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Obsessively Good at Losing 20 lbs

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Old 02-15-2014, 11:08 PM   #1
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Default Obsessively Good at Losing 20 lbs - Terrible at Maintaining

Over the past two years I have taken off 20 lbs twice (and regained it twice) and I'm on my third go around losing it. I've used a fitbit and MFP each time. I get really obsessive almost with counting my calories and getting a ton of steps. It gets like a game I can't keep up and/or maintain long term but it's super effective in the short term. Has anyone else experienced this and if so, how did you make this a lifestyle change rather than an obsession?
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:31 AM   #2
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I used LoseIt for my weight loss and slowly weaned myself off once I got closer to my goal weight. I started switching to portion control and keeping as active as I can (due to a slow metabolism, I have to work out a minimum of 6-7 times a week to lose and 4-5 times a week to maintain).
The idea is not to consider reaching your goal as a 'free pass' to doing whatever it is that you want. We often get comfortable once we reach the bottom line but you have to think of it as a privilege, not a right. You don't have a right to be at that weight, you're earning it by being responsible.
I feel that it's harder for calorie counters because we get sucked into the game of numbers. Once the formula gets taken away from us (which happens inevitably unless you want to keep counting for the rest of your life), we lose control and don't know what we're eating.
Once you get closer to your goal, get an idea of what a good portion of a certain type of food is. Switch to whole foods. Cut down on carbs. Start ignoring calories and concentrating on a wholesome diet. That is the way you'll be able to make a transition to a sustainable weight.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:49 AM   #3
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That's such a great question. I had exactly the same problem - I'd gain, then lose... and as soon as I got close to my goal weight I'd start to gain again. The thing that eventually got me sorted was when I asked myself the really simple question of who did I want to be - the overweight girl, or the 'right-sized' girl? It took ages for me to decide that I really did want to be at a healthy weight, because I knew with that decision would come one about the things I loved, and would have to give up in the future. But once I decided I wanted to be her, then every time I was faced with a craving for something, or every time I stood in front of the chocolates in the supermarket, I'd just ask myself what would SHE do? What would SHE be choosing to eat? After a while I just got used to asking myself that question, and doing what SHE would do. Because at the end of the day, you can't have both. You can't have that body you want AND eat a lot of junk. You just have to choose. Sounds easy, but it's not... and at times it's a pain in the $%@^, but it worked for me. It became my mantra. You can't have both. Hope this helps... :-)
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:23 AM   #4
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It's called yo yo dieting. You have to choose a plan that you can do forever! It's all about portion control, making good choices consistently, balancing and figuring out your real appetite. Also, eating should not be an obsession, that's where you know something is wrong - eating should be pleasurable but not all-consuming.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:07 PM   #5
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You've identified the culprits: fitbit and MFP. I'd drop the gadgets. I understand how they could make someone get obsessed and become too goal-oriented in the short-term. We all hear it time and again, but losing weight and keeping it off really is about a lifestyle change. So unless you want fitbit and MFP to be part of your permanent lifestyle maybe drop them and drop weight in a way that you don't mind sustaining for life?
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
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You've identified the culprits: fitbit and MFP. I'd drop the gadgets. I understand how they could make someone get obsessed and become too goal-oriented in the short-term. We all hear it time and again, but losing weight and keeping it off really is about a lifestyle change. So unless you want fitbit and MFP to be part of your permanent lifestyle maybe drop them and drop weight in a way that you don't mind sustaining for life?
I've been wearing a pedometer for about 5yrs. Nonstop lol. I just upgraded to a fitbit and I love it. I don't get obsessed about it but it helps me positively think that all movement counts. The MFP I agree can be obsessive and I can't imagine calorie counting forever but some people can and do.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:09 PM   #7
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Wannabeskinny - Yes, absolutely! There's nothing inherently evil about any of that. But the OP recognized that with those tools she gets obsessed and pushes herself to a level she can't maintain. It seems to trigger an all-or-nothing approach for her.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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So unless you want fitbit and MFP to be part of your permanent lifestyle maybe drop them and drop weight in a way that you don't mind sustaining for life?
This really resonated. I'm struggling to stick to anything without the rigid structure of mfp and fitbit. Something needs to change within me.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:04 AM   #9
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I've been wearing a pedometer for about 5yrs. Nonstop lol. I just upgraded to a fitbit and I love it. I don't get obsessed about it but it helps me positively think that all movement counts. The MFP I agree can be obsessive and I can't imagine calorie counting forever but some people can and do.
LOL I've been wearing a pedometer about that long too! We had a contest at work and they invested in these great $30 pedometers that are amazingly accurate. Now you have me wondering about fitbit??? I don't consider myself obsessed either I just feel it keeps me in check and it's wonderful for tracking my walking and aerobic steps. Prior to getting it I was one of those people who'd take a walk around the block and thought I completed enough steps for a marathon! What a wake up call!

To the OP, I had never in my adult life been able to get under 200 lbs. I was always a half a**ed dieter and would give up at that point. When I got serious about losing I finally got down to the 190 range and stalled but still felt great. I went a "little" crazy though and started really pushing myself to exercise....a lot...10-15 miles/7 days a week aerobic walking and I'd average 6-7 days a week at the gym on top of that. Yes it kicked my metabolism into overdrive...yes I lost weight...went down to 175 which to many doesn't sound like a lot but on my 5'10" frame looked good and put me into a size 10. I literally dropped a full dress size in a week. The down side? I couldn't maintain this insane exercising routine. I started a new job which recquired I travel 2 hrs each day. By the time I'd get home I was too tired to hit the gym. My metabolism went south real fast, and that coupled with upping my caloric intake I ended up putting back on 35 lbs (this is an estimate as my scale at home is grossly inaccurate).

I've been working hard and took off 21 of those 35 lbs. I know that if I went crazy again I could lose these last few lbs easy, but then I remember how obsessive I was about my walking, my left leg hurt for a solid year because I strained a muscle but refused to stop. All I could think about was those numbers...watching the numbers on my pedometer climb up and watching the numbers on the scale go down. I feel at this point in my life I'm really struggling to lose weight because it's coming off so darn slowly but the up side is I am exercising at a normal pace. I love seeing my walking numbers go up and enjoy my gym time but I don't get angry if I miss a day at the gym (no more 6-7 days a week I shoot for 3-5).

Sorry this is so long winded! I think the morale of the story is you should enjoy exercising and it is possible to find a healthy balance in your life without going crazy. It may take you longer to take off those 20 lbs but your chances of keeping them off will be so much better!
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:22 AM   #10
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I'd give up the gadgets too.

Instead just food diarise. I do it. You get a good sense of what you need to do if adjustments are in order. By now you should know which foods are high in calories and which foods are low. You should know how to fill up on low calorie foods and how to get enough good nutrition.

What you may not have thought of is that you don't have to exercise yourself to death . I've always found that exercise is in the end my undoing because although i love it and love being fit, things change in my life and for one reason or another i drop it. Once i had an injury, often its the weather getting too hot, sometimes its because i come home from a cycling holiday and can't continue with the same amount of activity.

So now i just don't do any of it as part of my weightloss program, though i do want to resume exercise and be fit again.

The last time i did it, i had at least recognised that i couldn't keep up with more than exercise every second day. And then i would run or walk 10km. Long enough to get that lovely endorphin high. However, i have had trouble stopping exercise and adjusting my diet at the same time.

So now i am not doing anything but gardening. And i don't force myself to do it for the sake of losing weight. I do it because it needs doing and i like it. I do it when i want. The rest of the time i'm quite inactive.

But my weightloss is based mainly on managing my calorie intake. I do not stress about any of it because i feel in control and i make daily adjustments. i have rules and so far so good.

This program is for the rest of my life. You can not stop being vigilant and you need to choose a way of eating that you can do forever. If you can eat things in moderation, you are home and hosed. If you can't then those things are going to have to be carefully managed.

But i think i should always monitor what i eat. I will probably get very sick of doing it after a few months but i think i should do it because i think if i don't, i might get slack and start taking too many liberties with my food.

So i think you should consider trying something like that.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:36 AM   #11
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One of the things that's changed for me this time is that I stopped focusing on how quickly the weight comes off, and started thinking about permanent changes. I consider a drop of one single ounce on the scale a step in the right direction, and the lifestyle changes are small and sustainable. Good luck this go around!
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:02 AM   #12
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LOL I've been wearing a pedometer about that long too! We had a contest at work and they invested in these great $30 pedometers that are amazingly accurate. Now you have me wondering about fitbit??? I don't consider myself obsessed either I just feel it keeps me in check and it's wonderful for tracking my walking and aerobic steps. Prior to getting it I was one of those people who'd take a walk around the block and thought I completed enough steps for a marathon! What a wake up call!
I started with an Omron cheap pedometer and it worked great!! Until it didn't work any more and started doing weird things like resetting itself to zero in the middle of the day. I just upgraded up to a fitbit one and I LOVE it because it's incosnpicuous, it tracks stairs too and tracks calories day/night, and I can check the stats on my smart phone. I can definitely understand how someone can become obsessive with it but it's just part of who I am right now, I don't think about it day and night but it keeps me focused on being active throughout the day and I take the long way home or dash back and forth at the grocery store with a win win mentality and makes me appreciate every step I take.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:45 AM   #13
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This thread really resonates for me. I have gone up and down 20 pounds more times than I care to count. I do tend to get totally obsessive during the weight loss and then in maintenance I stop being obsessive and I drift back up. This time I am REALLY trying to take into account what I know about my own behavior when I am at maintenance. To be honest, I was a bit fearful when I started posting on 3fc again, since that is not something I tend to do in "maintenance." I will have to give that more thought.

I can't claim success yet, but I think the key is to figure out what you can really do over the long run. Some people WILL count calories every day for the rest of their lives. Good for them! I found out that I'm not one of them when I'm not in obsessive mode.

Some people will use their gadgets to track their exercise every day of their lives. If you're not one of them, it probably makes sense to find a way to exercise regularly without them. I actually do wear a pedometer every day and upload my steps because I have a program at work, and I'll do that whether or not I am being obsessive about my weight.

I think that in order for us with a history of serial dieting to get off the roller coaster, we need to find a way to live in energy balance in a lifestyle we will actually stick with during maintenance. I think it's ideal if we can find a way to lose weight that is maintenance-compatible so there isn't an iffy transition period that involves resolutions. I am trying to structure this weight loss phase in the same manner that I can maintain, which in my case excludes counting calories or carbs. But I think this is very individualistic and what we will actually do in the long run is something we probably can only figure out through experience (hopefully most people figure it out with less experience than me!).
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:01 AM   #14
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I'm so with you yoyoma (btw great moniker for this thread!)

One explanation for yoyo dieting that's helped me, so far anyway, has to do with brain chemistry. There are parts of the brain that respond to dieting as if we are in a famine. Once there is food again, i.e. maintenance, our survival instincts create the drive to overeat in order to store up energy for the next famine. These parts of the brain are not mapped out, so it's soft science really. But it goes a long way to explain why so many of us yoyo and why so many regain even more than they started with.

I agree with imperialistic about being vigilant. Not crazy anxious, but to invest the same energy in maintaining that you did to lose.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoyoma View Post
Some people will use their gadgets to track their exercise every day of their lives. If you're not one of them, it probably makes sense to find a way to exercise regularly without them. I actually do wear a pedometer every day and upload my steps because I have a program at work, and I'll do that whether or not I am being obsessive about my weight.

I think that in order for us with a history of serial dieting to get off the roller coaster, we need to find a way to live in energy balance in a lifestyle we will actually stick with during maintenance. I think it's ideal if we can find a way to lose weight that is maintenance-compatible so there isn't an iffy transition period that involves resolutions. I am trying to structure this weight loss phase in the same manner that I can maintain, which in my case excludes counting calories or carbs. But I think this is very individualistic and what we will actually do in the long run is something we probably can only figure out through experience (hopefully most people figure it out with less experience than me!).
Cool name, any relation to YoYo Ma??!! Anyway I am right with you on the obsessiveness. I can definitely be obsessive and lose weight, but I can't obssess about maintaining because at what point do you get to relax and enjoy? Being obsessive is no way to live long term.

I also think that exercise only becomes obsessive when people use it for weightloss. Since I forced myself to understand that exercise does not cause significant weight loss then I had to find a different reason to do it. Luckily there are countless reasons to exercise besides weightloss haha so I won't recount them here. I just make sure that my weightloss efforts and my exercise efforts are independent of each other. For the record, I've always exercised - even when gaining weight.
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