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Drifting down to goal... this is what I was told to do

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Old 12-24-2007, 12:06 PM   #1
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Default Drifting down to goal... this is what I was told to do

We have 3 Dieticians at my job... I'm a RN who works in ICU through a Nursing agency.
Anyways, my friend Helen who is a very sweet lady tells me how great I look. I haven't worked for 2 weeks because my Mom was getting sick again and I decided to take some time off and see what I could do. So she sees me and says that I definitely look like I've lost more weight! I did... I had lost 5.5 lbs. in those past 2 weeks.

I tell Helen what I'm doing but after talking with all of you here on this Forum I realize that I would like another approach to losing weight. Her suggestion was get off of the Weight Watcher Plans totally and just count calories. What she said was interesting. She asked me my height, what I wanted to REALLY weigh and then she did her calc. Well, she says that I should eat what I need to eat to "Maintain" my weight in the future. She says why diet? Just let your weight drift down but exercise! If you get out and go to the gym in a year's time you should be at goal. That's in 80 lbs. I weighed today and lost a half pound. TOM will be here soon so I'm fine with any loss, trust me!

I was wondering if there is any calculator that does estimate how long it would take to achieve a weight loss counting calories. I think I might be ok with a year to get these 80 lbs. off if I really stick with it. As of today I have 55 lbs. off in 28 weeks.
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:18 PM   #2
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I use DietPower for recording my food and exercise and their goal setter is all based on how much you want to lose and by what date. I am not sure of what type of calculator you are referring to other than doing the simple match that can be done in Excel.

I think your friends approach to some extent makes sense. All I can say is that weightloss is just not that simplistic. I wish it were as simple as setting a limit of say 1500 calories, sticking to it and being assured you will be at goal on a given date.

I have said it before but the weight will start coming off slower. Your body is going to be changing alot as you lose weight and it is far too soon to really know how your weightloss will progress. I would worry about today and take it one day at a time.

The one thing that I agree with your friend is there is no reason to set a higher calorie limit today and keep reducing it as you go. I have always gone with a more of a fixed number that I stay on throughout the diet. Not everyone agrees but it works for me.

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Old 12-24-2007, 10:00 PM   #3
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Thank you for that website. I should have added that Helen is one of the 3 Dieticians btw. Yep, she says stick with the calories and get off of Weight Watchers. Her statement was backed by other patients she works with but she couldn't answer the length of time.

Thank you for this website which I will check out right now. If it answers my question I will tell my Dietician friends at work.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:25 AM   #4
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Has your friend Helen ever had to lose a substantial amount of weight? And what will you do if you find you aren't "drifting down"?

I'm not saying what she suggests won't work--just that sometimes things look simple "on paper" and turn out not to be satisfactory in real life.

Also, I'm a little confused about what she's suggesting. What does it mean to "eat what you need to eat to 'Maintain' your weight in the future"? If that means no special foods, no really heavy restrictions... well, that's what calorie counting is anyway. I assume you still need to have a target number of calories for the day... That's what "diet" means for me: Calorie restriction... In my own experience, exercise alone, without watching food intake, doesn't work.

Well, if you want to try what she suggests, why not? You'll know within a couple of months whether it's working for you.

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Old 12-25-2007, 08:01 AM   #5
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I'm a bit confused as to what Helen is suggesting as well.

Any calculators on maintaining weight loss and weight LOSS in general are only estimates. There is no one or nothing that can tell us for SURE just how many calories we need in order to lose a certain amount of lbs per week. As is there is nothing to tell us for sure the amount of calories needed to maintain weight loss. It's all basically trial and error.

I'd have to agree with the terminology of why "diet". I mean you do plan on keeping the weight off forever. Therefore you want to find something that you can do forever - a lifestyle change - NOT some diet. Watching your calories for the long run IS a lifestyle change. Incorporating better eating habits IS a lifestyle change. NOT a diet, per se'.

But weight loss can only occur when you create a calorie DEFECIT. By either eating less then "normal" or moving more (LOTS more) or prefably - a COMBINATION of both.

I agree with Jay. I could exercise 24/7. There's only so much calories exercise could burn off. Unless of course you're running marathons everyday. If I don't monitor/restrict my calorie intake - then I just don't lose weight. Period.
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Old 12-25-2007, 08:12 AM   #6
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My take on what her friend is saying is to determine the maintenance calories she would need at her goal weight and set that as the calorie limit today. The assumption is that this would be less than what she is eating today and create the necessary calorie deficit.

By using your future maintenance calories today you start developing the skills to live within that limit for a lifetime.

I am not sure whether we all agree if this makes sense or not but the one thing that I hear all of us saying is that weightloss is not that simplistic.
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Old 12-25-2007, 08:39 AM   #7
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Ah, lorilove! That makes sense! I get it now (assuming that's what Helen meant).

That might work--but eventually the loss would slow down, I think. Also, metabolism isn't so simple--one person's maintenance level might be someone else's gain or loss level.

But, as I said, it won't hurt to try it!

Jay
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:28 PM   #8
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I was very intrigued with the idea of eating what was stated as a range between 1600-1700 calories per day and what was told to me is that this is calculated per my body's frame size and height. Also, this is for a sedentary person so I asked to give me the worst scenario and this was the calculations I was given. Both Dieticians didn't like me going down to 1200 calories thinking the energy level will drop, the fatigue feeling will set in and also that I couldn't do this long term. I was asking for permanent calories to sustain a 120-125 lb. perm. weight. What a different way to attempt to lose weight I thought.
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:16 PM   #9
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I think the number of calories sounds good and the basis for how it was calculated makes sense. I don't think anyone is saying otherwise.

I just think the idea that you set the calories today and this will be the solution for the next xx months until you lose 80lbs is oversimplifying what may or may not happen during your weightloss journey.

I say follow what has been recommended to you and focus on you plan today taking it one day at a time.

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Old 12-26-2007, 01:00 AM   #10
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This is exactly how my doctor (who specializes in weight loss) has counseled me and so it is also what I am doing. It makes so much sense to me now and I wish I had thought to do this before. I have been great at losing weight during my lifetime, but horrible at maintaining it. It never became a lifestyle. This method is producing a lifestyle for me -- one I can maintain. It just makes sense.
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Old 12-26-2007, 07:43 AM   #11
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The more I think about it, the more sense it makes!

I agree with lorilove that weight loss isn't that simple--and also, I think that weight loss will tend to slow, and daily calories may need to be adjusted. But try it! The worst that can happen is that it won't work, and then you just try something else.

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Old 12-26-2007, 08:12 AM   #12
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My understanding is that your friend is saying eat whatever your maintenance calories would be if you didn't exercise. Then, when you add exercise, you'll be creating a deficit. In theory it works (calories out > calories in), but for me personally I've found that I really need to watch what I eat no matter how much I exercise.
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Old 12-26-2007, 09:17 AM   #13
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There used to be some posters here who did this, I can't remember who. They were following a book called Calorie Queens: Living Thin In A Fat World, written by Jackie Scott and Diane Scott Kellum. I don't see anything wrong with doing that. At you current weight, you will automatically be creating a deficit if you eat at the calorie level you would need to maintain at your goal weight. When you get closer to your goal, you won't be creating a very big deficit, so you should expect weight loss to slow to a crawl at that point, but you can worry about that and tweak then if you need to.

All in all, it's just plain old calorie counting, which we all know works. You may be eating at a higher calorie level than many of us, which would mean a slower weight loss, but most of us have to do some trial and error to find the right calorie level to lose at anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:50 AM   #14
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I agree with the others - it will work, but you may want to keep a log and tweak the calorie count as needed. One of my greatest frustrations as a calorie counter has been that I WANT it to be simple science and math. I WANT to be able to say, "if I just stick to my plan of 1400 calories, and exercise 5 hrs per week, I will lose 2 lbs. per week". All the math and science say that this will happen. But, the reality is - our bodies are much more complex and science doesn't have all the answers. Some weeks I do lose those 2 lbs. Other weeks, I don't lose anything. But, since this is a lifestyle change and not a diet, I don't get upset like I did in the past when the scale doesn't budge. So it takes me longer to get to my goal. In the scheme of things, an extra month, six months, or even a year doesn't really matter.

Changing to healthy habits and eating healthfully for the rest of my life is the real goal.
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Old 12-26-2007, 03:19 PM   #15
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Yes...in fact I have just had to raise my calorie level because I was feeling a bit too hungry and exercising more than we originally thought I would. I think this is true for any health plan. The thing I like about this idea (eating/exercising the same way you will have to eat/exercise once you are maintaining) is that it trains me to eat/exercise the way I will need to for the rest of my life. Hopefully, this means that I will have an easier time in maintenance than I might have otherwise.
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