Welcome to the new 3FC Maintainers Forum! It's a forum for those of us who are nearing or at our goal weights and who intend to keep the weight off for the rest of our lives. As Iíve been maintaining my 122 pound weight loss for the past eighteen months, Iíve learned how much I still need the support and camaraderie of 3FC, so Iím delighted that weíve been given a place to share our experiences and strategies and tips on staying lean for life.
When I weighted 257 pounds, I used to dream of the day that I would reach my goal weight. I imagined how I would look and assumed that I would be able to maintain my loss effortlessly. After all, if I got to my goal weight, I would be normal, right? The ďdietď would be over and Iíd be cured of all my cravings and bad habits and eating issues. Iíd never binge or eat for emotional reasons. I would just naturally want to eat broccoli and tofu instead of chocolate and ice cream. :lol:
Of course I was wrong. I didnít look like I had imagined ó I looked like a deflated balloon. And every eating issue that I ever had was still with me. I also discovered that it takes as much thought and effort and planning to maintain my weight loss as it did to lose it in the first place. The reality is that this is a journey for life and losing weight is only the first step on the road to keeping the weight off forever. My weight loss phase took about a year ó my weight maintenance phase is going to last the rest of my life.
So please join in! Mel and I are the moderators and welcome any and all suggestions about the forum. This is our corner of 3FC to do with as we please!
Tell us about yourself!
I think Iíve been on a diet for my whole life. :D I canít remember a time, even as a child, when I didnít feel fat. In grade school, I lived in a fantasy world of books and my favorite activity was eating and reading. My weight fluctuated through high school and college, depending on my current diet. But I was always self-conscious about my size and felt like a whale compared to the other girls my age. After college I went to law school, where eating was the only fun activity that one could do while endlessly studying. I met my husband there, got married, and we both started practicing. I was one of a very few women at a my law firm and continuing eating in response to the stresses and pressure of large firm practice. Eventually we started a family and I dropped out of the rat race to raise children. I stayed home and baked cookies (and ate cookies) and began my Weight Watchers era. Itís embarrassing to think how many times I joined (and quit) WW. Iíd lose 20 pounds, quit, gain 25 back, lose 25, quit, gain 30 back ó and yo-yoíed my way up to 257 pounds.
Fast forward to 2001 ó my daughter came home from college and wanted to join a gym. So I went around with her to visit gyms and ended up joining one on a whim. Now you have to realize that I HATED to exercise, despised it, loathed it. My concession to exercise in my WW days was a neighborhood stroll with a friend. So the gym was an alien planet to me and I was clueless about what to do or where to start. I found a trainer there, signed up for five weeks of personal training, and told myself that I would do whatever he told me to do for five weeks ó that I could do ANYTHING for five weeks. Well, he turned my world upside down. He taught me a different way to eat ó frequent, small meals with lots of protein, all clean food. He parked me on an elliptical and forced me to do cardio. And he showed me how to lift weights to build muscle. I didn't follow a formal diet but tracked my calories, carbs, protein and fats in Fitday (my calories were in the 1200-1600 range while I was losing).
The weight started flying off of me. I couldnít believe the amount of energy that I had. And I loved getting muscles! I lost 122 pounds in a little less than a year, going from 257 pounds to 135, size 22 to size 4, 57% body fat to 16%. Iíve been maintaining since May, 2002 and still weigh 135 pounds today, though my body fat % has continued to drop (and my body shape continues to change).
But I didnít look the way that I had imagined after I reached my goal. Instead of tight and muscular, I looked like a balloon that had been blown up and popped with a pin ó all saggy and baggy and wrinkly. I felt like a failure ó I had lost all this weight but still couldnít wear shorts or a bathing suit. Puzzled and disappointed, I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon just to find out what was going on. He lifted a tremendous burden from me when he told me that it was ďskin ó all skin ó an enormous quantity of skinĒ. Without a momentís hesitation, I knew that I wanted to get rid of it and have had two surgeries to remove excess skin, with one more on the horizon to finish up.
Much to my surprise, Iíve discovered that maintenance looks a lot like losing to me ó that I donít really do anything different today than I did when I was losing the weight. I still eat the same way and exercise as much as I did the year that I was losing. My biggest fear is that I will gain the weight back. Weíve all read the statistics that 95% of people who lose weight will regain it. For me, the key to keeping the weight off is simply to keep doing what I did to lose the weight. Theyíre not kidding when they say that this has to be a lifestyle rather than a quick fix. Without a doubt, if I ever go back to living the way I did three years ago, I would very quickly go back to weighing 257 pounds.
But the bottom line is that it is so worth the effort! I feel like I sleepwalked through the last 15 years of my life and now Iím awake and alive. Iím full of energy, strong, and in the best health Iíve ever been in. The burden of ďfatĒ that had literally and figuratively weighed me down my whole life is gone. I donít want to be invisible any more. Iím still the same person inside as when I weighed 122 pounds more, but now Iím willing to be a little more outspoken, occasionally loud, sometimes outrageous, but always free just to be me without the constraint and embarrassment of being fat.
I think I've been around 3FC forever! :lol: I know that I've re-registered at least twice and spent my WW years in the WW forums here. I found the old Body For Life forum and lurked there during the year that I was losing since it was the closest thing that I could find to what I was doing. MrsJim and Mel were my heroes. :D When the BFL forum expanded to include all of bodybuilding, I jumped in and mainly post there now. I'm looking forward to participating in this new forum also so that we can all support each other as we keep the weight off for life.
Hey there! MrsJim (my husband calls me "Karen" :lol: ) here...
What a cool idea this is Meg! :)
I think most of you pretty much know my story - I'm one of four girls (the middle one!) and the only one with a 'weight problem' - definitely the black sheep of the family...Dad (who went to medical school at UNC - Chapel Hill but decided to pursue chemistry as his life avocation) and Mom were concerned about me to put me on a diet at the tender age of 7 - something I would never advocate nowadays. I tried a ton of diet programs and at the age of 11 had read just about every diet book in our town library...but also became a sneak-eater, a binge eater, etc. Anyway, I reached my high weight in 1990 of 265 pounds before I decided that was IT for me - it was time for me to make some lifestyle changes. At one point around 1988 or so, I tried to go the Fat Acceptance/Big is Beautiful route...
At that time, I was at a point where I just said "screw it. This is too HARD to try and lose weight. I'm just going to accept myself as a fat person". I read all the literature, the BBW and Radiance magazines, shoot, I even joined NAAFA for a year or two. In fact...my first real exposure to exercise as enjoyment came from a book titled "Great Shape" written by a nurse at Kaiser-Permanente who was (and I presume is) a large woman herself, who lives in the Bay Area. She had a one-day "large woman's movement seminar" that I attended. It wasn't sweaty aerobics as I recall (this was almost 15 years ago remember) - it was just movement, dance-style steps, getting into the music and all that. From there, I started walking - and at first I could barely walk around the BLOCK without going out of breath - let alone climb a flight of stairs without resting.
In doing a lot of journaling to "find myself" I came to the conclusion that I did NOT want to spend the rest of my life being fat, and that this Fat Acceptance/Big is Beautiful idea that I was taking comfort in (and using as an excuse to eat whatever and however much I wanted...a lot of fat people will say they don't eat that much or didn't eat much...but trust me, I ate a LOT...I could go through 1/2 gallon of Mocha Almond Fudge icecream without even realizing it...followed up with half a large pizza...) was actually holding me back. Bottom line was I realized that however much I was trying to buy in to that Big is Beautiful line, I desperately DID NOT WANT TO BE FAT. But when you weigh over 250 pounds...it felt to me as though someone gave me a plastic spoon and instructed me to remove a mountain with it. Fortunately I heard about the Stanford research study on weight maintenance. Thank GOD I got accepted...I lost 90 pounds during the course of the study which started in May 1990 and lasted 18 months and have been on a downward trend (with some tiny ups) ever since...at this point I fit comfortably into a size 6 (last year I was on a pre-comp diet and got into a size 4 which is the lowest I've ever been - I think at this point a six is more 'natural' for me and I'm cool w/it).
One thing I have always tried to impart in my time at 3FC is this:
Losing fat permanently IS difficult but YES IT CAN BE DONE
Maintenance isn't as glamourous as the losing stage - it's tough in the beginning but it gets easier as time goes on (trust me!)
And speaking of that, it's time for me to do my Sunday AM cardio... :)
I'd like to join this party if I may. Briefly, in the year 2000 I lost over 45 lbs. using the Richard Simmons program of healthy eating and exercise. This was at the age of 74.
Now I am 77, I dropped an additional 10 lbs. earlier this year by controlling my carb intake a little more carefully. That is I am concentrating on the 'good carbs' such as whole wheat bread, lots of veggies, etc.
I was overweight simply because I got too busy doing other things and failed to pay attention to what I ate.
I am finding maintenance difficult since old habits die hard. But it is nice to be a smaller size, to be able to do more things, to be able to shop in the ladies department rather than the XXX size stuff. And above all things I do not want to regain any of the weight I have lost.
I have just recently joined Curves for Women, and am enjoying it.
I am glad a forum for maintenance has been started. And I hope that many will be able to participate in it.
Three Years, three months...
In October 2000 a friend and I decided to join weight watchers at work together. The leader set my goal at 131. I didn't think I'd EVER get that low. By September 2001 my dearest DH and I had modified our diet to more closely match Dr. Willett's recommendation (but we didn't know it at the time), and it is working for us. In December 2001 I weighed 145 pounds - down 31 pounds total. In December 2002 I weighed 134. I'm not the Fastest Loser.
I'm 58 years old with neuropathy...manifested by pain in my legs and a bit of a balance problem. The neurologist said that I have muscle atrophy and I should Exercise. Okay, Doc - Will Do! We were walking 30 or so minutes every day and in December 2003 decided we'd start training for a 5K race. With the information from Ian MacNeill's book we developed a plan. Today we ran our first 5K race.
Next on the agenda is to join the health club near our house. I miss the Elliptical Torture Machine (My Bestest Friend) and I'd like to work on upper body strength. And maybe swim lessons this year.
Dearest DH developed a web site for us... http://www.tig-goph.com/ Weight Loss shows our before and now pictures. Fitness and Exercise describes our running plan and has a picture following the 5K.
I'm not quite at Maintenance - as slow as I am at losing, I may be a Maintenance wannabe for a while. I'll just hang around and practice, if that's okay.
oh my goodness!!! you are FABULOUS!!!! by doing the 5 K race while suffering from neuropathy, you've officialoly moved into IDOL category for me!!!!
Jif, you really made my day! Thanks for the encouragement! :cloud9:
All my life.....
Wow, what great success stories!
I started my weightloss journey much the same. My mother had me on the early form of Atkins when I was 9! I can't remember a time in my life that I wasn't starting a diet. By the time I graduated high school in 1987 I weighed 200-210 and wore an 18-20. I quickly lost about 30 pounds after high school since I was trying to go in the Air Force. Of course I did it by almost near starvation and running 3 miles a day. I got down to 170 and found out I had to be at least 160 to go in the Air Force and still would have to wait 6 months to get the job I wanted. I gave up. I moved back home with mom and started eating once again.
Over the years I went to college and got more and more depressed so naturally, I ate more and more. I got married in October 1996 to a Marine who didn't really care that I weighed 285 pounds. I did okay for a while then he retired and we moved to Florida. I knew no one and was 3000 miles from family. I conitinued to yo-yo diet and gain weight. In August of 2000 I went to the doctor and the scale couldn't weigh me. I was well over 350! I said, "THAT'S IT!!!" I saw my doctor and asked for a referral for gastric bypass surgery.
In December 2000, I weighed in at 394. I had surgery in January 2001 and I know I was at least 400 having gone through the holidays and knowing I was never going to be able to eat a whole tub of ice cream again!! I ate like never before.
I had lost about 70 pounds by July 2001. On July 7, 2001, I lost my husband (who was only 42) to a massive, unexpected heart attack. We had been married almost 5 years.
Needless to say my weight loss stalled for a few months because I took up drinking. I finally snapped out of it after a couple of months and started losing again. By the time I moved to Missouri in July 2002, to be closer to one of my sisters, I was down to 200 and was wearing a 16-18.
In September of that year I started dating my new husband. We married in May of 2003. After about 5 months, I quit working. His schedule kept changing and I was tired of finding new jobs to accomodate.
Well, I am home alone and eating. I have gained over the past months about 20 pounds. I am not a happy camper I will say. I want to weigh around 170.
I have decided to join WW to get some structure back into my eating and to get some fellowship with other dieters. I am too isolated here at home and need to find ways to get out. I have also started selling Avon and my husband and I will also be starting a new home business based around cats. We have four!! I am also trying to keep myself motivated to exercise at least three to four days a week. I know I can reach my goal. It is not unreasonable.
One problem though, is I am also trying to get pregnant!! Hope that happens soon. I can still watch what I eat so I don't gain too much.
Thanks for listening,
Oh and Meg, thanks for inviting me!
Oh, and Meg, yes my name really is Candy :chockiss:
Hi Candy! :chockiss: :D
I'm so glad you've joined us here at Maintainers and congratulations on your awesome weight loss. :cp: You're doing the right thing by facing your little bit of weight gain now before it gets out of hand. It's a heck of a lot easier to deal with twenty pounds than 50 or 100! Post a lot and let us know what issues you need help with -- there's always someone here with a good answer or idea. And be sure to share all the things that you've learned as you lost almost 200 pounds -- wow!!!
haha, I'm another wanna be :D
Hello ladies! Such great inspirational stories, and those who have posted pics, wow!
I've been chubby since I was 8 or so; at least that's when I can remember being teased at school :( I was never inclined to be athletic, and when no one picks you for their team, it's worse! I grew up with a very bad self-image, though I was not extremely overweight. About size 14 in high school, but all my friends were the Skinny Minnies :lol: Got married very young (18!) and am still married to the same guy :p
I knew what healthy eating was, but I just loved to eat good food, and to cook/bake; and no exercise. Had tried lots of fad diets (anyone my age remember the Scarsdale diet?), but could only stick to it for a couple of weeks.
Gradually gained a few more pounds each year; had two boys; hard to get the pregnancy gains off! In Feb. of 2001 I was at 176, tired, no energy, sick of hating how I looked/felt; and looked on the Internet for help. Found this site, and hooked up with the "Doin' It The Old Fashioned Way" thread, as counting calories and exercising sounded like what I needed to do . Through the support and friendship there, by late summer of 2002 I gradually got down to 142 pounds (my lowest) and a size 6.
However, I have regained a few pounds, due to *ahem* eating like I used to!! I kept up the exercising, but the eating was way out of line. So, I would like to get back down to at least 142, but keep my mind open to gaining more muscle, and losing more bodyfat.
I do videotapes for my exercise, and definitely prefer to work with free weights than do cardio, but I realize cardio is also key to losing fat. When it's better weather outside, I do like to walk. Otherwise, my cardio is aerobic tapes.
For me, weight and eating and exercise are all control issues...when I am doing well, I know I am in control of that situation, and it feels good.
My BIG motivation was to get in shape enough to feel I could learn to ride a motorcycle...which I did! And the motivation to keep going was that I wanted to buy black leathers, and look good in them :lol:
The other motivations are that it just feel so good to NOT be so self-conscious anymore; to be able to pick out clothes happily; to not dread social functions. For the first time in my life, I don't dislike (almost hate) myself. And that feels good, because when I didn't like myself, it was hard for me to be happy with the world. I have much more confidence in myself that I ever thought I could have.
SO, I don't quite fit the "maintaining" mode yet, but would like to join you here when I do!
Hello my name is Julie and I am also from Vermont :). I have been overweight all my life. Even when i was little i felt the effects of being overweight. Always the last one picked, many adults are not nice to overweight children and I alway felt I had to try harder just to have anyone like me. 85 % of my family is overweight. I reached my heaviest weight in January 2003 of somewhere around 340 lbs. I could not even weigh in on any scales I could find in the stores. I had been losing weight for a month before I could weigh in and when I did I was 335 lbs so I know I was at least 340 lbs or higher.
I have never put myself first. I am always the one to give up what I want to make things easier for someone else. In January 2003 my mom who is diabetic found her glucose levels over 350 decided that she needed to get control over it before she ended up on insulin. She was 235 lbs at that time.
She went to her doctor and they talked about the difference between a good carb and a bad carb and how to make some changes in her diet. She needed someone to do it with her to help her stay on program so I did it too. We started walking at the mall and I could not even do one lap which is 1/3 of a mile without being in pain but I kept working at it. That was last January and we havent quit.
My moms glucose levels are normal and she weighs 145 lbs and I am off high blood pressure meds and at 176. The way we eat is a way that we can do forever and we just joined the gym in february to get into the toning exercise and weights. I hope I didnt bore anyone!
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