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Warning from an extremist

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Old 07-25-2010, 09:57 AM   #1
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Default Warning from an extremist

As I've mentioned to some of you, I've been up and down over the last two years. I lost 130 lbs in 16 months, then gained 70 pounds in the 7 months that followed. The reason I was able to lose so much at first is that I fought my extremist instincts and made small, sustainable changes. I still ate junk food and ate healthy food, but in reasonable amounts. I exercised, but recognized that my life is too busy for me to force myself to do so everyday.

When I got down to about 120 lbs lost, my extremist nature kicked in. I wanted to lose the rest quickly because I was frustrated with still being "overweight" after such a long loss. I cut my calories to 1200-1300 or so a day, and got a bodybugg- wearing it anytime I was out of a chair.

After about two months of this, I couldn't take it anymore, and started eating everything I could- things I hadn't tasted in what seemed like forever. This is a common response to over-restriction- they've done experiments where they cut the calories of normal people (without eating disorders) and they all began to binge eat afterward.

I wanted to share this because it's easy to take to extremist actions when you're trying to lose weight- it's the reason why most of us don't last a month on these crazy fad diets. And it's easy to slip into the extremist mindset even if you don't start out with it. I think the most important thing is asking yourself "Could I do this everyday for the rest of my life?" if the answer is no, then your diet isn't going to work long-term.

So I'm back, and I'm counting calories again- this time heeding my own warning.
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:05 AM   #2
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THANK YOU for posting this, it makes us all aware that food is our fuel, if we take away our fuel then we slow down
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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I cut my calories to 1200-1300 or so a day, and got a bodybugg- wearing it anytime I was out of a chair.
I don't want this to sound rude and in no way am I attacking you, but can you elaborate a little on the extremist part of this. I think this plan describes just about half (I don't know for sure) of the 3FC calorie counting population and if that amount of cals is working for them, assuming it's good wholesome food, I don't want them to feel like they're being extremist and doing something wrong.

I personally could not survive on that amount of food and have my own thoughts about it and this is probably the first time I've EVER defending eating less than 1400 cals, but many many people do and if that works for them then there is nothing wrong with that. I know you didn't mean to imply that anyone eating 12-1300 wearing and a body bugg is an extremist, but I just thought maybe you could elaborate a little bit, because I too feel that the best course of action is to make lifestyle changes so that weight loss can be permanent.

All that said, congrats on you're hard work and you will do it again!
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
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I've worn my bodybugg (actually a Go Wear Fit, but still the same) 24/7 since October 2009 and I don't consider it extreme at all. It - combined with calorie counting - is my reality check each day.

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Old 07-25-2010, 10:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for postings this.
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:48 AM   #6
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Boy do I know about extremist mode. That's been my problem all along. In my last attempt I managed to lose 30 pounds in extremist mode and woke up one day and just couldn't take it any more. Extremists tend to also to have an all-or-nothing mentality, so when the diet's over, the waist expands rapidly.

I combatted that problem this time by committing to one year of being on plan and I'm not allowed to stop completely and go back to old habits.

I still fight extremist behaviors but I've learned that I can fall back on the very basics of eating less and moving more. I must always eat less than I want and move more.
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncuneo View Post
I don't want this to sound rude and in no way am I attacking you, but can you elaborate a little on the extremist part of this. I think this plan describes just about half (I don't know for sure) of the 3FC calorie counting population and if that amount of cals is working for them, assuming it's good wholesome food, I don't want them to feel like they're being extremist and doing something wrong.
I definitely don't want to offend anyone. I didn't view my actions as extremist at the time, until the flip side came. I spoke to a nutritionist and a psychologist about this flip, and they both agree that this was over-restriction and borderline eating disorder to eat so few calories and try to determine calories burned so precisely. From what I've seen at 3FC (and I've been here a while), there are very few people here who eat that little and count every calorie burned, and those that do are often advised by the everyone else to try to take it easy a bit.
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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I should probably note that the best way to look at how much is too much is to look at how many calories are required to maintain a certain weight. Where I was (160lbs), my body required 2400 calories per day to maintain that weight (http://calorieneedscalculator.com/index.html). A healthy diet is one that creates a 500-1000 calorie deficit per day (1-2lbs lost/week). I was creating a 1200-1400 cal deficit.
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:25 AM   #9
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i do agree with backing off a little on the bodybugg and increasing the calories. I really think the more weight you need to lose, the more calories you should be consuming. meaning in the higher range of the deficit. Kelly i think you are right about someone at 200 lbs trying to eat 1300 cs. that is too low.

Being an extremist at heart--i completely understand how this works. I became a complete vegan and lost 60 lbs. And kept it off for 2 years, until i decided i would incorporate some foods back into my diet. My all or none nature kicked in---and I went beserk. gained the weight back.

HOWEVER, i think that people who do a fast for a week, by either juicing, or doing the master cleanse should not be labeled as extremists. I also fast for spiritual purposes and I always find that afterwards I have clarity of thought, less aches and pains, increased motivation, and just a sense of well being. my tastes are also usually refined to the point, i CRAVE healthy food.

if someone does it everyday sustained, then that is extremist to me.
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:39 AM   #10
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Kelly315-Thank You for your post!!! I do the same things. I keep a very anal food journal, live in my heart rate monitor whenever possilbe while working out 6 days a week for 40-60min/day. Over the last few months I couldn't figure out why I'm gaining and losing the same 7lbs. No wonder, the extreme restrictions cause me to lose it and the binger after causes the gain.

According the link you posted the calories burned per day for me is 2444! I've been trying to keep to 1200-1300per day! Sheesh! I've probably killed my metabolism doing that! So for healthy weight loss, 1444-1944/day should do it. THANK YOU again! I'll still keep the anal food journal, but I'll shift my cals per day up to that 1450 per day at first and my workouts to 5 days a week. Hopefully this new calorie range will help me get to my goal, which is close. I'm now 177.6 at 5' 9.5" tall looking for my goal to be 165-160. I hope to be there by the end of the year. I don't want to start the new year with another resolution to lose weight. I want to start it with getting fitter and stronger, just enjoy life. Maybe meet new people.

This moment of clarity is a breath of fresh air!
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:45 AM   #11
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I think everyone needs to look at their individual weight and size. I consume about 1350 cal a day which supports me but would not support the average person, I am only 5 ft tall. So while 1300 would be extreme for some it's not for me.

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•To lose weight, you need to eat 500-1,000 calories less than what you burn each day
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Old 07-25-2010, 11:59 AM   #12
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I think we all need to determine our own "extremes."

For me, 1200-1300 calories is not extreme. I still have my snacks, but I eat healthy wholesome food. I'm not starving and I could live like this forever.

For some, with their level of activity 1200-1300 IS extreme. If my husband tried to eat that amount as a marine with PT every morning and the metabolism of a horse, he would definitely not be healthy.

I think it's important to know your [general] own extremes so you can watch yourself and make changes so you don't end up hurting yourself in the long run. Listen to your body, most of the time it'll tell you if you're pushing it too far.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:49 PM   #13
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I tried eating 1200-1300 calories a day for about a month and I felt very weak and tired, on top of that I didn't lose any weight. I bumped my calories up to 1600-1700 a day, and started to lose weight plus I had more energy. I guess it really depends on the person.
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:15 PM   #14
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It's very true that what is extreme for one person, is moderation or excess for another. I also think that if we're paying attention to our bodies and our thoughts, we also can recognize when we're pushing ourselves too far.

I think one of the best ways to judge is to look at what we're giving up. Everyone has a finite amount of time and energy. The more energy and time we put into one activity, the less time and energy we have for other things in our lives.

It's a very individual determination also, but if you feel like you have "no life" aside from weight loss, that's a pretty good sign that you're giving up TOO much.

Recently, I began to be impatient with my weight loss (which has been slow, and legitimately I can and do want to put more effort into my diet and exercise), but instead of decreasing my food and increasing my exercise gradually, I started pushing myself HARD, and instead of losing, started yoyoing again.

It's hard to do this "moderately" because it's not the way we're taught to do weight loss. There's intense social pressure to do it fast. Almost no one talks about slow weight loss except to complain abou tit, and when you do speak of it positively (because I've tried, in fact I was making it a bit of a crusade) more often as not you get skeptical responses and suggestions for speeding your weight loss.

It's almost as if, you're treated as a lazy, unmotivated failure if you don't act like a Biggest Loser contestant.

I've been at weight loss for almost 40 of my 44 years (was put on my first diet in kindergarten), and I remember this pressure very well. There have, it appears to me, been periods in time during which extreme are especially popular. To me, it seems like we were making a lot of progress as a culture in terms of accepting a wider range of effort and ways to lose weight, until TBL came upon the scene.

I was hoping that The Biggest Loser show would at least make it more acceptable to see obese folks exercising in public - and I think that has happened, but there's also now an expectation of "if they can do it, so can you." And by it, it's not weight loss that is meant - it's rapid, crazy, as-fast-as-you-can weight loss (I think weight loss surgery gaining popularity has increased the expectation for rapid wieght loss, as well).

I had been happy with my gradual changes, and I fell back into to the trap I had so carefully been avoiding - the lose fast, at all costs mentality.

It's been a short experiment, and that's good - but it terrified me to find myself binging again. I had been binge free for a very long time - more years than I've been losing weight "this time." So maybe ten years? Starvation dieting brought the binges back with a vengeance (and if I'd stopped to think about it I would have known it, because it happens to even lab rats. Restrict their food enough, and they won't stop eating afterward - sometimes for the rest of their lives).

Yes, what IS extreme, depends on the person - but I think it's very tempting to think, "but I can handle it," or "I'll only do it for a short time, just until X" With the X being a number of pounds, time frame, or a special event.

No matter how many times I fail at it, I still can think "I can handle it," and every time I prove that I can't.
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:19 PM   #15
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Not to be mean, but I question several of the assumptions you have made.

First off, I am just below 160 lbs (156 to be exact), and I can assure you that it does not take 2,400 calories for me to maintain my weight. I, too, have a Bodybugg that I wear every day and it takes a heckuva lot of exercise for me to burn 2,400 calories. The amount of calories that are needed for me to maintain my weight is more like 1,600 calories, because this is the amount of calories I burn on days when I am sedentary. And it is not just me - if you google BMR calculator you will see how many calories it takes to maintain a weight of 160 lbs, and it is more like 1,400.

Next, I try to limit my calories to 1,200-1,300. And, I wear a Bodybugg, as I stated, that counts every calorie I burn. I don't think that I am an extremist at all, just conscientious and serious about losing the weight. I typically run a calorie deficit of 1,000 calories, and this is just right for me to hit my goal of losing 2 lbs per week. Now, how I am supposed to know how much of a calorie deficit I am in without tracking every calorie that is incoming and outgoing?

IMHO these are good practices and not extremism, and trust me, I do not have an eating disorder, borderline or otherwise.
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