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Why Do We Do It?

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:03 AM   #1
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Default Why Do We Do It?

I have been reading through the posts and I see sooo many that state "I lost XX lbs and now I've gained it all back". That is such a common dilemma with dieters. If we could figure out why, maybe we could stop it. I know for me, I got married and my husband said "You're thin, you can eat anything." To myself I was thinking, "If you only knew!" But I let him convince me and here I am, starting all over again. I think the diets have to become a life style change and not a diet. Once you look at it like that, you will never go back to your old ways.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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It's complacency for many. For others, it's not dealing with the real issue (who has the quote- "If hunger isn't the problem then eating is not the solution".

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:37 AM   #3
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In my case it was a spiral into depression. I just stopped caring about much of anything, including my weight. Not caring = gaining. I have asked my family that if they ever see me start to gain weight again, to pester me into making sure I am seeing a therapist (and not to pester me about my weight themselves).

86 pounds down, now for the next bit - fourth short term goal (back to 100 down):
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:42 AM   #4
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I know this may be controversial, but I also think it has a lot to with the personality and natural deposition of the person. How people deal with the stress in their lives, how they perceive things, their outlook, and natural motivations are all a factor. Genetics, diseases, and natural body make-up also play an important role.

Most diets don't fail, people do.

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Old 06-05-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
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Personally it's taken me the brunt of 20 years to figure out that i needed to learn how to eat, this is the last time, instead of dieting which is transitory i have gone to the extraordinary effort of educatiing myself about the science of food and our relation to it as much as is possible, used that as a basis to change my lifestyle, you see a lifestyle does not ever end wheras a diet is finite, when you quit whatever fad you are currently following and return to your failing lifestyle you will regain weight, i did over and over, i know in my soul i can live the rest of my life the way i am today, i have come up with a plan that does not punish or restrict any foods.

Round two !

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Old 06-05-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
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The general theme I've seen is the following:
1. People go on a "diet" then return to their old eating habits
2. They never get into the emotional reasons for their weight gain

I fall into the second category, but fortunately it only took 10 lbs of regain for me to realize it. Mine's a little more complicated though because I've personally had a hard time finding a maintenance plan that fits my lifestyle and my fitness level. By that I mean I like to eat little during the week and be more indulgent on the weekends, but because I work out A LOT, it can be difficult to eat little durning the week without getting ravenous feeling week and deprived. That is one of the things that has lead to my recent battle with binging, the rest of it is emotional.

The fact is that 90% of people who lose weight gain it back within 5 years, and I think a lot it has to do with the fact that they're not prepared that this is a lifelong journey. IT DOES NOT stop when the scale says GOAL! So if you're not prepared that you're likely going to have to be conscious of your food choices forever and to be kind to yourself when you screw up and not let it sprial you back to your "old ways" you may have to do this more than once to figure it out.

Just my two cents.
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PR 1/2 Marathon - Time 1:59:50 (November 11, 2012)
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Today 140s & training for my Health
"There is nothing you can't have tomorrow so there is no reason to eat it all today."
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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My issue is simply this --- "I lost weight, I can eat this one thing. It won't hurt". I would say this to myself once a week and then twice a week and then all of a sudden (it seems that fast!) I am back to wearing my fat clothes. I hope to God this doesn't happen again as I threw away all my fat clothes!

I wish I knew why I develop a false sense of security when it comes to food.

1/4/15: Restarting my journey exactly 4 years from when I first started in January 2011. Reached my goal weight in 2012 and regained half of it back.

I never should have left 3FC!
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:21 PM   #8
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I threw away all my old "fat clothes" and three years later had to buy more. It can happen to anyone.

I was completely and totally sure I would not regain the weight I had lost. People who did regain must be doing "something wrong." They must not have "gotten it." I was really smug about it, until I started to regain, almost two years after I had reached my goal weight. And then it seemed like I could not stop it.

People can say, Oh, you just didn't try hard enough--but I think those people need to go through the draining and difficult experience of losing a chunk of weight and keeping it off for a few years, and then, in a state of diet exhaustion, see what happens when THEY try it.

I'm now losing what I regained again, and of course I have high hopes again this time. But I also have a certain amount of humility, and I no longer judge others. There is no one-size-works-for-all answer to weight regain. I didn't go back to my "old ways," I didn't add back fast food, I didn't start eating sugar all the time. I just ate a bit more than I should, every day. Often it was healthy, high quality food, too.

The poster who said you have to watch forever... Yes, I now believe this is true. Anyone who has been overweight or obese got there because they weren't watching! This part is simple! And when a formerly obese person is "done" with losing, they still have to maintain and know what they are doing with food.

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Old 06-05-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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Jay, your story always scares me...I think, at least I hope this 10 lbs has given me the humility you speak of because I have found myself being smug at moments.

What inspires me so much about you is that it seems your story is unique in the sense that you are doing everything you are supposed to do yet your body seems to disagree and yet you push forward even though you could easily give in. I have such admiration for you and your strength.
My Journey
268 lbs - Journey Begins (January 11, 2006)
197 lbs - 71 lbs lost (October 15, 2007)
247 lbs - 50 lbs gained pregnancy (August 22, 2008)
195 lbs - baby weight gone (July 7, 2009)
168 lbs - 100 lbs lost (March 26, 2010)
148 lbs - GOAL! 120 lbs lost (July 18, 2010)
138 lbs - 10 lbs under goal (December 29, 2010)
PR 1/2 Marathon - Time 1:59:50 (November 11, 2012)
PR Marathon - Time 4:40:53 (March 18, 2012)
Today 140s & training for my Health
"There is nothing you can't have tomorrow so there is no reason to eat it all today."
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:48 PM   #10
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There's a really good book called Nudge that discusses this. It's billed as a book on economics, but it's really about human behavior.

Humans make short-term decisions because we have difficulty truly grasping the long-term impact/decisions. Its very hard for us to make the decision we want to make (to eat right and not too much) because we have trouble truly connecting it with the long-term consequences. This is true for trying to quit smoking, wearing seatbelts, saving for retirement, etc etc.

There are other issues involved of course, but I'd definitely recommend this book for exploring more about human decision making and how we can more easily make the decisions we WANT to make but have trouble doing in the short-term.
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:27 PM   #11
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I got down to 237 from over 300 lbs, and have regained a chunk. I never thought I would gain any of it back either. I thought with all the diets I'd been on, and all that I learned about nutrition, and all the belly button searching, and all the good exercise habits I'd developed -- there would be no way. Then I changed jobs, had much less time to exercise, was more stressed and around tempting foods and people who liked to eat (without weight problems). And yes, I suffered from a little diet burn out too. That, with a dash of denial, and pretty soon I was up 20 lbs. In a year.

All is not lost, I still go to the gym, and I haven't chucked all my good eating habits out of the window at all. But I do find it a major drag to have to see these higher numbers again, to have my clothes that were once lose be tight, and to have to re-lose it this poundage just to get back down to where I was.

I don't think it should be something to live in fear of, it does seem to me that I need to ratchet up my level of self awareness, and be more determined with my goals.
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:33 PM   #12
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I think you just have to watch out for the comfort eating, everyone does it and so did i.

Also i used to snack when watching tv because i was bored and eating was something to do. You just have to watch out for the patterns and ask yourself and work out why you are doing it!
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #13
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Fascinating thread!

I have lost and gained the same 50-70 lbs. since I was about 16 years old and now I'm 40. I've read books, I've sought counseling, I've prayed and I've cried. I am an addict. I have a binge eating problem. I'm also a perfectionist with my eating so one little slip can send my spiraling out of control for months at a time where I gain weight and don't see an end in sight. This is often triggered by major stress or by low grade stress.

There are times when I'm in total control and I also become overly confident and wonder why I ever struggled at all...my head is on straight, so to speak. There are other times when I feel like I'm climbing the walls in an effort to avoid eating or worse, binge eating.

Of course I think and hope this is my final time to lose the weight and that I'll finally be able to maintain it, but really, I just take it one day at a time because I don't know if I'll ever get a handle on this issue.

First goal: under 180:
Second goal: 175 or below:
Third goal: 168 (no longer overweight):
Fourth goal: 160 or below:
Final goal: 145-155 (not sure if this will ever happen):
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:56 PM   #14
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I believe it's complacency. And, often times, people don't deal with whatever it is that causes them to overeat/eat away emotions.

Then when that person hits goal or any comfy weight, they fall into old habits very easily because they aren't focused on actively losing weight.

This is what happened to me, anyway. I have to be extremely careful because I am inclined to eat all of my emotions (good and bad emotions!).

In maintenance, I have yet to deal with my emotional eating. I just fight it constantly; however, I haven't figured out why I do it or how to effectively combat it.

I say "in maintenance" because I didn't struggle with this while I was losing. My obsessive tendency helped me in weight loss. I'm an obsessive perfectionist and I wasn't going to stop until I reached 160 lbs. I reached it and now I'm having a hard time finding that commitment again.

Fortunately, I only gained 12 pounds (lost and gained and lost and gained over and over again). One of these days I'll figure it out.

Ultimate Goal = 160

Last edited by Cali Doll : 06-05-2011 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:58 PM   #15
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Short-term goals often do have greater pull than long-term ones. If that weren't true, PayDay loan, rent-to-own places and even credit card companies could never stay in business.

People aren't stupid, we know we're losing something in the transaction, but often we minimize how much we're losing by not looking at the big picture.

Understanding the difficulty of permanent weight loss shouldn't be hard to understand unless you've never carried a credit card balance and have always paid cash for everything including your house and car.

We understand and empathise when someone says "it's nearly impossible to live debt free," and yet we're surprised that people find it difficult to live nutritionally debt-free.

It's the same behavior. It's easy to borrow from our future, without realizing how much we're borrowing. We think we're going to eventually pay it all back and start saving, but then a crisis happens and we borrow a little more, and a little more, and promise ourselves we'll catch up when the crisis is over (and along comes another crisis).

We may even be hard-wired to prefer the short-term reward. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," is a survival mechanism. Eat what you can (spend what you can) for who knows what tomorrow may bring.

And in a dog-eat-dog world, it's a legitimate survival strategy. In the natural world, evolution has not had to deal with survival strategies for an environment of overabundance. Because in the natural world, unhealthy obesity is virtually never a problem. Generally overpopulation occurs long before wide-spread obesity. And obesity that interfers with function, tends to remove you from the gene pool, because slowing down just a little bit, means you end up something else's dinner.

We have to learn to outsmart our biology, and our culture. Because while our culture pays a lot of lip-service to condemning obesity - it's actually obese people that are condemned (as lazy, crazy, or stupid). And yet our culture of dieting, makes little sense. For over 100 years, dieting has been seen (and still is) as something a person does temporarily. Over and over and over again we hear people talking about the things they'll get to eat when they reach their goal weight. We expect diets to be over one day. "Are you still dieting?" people ask.

Even the way we diet illustrates that we don't truly (no matter how many times we say it) believe in lifestyle changes. If changing lifestyle permanently was the true goal, then people would never select 1000 calories or 1200 calories or even 1500 calories as their target. They'd choose from the start to learn who to follow a diet (and calorie level) they really could follow forever.

1200 calories isn't a permanent lifestyle for most people. The calorie level is too low to sustain a reasonably active person at a healthy weight. Which means that when they reach goal, they're going to have to change their lifestyle again. They're going to have to increase their calorie level, which creates a dilemma. Increase calories enough to stop losing, but not so many as to start gaining. And we're taught to see any weight gain as so frustrating as to be unavoidably demotivating, that we're setting ourselves up to be demotivated. We're setting ourselves up to fail in a thousand ways.

I think the most significant way we set ourselves up for failure, is our belief that it "should be" easier. We think that weight loss should be easy, and it derails us when we find it difficult.

Remaking a world isn't easy, and that's essentially what you have to do to keep the weight off - you have to create an artificial reality (one that would never exist in a naturally-evolved world). We have to buck the world-order that tells us that eating as much as possible, whenever possible, and conserving as much energy as possible are survival strategies. We have to live ***-backwards in a world were conserving energy has no survival advantage.

Biology is hard to fight, because it's not tangible to us. We're not consciously thinking "ooh, I'd better eat that before someone else gets it," or "I might starve to death this winter if I don't put on some extra fat..." We don't know that we're fighting "instinct" because we don't recognize instinct when we feel it. Instead we think "I don't know why I ate that last donut, I didn't need it, and I didn't even want it all that much, I must be crazy."

Some people get annoyed when you "blame biology," but for me it's made the situation a lot easier, because it makes sense. I know that I have to fight biology as well as psychology, so I'm not just lazy, crazy, or stupid anymore. I realize that I HAVE to fight a lot harder than will ever be comfortable or natural, because I don't live in a natural world.

I have two choices, I could be dropped off in the wilderness and live a natural life (and probably die within two weeks, because I'm too fat and too slow to win at natural survival) - or I can live in an unnatural world and try to mimic the natural one (where food is scarce and aerobic exercise is required for survival).

It's a lot harder to mimic a natural world than you'd think, especially when you know that you can step out of that world at any momemnt.
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Last edited by kaplods : 06-05-2011 at 04:58 PM.
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