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Old 07-04-2010, 11:57 AM   #1  
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Default How did you lose it?

Well, I have been looking through the "does it work" forum and got to thinking that the absolutely best source is YOU. So, how did you lose it? Was there a book or website that got you started? I need structure so, honestly, "moderation" or "eat less and exercise more" make sense but isn't enough for me.


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Old 07-04-2010, 03:13 PM   #2  
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S/C/G: Lost 50 lbs, regained some

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Hey GinaXOXO!

OK, here is what I did when I got serious in late 2006.

- I committed to doing an hour and a half per day of exercise/physical activity, 5 or 6 days a week. I walked half an hour in the morning, and I joined the local YMCA and went for an hour every afternoon.

- I went to and downloaded their software. (You don't have to download it--you can use it online for free--but it was more convenient for me to download it because I wanted to be able to add my own foods. I don't know what the features are like now.)

- I picked a target weight. I used the "normal" BMI range for my height. This is just a wild number--as I came to see later, you can change this goal number as you wish. It is not cast in stone.

- I used the FitDay tools to start tracking what I ate every day, and what I weighed. I didn't weigh every day, but I did enter everything I ate.

- I soon figured out what foods I could eat and stay within my target, and also what foods I couldn't eat. I soon learned to look up foods on restaurant websites BEFORE I went out to eat, so I wouldn't have a terrible surprise... I learned to read labels because I had to enter foods into my FitDay database. And I learned to actually measure and/or weigh portions instead of trying to guess.

And that's what I did. My average calorie intake was around 1350. I didn't track exercise calories so closely because that's hard to estimate correctly.

I lost at the rate of a little over 4 pounds per month. Some months more, and some months less. I'm older, so things are slower.

Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:26 PM   #3  
slow and steady
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I didn't have a really structured plan. Here are a few rules I made for myself though:
1) Limit restaurant food to once per week (this includes fast food, snacks, any other prepared purchased foods)
2) Eat portion-controlled foods for lunch (like Lean Cuisine -- I don't do this anymore, but it helped a lot when I started losing)
3) Work out 3x/week for at least 30 minutes
4) Have planned, portion-controlled snacks (like an apple or a single-serve yogurt)
5) Cook only recipes from Cooking Light magazine for dinner. They're not all super-light but at least they all have the nutritional information on them.
6) Start logging everything I ate and counting calories.

Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:49 PM   #4  
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I know this sounds cliche, but you just can't read a book or copy one of our plans. You have to look at you and only you - what you like to eat, what you are willing to do, your lifestyle, your social life, your family.

Because, there are really two things that need to happen.

1. Lose weight - this is the part you can copy from a book, magazine, Jillian Michaels, whatever.

2. Keep the weight off - this is the part that can only come from you - what are you willing to do, for the rest of your life, to keep the weight off. Maybe you're happy to live on reduced carbs your whole life, or do a 2 hour daily workout or go vegan. What will your SO/family put up with? What is your environment at work - do you have time to eat a healthy lunch? Do you go out a lot, travel a lot...what factors are in play that will shape YOUR PLAN?

Because I can tell you my experience.

For 20 years, I always dieted, lost weight, stopped dieting and gained weight. Now, that sounds really simple, right? It took me TWENTY YEARS to see this. I always thought diets were something short term, then I would stop and eat "normally."

My normally made me fat.

This time, I was successful because I changed my normal, forever. How I eat now, every day is different than how I used to eat. But, because it's forever, it has to be sustainable and satisfying. I have to like the foods and it can't be more work than I am willing to put up with.

What does that mean? Well, I'm too freaking lazy to make my own bread or my own yogurt or my own ketchup. But, I don't mind cooking most of my food and packing lunches everyday. I had to find my "sweet spot" for maintenance. What works for me, probably won't work for you.

I eat salad for lunch, every work day. Seriously, every day. But, I love salad. I have a frig at work. I have a nice lunch break where I can do this. I don't mind shopping, chopping, keeping track of umpty tupperware containers, dressing and always having a fork. It is doable, for me.

So, after ALL THAT. What I did was basically:

1. Get off the standard american diet. No more soda, fast food, reduction in processed foods. I may not make my own ketchup, but I buy the organic stuff without HFCS. I try to focus on foods with powerful nutritional properties and avoid foods with limited nutritional benefit.

2. Volumetrics - I hate being hungry. Hate it. So, I fill up on foods with low calorie impact but high volume. The aforementioned big lunch salads, for example. Lots of brussel sprouts, etc.

3. Calorie counting/portion control - I still can't get all crazy, even healthy food COUNTS. So, after 6 years, I calorie count, every day. I food journal. I weigh food, use my measuring cups. I am careful and accountable. I eat mindfully.

I definitely love everything I eat - breakfast this morning was fat Free greek yogurt with honey and strawberries. Is it AS GOOD as a danish? I honestly don't know. Does it make me happy, do I look forward to eating it - yes.

Basically, you have to figure out, for the rest of your life, how are you going to manage your daily calorie budget. We all have one. If you overspend, you'll get heavy. Think of it like managing a checking account - every day. You know what you're up against. a "normal" sandwich at Panera is nearly 1,000 calories - what "everyone" considers a normal, healthy, what ordinary people eat lunch. Good luck

Last edited by Glory87; 07-04-2010 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:58 PM   #5  
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Hi Gina and welcome!

I suspect you'll find that most of us in the Maintainers forum didn't use a book or formal plan to lose the weight and keep it off. Off the top of my head, I think most of us were/are calorie counters and pretty much devised plans that work for us as unique individuals. Jessica/Paperclippy, Glory, and JayEll are good examples of people who decided it was time to deal with their weight problems and assessed their lives, schedules, likes, dislikes and personal food issues to come up with a plan that fit them.

For what it's worth, I'm a calorie counter too. My starting calories were 1600/day, which I dropped by 100/day when I plateaued. Probably the last six months of my weight loss were between 1200 - 1300 calories a day. I focus on lean protein, low fat dairy, fruits, veggies, and limited whole grains. During the year that I was losing weight, I didn't have "cheats" or "splurges" or whatever you want to call them -- I stuck to my plan like glue.

A key component to my weight loss was exercise (and it's most definitely a huge part of my maintenance!) I was a professional, lifelong dieter who was convinced that I hated to exercise. Joining a gym and discovering that I loved to exercise and hey, that fat chicks are strong chicks and rock at lifting weights changed my life! My typical workouts while I was losing were an hour on the elliptical every day and lifting weights five days a week.

Not only did exercise, specifically weight lifting, reshape my body and let me wear smaller sizes than I ever had in my life, but it taught me that I was stronger and more disciplined that I ever imagined. It showed me that I could persevere, tell myself no, and work through discomfort in order to achieve my goals. It showed me that I was capable of so much more than I ever thought I could achieve.

I totally understand the need for structure because even today, eight years after reaching goal, I never wing it. I still plan meals in advance, track calories in Fitday, plan workouts in advance, weight and measure portions and continue all the behaviors that worked for weight loss. If you don't find a plan or book that suits you, perhaps you could create your own structured plan based on calorie counting? Most of us find it to be the most flexible way of controlling food intake, adaptable for our own individual preferences. Of course, you know I'm going to tell you to be sure to add in exercise!

If you want to, post some ideas here and I'm sure our maintainers would love to help you come up with a plan.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:21 PM   #6  
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Just got home from a long weekend, so I'm coping out and re-posting something that I've used many times:

I knew the only way this weight loss thing would *work*, permanently that is, would be if I could find something that I could stick with LONGTERM, forever in fact, because not only do I want to lose the weight, but I want to keep it off - forever. It simply won't *work* if you dont' stick with it. Consistiency, consistiency, consistiency. STICKING with it is of course the key. Lifestyle change. Creating a new normal. No going back to the old ways. Permanent, sustainable lifetime changes.

So of course finding something not only that I could stick with, but finding something that I was willing to stick with was essential. To me that willingness part is the biggest key. You have to come to terms with the fact that something HAS to change. You can't go on the way that you are. You have to be WILLING to do what is necessary and what is required to get the weight off and keep it off. You have to be willing to overhaul your lifestyle and incorporate healthy habits into your life - forever. No more mindless eating. From here on in, it has to be mindful, responsible and careful.

Things I needed/still need to be on my plan:

- I could never, ever be hungry. Just not for me. I despise that feeling and need to AVOID it all costs. It would only set me up for failure.
- I need LOTS of food, volume that is.
- I love food, always will and need to get enjoyment from it. So eating delicious, very tasty, satisfying foods was a MUST.
- I am terrible with portion control. I have no boundaries. My intuitive eating button is totally broken or just missing completely. So I need to fake it. I need something that forces me to set limits.
- I want not only to be thin at this point, I want to be healthy. Strong bones & muscles, good vision, healthy hair and nails, low cholesterol, normal sugar levels, high vitamin count, lower my risk of cancers.

So therefore, let's see if I can do this with one breath - I eat frequently, every 2 hours or so, choosing low calorie/high volume items (veggies), lots of protein and fiber (to keep me full longer), I count calories (forced portion control/accountability), I eat foods with high nutritional values, I've found foods that I LOVE, not *diet* foods per se, food that any one and every one can eat.

I also set myself up for success. By ridding my home of the junk (very crucial in the beginning, and still is). I got rid of the sugar, the rice, pasta, bread, cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc... Sure I love the stuff, but I have no control with it. I figured I can not have it both ways. I simply can not have those foods in my life (very strict with it especially in the beginning, cold turkey in fact) and be that healthy, fit person I so longed to be. I have no control over them and realized I was just better off without them.

I keep my home fully stocked with tons and tons of veggies. I discovered fabulous ways to prepare them and now enjoy them more then the other garbage I was eating prior. Amazing how ones tastes change when you stop feeding it junk. Fruits and low fat proteins are my other main foods. I cook fabulous meals that my whole family enjoys. So finding yummy recipes that you like is essential. No reason to go off plan, when on plan is so good.

I also prepare ahead, as it is the ONLY way to succeed, IMO. Eating healthy does not happen by accident. Therefore it MUST, MUST be planned out in advance. I know what I'm having for my meals and snacks days in advance. I pack food with me, taking it with me wherever I go, leaving nothing to chance. It's just THAT important.

I drink lots of water. It's something to do with my mouth; a delaying tactic and it keeps my tummy full.

And of course, there is the calorie counting. Would be nowhere without it. Nowhere. Since I don't know how to set limits for myself, counting calories is my answer. Counting and tracking my calories keeps me honest and keeps my food in check. Period.

Exercise has now become part of my life and is a big part of "my plan". I started out slowly and built up. Cardio & strength training. I make sure there is some kind of daily movement going on, 7 days a week.

Probably the biggest part of my plan though, was making a commitment. Deciding once and for all that I was going to "do this". I told myself enough is enough. I realized, once and for all that I didn't have to be fat if I didn't want to be. That it was something that I did indeed have total and complete control over. No reason on earth for me to waste another second of my life being miserable, worrying about my health and not living up to my full potential. Not being the very best ME that I could be. So I DECIDED to lose the weight - once and for all, no matter what and permanently. So I made a commitment to good eating and good health.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:02 AM   #7  
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calorie counter here as well!

my personal "rules" also went as:

1. as little as possible processed sugar stuff. you probably could cut out processed sugar if you're extremely careful but i cannot say i did that. i think i cut out 95% of processed sugar.

2. changed from white bread,pasta,rice to wholegrain

3. never be hungry.
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:05 AM   #8  
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Three main things:

1. Write down everything I will eat for the day (with the calorie counts) first thing in the morning. This gives me a plan to stick to ahead of time.

2. Stop drinking alcohol (no willpower if I drink).

3. Get rid of all the junk food. That way, if I insist on getting something unhealthy I have to make an extra trip and this is effective for stopping myself from doing it.

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Old 07-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #9  
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What an inspiring thread. Thank you!
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:16 PM   #10  
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I have to echo everyone else: calorie counting is extremely important.

When I first decided I wanted to lose weight, I attempted the Fat Smash Diet. Then, I realized something so structured and restrictive wasn't for me. I dislike rules. However, I did place some guidelines.

They were:

1. One "bad day" doesn't ruin the weight loss forever. You can always get back on track the next day -- or better yet, the next SECOND. I had a defeatist attitude and sabatoged myself so many times because I "messed things up." If I wanted to lose weight and keep it off, I knew I had to be nicer to myself.

2. While saying that, excuses are completely unacceptable. NO EXCUSES. EVER. I rode my bike in thunderstorms. I ordered less-than-exciting items from restaurant menus so I could stay on plan.

3. Don't keep binge trigger foods in your house. If you aren't a binge eater, it's still a good idea not to keep junk around... but I personally have a big problem with binge eating, so plenty of foods throw me into that pattern.

4. Preparing ahead IS crucial.

5. Always remember your goal weight. I was thin before I was fat, so I would frequently look at pictures of my "former" self and say, "If you looked like that once, you can look like that again." If your "thin/healthy/fit" self is a mystery, try to picture it anyway. Think of how much easier exercise will be at your goal weight. Think of the clothes you'll be able to fit.

6. Dedication and motivation are lovely, but so is PASSION. Passion for my weight loss got me through it.

Now, I WAS going to try to make this post become the 10 commandments of weight loss (according to me ), but I ran out of "commandments."

With the exception of hauling objects around and out-of-town travel, I rode my bike everywhere. I still ride my bike nearly every day. I also strength train 4 times a week, do some form of cardio daily, and swim when the weather permits. I enjoy active things. When I was fat (AND previously thin), I hated exercise, but after making myself do it for two hours every day, I grew to love it.

Every meal I eat has a lean, complete protein (like chicken breasts, seafood, and the like), a complex carb (like beans, brown rice, oatmeal, etc), and a healthy fat. I'm a big chicken and vegetables fanatic. I like making stir fries. I have been and always will be a food enthusiast, so I try to make my healthy food interesting. Food is entertaining for me and that will never change.

I stop eating after 8 PM. It doesn't matter what time you eat, but I tend to get the night time munchies, so this is a good rule for me.

I eat every 2-3 hours.

I've been maintaining for nearly three years now (), but I still use FitDay to keep track of my diet and exercise. I need that numerical accountability. I have tried being more lax, but ended up gaining a little weight back and reeling the control in tighter to continue sticking to my goal.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:45 AM   #11  
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You've gotten some wonderful tips already. What I've learned on my weightloss journey is similiar to most others. Find what works for you & what you can live with for the rest of your life. What has worked for me follows:

1. I've counted calories all along the way, and although I eat healthy most of the time, it's unrealistic for me to think I'll live the rest of my life without the occasional potato chip or donut. By not banning any foods, I can work a treat in once in awhile without feeling quilty or ruining my plan.
2. I keep a detailed food diary, because I need the structure & accountability.
3. I follow the Insulin Resistance Diet with the addition of counting calories & keeping a food diary, because this diet helps my appetite stay under control, and I don't tolerate feeling hungry well at all.

Good luck in finding what works for you.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #12  
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I'm another one who didn't follow any particular diet or plan. A lot of the strategies here sound familiar, but I'll relate some here that may be unique to my particular circumstances.

Many years before, I lost 100 pounds, but also sort of lost my mind in the process. I got addicted to the high of weight loss & developed an eating disorder. I went through the whole spectrum of EDs, practically: From anorexia, to binge eating disorder and overexcising as a purge method, to trying vomiting once or twice (which is when I went for counseling, because even I saw that was insane), to recovery. But my recovery was not complete. I went too far the other way, equating some healthier behaviors with crazy ED behaviors -- so basically, I returned to unhealthy overeating & a sedentary lifestyle. Which made me put all the weight back on, plus 50 pounds more.

Okay, so there I was, at an unhealthy weight, with the doctor giving me really scary talks & blood test results, and I knew I had to tackle the weight loss thing, but to do it right this time.

I was sooo afraid.

In my case, I was afraid of any kind of behavior that could become obsessive. That included logging & counting, weighing (myself & the food), measuring. So I began very casually, with the idea that I just wanted to be "a little less" every time I stood on the scale. The mantra was: No pressure. Do the best you can. And the weighings were limited to once a week. No ticker. No graphs. No charts. These are excellent tools for most people on this site, but for me, they can lead to a dark, dark overcontrolling & perfectionistic place. The goal was just that I needed to weigh less each week than the week before, and as long as that happened, I'd take it gladly. Also, no particular diet for me, because I could potentially become a real cult member of that particular diet & start taking it as The Prophet's Last Word & start memorizing chapter & verse.

The next thing I did was get my primary care doctor involved, so he'd weigh me on regular appointments. And I went in for counseling & made sure the therapist was fully grounded in my background & my issues. As I've said elsewhere, I knew I needed a team who'd help serve as a sanity check. These guys would see if I started really losing it (to make a bad pun). They could help me recognize what was healthy & what was extreme, and they could also monitor if I did anything to my body that wasn't good.

Another important part of the plan (the very loose, casual plan) was: I had to move my body every day. This began with walking. Easy for me, where I live, to walk everywhere, as I'm in a very urban walkable area. I can go two weeks straight without using my car, if I don't want to. It's amazing how walking can really progress, if you take it seriously. I'm pretty much a gym rat now, but it all began with the walking.

And the third part was, I had to cook for myself. Oh, what a change. I connected cooking with domestic drudgery. I had never wanted to be Martha Stewart or watched Food Network shows -- this had never been an interest of mine. But I saw I was going to have to plunge into this thing. No more quick & easy pasta & sauce from a jar on cheap store brand spaghetti, frozen dinners, ice cream for supper on a hot night, skipping lunch but eating a whole bag of Sour Patch Kids, etc. I had to start cooking vegetables. Lots of them. I started buying fruit for snacks. I started reading & collecting recipes. I learned about the glycemic index -- with my prediabetes symptoms, this sounded like a good thing to follow. I still spend an inordinate amount of time cooking or buying groceries, or so it seems, but this is just so key.

Again, good luck with discovering your own plan.

I do not hold up my plan as a model for you, because as I said, it came about due to my own particular circumstances & quirks of thinking & behavior.

Last edited by saef; 07-14-2010 at 11:04 AM.
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