Weight Loss Support - is this going to be this hard forever?




blueridgegirl
10-22-2009, 02:23 PM
Okay, so maybe that title is a bit more melodramatic than I mean to be, but, really, sometimes I just find myself wondering if this will always be a struggle. I used to think I would hit my goal weight someday and just wouldn't have to think all the time about eating or exercise. But this past week I let things slip a bit and watched the scale shoot up, and thought, "Wow, I'm always going to have to work at this." I'm always going to keep my food journal, and weigh in every morning, and plan ahead what and how I'll eat for social events and eating out. Sort of like alcoholics who never stop being alcoholics, but just take it one day at a time, for the rest of their lives.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to sound depressed, but I'm just realizing that this is a lifelong journey and when I 'get there' someday it won't be over. I've lost almost 30 pounds so far and I'm committed to continued success and just trying to prepare myself mentally that this is going to take effort and energry for the long term. Can anyone else relate to this? What about you maintainers out there? Thanks for listening!


sprklemajik
10-22-2009, 02:35 PM
You might just check out the maintainers forum... but considering that there's a maintainers forum I think that pretty much answers that there will be a need for vigilance and awareness from now on. You might really want to consider what your plan is and evaluate whether it's something that you want to consider for a lifetime, or if there's an easier lifetime healthy eating plan that might be better for you. But no, I don't think there's ever a time where I will just get to quit planning and making healthy choices... that's how I got overweight to begin with.

mandalinn82
10-22-2009, 02:45 PM
Well, you're really asking two questions, I think.

The first - will I have to be vigilant for ever - I think that, from my perspective, losing the vigilance about weight maintenance means regain. So even though I got to goal, I still follow most/all of the strategies I used to lose weight.

The second - will it be HARD forever - that's a different question. Again, my experience is that once you get into a habit of doing something consistently (counting, planning, strategizing, exercising, etc), it gets easier. That doesn't mean it's always EASY, mind, but it IS easier to do things once they become habits. So my maintenance habits are ingrained enough, now, that they are usually mostly automatic.

Now, the flipside of that is that, if I get OFF my plan and start deviating from those habits, I have to WORK again to re-establish them. And I'll have to do that, I think, forever. But the more I stay on my plan, and the more days in a row I have ON plan, the easier it is to stay on that plan out of habit and routine.


QuilterInVA
10-22-2009, 02:53 PM
You will always have to be aware of what you are eating, plan for social occasions and exercise. Exercise is a huge part of maintenance. I've kept a food journal since 1971 and ever time I quit, I gain. There is no going back to your old way of life.

fattybobatty
10-22-2009, 02:55 PM
I'm nowhere near my goal or maintaining, but I think the answer is, yes it will always be hard and something we will have to work at. Darn it!!! Why couldn't we all just be born lucky like those jerks that get to eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce?!? UGH!!!!

fattybobatty
10-22-2009, 02:58 PM
Yikes, I just re-read my post and it is not at all helpful or positive! Sorry about that.

I think mandalinn said it much better than I could! It won't ever be easy, but it will become automatic. I can't wait for that day!!!!!

Good luck with your goals!! :)

JayEll
10-22-2009, 02:58 PM
I agree with mandalinn82 for the most part. If you revert to whatever it was you were doing with food before you lost weight, you'll very likely regain weight. I have had to learn this lesson the hard and typical way--spent many years losing and regaining and wondering why... Well, I had to find a new way to eat that would work long term. Food cannot be about limitless choice in my case! :lol:

I am a firm believer, though, that it doesn't have to be as hard as some folks make it out to be. Again, it's those mental habits. Anyone can pretty much follow a food and exercise plan if they are committed to doing so--but when the going gets rough, those mental or emotional habits can really sabotage things. So it's helpful to look into the why's and when's of eating--for example, boredom, upset, to feel better, to celebrate, etc.--and work on ways of countering or at least moderating those impulses.

Jay

Glory87
10-22-2009, 03:02 PM
There are different kinds of hard.

Personally, I thought it was hard to be obese. I was sluggish, depressed, had a lot of self-hatred. Shopping for clothes to wear to events was hard, meeting people I hadn't seen in a long time was hard, seeing pictures of myself was hard. Walking around on a warm summer day in a skirt was hard, terrible chafing. Walking around on a city tour was hard, knees and hips would start to hurt. Being confident naked in the boudoir was hard.

Estimating my calories, packing lunches and eating a healthy breakfast every day? No harder than flossing.

Pick your hard.

rockinrobin
10-22-2009, 03:09 PM
Why couldn't we all just be born lucky like those jerks that get to eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce?!? UGH!!!!

I'm convinced people that eat whatever they want without weight gain just don't want nearly as much as I did. I'm certain of it. Because if they would eat like I did - they would gain weight - and lots of it.

Anyway, it does get easier because it becomes natural and second nature to you. It's just automatic. This is how I live now and what I do. I wouldn't dream of going back to my old ways. I was miserable, unproductive, sad, lethargic, inactive, self-conscious, in pain, anxiety ridden and a slew of other things. Never mind that it becomes your "new normal" and just what you do, but the rewards are so over the top phenomenal that you won't want anything to ruin it.

I've also learned great habits to keep me on track. I've got strategies and coping skills to learn how to navigate life in a society laden with high quantity/high calorie foods. I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it. And I'll gladly do it. Gladly.

But yes, I will always have to be diligent, careful and mindful of what I eat - forever. But I'm more then okay with it. I find this whole healthy lifestyle to be a joy and a pleasure. I don't look at it as a burden. I think that is a BIG key right there. To find the joy in this. And I have. :)

Cali Doll
10-22-2009, 03:34 PM
There are different kinds of hard.

Personally, I thought it was hard to be obese. I was sluggish, depressed, had a lot of self-hatred. Shopping for clothes to wear to events was hard, meeting people I hadn't seen in a long time was hard, seeing pictures of myself was hard. Walking around on a warm summer day in a skirt was hard, terrible chafing. Walking around on a city tour was hard, knees and hips would start to hurt. Being confident naked in the boudoir was hard.

Estimating my calories, packing lunches and eating a healthy breakfast every day? No harder than flossing.

Pick your hard.

YES! This.

tiffany0809
10-22-2009, 03:35 PM
For those of us who had bad eating habits, I think the hardest part is learning how to be healthy. I've been re-training myself over the last 12 months and the proper way of eating is starting to sink in. I'm almost at my goal, and I hope to be able to ditch the precise calorie counting in the future and "eyeball" what I should be eating with a good estimate of how many calories it has. I've learned not to eat a serving of pasta meant for an entire family, not to have a burger and fries 3 nights a week, and not to drink venti frappuccinos from Starbucks every day. I have quite a few healthy foods that I rotate through each week and I will just stick with them when I'm maintaining. If I want to add something new, I hope to calculate the calories just once so it stays in my brain. I've learned that treats are just that. Treats. It's ok sometimes but not every day. My hope is that these new learned behaviors will stay with me and make it easier, and that when I get a craving I will be able to give in to it just a little bit.

Some days are harder than others, like yesterday when my roomie came home with a bacon & pineapple pizza while I was working out. :tantrum: What did I do? I had a slice of pizza. :jeno: For a few minutes it felt like the end of the world but when I calculated out the calories that were in that slice, it came to 295. Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And I cut out the granola bar and tea I was planning on having later. It was worth it to me to make that trade. But that means that for today there is no pizza, just chicken and veggies. For me, it's about trade offs and really enjoying the treats. I savored every bite of that pizza! :drool: In the past I would have sucked it down and gone back for more.

ringmaster
10-22-2009, 03:36 PM
thats a good question.. Like others said after awhile it becomes habit. We can't ever go back to huge portions or high calorie foods or the weight will come back. For myself, I hope eventually its a habit that when I do eat something that's not so good the portion will be controlled, a few chips, a few m&ms, a couple bites of cake.. and I'll be happy with that, not feel guilty and not go on a binge

Learning how much a portion is, learn to turn down food pushers, know what you can or can not eat, what to eat when eating out, knowing the calories of most foods and just jot it down.

One of my favorite video workout trainers said one time she "no longer eats for pleasure" and I'm trying to train myself to have that mindset..

Fat Pants
10-22-2009, 03:39 PM
I have to agree with Robin, even though I'm not at goal yet, it does get easier over time. For instance I never used to eat breakfast or pack my lunch for the next day. Now it is second nature to do that so that I don't find myself starving at 9 a.m. and ready to make a McDonald's run. I feel weird if I DON'T exercise now. But I do remember a time about four or five months in when it just seemed tiring to do and tiring to think about doing for the rest of my life.

The good news is that it does get easier. I think I will probably always struggle with wanting things like pizza, ice cream, etc. so I'm not sure that aspect of it ever gets easier. But the planning, counting, exercising and what not is just kind of something I want to do now... not something I'm forcing myself to do. :)

Glory87
10-22-2009, 03:48 PM
It is both harder and easier, I think.

Easier
* Great habits they carry me a long. Hey - it's Sunday, time to go to the grocery store! Just like Sunday night is laundry night, it is WHAT I DO. Hey, it's Monday morning, time to make lunches!
* I have a lot of wonderful, reliable food choices. I know what to order at Chipotle, I know what to order at P.F. Chang's, I know what foods to avoid. I have my favorite recipes, my favorite salad dressings
* I have the support here on 3 Fat Chicks, particularly the Maintainer's Forum - people who GET ME. If I post about being upset about eating a huge pile of chips and crab dip they both support me and kick my butt
* I know what leniency I have with the scale. A nice dinner out with a glass of wine and splitting a dessert? Scale might bobble for a day. A week in Vegas eating at buffets and snacking on gelato? Oh yeah, that's going to be tougher to rebound from.

Harder
* Maintenance for life is a looong time to keep it up
* Occasionally, I have a very whiny WHY ME, I want to eat scones like a normal person pity party
* Social situations can still be tough, "food as love and celebration" can also be tough, especially with families

jelder227
10-22-2009, 04:19 PM
LOL - I was just having this conversation with my husband, because I had a backslide recently and I'm in recovery now. He wanted to know why it is so hard for me.

I had to explain that I tend to naturally overeat - just a little bit normally, but occasionally a lot. I will always have to measure my food and log it if I want to maintain the weight I want. And I'm lazy - I don't always want to take the extra time to do that.

As I'm naturally lazy, I would rather snuggle in bed than get up at 5 am to work out. But I like the way I look and feel when I do it, so I try to get my tail moving.

Additionally, some foods will probably never be allowed in my house. I have found that there are a couple of foods that I have absolutely no restraint around. I have to keep them gone.

I think some of these things will always be a battle for me. But it's worth it, and as you get better and better tools, it becomes less work.

KDuffer
10-22-2009, 05:16 PM
I have to be vigilent all the time or else it's so easy for me to slip back to my old ways. I wouldn't say it's "hard" though. In some ways by pre-planning for contingencies, I find it easier to maintain and I gives me a peace of mind that I won't let myself go too far. Basically, I just put various triggers in my life that lets me know that I'm not paying enough attention to the way I eat, including:

1. I still keep a food journal and record everything I eat. I know some people are able to get away from this after they enter maintenance, but I find that I can't maintain without my journal. It's kind of weird, but I'm a numbers/data kind of person and I actually enjoy the process of doing this so it's actually not a chore.

2. I weight and measure myself every week, including taking caliper measurements. I have a weight or fat % increase limit that I will not go over.

3. I wear a jacket that just barely fits me that I wear regularly. I know immediately if my waist or chest increases by 1/4 inch.

4. Most importantly I have a pre-set plan for what to do when I go over my limit, including not eating out for a week or two, reducing the amount of carbs I eat, etc. Since I don't let myself go too far before I do something about it, I find that it only takes me a week or two to get back in line.

Anyway, I think everyone is different, but for me I do feel like it's a life-time thing. For some reason I've lost some natural ability to control my own appetite. So I do have to work at it, but since the alternative is far far worse (emotionally and physically), I don't mind.

kuhrisuh
10-22-2009, 06:52 PM
I do think that it will probably always be something that we have to do - planning ahead, exercising, watching what we eat, etc - but I think it will get easier as it becomes more of a habit. I struggle with it.. I know I probably will for quite some time. But losing weight just feels SO GOOD. And I agree with what others have said.. that staying unhealthy & big is hard.

Stay strong. You CAN beat this & you WILL! :hug:

Windchime
10-22-2009, 09:01 PM
For me, it has gotten easier. The good eating habits are more ingrained and I've gotten out of the habit of pigging out on boxes of cookies and bags of chips. I remain vigilent, though, because I'm only one trip away from the grocery store and I could fall into that at any time.

But.....lots of things have gotten easier. I don't have to buy the clothes from the big ladies' department anymore; I can buy in misses. I don't huff and puff going up and down stairs. I am pretty sure now that when a guy checks me out, he's thinking "hmmmmm!" instead of "wow, she's a big girl". My asthma is a lot better. I look better nekkid.

So even though it can sometimes be a pain to have to remain vigilant against the possible backslide into a cookie-induced coma, it's still easier than being 50 pounds overweight. Much, much easier.

MBN
10-23-2009, 08:03 AM
I go in cycles. Sometimes it seems easy. Sometimes I back-slide, regain a little, and then getting back to my maintenance window is hard. As time goes on, I do think that the easy days far outnumber the really hard days.

But the benefits of being lighter are always there! I feel so much better, am healthier, and wearing cute little clothes doesn't suck either. So, when I get frustrated and feel like weight loss and maintenance is a never-ending battle ... I re-focus on all of the benefits and remember how worthwhile it is. Like Glory said - pick your hard.

srmb60
10-23-2009, 08:35 AM
I've written something like this so many times, someday another mod is going to delete my post because it's a duplicate. However ...

Yes, we will always have to think about food but ... we always have! When my kids were little I had to plan what to buy for groceries, I had to plan and make breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, bake sale things, birthday party things, enough things for a friend to eat too ... I woke up thinking about their breakfast and lunch and they were hardly on the buss when I started thinking about whether or not I needed to buy groceries in order to make supper.

This not entirely different. Actually, I'm a whole lot more organised about this.

Set it all out there and go with it. If you have your fridge and pantry well stocked ... some days you won't even have to think much ... and that may free up 20 minutes for you to dance around the kitchen ;)

Thighs Be Gone
10-23-2009, 09:09 AM
I think asking if it will be this "hard" may lend itself to you still tweaking what IS going to work for you long-term. For me, anything worthwhile takes work--a good marriage, a good career, a good relationship with God, etc. But also you have to think your strategy over, find your shortcuts, figure out what is mandatory for success and move forward. Just like a marriage, a career or whatever, weightloss or being fit isn't always going to be blue skies and birds singing.

It's an exciting winding road and one worth traveling. I was so far back in the woods! Now it seems like I am finally catching glimpses of the sun through the trees ahead of me. Even though the road gets steep, even though the things along the way try to distract me, I really must persevere. Staying in the woods is simply NOT an option. Darkness falls, it gets really cold and the animals come!

Thighs Be Gone
10-23-2009, 09:11 AM
Oh, also. I MUST write this.

I cannot give credit to the poster--I cannot remember who it was.

"Being fat is hard. Losing weight is hard. Staying fit is hard. Pick your hard."

rockinrobin
10-23-2009, 09:20 AM
I think asking if it will be this "hard" may lend itself to you still tweaking what IS going to work for you long-term. For me, anything worthwhile takes work--a good marriage, a good career, a good relationship with God, etc. But also you have to think your strategy over, find your shortcuts, figure out what is mandatory for success and move forward. Just like a marriage, a career or whatever, weightloss or being fit isn't always going to be blue skies and birds singing.

It's an exciting winding road and one worth traveling. I was so far back in the woods! Now it seems like I am finally catching glimpses of the sun through the trees ahead of me. Even though the road gets steep, even though the things along the way try to distract me, I really must persevere. Staying in the woods is simply NOT an option. Darkness falls, it gets really cold and the animals come!

What a great post!!!

Meg
10-23-2009, 10:38 AM
I think we always need to be mindful about what we're eating and our exercise, but at this point (seven plus years of maintenance) I certainly wouldn't call it hard. It's my life, it's what I do. Sure there are days that are a challenge and days that I mess up, but as Glory and others said, my lifestyle is on automatic pilot. The choices are ingrained. I don't have to think about what to eat and how to handle a social situation because I've done it so many times before.

So though I'm always conscious and mindful about my food and exercise choices, it's merely the background of my life. And truly, I love my life now!

And when I get weary of always making good choices and saying no to the world of temptation, all I have to do is ask myself: what's the alternative? That stops me dead in my tracks because I will never permit myself to go back to the world of morbid obesity. There is no food in this world worth that pain.

Mikayla
10-23-2009, 10:55 AM
I'm about 9 months into my weightloss and about half way to my goal. I have to say making the right choices is still pretty hard for me, but it is getting easier. Most of how I eat, plan and exercise is just part of my everyday routine. I still have a hard time with cravings and eating in social situations. However since everything else has gotten easier(including exercise which to me is a miracle) I assume that eating in social situations/turning down food will get easier the more I do it.

My best advice is to stick with your plan to lose weight, just keep doing it even if you have to adjust your plan 100 times if you keep striving towards your goal it will become more routine and therefore making it "easier"

Lori Bell
10-23-2009, 11:44 AM
In my own humble and personal journey, losing the weight was not hard. It was easy. Very easy. When I hear people say how hard it is, I scratch my head, because *for me* it was, well simple. NOW, mind you, I have lost weight many times in the past, so I can honesty say that (in my case) practice makes perfect.

Maintaining a weight loss is something I have NEVER successfully accomplished. I reached my original goal on July 3rd, so technically I have been in maintaince for almost 4 months. I can honestly say it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. So far it is not eaiser *for me*. You know being fat was hard, I hated eating at restaurants because I knew people were staring, I hated to go to the grocery store because I felt people checking out my cart, the pain, the embarrassment...all the emotions, being fat sucked and was hard. But now...being a totally normal weight, I sometime think to myself, I can eat junk food in public and people won't judge me, or I can buy a cart load of baking supplies because I look normal, and no one will judge me... I feel I'm teetering on the edge constantly now, and it is a very hard and extremely lonely road for me.

Gosh I sound like such a downer....;)

Glory87
10-23-2009, 11:59 AM
No need to be lonely, LB!! We are here!!

Nada
10-23-2009, 12:31 PM
For me the "hard" part of it comes and goes, some days it feels really natural and some days I have to think about it.

Someone said "you can never go back to the way you ate before" and my immediate thought was: why would I want to?

And then someone else quoted a trainer saying they never ate for pleasure anymore and I thought that is a sad way to look at it. The way I am eating now gives me a lot more pleasure than the junk food, processed food, rich foods I used to fill up on. Flavor, results both superior.

Tomato
10-23-2009, 12:53 PM
I would have to add my voice to what Manda and Meg said. I will always have to be vigilant because if I am not, I will soon be on a slippery slope. (The funny thing is that I have a coworker, in fact we sit back-to-back) in his late twenties, who is quite petite for a guy and he seems to live on burgers and fries. At least that's what he has for lunch on most days. He never gains an ounce.)
As far as "hard" goes, yes, sometimes it is a struggle but for the most part it has become so ingrained in my mind that I always check how much protein/fat/carbs in anything I buy. I used to read labels even before my weight loss journey but not's bordering on obsession. :-)

blueridgegirl
10-24-2009, 11:20 AM
Thanks everybody for your words. It's just been a bit of a rough week as I've been really disciplined about staying on my plan lately and I'm still not seeing the numbers go down and I'm feeling hungry which makes me cranky. But thanks to the support of everyone at 3FC I'll keep plugging away and tweaking my plan and figuring out how to make this week. I may the SLOWEST loser, but I'll find a way to lose sustainably! I really appreciate your thoughful responses.