Weight Loss Support - Why Do We Do It?




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Wannabehealthy
06-05-2011, 10:03 AM
I have been reading through the posts and I see sooo many that state "I lost XX lbs and now I've gained it all back". That is such a common dilemma with dieters. If we could figure out why, maybe we could stop it. I know for me, I got married and my husband said "You're thin, you can eat anything." To myself I was thinking, "If you only knew!" But I let him convince me and here I am, starting all over again. I think the diets have to become a life style change and not a diet. Once you look at it like that, you will never go back to your old ways.
Carol


sacha
06-05-2011, 10:19 AM
It's complacency for many. For others, it's not dealing with the real issue (who has the quote- "If hunger isn't the problem then eating is not the solution".

NotTheCheat
06-05-2011, 10:37 AM
In my case it was a spiral into depression. I just stopped caring about much of anything, including my weight. Not caring = gaining. I have asked my family that if they ever see me start to gain weight again, to pester me into making sure I am seeing a therapist (and not to pester me about my weight themselves). :)


AshleyLaurent
06-05-2011, 10:42 AM
I know this may be controversial, but I also think it has a lot to with the personality and natural deposition of the person. How people deal with the stress in their lives, how they perceive things, their outlook, and natural motivations are all a factor. Genetics, diseases, and natural body make-up also play an important role.

Most diets don't fail, people do.

Resolute
06-05-2011, 11:15 AM
Personally it's taken me the brunt of 20 years to figure out that i needed to learn how to eat, this is the last time, instead of dieting which is transitory i have gone to the extraordinary effort of educatiing myself about the science of food and our relation to it as much as is possible, used that as a basis to change my lifestyle, you see a lifestyle does not ever end wheras a diet is finite, when you quit whatever fad you are currently following and return to your failing lifestyle you will regain weight, i did over and over, i know in my soul i can live the rest of my life the way i am today, i have come up with a plan that does not punish or restrict any foods.

ncuneo
06-05-2011, 12:06 PM
The general theme I've seen is the following:
1. People go on a "diet" then return to their old eating habits
2. They never get into the emotional reasons for their weight gain

I fall into the second category, but fortunately it only took 10 lbs of regain for me to realize it. Mine's a little more complicated though because I've personally had a hard time finding a maintenance plan that fits my lifestyle and my fitness level. By that I mean I like to eat little during the week and be more indulgent on the weekends, but because I work out A LOT, it can be difficult to eat little durning the week without getting ravenous feeling week and deprived. That is one of the things that has lead to my recent battle with binging, the rest of it is emotional.

The fact is that 90% of people who lose weight gain it back within 5 years, and I think a lot it has to do with the fact that they're not prepared that this is a lifelong journey. IT DOES NOT stop when the scale says GOAL! So if you're not prepared that you're likely going to have to be conscious of your food choices forever and to be kind to yourself when you screw up and not let it sprial you back to your "old ways" you may have to do this more than once to figure it out.

Just my two cents.

ShanIAm
06-05-2011, 01:09 PM
My issue is simply this --- "I lost weight, I can eat this one thing. It won't hurt". I would say this to myself once a week and then twice a week and then all of a sudden (it seems that fast!) I am back to wearing my fat clothes. I hope to God this doesn't happen again as I threw away all my fat clothes!

I wish I knew why I develop a false sense of security when it comes to food. :(

JayEll
06-05-2011, 01:21 PM
I threw away all my old "fat clothes" and three years later had to buy more. :mad: It can happen to anyone.

I was completely and totally sure I would not regain the weight I had lost. People who did regain must be doing "something wrong." They must not have "gotten it." I was really smug about it, until I started to regain, almost two years after I had reached my goal weight. And then it seemed like I could not stop it.

People can say, Oh, you just didn't try hard enough--but I think those people need to go through the draining and difficult experience of losing a chunk of weight and keeping it off for a few years, and then, in a state of diet exhaustion, see what happens when THEY try it.

I'm now losing what I regained again, and of course I have high hopes again this time. But I also have a certain amount of humility, and I no longer judge others. There is no one-size-works-for-all answer to weight regain. I didn't go back to my "old ways," I didn't add back fast food, I didn't start eating sugar all the time. I just ate a bit more than I should, every day. Often it was healthy, high quality food, too.

The poster who said you have to watch forever... Yes, I now believe this is true. Anyone who has been overweight or obese got there because they weren't watching! This part is simple! And when a formerly obese person is "done" with losing, they still have to maintain and know what they are doing with food.

Jay

ncuneo
06-05-2011, 01:43 PM
Jay, your story always scares me...I think, at least I hope this 10 lbs has given me the humility you speak of because I have found myself being smug at moments.

What inspires me so much about you is that it seems your story is unique in the sense that you are doing everything you are supposed to do yet your body seems to disagree and yet you push forward even though you could easily give in. I have such admiration for you and your strength.

indiblue
06-05-2011, 01:48 PM
There's a really good book called Nudge that discusses this. It's billed as a book on economics, but it's really about human behavior.

Humans make short-term decisions because we have difficulty truly grasping the long-term impact/decisions. Its very hard for us to make the decision we want to make (to eat right and not too much) because we have trouble truly connecting it with the long-term consequences. This is true for trying to quit smoking, wearing seatbelts, saving for retirement, etc etc.

There are other issues involved of course, but I'd definitely recommend this book for exploring more about human decision making and how we can more easily make the decisions we WANT to make but have trouble doing in the short-term.

dragonwoman64
06-05-2011, 02:27 PM
I got down to 237 from over 300 lbs, and have regained a chunk. I never thought I would gain any of it back either. I thought with all the diets I'd been on, and all that I learned about nutrition, and all the belly button searching, and all the good exercise habits I'd developed -- there would be no way. Then I changed jobs, had much less time to exercise, was more stressed and around tempting foods and people who liked to eat (without weight problems). And yes, I suffered from a little diet burn out too. That, with a dash of denial, and pretty soon I was up 20 lbs. In a year.

All is not lost, I still go to the gym, and I haven't chucked all my good eating habits out of the window at all. But I do find it a major drag to have to see these higher numbers again, to have my clothes that were once lose be tight, and to have to re-lose it this poundage just to get back down to where I was.

I don't think it should be something to live in fear of, it does seem to me that I need to ratchet up my level of self awareness, and be more determined with my goals.

Marmot12
06-05-2011, 02:33 PM
I think you just have to watch out for the comfort eating, everyone does it and so did i.

Also i used to snack when watching tv because i was bored and eating was something to do. You just have to watch out for the patterns and ask yourself and work out why you are doing it!

luckymommy
06-05-2011, 02:38 PM
Fascinating thread!

I have lost and gained the same 50-70 lbs. since I was about 16 years old and now I'm 40. I've read books, I've sought counseling, I've prayed and I've cried. I am an addict. I have a binge eating problem. I'm also a perfectionist with my eating so one little slip can send my spiraling out of control for months at a time where I gain weight and don't see an end in sight. This is often triggered by major stress or by low grade stress.

There are times when I'm in total control and I also become overly confident and wonder why I ever struggled at all...my head is on straight, so to speak. There are other times when I feel like I'm climbing the walls in an effort to avoid eating or worse, binge eating.

Of course I think and hope this is my final time to lose the weight and that I'll finally be able to maintain it, but really, I just take it one day at a time because I don't know if I'll ever get a handle on this issue.

Cali Doll
06-05-2011, 03:56 PM
I believe it's complacency. And, often times, people don't deal with whatever it is that causes them to overeat/eat away emotions.

Then when that person hits goal or any comfy weight, they fall into old habits very easily because they aren't focused on actively losing weight.

This is what happened to me, anyway. I have to be extremely careful because I am inclined to eat all of my emotions (good and bad emotions!).

In maintenance, I have yet to deal with my emotional eating. I just fight it constantly; however, I haven't figured out why I do it or how to effectively combat it.

I say "in maintenance" because I didn't struggle with this while I was losing. My obsessive tendency helped me in weight loss. I'm an obsessive perfectionist and I wasn't going to stop until I reached 160 lbs. I reached it and now I'm having a hard time finding that commitment again.

Fortunately, I only gained 12 pounds (lost and gained and lost and gained over and over again). One of these days I'll figure it out.

kaplods
06-05-2011, 03:58 PM
Short-term goals often do have greater pull than long-term ones. If that weren't true, PayDay loan, rent-to-own places and even credit card companies could never stay in business.

People aren't stupid, we know we're losing something in the transaction, but often we minimize how much we're losing by not looking at the big picture.

Understanding the difficulty of permanent weight loss shouldn't be hard to understand unless you've never carried a credit card balance and have always paid cash for everything including your house and car.

We understand and empathise when someone says "it's nearly impossible to live debt free," and yet we're surprised that people find it difficult to live nutritionally debt-free.

It's the same behavior. It's easy to borrow from our future, without realizing how much we're borrowing. We think we're going to eventually pay it all back and start saving, but then a crisis happens and we borrow a little more, and a little more, and promise ourselves we'll catch up when the crisis is over (and along comes another crisis).

We may even be hard-wired to prefer the short-term reward. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," is a survival mechanism. Eat what you can (spend what you can) for who knows what tomorrow may bring.

And in a dog-eat-dog world, it's a legitimate survival strategy. In the natural world, evolution has not had to deal with survival strategies for an environment of overabundance. Because in the natural world, unhealthy obesity is virtually never a problem. Generally overpopulation occurs long before wide-spread obesity. And obesity that interfers with function, tends to remove you from the gene pool, because slowing down just a little bit, means you end up something else's dinner.

We have to learn to outsmart our biology, and our culture. Because while our culture pays a lot of lip-service to condemning obesity - it's actually obese people that are condemned (as lazy, crazy, or stupid). And yet our culture of dieting, makes little sense. For over 100 years, dieting has been seen (and still is) as something a person does temporarily. Over and over and over again we hear people talking about the things they'll get to eat when they reach their goal weight. We expect diets to be over one day. "Are you still dieting?" people ask.

Even the way we diet illustrates that we don't truly (no matter how many times we say it) believe in lifestyle changes. If changing lifestyle permanently was the true goal, then people would never select 1000 calories or 1200 calories or even 1500 calories as their target. They'd choose from the start to learn who to follow a diet (and calorie level) they really could follow forever.

1200 calories isn't a permanent lifestyle for most people. The calorie level is too low to sustain a reasonably active person at a healthy weight. Which means that when they reach goal, they're going to have to change their lifestyle again. They're going to have to increase their calorie level, which creates a dilemma. Increase calories enough to stop losing, but not so many as to start gaining. And we're taught to see any weight gain as so frustrating as to be unavoidably demotivating, that we're setting ourselves up to be demotivated. We're setting ourselves up to fail in a thousand ways.

I think the most significant way we set ourselves up for failure, is our belief that it "should be" easier. We think that weight loss should be easy, and it derails us when we find it difficult.

Remaking a world isn't easy, and that's essentially what you have to do to keep the weight off - you have to create an artificial reality (one that would never exist in a naturally-evolved world). We have to buck the world-order that tells us that eating as much as possible, whenever possible, and conserving as much energy as possible are survival strategies. We have to live ***-backwards in a world were conserving energy has no survival advantage.

Biology is hard to fight, because it's not tangible to us. We're not consciously thinking "ooh, I'd better eat that before someone else gets it," or "I might starve to death this winter if I don't put on some extra fat..." We don't know that we're fighting "instinct" because we don't recognize instinct when we feel it. Instead we think "I don't know why I ate that last donut, I didn't need it, and I didn't even want it all that much, I must be crazy."

Some people get annoyed when you "blame biology," but for me it's made the situation a lot easier, because it makes sense. I know that I have to fight biology as well as psychology, so I'm not just lazy, crazy, or stupid anymore. I realize that I HAVE to fight a lot harder than will ever be comfortable or natural, because I don't live in a natural world.

I have two choices, I could be dropped off in the wilderness and live a natural life (and probably die within two weeks, because I'm too fat and too slow to win at natural survival) - or I can live in an unnatural world and try to mimic the natural one (where food is scarce and aerobic exercise is required for survival).

It's a lot harder to mimic a natural world than you'd think, especially when you know that you can step out of that world at any momemnt.

NTexas
06-05-2011, 05:55 PM
Fantastic post, Kaplods! I agree that in this post-industrial first world society we are encountering something that has never been experienced in human history - overabundance by all classes. No longer is obesity the status symbol of choice by the upper classes, it is available to all to our detriment while our biology expects immenent famine. And obtaining that indulgence is as simple as driving thru a fast food resturant where thousands of calories are available for mere dollars and no longer requires hours and even seasons of manual labor to obtain. And remember when such treats as fudge, cotton candy and funnel cakes were only available at the annual country fair or for special holidays- now they are available at the sporting concession stand year round even if you don't already own the appliances to make them at home daily in your resturant quality kitchen. Great points! Thanks for writing all that.

bellastarr
06-05-2011, 06:09 PM
In my case it was a spiral into depression. I just stopped caring about much of anything, including my weight. Not caring = gaining.

me too... i've lost and regained prob 500 lbs over the course of my life.. i'd lose 70 gain 100, lose 60, gain 30, lose 10, gain 20 and so on and so on. i'd get soooo depressed where i would just stop caring about trying to fix it cause i felt like i was in way too deep, so why bother.

i'd also get so mad at myself because i knew how hard i worked and wouldn't want to work that hard again to re-lose the weight. it just became ahorrible cycle.

also being 30 and never having had a real boyfriend i would always think if i could be i'd have a guy. so i'd kill myself dieting down to like a size 8/10 and have a guy for a month or few weeks, then it would end and i'd be sitting home alone again. i'd say to myself, why am i bothering to diet and eat salad? so i can be thin in my pajamas on fri, sat and sun night alone as i'm watching lifetime movies? i thought no one likes me so i may as well eat, i'm alone anyway,i can hide out and eat.. i'll be no sadder than being thin and alone..

i've been good for about 3 months and wanna binge everyday so bad but i can't go back there.. and i'm scared i'll never really reach my goal, cuz everytime i get close i always wind up starting to gain some back until then i've gained it all back and then some..

stacygee
06-05-2011, 08:03 PM
I plan on going back to work next year. I think that will be a hard time for me b/c I won't have as much workout time and food prep time. If I gain some back I think that'll be why.

mzKiki
06-05-2011, 08:40 PM
Whenever I start to look better and feel better I forget that I'm a fat girl inside and act like I can eat whatever I want. That's my problem. I know better now.

Lovely
06-05-2011, 09:06 PM
History: Never attempted to lose weight until the last time. Lost over 100 lbs. Gained pretty much all of it back. Starting over.

I lost the weight in a very healthy way. It wasn't a quick-fix diet. I'd made very lasting changes. I frequented 3FC. Made short & long-term goals. Accomplished many of them.

My problem came when I had an ENORMOUS change in my life. I moved to a different state. Knew no one. Cut off ties with other people. I was isolated. Became depressed. Couldn't see my way out of it.

I made attempts to start new activities, to go to different meetings in order to at least be a little sociable, but I found the same problem magnified in the new state. ... I'll never feel like I belong. Anywhere. I just never belong. My brain does not work the same way, and I will never, ever be able to just be.

Depression, loneliness... food... food that I'd had under control for -years- at this point turned back into a "comfort". I returned to binging, and laying like a lump on my sofa. Felt worthless. Had nothing to look forward to. Gave up. I realized it was a problem while it was happening, but I didn't want to deal with it. It was so much easier to just buy a bunch of junk and eat while losing myself in some dumb show or game.

I "put it aside" until I realized one day that I'd eaten my way pretty much back to my original starting weight.

I can't say what changed it back. I can't say what sparked my true acceptance that I'd reversed all of my original, positive changes... But this weight...this time... pure emotion. And every drop of sweat that pours from my skin is an emotion that I'd tried to bury with food at some point before.

I have a lot of work to do. I don't make excuses for it. I ****** up. If nothing else, I'm learning from it. If nothing else... I'm here now.

lin43
06-05-2011, 10:33 PM
The poster who said you have to watch forever... Yes, I now believe this is true. Anyone who has been overweight or obese got there because they weren't watching! This part is simple! And when a formerly obese person is "done" with losing, they still have to maintain and know what they are doing with food

I agree completely. I, too, kept a 40-50 lb. loss off for two years and thought I would NEVER regain it, but here I sit, probably more than 50 lbs. overweight (too discouraged to weigh myself now). I'm restarting, but like you, I am now ready to face some truths about myself that I would rather not have faced. Here's the main truth I'm facing: I will NEVER be able to deal with food as a "normal" person (read, person who is thin without formal dieting) would. I will always have to "watch," but at this point, I am willing to do that.

lin43
06-05-2011, 10:41 PM
There's a really good book called Nudge that discusses this. It's billed as a book on economics, but it's really about human behavior.

Humans make short-term decisions because we have difficulty truly grasping the long-term impact/decisions. Its very hard for us to make the decision we want to make (to eat right and not too much) because we have trouble truly connecting it with the long-term consequences. This is true for trying to quit smoking, wearing seatbelts, saving for retirement, etc etc.

There are other issues involved of course, but I'd definitely recommend this book for exploring more about human decision making and how we can more easily make the decisions we WANT to make but have trouble doing in the short-term.


Okay, sorry for the two posts in a row, but I wanted to comment on this because it is so insightful. Thanks for the recommendation. Two points: 1) years ago I read a fitness book written by an exercise guru called Joyce something-or-other (can't remember). Anyway, the book wasn't that great, but I do remember one point the author made about the temptation to skip exercise after making a committment to do it. She addressed that inner voice that says to us, "Just skip it this day. One day won't hurt." The author countered that by saying that she realized that skipping that one day WOULD hurt because it was already a sort-of betrayal of our own committment to ourselves and that one day often turns into skipping other days. Now, on the one hand, I do not believe that we need to strive for perfection, but I do think that we need to always consider how that one skipped day, that one extra helping, that one more bite DOES lead to re-gain.
2) Another book I read (and recommend) is called The Rules of Normal Eating. The author advocated something like intuitive eating, and she made the point that although she is now thin and has been for some time, she has accepted that she will never view food in the same way that some people who have never dieted will view food. She said she will always only be about 85% "normal" in her approach to food (I can't remember the actual number, but it was something like that). She has accepted that, though. That's what I think I and many of us need to accept.

JayEll
06-06-2011, 06:43 AM
Hi lin43!

I have two practical observations to add about weight regain.

1. I should not believe all the online calculators that tell me how many calories I can eat/burn in a day to maintain. I did, and it led me to think that I could eat more than I actually can eat. I now have a more realistic number to aim for when I get to maintenance--BUT, the real test will be how much I can eat without regaining! No calculator can give me this number with certainty.

2. If I overeat carbohydrate foods, my body will turn the extra carbs into fat and shut down fat-burning metabolism. I believe this was the "switch" that got pulled when I began to regain. And also, overeating carbs can easily lead to more overeating of carbs--it starts a cycle. You feel more hungry, and you eat more carbs.

Jay

lin43
06-06-2011, 10:18 AM
Hi lin43!

I have two practical observations to add about weight regain.

1. I should not believe all the online calculators that tell me how many calories I can eat/burn in a day to maintain. I did, and it led me to think that I could eat more than I actually can eat. I now have a more realistic number to aim for when I get to maintenance--BUT, the real test will be how much I can eat without regaining! No calculator can give me this number with certainty.

2. If I overeat carbohydrate foods, my body will turn the extra carbs into fat and shut down fat-burning metabolism. I believe this was the "switch" that got pulled when I began to regain. And also, overeating carbs can easily lead to more overeating of carbs--it starts a cycle. You feel more hungry, and you eat more carbs.

Jay

I agree with these. I could never do "low-carb" per se, but I have come to the conclusion that I'm better off being conscious of my carb intake. I think many people who struggle with their weight overeat carbs.

Beach Patrol
06-06-2011, 10:57 AM
For me it's a matter of loving food. TOO MUCH!!! :dizzy:

I'd get all diet-minded & exercise & feel great & lose the weight & keep it off for a couple months... THEN! ... oh, whatever happened.

I got out of college, had no access to "free gym" anymore. Got a desk job. Sat down. A lot!

I got married, complacent, ate the same things my husband ate.

I re-injured my shoulder that I had surgery on and got depressed & starting eating like there was no tomorrow.

I gave up junk food... and then one day... BAM, a chocolate bar found its way into my mouth!

I could go on & on about WHY I returned to old habits. But facts is facts. I RETURNED TO OLD HABITS. This time is different. This time I'm not just saying "I won't gain it back this time!" - this time I am making a plan, CHANGING my habits, not working toward "a goal" (look hot, wear a certain outfit, wedding, etc.) as so much working toward simply being healthier. Yeah, that's the ticket! ;) :D