For those who have lost a lot of weight or reached your goal I have a question. If you could go back in time when you first started what would you tell yourself? Does it get easier? Do the cravings for bad food really go away or get easier to resist? Does working out get easier even though you are out of breath after 5 minutes? Does it get easier to stay on plan?
Those are some of the things I worry about now. And I thought it would be interesting to see if some of you felt that way when you started and what you would tell yourself back then if you could! Hope this made sense! lol :)
06-21-2011, 08:06 AM
I am someone who has lost and regained and am now losing again.
The lessons I have learned are, yes, the cravings for some foods do go away, but that doesn't mean you can just start eating them again without watching really carefully. For example, I still would rather not have ice cream in the house because it's a dangerous food for me.
Working out did get easier as I got stronger. But I was not out to be some kind of hero about it. No marathons, PX90, Jillian Michaels self-punishment through exercise, etc. At first, just walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes was a challenge because I was out of shape. This got much better--and I didn't have to make myself run to get improvement.
Whether it's easier to stay on plan--I don't know. Sometimes it has been, other times it's been really difficult. Right now it's easy for me to stay on plan. Remember that you are learning how to eat properly, and this is a model you'll need to follow in your future. Make sure whatever program you're thinking of has a transition and a maintenance program.
Also, what works at one point may not work at a later point. I have had to change my approach this time around instead of beating my head against a wall because my original method wasn't producing results.
I guess my "rules" would be something like these: Find a plan and commit to it. Follow the plan. Don't cheat, no matter whose birthday it is, etc. Be reasonable about exercise. Only weigh once a week.
06-21-2011, 08:30 AM
First thing I'd tell myself (and DID tell myself) is this is not an ALL or NOTHING journey. It's a journey to find MODERATION in my life and diet. It's a journey to just be NORMAL and not extreme in any way.
I'd tell myself that I CAN eat carbs and lose weight. I CAN eat my favorite take out and lose weight. I CAN eat decadent desserts and lose weight. I CAN learn control over what I put in my mouth and YES...I CAN do anything that I want to do!:D (sound like Obama...eh? :lol:)
Exercise. If you can go for 5 mins before getting winded, then your starting out way better than I did!;) I started exercising by walking the dog. We'd "trot" for 30 secs and then walk for 2 mins and repeat for about 20-30 mins. I gradually increased that time and ditched the dog for the park trail!:p He wasn't happy about that...but I was on a mission for ME.:)
Honestly...I DID have the right attitude at start so I really wouldn't change anything. My attitude got me vanity goal weight in 9 months (60 lbs lost). It took me here without stalls, pills or having to purchase and/or follow somebody else's program.
The biggest thing to remember is that "excuses" don't get you results. Adjustments, consistency, and hard work DO!;) This is a journey for the rest of your life...so don't start a "way of eating" that you cannot or really don't want to sustain for the rest of your life. In other words, it is MY PERSONAL OPINION that if you won't live the rest of your life without a piece of cake, don't do some temporary diet plan that excludes it. If you won't live the rest of your life without ever having a slice of pizza again...well, same applies. However, PLAN those things into your lifestyle.
For me...from day 1, I ate (what I love to call) a weekly CHEAT MEAL. I believe this cheat meal kept me from stalling, and was healthy for me mentally as I never felt deprived...and ate all my favorite foods and treats throughout the process. Now that I'm in maintenance...my body is not "freaking out" when I grab 4 slices of pizza and eat it...it's used to it. Sure...the extra sodium causes a temporary water weight gain, but in a day or two it's gone...back to normal life which includes (for me) lots of lean meat, fresh fruit, veggies, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
In short...keep it REAL with yourself.:D
06-21-2011, 10:21 AM
I desperately wish that I had taken all my measurements when I started on this journey. I would love to know how many inches I have lost. I just didn't want to face it at the time. Now, I measure myself each month and keep track. It is nice to see the inches go down and I think it will be good as I get closer to goal and the pounds don't come off very quickly.
I could only excercise for about 10 minutes at a time when I started. I was so out of shape. I just made a goal to do something every day. The feeling of getting stronger was amazing. If you have netflix, there are lots of fitness videos that you can try out.
I track everything. Food, excercise, feelings. It is so motivating for me to total my excercise at the end of the month. Over time, the numbers really add up and it makes me feel differently about working out.
I also strongly endorse the thoughts of Joyfull Loser. I don't consider this to be a "diet" that will end when I reach a goal. This is a lifestyle change and I plan to eat this way forever. That means that I ate fried shrimp with my dad on fathers day and continued on with healthy choices after that. I have lost a consistent 6+ pounds per month without feeling deprived.
Good Luck! This is a nice thread.
06-21-2011, 10:34 AM
I think starting is the hardest part. After that, the level of difficulty ebbs and flows for me. There are some weeks that it feels easy, and some weeks that feel hard even though I'm eating the same amount of calories/exercising the same amount.
I don't separate food into "good" and "bad." That is the first change I would make. Food is food.
Exercise gets easier, but it is never easy, that is why it is called a "workout". It's tough, but afterwards I feel amazing. Running for 1 minute was tough when I started just five months ago, now I can run for up to an hour, and it still doesn't feel as hard as that 1 minute felt.
Find something that works for you. I see people worrying about whether or not a water chestnut or a strawberry is on plan. I cannot imagine that for ME, but I guess they cannot fathom calorie counting. I eat ANYTHING I want to because that is the only way I can do it. Chocolate, icecream, pizza, fried chicken, etc., are all "on plan" for me, so there is no guilt, no feeling of failure, when I fit a little of these foods in.
06-21-2011, 10:35 AM
And I second the measurements idea. I wish I had mine. And take a photo now, even if you don't look at it, take it, so you can look later and see how far you have come on days when you feel you are going nowhere.
06-21-2011, 11:08 AM
I would say, YES, it does get easier, YES, the cravings do get better, and it does get easier to stay on plan. My one year annivesary is tomorrow. I'm a calorie counter, and I can count on one hand how many days in the past year I've gone over my calorie level. For me, this has equalled 100 pounds gone. I can't even tell you how different my life is today to one year ago - it's night and day and absolutely no food is worth how amazing I feel in my skin today. I haven't excluded any foods, if I want pizza, I have pizza. But as time has gone on these foods have lost their power over me...it just truly is not worth it. My focus has definitely been on food, exercise has mostly been taking care of my two small children and walking my dog.
Saying no to yourself is really important - there are just so many events and parties and bbq's and you need to continue living life and enjoying yourself, but find ways to do it without indulging in all the goodies that surround us all the time. I don't know how your family is but we have some kind of function every weekend it seems, especially in the summer. It's hard but again so worth it. You can do it!!
06-21-2011, 11:49 AM
I wish I knew a long time ago that it DOES get easier and working out makes me feel incredible! Because then I wouldn't have wasted my mid-30's staying in bed, being dormant when not working and isolating myself from family, friends and romantic relationships. I hate that I am now making up for lost time at the age of 38. BUT, at least I'm doing it! :-) I have not stepped inside a fast food resturant in over 6 months. Papa John's has a Missing Poster posted in their store. It took me about a month to get over the cravings but when I did, I never looked back.
I have never been happier or more confident. No big mac or ice cream cone can ever taste this good.
06-21-2011, 11:53 AM
I have lost 50, gained 90 and then slowly lost 20 and more recently lost 50 again.
And for me what joyfulloser and Sept15lija had to say is so important. You have to do something that you can live with - forever. Which means you have to find ways to fit in birthdays and barbeques and holidays. You have to find ways to work around busy schedules and kids and so on.
See, if you 'diet', your mindset is "this is temporary". You get this mindset, "I just need to lose X amount of pounds and then I'm at goal." That kind of mindset tends to lead to nonsustaining behaviors. Almost anyone can diet/deny themselves things for a short term, but what happens when you start eating cake again? or eating out? The weight comes back on little by little.
So, my biggest advice is to modify your lifestyle for a healthier living that you will maintain for the rest of your life. Realize there are weeks you will lose a lot and weeks you will lose little. Realize that holidays might mean a stall out or a small gain and that means working it off after the holidays to get back to normal. It's all a big plan that is constantly being worked on.
Now for me, I had developed sugar problems, so some things I just can't do any more for my health. I really can't have cake and cookies and that's just something I'm going to have to live with and deal with. And it's sad, because I did it to myself by overdoing it for too many years. Fortunately, I caught myself before I developed uncontrolled diabetes, but I also can't say to myself "it's OK to have carbs" because it never will be. But, that's me and probably not you.
06-21-2011, 12:10 PM
If I could go back to July 1st 2010 me (when I started considering losing weight but never got off the ground with it) and have a chat, I'd bring along my new size 16W dress and place it on top of the 24W dress I barely fit into due to girth. I'd show her all the stretches I could do now, how long I can swim in the pool for without being winded, and I'd hug her a whole lot. :)
I'd tell her that it will seem like an annoying amount of work: the 6am walk times, the curbing of boredom snacking and the (scary back then) future of not ingesting one soda. I'd let her know that some weeks I fell off plan but didn't gain, that some weeks it was so hard to get up and exercise but that as each week ticked by, I got so much more stronger than my laziness and ultimately am a much happier person for having lost 50 pounds so far.
I'd let her know that failure is okay and you just get right back onto things ASAP. I'd remind her that it doesn't matter how long it takes, as we'd wasted enough time in one lifestyle and hadn't gotten anywhere with that. And lastly, I'd leave her with a photo of me today, just so she can get the spark a little sooner than December, like I did. :P
06-21-2011, 12:29 PM
I would tell myself to hang on to the excitement, to the feeling of possibility that I had when I first started. I would tell myself that all the things that I imagined for myself are coming true. I would tell myself to listen to the crazy lady in the workout videos on ExerciseTV- turns out she knows what she's talking about (how did I not know who Jillian Michaels was?). I would tell myself that it isn't going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it.
I honestly don't know that it's gotten any easier. Especially losing the last 10-15 pounds, I think it's gotten harder. HOWEVER, I've been so empowered by the process. I have created HUGE changes in my body and my life in general and I know I have that power now, however hard it gets. To me that is a big deal.
06-21-2011, 12:42 PM
I would have told her to go ahead, get on that scale and to take measurements. I didn't face the scale until I was 3 weeks in. Also, I would tell her that this "all or nothing" mentality is why the past attempts ended in failure and that the lifestyle change is the way to go.
06-22-2011, 04:18 AM
Thank you so much for the replies. Very inspirational!
06-22-2011, 10:04 AM
I wouldn't have changed anything.
It is so funny how people are all so different. I know personally if I would have done even some of the things other people have listed that they did...I'd have never made it. Seriously, if I would have had "cheat meals", my "diet" would have been over after the first week. Thankfully I learned over the years WHY I became 333 pounds! lol:D