Living Maintenance general maintenance topics and discussions

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Old 01-08-2005, 07:58 AM   #1  
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Exclamation Some Answers About Genes, Environment, Obesity and Maintenance


Last edited by Meg; 11-28-2016 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 01-08-2005, 10:27 AM   #2  
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This is IMPORTANT STUFF. I hope everyone here at 3FC gets a chance to read and ABSORB this info.

I think for me, it's something I've kind of known (subconciously) all along. I always thought as a pre-pubescent girl - drinking my Diet Coke while my three skinny, gorgeous sisters were eating Baskin-Robbins - that it was SO not fair...

But ya and genetics deals everyone a different set of cards and we should all play ours with an eye towards maximum quality of life. Even though a lot of the time I've had to pass up what 'everyone else' is having - still it's WELL worth it to me. Life not-fat is SO much better than my 'previous' life of sitting at home with the TV and the contents of the fridge...

Maintenance IS harder than losing! Not just psychologically, but for real, measurable physical reasons. Our metabolisms are slowed down by weight loss.
True - but with practice - LOTS of practice - it DOES get easier over time as living the maintenance lifestyle becomes 'second nature'. I think it's kind of like people who have gone through severe accidents where they have lost an appendage and have to learn to live using artificial aids. Anyone remember that guy, Harold Russell (he played Homer in the classic 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives - one of my all-time favorites - and won 2 Oscars for his role) - during WWII he got in a training accident where both of his arms were blown off at the elbows - he lost his hands and forearms. The Army fitted him with artificial arms - basically hooks that he had to LEARN through lots of time, trial, and error - to manipulate. He could have spent the rest of his life sitting on his butt, being depressed and feeling sorry for himself...but instead one of the first things he did was star in an Army training film about his rehabilitation...which was seen director William Wyler who cast him in The Best Years of Our Lives. Mr. Russell used his newfound fame to advocate for the disabled and disabled veterans - he just died a few years ago.

Anyway...he didn't sit on his butt and moan about how unfair life was to him. You take the cards you're dealt and do the best you can, with a POSITIVE ATTITUDE That's my opinion anyway...

Therefore, the diet’s not ever going to be over – we’re going to have to eat thoughtfully for the rest of our lives in order to defeat our bodies’ biochemical mechanisms to regain fat.

The worst possible way to maintain a weight loss would be to try to eat intuitively because our bodies will be cueing us to eat more with lowered leptin levels – we need to eat non-intuitively to outwit our bodies' desire to return to obesity.

The times I've attempted to 'eat intuitively' have been an utter failure for me - resulting in weight gain which I had to take off (only like 5-10 lb but that's because I stopped before gaining anymore). I have read the books about the topic and overcoming overeating and all that, and I can see in THEORY where it might make sense...but it just doesn't work for me. The closest I can come to 'eating intuitively' is to have a fairly limited mental 'staple food list' of stuff that I keep around the house - fruits, veggies, skim milk, oatmeal, eggs, lean meats, light salad dressing, light yogurt, and so on. There's no way I could keep, say, a package of Oreos or Chips Ahoy around the house - for me a bought cookie is an eaten cookie (besides...neither I nor Jim NEEDS that crap around the house - there's enough of that floating around the office! ) - even if I bought those new 100-calorie snack portions that I've seen in the stores, they'd likely be GONE in a flash. I'm pretty much a sugar addict - I've never been able to eat 'just one cookie' - it's an all-or-nothing deal for me. I'm not sad about it - I have SO MUCH joy and stuff happening in my life that I'm not going to let myself get all depressed about freakin' COOKIES.

So the 'diet' is never over...that's not a problem. I LIKE my staple foods. I think that ATTITUDE is a major 'make or break' factor with maintenance. Accentuate the positive! That's my motto anyway

Sorry I'm rambling...

But Meg...this is GOOD STUFF!!! And you know, I think that KNOWLEDGE is a huge key. It might not be what people WANT to hear but it's IMPORTANT to know this!! I think we've said over and over and over and over and over again...find a 'diet' that's not a fad/crash/one time thing...something that's a LIFESTYLE CHANGE...make up your OWN 'diet' - the information on good nutrition and exercise is out there, easy to find - starting right here at 3FC - start exercising - even if you can't afford a gym, get out those old Keds or splurge on a pair of comfortable athletic shoes, grab a pedometer and start WALKING - if it's raining go to the mall and walk and then take it from there.

You know, when I was 265 lbs in 1990 and I couldn't even go up a flight of stairs without stopping for breath - in my big tent-like knit cotton Lane Bryant dress which was my outfit of choice at the time (because I could just slip it over my head and it hid my body like a tent) - THAT's when I decided it was time to CHANGE, and I started by going out the door and walking around the block. That one step lead to another...and now I'm here today, fit, healthy, and HAPPY...

Sorry to to the gym with me!
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:28 PM   #3  
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Wow, Meg! This explains so much. Not sure whether to use the smiley or frownie face. It certainly validates my experience. Based on my measured BMR, and my carefully tracked food intake and activity levels, I simply should have disappeared by now. However, I'm very steadily maintaining on about 1400 calories a day and a lot of exercise.

This raises so many more questions. How big a weight loss causes this to happen? Is the drop in metabolic rate linear with the amount of weight lost? How does age at which the weight was lost affect this? How does rate of weight loss affect it? How does repeated weight loss affect EE? and so on....

Thank you

Off to do 20% more cardio,
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:32 PM   #4  
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Yup, I agree with you 100%. But, (and you knew there would be a but, otherwise why post ), there is a point where you just can't add enough "more muscle" to make up for mindless or just plain too much eating.
Since starting to lift heavy about 4 years ago, I've added about 6 pounds of LBM while losing 54 pounds of scale weight. Since most of us are in the age group where we are losing muscle at about 3 pounds per decade unless we are actively rebuilding it through strength training, I think the muscle building is a must just to maintain our health (muscle protects against osteoporisis, helps regulate blood pressure, glucose and sodium levels), not just to eat a little more. Those 6 more pounds of LBM buy me about a 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese and a half a cup of oatmeal a day- which is what it takes to maintain them. Not a burrito with extra cheese or a bagel or a doughnut!

99% of us just don't have the right hormones or enough of them to pack on enough LBM to chow down with the big boys! And I doubt most of us would really want the look of enough muscle to eat 2500-3000 calories a day.

BUT (there I go with another but) those 6 extra pounds of muscle are enough to keep my bones much stronger than my mother's, who has severe osteoporosis, give me nicely shaped arms, and very strong legs and back. Not to mention my butt.

Mel (who has seen enough of the gym for this week)
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Old 01-09-2005, 04:48 AM   #5  
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Hi Meg and Mel,

Thanks for the info ! Really good stuff from both of you, I also thought "but you can raise your BMR with weightlifting" and then right there was Meg's post about the same and mel's post alerting me to the fact that it does not buy you strawberries with icecream everyday.
So for me I go back to my personal way: as eating less (up to a certain level) is easier than burning of the excess with endless hours of cardio, I am also on the side of being carefull about my intake. It comes creepingly (like a nice glass of wine every day just with the evening meal) but to me these "little habits" are all on the way of gaining weight.

Again, thanks for the great info,
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:37 AM   #6  
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Just a brief post here as deadlines are looming. (What? On a Sunday? Don’t ask.)

Thanks, Meg, for taking the time to go to the lecture and to put together such a coherent summary for us. Very interesting knowledge, as my little sister would have said at age 9. But there’s something in there about terminology which I’d like to get clear so people don’t make the wrong assumptions.

Scientists and medics use a scale of different categories for people’s weight. It’s something like: underweight, normal, overweight, obese, morbidly obese. These categories have precise meanings and aren’t just normal language (where obese = very fat). Now Leibel’s work has been done with obese and reduced obese people, hasn’t it? So, the findings may not be true at all for ‘overweight’ people and it may not even be possible to say that they are just ‘a bit less true’ for overweight people. And not all of us maintainers (and lurkers) are reduced obese; some of us (like me) are in the category of reduced/reducing overweight (to coin a phrase).

Splitting hairs? Perhaps, but I think it’s worth pointing out.

Last edited by silverbirch; 01-09-2005 at 09:36 AM. Reason: to add emphasis
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Old 01-09-2005, 09:35 AM   #7  
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Thanks Meg, Mel and Karen for your awesome posts.


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Old 01-09-2005, 02:40 PM   #8  
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Thanks, Meg, for making this incredible information available - in an easy to read format, no less! It feels good to read facts that support what I've been experiencing the last few years. According to any internet calculator I've used, I should have been able to eat loads more calories than my measly 1200-1300 I was eating just to maintain. It took a long time for me to accept the fact that I would always feel like I was "dieting" even though I had reached my goal weight.

But, like you've all mentioned, if it takes regular cardio and weightlifting, planning and scheduling my meals, weighing myself regularly, logging my food, counting grams of this and that and passing on pizza and french fries, then that's what I have to do. The tradeoff is beyond worth it. It's a price that I will happily pay for the rest of my life.

Thanks again, to all of you. This forum is heaven sent!!
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Old 01-09-2005, 06:23 PM   #9  
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I have to echo the thanks Meg, your posts are always so informative. I agree it is heartening in a strange way to have our own maintenance experiences confirmed.
Weight loss is so full of myths, half truths and theory expounded from anecdotal evidence, a bit of concrete research is more than welcome. I wonder if Liebel's research also debunks the notion of "starvation mode". I have always found the concept of being unable to lose weight because you weren't eating enough difficult to understand. If metabolic change only occurs once obesity has been conquered then is starvation mode a myth?
I also wondered if you were able to find any further information about levels of obesity used in the studies? I note that Mel's top weight of 182 probably meant that she was only ever reached Obesity Level 1 yet she has the same maintenance issues as Meg and myself who were over 200 pounds and probably classed as Level 2. Will Silverbirch, who at 5'4 and 78 kilos was only on the threshhold of level 1 obesity, escape a life of chronic restrained eating?
Although again this is anecdotal evidence I can't help but look at my sister and myself. We have both been overweight. I topped at over 200 pounds whereas she only ever reached 30-40 pounds overweight. Technically as obesity starts at a BMI of 30 she probably was obese but not as obviously so as myself. We are both in our early 40s and thin now but we both have to practice restrained eating. She uses different language to describe her situation "watching what I eat" "cutting back a bit". It appears more casual than my planning and journalling but it is none the less every bit as restrained and careful.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:33 PM   #10  
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Good questions, Alberta. This study confirms a lot of what we knew anecdotally but raises even more questions. One of my big questions is the effect of age: how does when you lost the weight affect the hormonal change? Both Meg and I were in our mid-forties and in peri-menopause when we lost our poundage. I have 2 clients currently in their early forties who tell me that they were 40-50 pounds heavier when they graduated from college, but lost the weight in their early 20's, and don't have to practice chronic restrained eating. They don't eat mindlessly, but they don't diet or really think about it. Most of us on this board are well over our early twenties (not to insult our few young 'uns....we luv ya!) and are into or headed over the hormonal precipice already.

Hopefully, this research is just the tip of the iceberg and more questions will be answered. We just need to get Meg into more of those lectures

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Old 01-09-2005, 09:01 PM   #11  
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Meg said << But we still can maintain our weight losses by eating a little less or moving a little more – eating about 15 – 20% less or exercising about 15 - 20% more than normal people.>>

Great post Meg, good reporting. What cheery news to greet the new year!

Keep in mind however that the 15 to 20% deficite that the 'reduced obese' show is only on expended energy, not on resting rate (50 to 60% energy usage) which remains unchanged as you say, nor thermic (5% usage). If I am understanding it correctly (and I do have a low fever), that means 'only' a 15 to 20% reduction on 35 to 45% of our EE, not on the entire amount. Or, rounding off, about a 5 to 9% total reduction in calories consumed, or increase in calories expended depending on the individual.

We know small amounts of calories consistently consumed daily can add up to pounds over the year. 10 cals extra/day = 1 pound over a year. 100 extra = 10 pounds. Assuming a 10% reduction in EE, and assuming 1400 calories/day maintanence level, that would roughly translate to 14 pounds/year possibily gained. Hopefully the scale would tip you off before that happened.

As Fletcher says in 'Thin for Life', to succeed, 'Accept the food facts.', and this one is a real doozey.

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Old 01-09-2005, 09:08 PM   #12  
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Thank you for this information. I have lived it and know that it is true. But it feels really good to have some scientific support. Many times we beat ourselves up when we have a gain from just slight increases in food intake. This has lead to self-destruction for me at times. What am I doing wrong? How come after a small gain it is so hard to take it off? I only tried to enjoy my vacation, how did I gain XXX pounds in a week? Answer: It must be something I am doing wrong.
A big congratulations to all who have succeded against these odds. We are to be applauded. I am saving this information forever.
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:13 PM   #13  
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Originally Posted by Meg
A lecture like this one raises more questions for us than it answers, so I'd like to take a look at some of his published papers and see what I can find out about all the excellent points that everyone's raised.
No matter what the final per cents are, all that really matters is what the scale says over time, and what we have to do to keep it telling us what we want.

The topic of 'fairness' comes up to me. Its not fair. But then there are lots of things in life that are not fair. Some people have money, good health, intelligence, a good mate, artistic or athletic gifts, etc, others dont. There are many things you can list, and if one lacks something in one area, it may seem unfair. It seems one has a choice, to throw up your hands in dispair, or to grieve the facts then move on. Not everything in life is fair, and life is what you make out of your particular set of circumstances.

We just happen to live during the wrong geologic times when famine is not common where we are lucky enough to live. Would we have been adapted for survival!! Uhhh..... Of course just to take full advantage of my fat genetics, I would never want to live during those primitive times when there were no phones or tv, computers, autos, medicine, etc. I'll gladly take this trade-off of having to eat a couple hundred fewer calories/day or whatever it turns out to be.


Last edited by jansan; 01-09-2005 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:48 PM   #14  
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finally meg - proof of what we've all learned the hard way - the BMR measurements just don't make sense for us... if my BMR says i can have 1600 calories, i can really have only about 1250-1300.

i can live with that, i think.

anybody say anything about the effect of yo yo dieting on resting energy expenditure?
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:22 PM   #15  
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Strangely I do not find this news at all discouraging. It makes the idea of maintinance (and I am now only halfway there) a little more solid in my mind. It also reinforces my decision to avoid fad diets that I could not live with for the rest of forever and wait till I was really ready to make a permanant change before I started to lose weight.

It is unfortunate that most people trying to lose weight will never hear about this stuff.
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