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Can You Try Too Hard To Lose Weight?

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Old 02-18-2013, 07:36 AM   #1
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Default Can You Try Too Hard To Lose Weight?

Im just curious if anyone feels like they try too hard to lose weight then end up gaining instead. Sometimes it seems that focusing on what I can/cannot eat or how many calories I can eat in a day almost sets myself up wanting more than I know Im suppose to have and also wanting those "taboo" foods even more. Anyone else ever feel that way and if so how do you move past that point?
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:43 AM   #2
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I think restricting yourself too much is always a recipe for disaster. As people like to say, this is a lifestyle change, not a diet, and indulging every now and then is a part of life. If you deny yourself the odd treat now and again then you'll almost certainly fall off the wagon; we all want what we can't have LOL! Everything in moderation is what I say!
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:18 AM   #3
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My husband always jokes that I am an "all or nothing" kind of woman. This personality type helps to fuel my weight loss motivation, but it can also make me a little "too obsessive" sometimes and I end up having to take a step back.

To keep myself in check, I often try to remind myself of why I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle. At this point, most of it is for health reasons. I want to life a long, healthy and active life. However, I also want to live a HAPPY life, and if I feel like I need to give up EVERYTHING that I love to eat... well, that's not very happy, now is it?

In general, I shoot for 80/20. 80% of my food is healthy, whole, natural, and nutritious. And the other 20% can be the "off-plan" things that I love - the occasional cookie. Pancakes with syrup. A cold beer on a hot day. But I always try to eat within my calorie plan for the day.

I read something recently that really spoke to me. It was from a Pilates professional who was in incredible shape. She was talking about how she embraces the occasional cheat meal because "Most of the time, you need to feed you body, but sometimes, you need to feed your soul." And I agree with that sentiment. Sometimes, broccoli just isn't going to feed your soul like a cookie will.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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I have def fallen into this trap before - I think it's about knowing yourself as an eater and understanding your connection with food. I've found that when I go "cold turkey" on all my favorites, I never can maintain the change for long. That is why I build an "off" day into my eating plan. I don't like to call it a cheat day, because that has such a negative connotation, like I shouldn't be doing it. I prefer to think of it as an off-plan day, and then the next day I go right back to being "on plan."

I do an off day every week - Mondays, to be exact. I weigh in on Monday morning, then relax my eating for the day. Tuesday AM it's right back to being on plan. The benefit of this for me is that Tues-Thurs, I am usually satisfied and not thinking about those "taboo" foods, and when I do start to yearn for them again at the end of the week, I can tell myself to hold on for just a few more days and then I can have as much as I want. That really helps to keep cravings in check.

The funny thing is that on my off day, I'll have dessert and pizza or something like that, but I never eat an entire carton of ice cream of whole bag of chips, etc. it's never a free for all, not on purpose just because I don't want to do that.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:22 AM   #5
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I think so. I'm one of those people who refuses to "forbid food." If I really want something, I have it. I just don't have a LOT of it, or I have a lower calorie alternative. For example, I'm not going to deny myself ice cream, I'm just going to deny myself eating an entire half gallon and maybe have a 150 cal ice cream bar.

Like people have mentioned, this isn't a 6 month or year long thing, it's a lifelong change to our relationship with food. We have to learn how to eat the food that will always be around us.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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For me, if I am too stringent my efforts last about one month and then I have about a one week binge that can literally add back 10 pounds. So, like others have suggested, I allow for treats. I've also taken favorite recipes and tried to find similar ones in light cook books or online and use one of the recipe calculators to figure out nutritional info if it's not available.

I've also found that I can have the forbidden foods if they're in individual units. For instance, I relish my daily sugar free ice cream bar. The fact that they are individually wrapped keeps me limited to one. Don't know why, but having a carton of sugar free ice cream just doesn't work. I've also taken to baking batches of chocolate chip cookies, eating one of them and taking the rest to the neighbor who is recently widowed. He's thrilled and I'm happy.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:08 AM   #7
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When I tried 6 meals a day, all I thought about was food. Constantly unsatisified and thinking to the next meal. I started doing IF (intermittent fasting), eating once or twice a day (large meals, I'm at 2000 calories a day) and the weight is flying off - and I never think about food. It is mental as well as physical, if you are eating unsatisfying portions, too little fat, bland stuff that you hate, then you will be unhappy!
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:52 AM   #8
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While I agree that focusing too much on diet can be counterproductive, the fact remains that losing weight means that you don't get to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, however much you want. You have to figure out some limits in order to consume fewer calories. What those limits are, and how you apply them vary by person, but the end result still needs to be eating fewer calories.

So yeah, part of it comes down to make a decision that losing weight is more important than eating X food, and making your choices accordingly.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:59 AM   #9
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Yes ^ another sad fact... a little bit of hunger is normal. It's a sensation most of us don't like (for biological reasons!) but it's normal and something we need to get used to. It's OKAY to be a little hungry.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dms6k View Post
Im just curious if anyone feels like they try too hard to lose weight then end up gaining instead. Sometimes it seems that focusing on what I can/cannot eat or how many calories I can eat in a day almost sets myself up wanting more than I know Im suppose to have and also wanting those "taboo" foods even more. Anyone else ever feel that way and if so how do you move past that point?
I agree, and I don't "move past that point" because I don't use that method. Simply focus on foods which I know are nutritious... lots of fresh fruits and veggies... with enough added stuff to get my protein... avoid processed foods, fake sugar, chemicals, etc... and go for it! I also work out a lot. I want something I can live with.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:19 PM   #11
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Wow!! Great comments and im glad to see im not alone.

Got a new scale (digital) and it weighs 5 pounds more than regular needle scale I had (the needle never would stay still to get accuarate reading) but I have since moved on and sometimes it seems that the number never moves. Oh well, ill keep pushing forward and one day it will happen. All I want is to move under 200 pounds......56 pounds....seems like so little compared to others but yet so huge and a struggle to meet. Would like to do this by December 31, 2013. So possible but yet to hard!!
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #12
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I think life isn't worth living if you don't get to enjoy eating, so I don't think anyone should eat stuff he/she hates simply because it's low calorie or "supposed to be healthy."

As far as feeling deprived goes, you can move meals around so that you can eat a big lunch and big dinner, but just have coffee or tea and a hard boiled egg or something for breakfast. I think keeping protein high, fat moderate and carbs low is the most filling combination of macros, and of course eating piles of vegetables gives you more ounces of food per calorie than most other foods.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:40 PM   #13
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Anyone would be miserable if they kept that perspective!

I have 2 rules that I absolutely always keep to:

1 - I never eat anything I don't genuinely like and will look forward to
2 - I never go hungry

I truly believe that when you do that, it changes your perception of eating healthy. I don't sit around and think about all of the foods I can't have, I'm too busy planning meals for foods I am excited to make/try. In the beginning, it might be easier to find high volume foods that are low in calories that you like and eat those. After a while, your stomach will "shrink" and it will take less volume to be full. What foods do you really, really love? Do you like strawberries? Salsa? Watermelon? Cucumbers and hummus? Big colorful salads (cheese, croutons and ranch dressing don't count here)? Whatever it is, find it and make it. But make sure it's something you love. "But berries, cucumber and hummus will cost almost $10!" Yeah, it costs that much to eat fast food or order out. Calories do come into play here, but the point is to find foods that are low density and few calories.

The other thing I would say is to change your focus from not being able to eat this or that to what you are getting - a healthier body that feels better when run on healthy foods, weight loss, and a lifestyle change for the better. Instead of thinking, "I can't have any of that food because I'm on a diet." Think, "I could have that, but I'll feel icky afterwards and I'd much rather have energy and weight loss today."
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:56 PM   #14
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I don't believe you can try too hard, but I do believe you can give up too easily and overcommit. That's not the same thing, though.

Weight loss requires work and consistency, above all. NO CALLING IT QUITS, NO GIVING UP! I think people can be quite foolish in attempting a lifelong habit modification by doing unsustainable things, and that is self defeating and pointless. If you want to lose ten pounds and keep it off, it doesn't require an hour inside the gym daily for life, punishing yourself on the stairclimber. Nor does it require cutting your calories to 800 forever and ever, etc.

The wisest changes are small and permanent. You can indeed succeed long term even if you adopt ridiculous strategies at the outset, but something WILL have to change down the road to make the transition to maintenance behaviors one that you can live with. Far smarter to start out with those behaviors than have to revise and tweak your way to them. Weight loss, whether large or small, is always the result of permanent changes to our habits and thinking. It follows, then, that any change we make should be something we can reasonably manage for life, in type if not degree (for example, we calorie restrict to lose weight, and do it more so when losing than maintaining - same type of behavior, but the degree does vary. And if you do too much, you're setting yourself up for a frantic binge).

You can't really try too hard, because stubbornness and a refusal to ever quit at your pursuit IS hard work and what separates the maintainers from the yoyo crowd. But you can definitely be foolish in your aim, short sighted in your goals, and wrongheaded about the methods to get (and STAY!) where you want to be.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:34 PM   #15
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I think every one here has pretty much covered how I feel about the "trying too hard" aspect of your question. I am currently "on plan" for the longest span of time I have been in my life. I have yo-yo'ed quite a bit since I joined this site in 2010, and I attribute most of that yo-yoing due to my perfectionism. I have found that persistence works much more in the long run than perfectionism.

The question as to how you move past the perfectionism and begin to think more like a maintainer can be answered in one word, at least for me: education. Not just education, but the idea of continuing education for life. A lot of smart people have been studying weight loss and weight maintenance for decades, and I think taking advantage of what these smart people have learned has helped me immensely. I've began collecting books on weight loss and maintenance (not gimicky diet books), and reading them seems to keep my head on straight. I know a lot of people in other threads have recommended her book, but Anne Fletcher's book "Thin for Life" was a good starting point for me.
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