Weight Loss Support - Gradual or Intense




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dietcokeaddict
01-07-2006, 05:20 PM
I was wondering whether it is a better idea to "jump-start" the program with a rigorous diet and exersize, and then taper off (like the induction period on south beach, etc etc) or to make changes gradually?

The jump-start idea appeals to me because I tend to give up if things don't happen quickly (I have given up quite a few times a week now :( )

any sort of jarring experience "turning point" might help motivate me, too.


nighthawk
01-07-2006, 05:36 PM
I think that the best way to start is one that works and actually gets you started. It's the long haul that matters anyway.

:goodluck:
Lori

srmb60
01-07-2006, 05:48 PM
I think the hazard with jump starting is that you may become use to the quick weight loss. "Addicted' so to speak. When you then taper off, your loss will slow. Can you handle that?

I did jump start. I was very encouraged to keep going but I've had to learn some hard truths about maintaining.


kykaree
01-07-2006, 05:51 PM
I did it in two stages. I worked on my eating first for a month, then started my exercise plan. I couldn't have coped with it all at once. I couldn't do a phase 1 phase 2 approach like South Beach, I don't do deprivation LOL.

funniegrrl
01-07-2006, 06:55 PM
I think you've fallen into a big trap a lot of dieters fall into -- depending on the "high" from doing something really strict and seeing a quick loss. There is no way to sustain weight loss, much less weight maintenance, if your only reason for doing so is to see the scale drop quickly. The reason you get bored and stray off of programs when you don't see quick results is that you haven't thought about what really needs to happen.

What really needs to happen is that you not only eat and move in a way that helps you lose weight, but that makes you healthier and helps you sustain a healthy weight for the rest of your life. For people who are successful over the long haul, their life after weight loss really looks no different than their life during weight loss. They may have built that lifestyle in stages, but by the time they got to goal they were living the way they planned to live forever.

So, you can start gradually if that's more palatable, or you can draw a line in the sand and start your new lifestyle all at once, at least in respect to food. The point is, stop talking about diet as if it's something you'll do temporarily, as if one day you can go back to eating the way you eat now. Sure, it's sometimes tough to keep going when you're used to having those big scale drops give you those thrills, but this isn't about thrills and entertainment and emotion. It's about the challenging -- yet satisfying -- work of getting your act together and living in a healthy way, day in and day out.

Check out the maintainers' forum, especially the stickies. You might also want to pick up a copy of the book Thin for Life, there's a wealth of information in it about what it takes to get through to goal and stay there.

penpal
01-07-2006, 07:06 PM
I've tried losing weight both ways - with a very low cal high exercise start and the more gradual way. For me, the gradual way is working fine. First, I decided it was a "lifestyle" change, not a "diet", because for me the word "diet" meant deprivation. This is the way I'm going to eat the rest of my life.

I work out 3x a week at Curves. In the past I had joined a regular gym but felt very out of place and overwhelmed. I soon dropped my membership. I've been working out at Curves for just over 2 years, with only one week off when I had the 'flu.

Through trial and error, I found that 1500 - 1600 calories a day allows me to lose just under a pound per week and that's exactly what's been happening. The couple of hundred extra calories per day make it possible for me to stick to my new way of eating. Everyone is different, but this is what works for me :)

LLV
01-07-2006, 07:08 PM
I was wondering whether it is a better idea to "jump-start" the program with a rigorous diet and exersize, and then taper off (like the induction period on south beach, etc etc) or to make changes gradually?
Gradual changes are best. Because when you make gradual changes, you in turn teach yourself better habits.

And nothing is going to happen overnight. You've got to have patience. It takes just as long (or longer) to lose the weight as it does to put it on.

You didn't gain the weight in a week's time and you're not going to lose it in a week's time, either.

Forget diets. Dieting is how I ended up fat. When I made the decision to change my lifestyle and change the way I eat forever, that's when the weight started coming off.

dietcokeaddict
01-07-2006, 07:25 PM
I guess my problem with committing is I always have the internal argument about "I don't really want to be thin, i would rather have four pieces of cinnamon toast!" but your comments have really helped me see that it's not even really about being thin... it's about having a good healthy lifestyle that lasts your entire life and keeps you sane! (unlike dieting, which makes me INsane.. haha)

LLV
01-07-2006, 07:43 PM
Well, like the old saying goes, nothing tastes as good as thin feels. And they're right.

If I want to pig out on a bunch of crap, I just remember what it was like to be heavy. And how much I hated myself. And how ashamed I was of even being seen in public.

No food is worth that to me. Not a one.

It feels so good to get into my closet, slip into a pair of jeans and put on a shirt because *I* want to wear it (not because it's the only thing I CAN wear cuz nothing else will fit) and bounce out the door with my newfound confidence.

There's not one food in this world that will ever take that away from me again.

LLV
01-07-2006, 07:48 PM
Basically, I will never allow myself to become a slave to food again. *I* control it. I don't let it control ME.

If you can accomplish that, you can accomplish anything :)

funniegrrl
01-07-2006, 11:32 PM
Just to note: Not everyone can handle gradual changes, so please avoid blanket statements about any one approach being "best." For people like myself who are compulsive overeaters, we have to deal with food in a different way than people who just overeat out of habit. So, I would urge anyone to think about what is best for THEM and their personality, and not what someone else thinks is the only way to go. If, in the end, you get to a healthy weight in a sane way, are eating a balanced diet, and are moving your body, it doesn't matter whether you started that new lifestyle in one fell swoop or got there in stages. Some of us have to fake it before we make it. I would venture to guess that my habits are just as ingrained and long-lasting as someone who reshaped their habits more gradually; the point is we end up in the same place, because the mental work is the same.

LLV
01-08-2006, 10:36 AM
Yes, everyone is different. What works for some may not work for others. But she asked for our opinions on what would be a better way to go and we gave her OUR opinions. That doesn't mean gradual changes are going to best for her specifically, but it's what we feel works better for the long haul.

Hibiscus8
01-08-2006, 12:37 PM
Also, it is important to keep in mind what's really the reason many commercial diets have an "induction" phase. Diets are businesses, and to be successful at selling books, products, web subscriptions etc., the diet needs to have it's followers lose lots of weight quickly...I mean that's what draws most people to diets in the first place - the promise of easy, quick weight loss. Then when you hear your cousin Al's wife's sister lost 10 pounds on South Beach in only a month, you'll give it a try. For a diet business to be successful it wants all the positive word of mouth it can get, knowing that people are too ashamed to admit they tried a diet but quit because they were unable to stick to it or it wasn't effective.

I understand that for some with serious eating issues, drastic change is needed. But for most of us, I think, it really comes down to deciding if you are in it for the long haul, as opposed to wanting to crash diet. For long term success you have to look at making changes that aren't too drastic in order to stick with them. Two years ago I couldn't keep a food journal for more than a week, exercised less than 2 times a week, and probably ate close to 3000 calories a day. I'm sure I tried numerous times to change all that - but it didn't happen overnight.

YP1
01-08-2006, 12:45 PM
Personally I like gradual changes, although I appreciate it doesn't work for everyone. For me, before this I didn't overeat particularly badly or have any really bad binges or trigger foods, I just made consistently bad choices to get to 260lb. The way I've dealt with that is by giving myself other choices, which are more healthy, and trusting myself to choose them.

Before I would eat a pizza when I got in from work because it was easy. Not because I particularly craved it or anything like that, just because I was lazy and I didn't know whether I liked vegetables or other sorts of healthy food. So when I started doing this I tried to introduce myself to new, easy, healthy food that I could eat instead. I never told myself that I couldn't have that pizza, I just told myself that maybe this new recipe I'd seen would be healthy, and it looks nice so why not try it.

So for me, it's sustainable and it's more of a long term plan. But I started losing weight very slowly, and it only picked up pace once I'd got to the point where the healthy stuff outweighed the unhealthy stuff. And that sort of weight loss doesn't sell books!


Gradual definitely works with exercise. There is no way that you'll be able to go out tomorrow morning and run 13k (which is what I did this morning). But if you do a little today and a little tomorrow, next month you'll be fit enough to try doing a little more, and so on. You may never get to (or want to get to) running 13k (believe me, it takes a certain amount of insanity ;) ), but if you try different sorts of exercise and find something you like doing, then you'll be more motivated to keep on doing it. But you have to accept that you won't be able to do it all at first, you have to build yourself up.

funniegrrl
01-09-2006, 11:05 AM
Also, it is important to keep in mind what's really the reason many commercial diets have an "induction" phase. Diets are businesses, and to be successful at selling books, products, web subscriptions etc., the diet needs to have it's followers lose lots of weight quickly...I mean that's what draws most people to diets in the first place - the promise of easy, quick weight loss. Then when you hear your cousin Al's wife's sister lost 10 pounds on South Beach in only a month, you'll give it a try. For a diet business to be successful it wants all the positive word of mouth it can get, knowing that people are too ashamed to admit they tried a diet but quit because they were unable to stick to it or it wasn't effective.

Absolutely -- that's how they get their hooks in you. How often does a weight loss program advertise "slow results?" Never. :P

I understand that for some with serious eating issues, drastic change is needed. But for most of us, I think, it really comes down to deciding if you are in it for the long haul, as opposed to wanting to crash diet. For long term success you have to look at making changes that aren't too drastic in order to stick with them.

Here is where there's a lot of misunderstanding. Not every commercial program has an "induction" phase, and not everyone who takes a line-in-the-sand approach crash diets at the beginning. I ABSOLUTELY agree that the long-term view is important, and that's exactly what I've done. When I started my program I did so with the deep understanding that I was not dieting but making permanent changes in my lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy weight forever. But, making a lot of changes at once does not mean that they are unsustanable by definition. I have used Jenny Craig as my program, and it does NOT have a quick-start or induction phase; in fact, it's just the opposite. Following this program meant that I had a complete food plan to follow from day one. The difference between this and fad programs (and even some WW programs) is that you start at a calorie level appropriate for your weight, activity level, etc. from the beginning. True, a lot of people lose a lot of weight that first week due to water weight loss, but that's going to happen any time you restrict calories, no matter what the program. It is built to provide steady, reasonable weight loss while learning life-long habits.

So, again, please don't make assumptions about fully-designed programs. There IS a real -- and annoying -- prejudice on this board that the gradual approach is the only one anyone SHOULD do, that every single thing else is bound for failure. The advocates acknowledge that "not every approach works for everyone" and then they turn right around and say that their approach is the only one that can really be expected to be successful in the long run. Those us who follow commercial programs get a double-whammy, because there is this underlying implication that they are a waste of money in all cases and that a person SHOULD be able to lose weight on their own by making those holy "gradual changes."

This board, of all the places in the world, should be a place where any safe, sane, sensible program is supported and that a person's efforts to find what works for them should be celebrated, no matter what the cost. Instead, except for the boards for specific programs, if you're paying money for any kind of guidance you're seen as foolish. This is the same crap that we get from people who don't have to watch their weight: If you'd "just" watch what you eat, if you'd "just" get up from the couch, you would lose weight. Etc. It's the exact same lack of understanding and refusal to acknowledge that you can't understand the solution if you don't understand the problem. I'll tell you this: understanding my complusive overeating and using Jenny Craig have saved my life. I know that those who don't share my problem cannot understand why this solution was really the only solution for me. That's OK. I refuse to feel abashed or somehow inferior, however, because I have not followed the party line of gradual change here. I also expect that others on this journey -- on this board -- would truly support what I choose to do and not question it or provide a voice of doom. If gradual works for you, great -- say, "Gradual works for me, and here's why." Please avoid making sweeping generalizations about people and programs you don't know anything about, and for godssake stop saying that such-and-such is "best" or is the "only" way something's going to happen.

I do not regret one single solitary penny I have spent on my program, nor the sometimes wrenching effort I put into making this program work at a deep level so that I can sustain it for the rest of my life. I think I am better for it -- not only healthier but better -- and it has proven that I can do anything I really want to do, regardless of the difficulty.

teahoney
01-09-2006, 11:30 AM
So, again, please don't make assumptions about fully-designed programs. There IS a real -- and annoying -- prejudice on this board that the gradual approach is the only one anyone SHOULD do, that every single thing else is bound for failure. The advocates acknowledge that "not every approach works for everyone" and then they turn right around and say that their approach is the only one that can really be expected to be successful in the long run. Those us who follow commercial programs get a double-whammy, because there is this underlying implication that they are a waste of money in all cases and that a person SHOULD be able to lose weight on their own by making those holy "gradual changes."




That is so true. I remember there actually being a thread that turned into a bash fest for anyone that follows commercial weight loss programs saying that people who used it were simply wasting their money and are obviously too lazy to lose weight the "right" way. Now I don't follow Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem or any of those kinds of diets but I certainly don't look down on anyone who does. It has gotten to the point that if anyone IS on one of those programs they feel like they have to justify themselves and it shouldn't be that way.

So in answer to the OP's question. Which is better??? Whatever works for you so long as it is safe, sane and healthy.

LLV
01-09-2006, 12:06 PM
making sweeping generalizations about people and programs you don't know anything about, and for godssake stop saying that such-and-such is "best" or is the "only" way something's going to happen.
I personally didn't say anything negative about any programs. I simply said gradual is a good way to go. That doesn't mean I think nothing else is good enough. I've been through many weight loss programs. Yes, I lost weight. But I gained it all back. Who's fault is that? My own. I take full responsibility for my weight problem because no one made me fat but me. However, 2400 diets later, I realized that gradual changes were best FOR ME because it allowed me to learn good habits on the way. Permanent changes that I can live with. And yes, I'll say it and I'll say it out loud, it's the ONLY thing that's ever worked. FOR ME.

Again, the original poster came in looking for opinions and we simply gave them to her. I wasn't putting Jenny Craig down, I wasn't putting anything at all down, I was just voicing my opinion and sticking up for what I personally believe to be the best way to lose weight.

FOR ME.

Oh, and a P.S. - I'm not saying you said I specifically said anything about diet programs, I was just adding a comment to the general subject :)

LLV
01-09-2006, 12:08 PM
So in answer to the OP's question. Which is better??? Whatever works for you so long as it is safe, sane and healthy.
I totally agree with this.

Sometimes you have to 'play' with a lot of different diets and food plans before you find what's best for you. That's why I said to have patience. Because for some us it can take years to find that balance.

Mel
01-09-2006, 01:12 PM
I absolutely agree with funniegrrl. You have to find what works FOR YOU. There is no best way, best program, best exercise. The best is what you will do, and do willingly for the rest of your life.

I'm also a compulsive eater and the only time I've succeeded (I'm going into year FIVE of now) is when I drew a line in the sand and made a total life change. If I had tried the gradual approach, or allowed trigger foods to stay in my diet, I never would have succeeded. I'm sure there would have been negative progress. I also tried to diet a zillion times before, usually adding the pieces gradually. Exercise, portion control (ha!), healthier food...but I never put it all together at once. Because I was always active and worked out, I just ended up a fat strong person.

Soooo, you really need to know yourself. I don't remember if the original poster stated her age or weight, but practically all women who view themselves as overweight have tried to diet in the past. What worked? Probably nothing you did so far or you wouldn't be asking this question ;) So try something different.

Mel

lucky
01-09-2006, 02:06 PM
I agree that each person has to figure out what is going to be the best approach for them over the long haul.

The question was is it better to jump start a program or make gradual changes. The answer for ME was a little from column A and a little from column B. Once I made the decision to lose weight and keep it off I was gung ho. There was no looking back. I did make some drastic changes at first but I'm not sure I knew they were drastic at the time. I was just doing what I knew would work - reduce my calorie intake. From there I began educating myself about nutrition and exercise and incorporating those things that made sense to me and seemed to apply to my situation. I began paying attention to how I felt and foods and activities made me feel better. I began making gradual changes to my plan - and still do.

Whatever route you choose, I am of the opinion that you must keep and open mind and be willing to keep things flexible. What works for you the first week might not be what you need the second week. It is imporatant to constantly evaluate your progress - and not just by the scale. When what you are doing isn't working that isn't a reason to quit but a reason to try something else.

penpal
01-09-2006, 06:53 PM
I was wondering whether it is a better idea to "jump-start" the program with a rigorous diet and exersize, and then taper off (like the induction period on south beach, etc etc) or to make changes gradually?

I think I kind of misunderstood the question when I posted earlier. I said I'm losing gradually. I meant that I didn't have an induction period where I lost a lot of weight up front and then went with a higher amount of calories. I have done "crash" or induction type diets before and did lose a lot at first. By "gradual" I meant in the sense of losing slowly but surely.

I've been consuming the same amount of calories (1500-1600 per day) from day 1 this time around - I haven't made "gradual" changes such as cutting back on specific foods one at a time.

Sometimes, it can give you a mental boost if you lose a lot in the first week or two, so if that works for you that's good. For me, I figured I'll be doing this new way of eating the rest of my life (if I'm serious about keeping the weight off) so losing a lot of weight quickly wasn't a priority for me. :)

NowOrNever!
01-09-2006, 07:42 PM
And reading through all the responses here, the original poster never really expanded on "rigorous" for her "jump-start" possibility. That could mean all kinds of things from doing what many of us WOULD consider insane (like...I don't know....I've seen at least one person posting lately who was ingesting only 600 cals/day) or it could mean 1200 calories, ya know?

EDUCATION is so big here--and thats where each of us has to be responsible for ourselves--taking in information and opinions, but being able to think critically about how that matches up with what we know about our bodies AND our lives because lifestyle does matter too in designing an approach (or picking an existing approach) that will work for us.

Heather
01-09-2006, 11:06 PM
The question was is it better to jump start a program or make gradual changes. The answer for ME was a little from column A and a little from column B. Once I made the decision to lose weight and keep it off I was gung ho. There was no looking back. I did make some drastic changes at first but I'm not sure I knew they were drastic at the time. I was just doing what I knew would work - reduce my calorie intake. From there I began educating myself about nutrition and exercise and incorporating those things that made sense to me and seemed to apply to my situation. I began paying attention to how I felt and foods and activities made me feel better. I began making gradual changes to my plan - and still do.


That's VERY much like what I did, but until tonight I hadn't realized that I HAD made some drastic changes at the time, that I didn't realize were big at the time.