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Not sure if starting again is worth it...

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Old 05-27-2013, 09:59 PM   #1
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Default Not sure if starting again is worth it...

Hello all,

Like many of you I have dieted over and over throughout my life (I am 43, I started dieting in earnest at 16).

If I add up what I have gained and lost over the decades it is between 600 and 700 pounds. You name the diet, I have done it. I have also exercised lots (I ran three marathons and several half marathons about 6 years ago when I was in my "starve myself and exercise like a lunatic" phase). I have tried dieting, non-dieting, OA, etc.

In any event, I am at one of my highest weights ever. My dr. is recommending WLS and that scares the crap out of me--- and quite frankly I do not see the point--- regain is a problem with that like it is with any diet. And that is my problem in general.. I do not see the point in starting a diet, because invariably the diet will end, and I will be right back at square one again. Even "lifestyle changes" require effort that I thus far have found insustainable over the long term.

I am aware of the effort it takes to lose weight. The physical effort, the mental effort--- the battling hunger, the having to plan ahead ("so and so invited me to a party--- should I eat before I go? What will I eat when I am there? What if they don't have anything there I can eat? What do I do to avoid a binge?) and on and on and on. I swear I get tired just thinking about it. Planning when to work out, planning which workouts to do on which days, planning food shopping, counting (cals. fat grams, carbs-- whatever- depending on the diet) etc.

I was talking with a dear friend today about how miserable I am being so fat...and she said my telling myself it is pointless to try to lose weight because I will just gain it back again is a "story I am telling myself". She thinks I should try to convince myself THIS time it WILL work--- despite decades of evidence to the contrary.

I feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy tries to convince him she will not whisk the football away THIS time if he tries to kick it....and he tries... and lands flat on his back...again. So....my question to you all is this....how do I find hope again? How do I convince myself I have even a prayer of getting the weight off for good? How do I get myself to believe it is even possible-- because right now, I am thinking there is just no way.

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Old 05-27-2013, 10:13 PM   #2
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The only thing I can tell you is... You just need to do it. I think believing that this is the last time and that you are forever going to be a healthy person (keep tellling yourself until you really believe it). I am 55 and have been on diets since I was in my teens. I was up in the 300's for years and finally January 6th of this year... I had had enough. I wanted to love and enjoy life and ME. That is all I can tell you is to believe that you can do it. Make that "Click" turn on in your head. Choose an eating plan that you can live with for as long as you live and make it something that you like so that it really isn't work.

The best thing is... you are here (again) and wanting to "do this" again. That is the 1st step and you know this forum and place. Gosh if you are having a bad day.. POST IT and a whole bunch of people will post back and let you know what they did to get past it... and POST the good things too... Those motivate other people and in turn motivate YOU.....

That is just my take on it... I just believe it now.... (had alot of practise over the 40 years ! )
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:17 PM   #3
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Choose an eating plan that you can live with for as long as you live and make it something that you like so that it really isn't work.
Yeah... and that would be one of the hard parts--- they are ALL work (I dare anyone to name a diet I have not tried.... ). The other is convincing myself this really is "it". I do thank you for your feedback and for being supportive. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:31 PM   #4
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I totally get where you're coming from. But lets say you do not try again?! What is the alternative? That you stay miserable forever?
You say you feel miserable at this weight, doesn't it make more sense to try again even though it's very hard and you actually have the possibility of succeeding this time. I think it does.
This is what I say to myself when I think about just not doing it anymore. I have the choice to be this size or bigger in a year from now OR I can be 55 lbs lighter a year from now. The year passes anyway. It's my choice what I will look like then.
I hope you don't give up. Start again but don't do some diet that you can only sustain for a little while before it makes you crazy !!
Good Luck. We're here for you!
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:52 PM   #5
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This is one of the very things I struggle with...

I can only tell you what makes *this time* different for ME.

It is that there is no *this time*. Its the same struggle that I've always dealt with. And yet... when I can remember to step back, and take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, instead of trying to tackle everything at once... suddenly, it doesn't feel as overwhelming.

If I can remember to stop thinking about my past failures, or my fear of the future. (in fact, I try hard to remember that my ONLY failure, is NOT trying anymore)

I've hit a point in my life, where choosing to make better decisions, minute by minute... is more important than choosing to make poor decisions.

I've hit a point in my life, where I've *finally* come to understand that the good decisions DO stack up just as quickly as the poor ones. (even when it doesn't seem that way)

I've hit a point in my life, where I've finally come to realize that this isn't an easy struggle for many many people. For many many reasons.

No one can tell you whether or not you should or shouldn't start again... but I do believe that you're looking for someone to say YES! you should! (or you wouldn't have bothered posting)

Why bother? Because, even though I don't know you, I value you as a person. I admire your will to have lost it in the past. I have faith that you could do it again. I believe that you will find peace with your body and mind that we are all seeking. And because I think you want to start again... you just need some encouragement and someone to say that the past doesn't necessarily dictate what the future will bring.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:53 PM   #6
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I totally get where you're coming from. But lets say you do not try again?! What is the alternative? That you stay miserable forever?

I hope you don't give up. Start again but don't do some diet that you can only sustain for a little while before it makes you crazy !!
Ok... I see your point. I argued in a similar fashion when I had a friend tell me it would take too long for me to get my doctorate if I went part time....I said the time was gonna go by anyway, right? (I am writing my dissertation right now.... ).

One of the challenges is finding a diet I can live with--- so far I have tried most of them (I do not want to say ALL, despite it being very tempting to do so given the sheer number of them I have been on), and none of them was sustainable long term for me. I would say Weight Watchers probably was the least "restrictive" but all of the tracking and such got old quick.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:56 PM   #7
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This is one of the very things I struggle with...

I can only tell you what makes *this time* different for ME.

It is that there is no *this time*. Its the same struggle that I've always dealt with. And yet... when I can remember to step back, and take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, instead of trying to tackle everything at once... suddenly, it doesn't feel as overwhelming.

Why bother? Because, even though I don't know you, I value you as a person. I admire your will to have lost it in the past. I have faith that you could do it again. I believe that you will find peace with your body and mind that we are all seeking. And because I think you want to start again... you just need some encouragement and someone to say that the past doesn't necessarily dictate what the future will bring.
Your post was clearly heartfelt---it was touching and beautiful. You have given me much "food for thought" (if you will pardon the pun). Thanks.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:04 PM   #8
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I do not see the point in starting a diet, because invariably the diet will end, and I will be right back at square one again. Even "lifestyle changes" require effort that I thus far have found insustainable over the long term.
Can you be a little more specific about what you have found unsustainable? The regimentation? The tracking? The hunger? The sense of deprivation? Giving up the pleasure of eating with abandon? The exercise? Depending on the answer(s), you may be able to find workarounds to avoid regaining after your next (last!) round of weight loss.

Here's an example: after reaching maintenance I decided I was **not** willing to live without what I call "unbridled eating" for the rest of my life. So once every couple of months I go all out -- and I really mean all out -- at an all-you-can-eat sushi or pan-Asian place. I compensate by eating just a little less for the next few days. For me, it's freeing to know that I don't have to give up "immoderation" forever. (By the same token, I'm perfectly happy to do without junk food because, being a bit of a food snob, I've never really enjoyed it.) Other maintainers have made very different choices.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that this is a mental game. If you figure out your eating psychology, you have as good a shot at maintenance as anyone else. Keep talking to us and we'll keep inundating you with ideas. Use the ones that resonate with you and discard the rest.

Freelance

p.s. I'm not suggesting any of this is easy. I myself have yo-yoed 6 or 7 times before. This time does feel different, though, and I'm 56. So it's never too late.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:16 PM   #9
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Your post was clearly heartfelt---it was touching and beautiful. You have given me much "food for thought" (if you will pardon the pun). Thanks.
Honestly, THIS is what I'm trying to do differently *this time*....

Reaching out to others. I've always tried to do this on my own. I cannot even tell you how much this site is helping me every. single. day.

The people here are amazing.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:20 AM   #10
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I dieted my way to my highest weight, because whatever I lost I gained plus more. Somewhere around 350 lbs, I decided that the fat acceptance folks were right and that dieting only resulted in weight gain.

So,I stopped dieting and gained about ten pounds, but then the weight gain stopped and I maintained the 360 lbs for several years (the first time in my life that my weight had been stable). I dieted again after herniating a disc and lost 60 lbs, then gained 70. I tried again for my wedding and gained another 24 lbs.

After being treated for sleep apnea, as my pulmonologist predicted, I lost weight without trying. I wanted to lose more, but I knew I couldn't follow my previous patterns.

For me, success took the form of focusing most of my efforts on "not gaining today" what happened yesterday and what happens tomorrow doesn't matter. Today I will not gain.

I've backslid now and then (I'm currently up about 15 lbs from my lowest weight) but usually the backsliding occurred because I abandoned my one day at a time, not gaining today focus.

Quitting isn't an option I give myself, because if I quit, all the weight and extra will pile on as well as any health improvements I've made. I'll end up bed and house bound again, needing my husband's help to shower and dress.

Except for the last few months, I've been able to maintain a stable or downward trend for going on nine years. I'm losing slowly at times, not at all at others, but if I went back to dieting or not trying my weight would be up and down, mostly up.

You can make this the last time, so long as you refuse to ever go back to autopilot eating. You can decide to lose, stay the same or even gain - but make it you choice, not what happens to you because you gave up the right to choose.

I weigh daily because it makes me happy and gives me something to celebrate every day. First and foremost I celebrate "not gaining" and if I lost, bonus for me today, but the goal for tomorrow is still only "not gaining."

If I have a day when I'm resenting my calorie budget and feeling unwilling to "diet," I eat more, even sometimes a lot more, but I don't abandon my budget, I just adjust my goal for the day. In the past, I would give up and binge for an evening, days, or even weeks until I was ready to "start over." Now, I tell myself "there is no starting over, there's just moving on. I can move forward, backward, or remain immobile, but every choice matters and moving backwards doesn't have to be inevitable or even possible unless I make choices that lead in that direction.

You can do this, but only if you choose actions that move you in the right direction. Don't fool yourself though into thinking that you will be starting over or starting again - because this isn't a diet, this is your life - there are no restarts. You've stumbled and you have to decide whether you're going to get up, lie on the ground, or start digging yourself into a deeper hole. Whatever you choose isn't starting anything, it's just continuing on your lifepath, which path do you want to be on?
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:30 AM   #11
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Can you be a little more specific about what you have found unsustainable? The regimentation? The tracking? The hunger? The sense of deprivation? Giving up the pleasure of eating with abandon? The exercise? Depending on the answer(s), you may be able to find workarounds to avoid regaining after your next (last!) round of weight loss.
All of the above. Depending on the type of diet/exercise regimen chosen any or all of those things got tiresome. Deprivation is pretty high on the list.
The tracking of whatever I think gets old pretty early on, too Then the having to squeeze time in for exercise. If I am to be honest, I think what bothers me most is how angry I get. Angry that I can't just eat what I want, when I want. Angry that I have to exercise or else look like the Good Year blimp, angry that despite having dieted over and over I still look and feel so God awful.

I get weary of how tiresome the whole process is-- all of the mental energy that goes into weight loss...after awhile I just tire out. It never becomes easy or natural. even after several months on a diet, I do not find any of it (the counting, the meals, the planning, the exercise) routine-- it is always effort. LOTS of effort and I just get tired. After awhile, I cannot bear the thought of having to live this way (counting, planning, exercising, scheduling, etc.) every day for the rest of my life and I give up.

I appreciate your encouragement-- and I like your once per month strategy.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:31 AM   #12
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Honestly, THIS is what I'm trying to do differently *this time*....

Reaching out to others. I've always tried to do this on my own. I cannot even tell you how much this site is helping me every. single. day.

The people here are amazing.
What a lovely notion. And yes, I too am finding this forum most supportive.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:36 AM   #13
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You can make this the last time, so long as you refuse to ever go back to autopilot eating. You can decide to lose, stay the same or even gain - but make it you choice, not what happens to you because you gave up the right to choose.

First and foremost I celebrate "not gaining" and if I lost, bonus for me today, but the goal for tomorrow is still only "not gaining."

If I have a day when I'm resenting my calorie budget and feeling unwilling to "diet," I eat more, even sometimes a lot more, but I don't abandon my budget, I just adjust my goal for the day.

Don't fool yourself though into thinking that you will be starting over or starting again - because this isn't a diet, this is your life - there are no restarts.
Wow. Much to think about. I had not considered that failing to decide was a method of abdicating my right to choose. Good one. The "not gaining" goal is not one I had considered before....it is worth considering, I think.

As to the no "restarts"--great line. Lots of wisdom in it. Thank you for your thoughful response. I am very much appreciating what I have received by way of responses here---clearly this is a matter which many have given a great deal of thought.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:23 AM   #14
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You have been given some good advice by rhe above posters. I will just add something someone once posted, I have it taped to my refrigerator door.
Being fat is hard.
Losing weight is hard.
Maintaining your weight loss is hard.
Choose your hard.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:05 AM   #15
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All of the above.
If I am to be honest, I think what bothers me most is how angry I get. Angry that I can't just eat what I want, when I want. Angry that I have to exercise or else look like the Good Year blimp, angry that despite having dieted over and over I still look and feel so God awful.... After awhile, I cannot bear the thought of having to live this way (counting, planning, exercising, scheduling, etc.) every day for the rest of my life and I give up.
I also get angry about this sometimes and I've posted about it. At the same time, I believe that "eat what I want" means something very different to you and me than to our "naturally thin" friends. I don't believe most of us can blame a sluggish metabolism for our tendency to put on weight. We just like to eat more than most, have a greater capacity than most, and have weaker discomfort signals from fullness than most. Nothing wrong or shameful about that. If we want to stay a normal weight, we have to accept that we'll be eating less than WE want most of the time.

However, we do NOT need to count or track or schedule or avoid social functions. I haven't done any of that for the past year and a half and I've been able to maintain my 50-lb loss, something I've never been able to do before. I've designed a way of eating that minimizes (without totally eliminating) my sense of deprivation and respects my idiosyncrasies. In my case, this consists of: three meals of about 500 cals each, three snacks of about 100 cals each, plus coffee and a glass of wine. I rotate between the same three or four items (all of which I love) for my meals. I've learned to enjoy exercise by setting and achieving modest goals (like 5K races).

I eat a high-carb diet (about 300g/day, though I never count) and there is not a single food I consider off-limits, though I don't keep "mindless foods" like pretzels or chips in the house. I still overeat regularly, and sometimes massively, but almost never at home. When I do overeat, I compensate by scaling back for the next few days.

The final key is having a red line (maximum weight) that I try my hardest not to cross. If I do cross it, I cut down to 1,500 cals per day until the weight is back down.

My own weaknesses are gourmet foods and restaurant meals (see my "need strategic help" post). I'm still working on a realistic approach for handling this. I suspect I'll end up with some kind of compromise in which I choose the highest-quality food events to go all-out and have a solid framework in place for the rest (e.g., salad + fish entree + nothing else).

It's always a work in progress, but it's doable. I believe it can be doable for you, too.

F.
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