He is diabetic, and doesn't even really care about that. Tests rarely and doesn't always eat regularly. He's a coma waiting to happen.

Me, I got fat not by overeating but because of medication. I've tried before to lose the weight, but I panic because I have anorexic tendencies and don't want to let them flare up. For instance, I started making sure I didn't eat after 7:00PM. Then, I bumped it up to 5:00PM. Then I bumped it up to noon, and then 8:00AM. For several months back in my 20's I was eating UP TO 200 calories a day and 0-1 grams of fat. Even doing weight watchers I started seeing how many points I could have leftover. If I have to count anything, I'll start getting obsessive about it. I KNOW I have these tendencies and have to fight them all the time. We'll see how I do. I make myself stop if I find I'm getting to obsessive.

Heather
08-18-2008, 09:34 PM
Just wanted to comment - and you can't use the response values in ways they weren't collected to support. I've seen too many reports that "averaged" non-mathmatical choices like A,B,C,D,E for example. On the whole though, I think statistics are beneficial.

I'm a psychologist, and we actually do that all the time (take responses on an ABCDE scale and use as continuous data). Drives some statisticians crazy, but others say it doesn't do that much harm (I'm overly simplifying).

Needless to say, there are huge academic slug-fests about these issues -- which I guess we should avoid here! :)

chick_in_the_hat
08-18-2008, 11:24 PM
I've been checking out the archives from the blog Half of Me (http://www.pastaqueen.com/halfofme/archives/2007/04/lottery.html) (a fabulous read, BTW) and found this link to a UCLA study (http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Dieting-Does-Not-Work-UCLA-Researchers-7832.aspx?RelNum=7832)

But I still think we've got something special here at 3FC. :cb:

Hat Trick
08-19-2008, 12:05 PM
:frypan:

squashing a bug!!!

LOL :)

I mentioned the 'faking the numbers' bit in reference to the discussion about stats. Just saying that, for the most part, I believe stats are largely open to debate because they are too easily manipulated. Whether it's in the way the questions are posed to how the data is collected to how it's presented, etc.

I was thinking that if someone wanted to use the stats from the national weight control registry they could easily mislead people into thinking one thing or another. But their results w/be so skewed as to be dismissable because of the way the data was collected (people posting on a website). But that wouldn't stop someone from releasing a 'stat' saying that 'xx% of people who registered w/the national weight loss registry blah, blah, blah' and that stat w/come off as being credible when in fact, it wasn't.

Just a round-about way of saying don't put too much into those 'stat' numbers, that's all. :)

Please, don't get out the Raid! :eek: :D

SkinnyDogMom
08-19-2008, 12:19 PM
LOL :)

I mentioned the 'faking the numbers' bit in reference to the discussion about stats...I was thinking that if someone wanted to use the stats from the national weight control registry they could easily mislead people into thinking one thing or another. But their results w/be so skewed as to be dismissable because of the way the data was collected (people posting on a website)... :D

Apparently there is alot more to it than just posting responses on a website. The National Weight Control Registry allows you to register on the website, then you are sent questionaires. There is a link to their website on the Maintainers forum and several of the maintainers have participated on the registry. It sounds like it is a bit of work filling out the questionaires.

Anyway, I was just thinking that with all the sad stats out there related to successful weight loss, we at 3FC could make a difference and inspire hope in others.
Karla

kaplods
08-28-2008, 05:50 PM
When I worked in social service and law enforcement, the "problems" people faced were seen as very mutlidimensional, and the most successful treatments, addressed mutliple aspects of the problem (social support, job/career/education, religion/spirituality, family, friends, peers, health/fitness, mental health....).

And weight loss studies are almost exclusively diet related. There are a few studies that indicate that support group membership increases the success rate of weight loss, but that most people drop out of the support groups...

but what about those who don't. Of course, how many people who are in a support group, posting here, following a food plan, working on their self image issues, exercising regularly, have addressed their physical issues that might be playing a role in their weight gain, having supportive friends and family.... how many of those people are succeeding.

Maybe the problem is too multi-faceted for it to seem like anyone is succeeding, when the fact is that those who are succeeding in the long term, have pulled together so many changes into their lives that anyone studying any one of those changes (by itself) would find nearly nearly no success among the people they are studying.

Maybe you've got to have a "few" things together to succeed, not just one, so anyone studying just one is going to find very little success.