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Help! Is this forever?

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Old 07-09-2012, 01:57 PM   #1
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Default Help! Is this forever?

Hello,

I'm 19 years old, African American, and I weigh about 224 this morning, down about 34 pounds. I've only been obese for about three or four years, and before that I was an athlete. I still have at least another 70 or so to go. I have no problem exercising regularly for the rest of my life, or eating mostly healthy. My question for the forum, however, is this forever? Do I really have to worry about eating a piece of pizza or going out for ice cream with my friends and then gaining two pounds the next day? I read the sticky about leptin and that was a concern. Obviously I'm going to go through with my weight loss journey, but I really don't want to spend the rest of my life nitpicking everything I eat, or freaking out because I went to Olive Garden. Does anyone have any insight or past experiences about metabolism after you get into the maintenance stage?
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
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I'm not sure about the maintenance stage (since I'm not there yet), but I can chime in on whether it's "forever."

Basically, yes. You'll most likely have to watch what you eat, get in some form of exercise, and keep an eye on your weight (whether with scales, measuring tape, or clothes fit). I've been doing it for about 2 years now, and I expect to keep working on it.

However, you don't have to not eat any junk food. Just budget for it. If you know you'll be eating pizza and ice cream, eat lighter for the rest of the day and maybe the day after (don't starve - just eat lighter).

You don't have to freak out, you don't have to nitpick, but you will most likely have to keep track of what you eat.

If you gain 2 lbs after eating out, it's probably mostly water weight (unless you did consume an extra 7000 calories that day), and will drop off within a week.

You'll have to get used to how your body reacts to water and fat gain. Try different things, maybe.

Good luck!
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:47 PM   #3
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Well, you can't gain 2 lbs of fat from one pizza. Water weight sure, but if you stick to plan it falls off.

And honestly... there is no good answer I think. You don't have to completely give up every food. In fact, I don't know if I could ever quit every thing I like. You have "cheat" days. Every now and then you say, I'm getting some pizza! And then then next day you jog a little extra or something.

More than likely you'll do somethings EVERY day. Like a food diary. You'll sometimes have to realize that you shouldn't get the ice cream and settle for a glass of water. Maybe the menu has pasta but you go for the chicken and veggies. It's a LIFE change. We can't just drop weight while living in the fast food places we like.

It never hurts to occasionally go out. It's ok to have one day that was a "bad" day for eating. Just make most of the days good and forgive yourself for the bad. If you see the scale moving in the right direction, then you're doing fine. If it doesn't budge or goes the wrong way and you know it's because you indulge in a lot of things, then you have to make the choice to cut things more often.

Good luck!
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:46 PM   #4
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Finding a REASONABLE way to eat is a challenge after you have lost what you wanted to lose. Many folks here keep doing the same thing they were doing to lose, only with maybe a little less exercise and a bit more calories.

Given your starting weight, I'd say that you can't go back to the way you used to eat without gaining. There is a reason that you got up to the weight you did. So, as far as pizza--yes, you can fit in pizza, but you can't just sit down and eat piece after piece after piece and expect no impact if you do it more than occasionally. Olive Garden? You can go there, but you need to limit what you eat there, too, and choose dishes that aren't packed with pasta, oil, and cheese.

Will you always have to count, weigh, and measure? I don't believe so, although many do. Will you always have to think about how much you're eating? Yes.

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Old 07-09-2012, 04:55 PM   #5
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How shall I put this? I want to be kind.

There's an oft-repeated quote around here: "Being fat is hard. Losing weight is hard. Keeping off weight is hard. Pick your hard."

If you want to keep off the weight you lost, you can never go back to exactly the way you were before.

You have to keep living a changed life.

You have to figure out what you're willing to "pay" to keep off the weight. You're not going to pay in money but you're going to pay in time & in having to consider your choices. You will likely pay in some loss of spontaneity and thoughtlessness. Others will be able to eat unthinkingly and you probably never will.

That is, of course, if you like your life at a lower weight, and you are willing to make the tradeoff to stay there.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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It really depends on you. Some people have a really hard time maintaining their weight without weighing and measuring every bite, and have to keep very strict diets. Some people don't have to be so strict in order to have results.

I find that I'm kind of in the middle. Pizza or ice cream or whatever is fine, as long as I don't do it more than once a week on a regular basis (and FYI, I ate both pizza and ice cream today, so it really is true that some people can eat these things while maintaining their weight). Unless I'm actively trying to lose weight, I don't weigh or measure my food. That said, I certainly don't eat the way that I used to eat when I was fat -- I eat a lot healthier now!

What is forever is vigilance. Forever I will be stepping on the scale, keeping track of the number, and being stricter if the number keeps going up.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Thank you for so many replies! I understand exactly what you are all saying! I was just hoping that I could eat sort of intuitively like all of my friends and stay the same, but obviously we're not all dealt the same hand of cards...

I got here by eating six cookies instead of one, or three slices instead of two, and obsessing over food and weight. It's hard to imagine tracking calories and having a permanently lowered metabolism, but I'd much rather do it than spend anymore time obese.

Again, thank you!
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:17 PM   #8
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I think the problem for a lot of us is that we can't trust our intuition when it comes to food. I never could and after 4 years of maintenance I still can't. My brain still thinks I want, even need sometimes, more carbs & sugar (my Achilles tendon) in much larger quantities that anyone needs.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:39 PM   #9
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I was always able to lose weight but wasn't able to keep it off. I have finally learned it has to be a lifestyle change. I have an occasional treat but these have to be kept to a minimum. When I stop counting calories or planning my meals I start gaining weight.
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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I think the goal of successful weight loss is to 'learn' to eat smarter, and to enjoy 'exercise'. I'm not done with losing, but I've been eating more and more 'clean' food - leafy greens, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats - so when I go 'out', or have pizza, I eat a lot less, and a lot less fried and really fatty/salty food than I used to enjoy. I cut out processed sugar-foods which makes my blood sugar more stable and me less hungry. And I'm losing slowly, which is good 'cause it lets me really get my new healthy habits engrained in my behavior.

So, yes, this is 'forever', but your baseline eating habits will change and you won't really miss the bad, unhealthy foods and food amounts that you've probably enjoyed in the past (I have).
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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Okay! I think I have the picture. I do take a lot of fun classes like hip hop hustle and Zumba so I'm starting to enjoy exercise, but I'm a picky eater and I love carbs! I'm excited to make these lifestyle changes though because your stories of maintenance are so inspiring.

Thanks again for all the great responses!
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:38 PM   #12
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Honestly, Yes.

I don't think I'll ever hit a point where I don't have to make my food choices VERY carefully. For me, it is getting easier, though. I'm finding that I just don't want the garbage food anymore. I don't like how it makes me feel... so my pickyness is more about choosing foods that I know will nourish me and not drag me down.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #13
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I agree with all of the responses about the permanent tradeoffs that one needs to make. Also, . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by saef View Post
You will likely pay in some loss of spontaneity and thoughtlessness. Others will be able to eat unthinkingly and you probably never will.
Yes! I think this is typical. It's one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining (for me), and that lack of spontaneity is what kept me a yo-yo dieter for many, many years. I've learned this time around how important it is to tailor your weight loss and maintenance for YOU, even if it goes against common wisdom. For instance, I've found that I can still maintain some spontaneity in eating with a couple of "tricks": 1) starting my daily calorie count with my most unpredictable meal, which is supper for me. So, instead of starting my day's count with Breakfast, I start with Supper. It's easier for me to control/predict what I'll eat for breakfast and lunch than it is for me to predict what I'll be eating for supper. 2) I have a weekly calorie budget rather than a daily one. This allows me to indulge more when I go out to eat, go to a party, etc. I just shave off some calories on another day or days.

Also, I've learned that exercise makes a big difference in how many calories I can eat. I've learned to incorporate exercise into my daily routine so that I'm not always doing "formal" gym-type exercise, but I am always getting at least one (oftentimes two) hours of exercise a day. This allows me to eat much more than I thought I would be able to.

Good luck to you!
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kika007 View Post
Hello,
Does anyone have any insight or past experiences about metabolism after you get into the maintenance stage?
Between you and me, I think this whole "lowered metabolism after weight loss" is greatly overplayed. Perhaps it's because my own experience hasn't supported the theory AT ALL. I've gained and lost the same 30 to 55 pounds many times in my life, and the only reason I gained back the weight is that I started overeating REGULARLY.

This time around I've been maintaining for 8 months and I'm more confident than ever that I'll be able to keep the weight off. I have lots of treats (pizza, ice cream, chocolate, etc.) and allow myself to overeat at restaurants. The difference from previous maintenance attempts is that I get right back on the wagon after indulging.

When I was losing weight last year, I knew my metabolic rate was down because I always felt cold. When I reached maintenance, I continued to feel cold for a couple of months, but then my internal thermostat (and presumably my metabolism) reverted to normal.

I'm 55 years old and have no problem maintaining my weight, which is quite low for my height, as long as I don't overeat too often. I'm confident that, at just 20 years old, your metabolism won't get in your way.

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Old 07-09-2012, 09:53 PM   #15
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I can eat whatever I want and maintain my weight in the high 120s at 5'5, but I have drastically changed the foundation of my eating so that what I want usually aligns with what's good for me. A day or two of eating junk food leads to a noticeable "ew" feeling that makes me really want to go back to eating salad until I feel "normal" again.
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