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Old 09-11-2011, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default how do i break the cycle?

I originally joined this site in college. I was 282 pounds and I lost 16 pounds by counting calories before sabotaging myself. Fast forward a couple of years and I was 300 pounds and joining weight watchers. I lost 50 pounds. I am currently back to 300 pounds and don't know how to get myself back on track. I know I can count calories or go with the points system, but every time I show success I fall right back off the wagon. I am almost afraid to succeed because it hurts that much more when I turn right back around and put all the weight back on. Should I be talking to a therapist? What can I do to make it work?
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:00 AM   #2
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to break the cycle you just have to push past that fear of failing, and realize that everyone slips up. Congrats on your past success, it seems like when you dedicate yourself to weight loss you do really well. But why is it that you fall off the wagon? Do you deprive yourself completely of your favorite foods? Do you try and exercise for an hour every day, and then when you get tired and give up completely? I think you should evaluate what about it makes you want to give up completely.
Personally, if i take away all my favorite foods, ill never stick with it. Over time ive developed a love for fruits and veggies, but man if im having a bad day and i dont allow myself something sweet and sugary, ill go crazy and eat everything in sight!
Think about what has caused you to give up in the past, and work on making a plan that is manageable for you and your lifestyle.
Maybe its something emotional that is making you fall off the wagon? Sometimes its a lot harder for our emotions to make it through all the physical changes than it is for our bodies.
Imo talking to a therapist is never a bad thing...but im also going to college to become a therapist, and i think everyone can benefit from a little counseling here and there.

My one piece of advice, and the thing that gets me through the days is to start each second new. Every second of your life you make the decision whether to be healthy and work toward your goal, or to give up. So if at 8:32, i cave to my temptations and eat 13 cookies, thats okay because at 8:35 im done with the cookies, and i realize that i made a mistake. Instead of beating myself up about it i decide to make better choices. I dont start again "tomorrow" or "next week". At 8:36 i get back on plan, and back to being healthy and on my road to weight loss. There's not enough time in the day to bother beating myself up about little mistakes. Instead i just decide to do better the next minute.
And of course, i come to 3FC to vent and complain when im slipping up, or not making progress.

Hope this helped a little bit. Good luck
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:18 AM   #3
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After a 20 year history of dieting, losing, regaining, I realized I was pretty good at losing, but couldn't keep the weight off. I decided to tackle that - I made maintenance the priority before I even lost a single pound.

I knew that I dieted, lost weight, stopped, gained weight.

Therefore, I needed to STOP stopping. I needed to start and keep going forever. Since it was forever, it had to be doable forever. Nothing horrible, nothing where I felt hungry and miserable and deprived. For me, diets had always been purposely terrible short term affairs, where I couldn't wait for it to be over. Not this time.

I'm going to confess something right now, something I did by accident which ended up being the absolute key to my success. My plan was to eat "super foods" - concentrate on eating the most healthy foods.

What I actually did, by accident, was cut out nearly all sugar and almost all empty carbs. I didn't plan to do it, but while I was busy eating super foods, there wasn't any room for the carby diet frankenfoods that used to make up most of my diet meals.

My whole life, I thought I was genetically destined to be fat. I thought I had a problem with food (binging, compulsive eating). What I determined, only after the fact, reflecting what had worked so well, is that I actually have a problem with SOME foods - sugary, empty white carbs (chips, crackers, pretzels, bread, cookies, packaged baked goods). When I cut those out, I lost my food cravings. That restless, hungry, munchy that had plagued me all my life.

I could stick to my healthy plan and NOT want to eat. I lost weight, which became motivating. I mostly stuck to my plan and quickly forgave/moved on when I ate off plan. I felt...amazing. Energy, pride, I can barely describe it.

Weight loss was a long process, I tweaked and refined and improved and changed a bit over the years. I learned GREAT habits. I learned great new recipes, I came here, I learned the importance of support. My maintenance looks a lot like my weight loss but because I planned a forever journey, it's still doable.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:26 AM   #4
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Your post reminded me of a quote I have on the inside cover of my journal.

When the pain of where you are at is worse than the fear of where you are going, welcome change.

For me nothing took until I got my head straight. I had to get honest with myself and set real expectations.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:23 AM   #5
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Those two times that you were seeing success in your methods... what happened around "quitting time"? Do you remember why you stopped doing what was working?

Was it a bad week and you didn't feel like getting back on plan? Or did you think you didn't need to follow the plan as strictly? Were you not getting enough support? Or was one of your methods far too out of your normal and you got burnt out? Were you thinking of the whole plan as a "diet" instead of embracing each small change as a habit you were building forever?

Why I'm asking this, is because if there was something missing in those old plans...or if there was some thing or things that you see clearly caused you to go off plan and stay off plan... you can address those things now. Here. In the beginning.

For example, if you got burnt out, then you'll need to pace yourself. Or if you weren't receiving as much support as you need, then you might have to reach out immediately in the beginning to ask people around you or people online to help. Or, if you got cocky, and thought you could do it without paying attention, then you need to meditate on the thought that if you want weight loss to stick forever, then these changes are forever. That thought also might keep you from doing too many things as once and burning yourself out.

When I lost over 100 pounds, and put nearly all of it back on. The thought of re-starting was overwhelming and soul-crushing. I knew that at one point I had built up all these amazingly healthy habits, but I couldn't start back there... I had to start with where I was.

I decided on two changes that I knew I could handle. Two habits that I could build no matter what else is going on around me. 1) Daily walk. 2) Track my food. Even if that meant I only took a 10 minute walk a day. Even if that meant I ate WELL over my Points. I'd still walk. I'd still write down my food.

Those are the two habits that are the foundation I built from. The walk was fitness related. The food to be weight loss related. Together they work wonders for me.

Still, a part of me is terrified of giving up for whatever reason and gaining back, again. It's not the biggest thought, but it might always be there in the background. That small, pulsing fear reminding me how easy it is to gain it back. How slippery that slope is.

You're here now. You're thinking about it. You'll find a solution.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:04 AM   #6
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A therapist might be a good idea. Make sure it's someone who is savvy about food issues--they are easier to find these days.

I have had good success this time using the Medifast program. You don't have to count anything except ounces of meat and cups of vegetables. You do have to purchase their meals, but the cost of the meals is offset by what you're not spending on other foods. And then you just follow directions.

Again, you just follow directions. Someone who can't do that probably will have trouble with any program. Medifast does have a transition and a maintenance program as well.

The main thing, in my opinion, is that those who have become overweight/obese need to change their relationship with food forever. Winging it just doesn't give good results. Using food as a reward, a drug, a comfort--it doesn't give good results. And that's why therapy can often help.

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Old 09-11-2011, 08:43 AM   #7
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Trust me, you're not the only one! I've done that so many times as well. The thing I've said to myself this time is to not look on the past attempts as failures, but practices which I can learn from. The main thing I've learnt is that I have a real tendency to be all or nothing about weight loss - so as soon as I have a slight slip up I tend to think it's all ruined and tell myself I'm a failure, what's the point, if I'm going to be fat I may as well be REALLY fat and eat a bag of ten doughuts etc etc.

So what I've done this time is come up with a plan to try and stop myself thinking that way. Firstly I've split my thinking into three targets - 1/ To eat low calorie, 2/ To eat healthy foods and 3/ To exercise. The idea is that if I let slip any one of those, or even two, then I still haven't blown everything. If I have a day when I'm really hungry, then I can say to myself, "OK, don't worry about calories today, but stick to healthy foods and still do your exercise," and that way it's so much easier to get back on track the next day.

The other thing I've done is to try and make it about what I do, not about what I don't do (if you see what I mean). You know the way if there's a big button in the corner of the room with a sign on saying, "Do not press", all you can think about is pressing it! So rather than sticking a mental "Do not eat" sign on loads of "bad foods" and calories limits, I make my focus about eating MORE of the healthy foods - so I try to eat loads of fruit and veg and fibre and things. This way I'm not telling myself I can't have certain things, it's just some things are better at helping me reach my targets. The beauty of this approach for me is that I don't wipe out if I choose something less healthy - eating a cake doesn't mean I have blown my healthy eating for the day - I can still stay on track with everything else so I don't need to spiral out of control.

Hope this has given you some ideas that might help. Like you I've still got a long way to go, but this is what's working for me so far.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Glory87 View Post
After a 20 year history of dieting, losing, regaining, I realized I was pretty good at losing, but couldn't keep the weight off. I decided to tackle that - I made maintenance the priority before I even lost a single pound.

I knew that I dieted, lost weight, stopped, gained weight.

Therefore, I needed to STOP stopping. I needed to start and keep going forever. Since it was forever, it had to be doable forever. Nothing horrible, nothing where I felt hungry and miserable and deprived. For me, diets had always been purposely terrible short term affairs, where I couldn't wait for it to be over. Not this time.

Weight loss was a long process, I tweaked and refined and improved and changed a bit over the years. I learned GREAT habits. I learned great new recipes, I came here, I learned the importance of support. My maintenance looks a lot like my weight loss but because I planned a forever journey, it's still doable.
^^THIS^^ = very good advice!!!!!!

I see a lot of threads like this. "what can I do?" "how do I stop?" "how can I get motivated?" - really, there are no "one size fits all" answers. All of us here can tell you what WE did, how WE stop, how WE get motivated. And some of our stories may indeed help you find your own way, but that's the click - you must find "your own way."

I've also battled the yo-yo dieting war. It has taken me yearssssss of losing/gaining/losing/gaining & countless diets/exercise programs to finally figure out what in the sam-hill makes me TICK! I don't have any major "trauma" in my life that "made me eat" (not saying I never had problems or drama!) and it took me quite a long time (about 20 years) to admit TO MYSELF that I had an eating disorder when I was a teenager (I'm 48 now.) And it took quite a bit of "stomach searching" (that's like soul searching, only with food ) for me to get to the bottom of "why am I fat????"

I'll tell you why *I* am so fat. I LOVE FOOD. Oh sweet merciful Zeus! - I love food SOOOOO much!!!! ...the good, the bad & the ugly... and when my taste buds get something good, whether it's healthy steamed veggies & lean beef or a bag of BBQ Fritos & some of those Keebler fudge stripe cookies, well, I just EAT. Even when I knew I was "full", if there was something "good" to eat, then I kept on eating. Every now & then I'd have a good hard look at my fatness & decide I didn't want to be fat, so I'd diet. I'd lose weight. I'd be all giddy & excited to be smaller & wear cuter clothes & feel better. Then ... WTF? I'd start EATING again. And eating & eating & eating.

Some people will insist there's some "mental cause"or some "deep dark reason" for that. Well, not for me. I wasn't eating to stifle my emotions (altho I do sometimes eat out of boredom... working on that!!) I eat because FOOD TASTE GOOD. And I just BINGE and GORGE.

Then I noticed something else along my journey. I also binge & gorge with other things in my life. I used to "binge & gorge" on sex. I was a bit of a nympho in my younger pre-married years. (not bragging; not whining... simply explaining). I have binged & gorged on shopping... uh-huh! Shoes, jewelry, clothes, whatever. I never binged/gorged on drugs (never done drugs) or alcohol... or other destructive behaviors like gambling, for instance.

I used to think something was wrong with me! - Yeah, I tried "therapy". I never got to the "root" of any "issues" because after yearssssss of this I finally figured out that I didn't HAVE issues. (It did, however, help me define some techniques I used in order to "get real" with myself.) I am a normal human being. A normal woman. So WHY all the eating?? (and shopping, & sex)???? WHY?

It took some simple getting honest with myself. Admitting to myself that I LOVE FOOD. I LOVE SEX. I LOVE SHOPPING (or rather, I love "new things" ). And I could control myself. I just had to DECIDE that's what I wanted to do. Understand that I AM NOT making light of this situation. Like I said, it took me YEARSSSSS to get to the bottom of this very deep barrel. And I finally have found "what makes me tick" and what I can do to put an end to the crazy.

Therefore, my diet consists of calorie counting. So I can still enjoy any food I want (including those BBQ Fritos & Keebler fudge stripes!!!) while keeping my calorie count adjusted to my needs, and hey, I'm losing weight. It's coming off much slower this go-round. But I finally understand that all those "quick fixes" didn't work in the long run. Regaining all I'd lost so many times did me no good whatsoever. After losing weight & then "going back to old eating habits of binge/gorging" I would regain & then get pissy with myself over my "failure". What good does that ever do a person? To get angry with yourself? You can spend your whole life p***ed off at yourself. But guess what? YOU CAN'T GET AWAY FROM YOU. You have to learn to live with yourself. Do what makes YOU happy - not just for a moment (fudge stripe cookies!!!!) but for the long run (slim, healthy body.)

And there you have it. Simple! But remember... simple does NOT equal easy.

So now. Discover what YOU CAN DO to help MAKE YOU HAPPY. Continue coming here, because 3FC has a lot of people who are making & have made this journey. Support is crucial. Good luck, and don't stop trying until you find what works for you!!!
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:05 PM   #9
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fwiw, I am another person where it turns out the KINDS of foods I was eating played a much bigger role than I had anticipated - not just weight loss itself but in being able to stay on plan. I was moderately successful with calorie counting and portion control and the last time I tried doing that, I tried to eat pretty cleanly, but I was still eating a fair amount of grains and leaving room for treats as long as they were in my daily calories.

And then after a few months I'd be burned out on the process and start to find excuse after excuse why going off plan that day wasn't a big deal. But that day turned into that week turned into months and a regain of everything I had lost.

I started a new plan, kind of on a lark because I had several friends who were doing it. It's a very low carb plan where you eat 2 tbs of oat bran a day but no other grains, starches or sugar. It's also low fat. Pretty much all you eat is lean protein, low/no fat dairy and veggies. Sounds kind of awful, right?? lol! Except that it's been so easy to stick with that I have been on plan every day since I started in May.

Now one difference is that this plan does call for you to eventually reincorporate back in foods that are currently prohibited such as grains and starches. And I'm not sure how that will go, because I think that getting them completely out of my diet has been the key factor in making me not have cravings and feel completely satisfied sticking with what I am doing. But I also recognize that this is a lengthy process for me and I'm willing to have faith in my plan that my entire relationship with food - emotionally, mentally and physiologically - is being changed by this journey. So when I get to my goal, I can experiment with what foods work for me to add back into my diet and which foods I have to permanently say good bye to.

So my suggestion is to look beyond just the mechanics of WW or calorie counting and see if there are other things you can adjust that may create the custom plan that really works for you.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:26 PM   #10
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Even though I have a masters' degree in psychology and whole-heartedly believe in the value of counseling, I also think the "deep, dark secret emotional trauma" explanation for obesity is over-used.

There are substances that are incredibly addictive - causing physically and emotional dependence, and high GI carbs, especially combined with fat and salt are one of them.


It may be just as unreasonable to expect some of us to eat such foods in moderation as it would be to expect the same of a heroine addict.

And yet that's what we do expect. In fact, it's almost a social requirement. Refusing birthday cake or grandma's Christmas cookies can be interpreted as not just taboo, but as a deep, personal insult.

Alcohol used to be treated that way. You were being unsociable if you refused to share a drink with friends. Alchoholics were expected to return to social drinking.

We found out that didn't always work out so well (even today, there are some people who are able to go from abusive drinking to social drinking, but we realize some people can't or do better when they don't).

But we don't really see food that way. We still see the no-trigger food existence as a life not worth living, so we expect to go back to eating the foods that caused us difficulty, only in "moderation" which is a word we can only define by results - if you maintain a healthy weight you've mastered moderation. If you're still fat, or return to being fat, you haven't.

I've had to learn that there are some foods that I can't do in moderation. Though I don't know exactly what that means yet. Do I eliminate those foods from my life forever, or do I keep struggling to find the magical "moderation?" Do I limit those foods to once a month, once a year or to situations I'm less likely to lose control of?

I've learned that a lot of my previous "failures" weren't so much personal failures, as they were cases of following ineffective examples. We're "taught" to diet, by what we see, hear, and read, and a lot of what we're taught is wrong or just plain ineffective in the long-run.

If weight loss were mountain-climbing, we wouldn't survive it - because we're taught to throw ourselves off the nearest cliff after every stumble. We decide we've "blown it" so we might as well eat until we're sick and start fresh tomorrow or Monday.

We're taught that weighing ourselves daily is wrong and to avoid the scale after we've overeaten, because it will discourage us (instead of teaching ourselves not to be discouraged).

We're taught to give up and then try again, and then give up and try again.

To lose weight, we have to be rebels. We have to diet in ways that are unusual (because the usual ones don't work).


At it's core, I believe the secret of my success this time, is refusing to start over. There is no starting fresh, there is no starting over, there's just picking myself up and moving on.

If you refuse to backslide, your progress may be slow, but it is always forward (and by refusing to backslide I don't mean being perfect, I mean not choosing to give up).
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:08 PM   #11
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For me it was finding something I can live forever with and not feel like I was dieting. For me it's south beach. Another thing was I got a scare, back in February I thought I was having a heart attack. It turns out that it wasn't a heart attack but it was enough of a scare to make me want to change more than I wanted to be unhealthy. I became willing to go to any length to get healthy. It became more about my health than it did about being skinny or losing weight. Every day I wake up I make a decision to stay on track that day only. I refuse to give up because I don't want to die unhealthy, when I die I want it to be for something else other than being morbidly obese.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:59 PM   #12
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Wow! Thanks everyone for the responses. I didn't expect to get so much great advice.

When I lost weight the last time I had the support of my (then) fiance / (now) husband and his mom/dad. We all lived in the same household and all worked to keep each other on track. His mom cooked dinner every night and counted the points and we all went to WW meetings. Hubby and I started a new job together working nights and we moved out on our own. The change of schedule (who wants to cook at 9:30pm?) and sudden reliance on ourselves did not work out so well. We ate Taco Bell constantly and seemed to be on a mission to eat more and more each night. At first I only gained a couple of pounds and I didn't really worry about it. I figured, oh I'll just get back on track and it will be fine. I would do well for a day or two and jump right back off of the ship again. I eventually gave up completely and just said "screw it". When I was losing weight I was so excited that I would actually be in shape for my wedding... of course that didn't end up happening.

I don't think my issues are based on any major emotional trauma, I just because very obsessed very easily and when it comes to food and I want something, I want all of it. My husband and I tend to enable each other and it's not good for us.

Part of it is that I love food, the other part is I love to binge. I love to see a lot of food in front of me and having the option to just go to town. I wish I didn't love the binging part so much but I do. I like to eat until I am sick and there is something very wrong with that.

Today I did count my calories and I managed to only go over by a few. I also rode my stationary bike for 30 minutes. I want to feel good about this but I can't help thinking I will just screw it up again. I guess with that attitude I have no chance.

I think as long as I am holding myself accountable I can do it. Even if I eat too much. If I can see on paper (or computer) what I am eating and how much, it keeps my brain in check.

Sometimes I think I don't need a diet. I just need to eat like a normal person. If I can eat like the people around me who are not obese then I will be fine. I just can't figure out why it is so easy for them to be normal and for me to be obsessed with eating everything.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:17 AM   #13
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Bulk up your plate with lots of veggies. You can have huge servings of "pasta" when you use a spaghetti squash for noodles.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:56 AM   #14
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Sometimes I think I don't need a diet. I just need to eat like a normal person. If I can eat like the people around me who are not obese then I will be fine. I just can't figure out why it is so easy for them to be normal and for me to be obsessed with eating everything.
You don't need to figure out "why it is so easy for them to be normal"... you need to figure out WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. It's a trial & error type of process and it doesn't happen instantaneously & it doesn't happen without some self-digging. The important thing is to start. TODAY. RIGHT NOW. And when you "fall off the wagon", don't beat yourself up, just get right back on that horse & ride, girl. It's the only way to do anything, really.
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:48 PM   #15
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Sometimes I think I don't need a diet. I just need to eat like a normal person. If I can eat like the people around me who are not obese then I will be fine. I just can't figure out why it is so easy for them to be normal and for me to be obsessed with eating everything.
I used to ask myself this same question. However, what I've come to realize is that it isn't that others "can eat whatever they want" (which is what I used to think). It's that they don't want food as much as I do. My husband is a great example of this. He's always been "naturally" thin, yet he eats whatever he wants whenever he wants. However, it didn't take me too long to realize that 1) he doesn't focus on food as much as I do. He loves good food, but, for example, he'll skip lunch unless it's put in front of him 2) When he's full, there is no way, no how he will eat one more morsel of food---no matter how rare that food is, no matter how good it tastes, no matter if there's just one more bite of it left. When he has had enough, he has had enough. It's as if our brains our wired differently. He gets the biggest kick out of the fact that if there is something I love in our house, I may actually wake up thinking about that food. He cannot comprehend this mindset. This mindset difference is the key difference between me and other "normal" eaters, IMHO.
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