TFL Key #1: Believe That You Can Become Thin For Life

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  • Quote:
    I don't know... if something is a constant struggle... is it a "lifestyle"? I suppose it is, but it seems like a mighty ugly one.
    You know, that might be the million-dollar question since we hear the phrase 'it has to become a lifestyle' tossed around all over the place. If you have to force yourself - if you aren't enjoying it - is it a lifestyle?

    For me, changing my life was VERY uncomfortable at first. I liked how I used to live (in a world of books and cookies) - I just didn't like the results (being obese). When I changed my life, exercising was so hard and I missed all my old comfort foods. It all was weird and alien and unpleasant. But Mel said something that turned out to be true for me: If you love the results, learn to love the process. And I did love the almost immediate results of losing weight - energy, smaller sizes etc. So I learned to love the process because it got me to where I wanted to go.

    Now I genuinely like the way I live my life. I don't know if it's simply because I love the result or whether I really like going out into the dark at 6 AM to do cardio ... but after almost four years, it's become a lifestyle that I love and feel comfortable in.

    You know how they talk about fake it until you make it? That might be what you have to do in the beginning ... what does everyone else think?
  • DANG IT!!! I just lost a semi-long post !!! ARGH !!!

    Here goes again!

    Meg I remember when Mel said that too: If you love the results, learn to love the process. I OFTEN think about this saying when I'm running and I don't feel like going further....

    Ellis said:
    I think I've always thought of it (in terms of eating) as a way of life that comes easily... without having to think about it.
    Karen/MrsJim always says : " It gets easier with time..." I am finding it easier than last year or 2 years ago OR 10 years ago... My thinking of food has shifted 360 degrees, that's a fact... But when does it all end tho ? When does it become a non issue ? Maybe like SusanB says : " 'I get to work out tomorrow because work just called and I don't have to go!' " I really like that one ... and I know that sometimes I am definitely at that point , exercise wise anyways... for example this morning I called my g/f, I just had this gut feeling she was going to drop by when I wasn't here, sure 'nuf she was going to drop in just at 11 o'clock when I was leaving... I bluntly said , sorry I'm off to the gym ... from the "OH ? " on the other end of the line I could tell she was disappointed... BUT I was determined to get my workout in early, because 11am, was already getting a little late... When it comes to food it's still a struggle at times, but easier than it has ever been

    Ellis I am the opposite of you, when I was a teen I was obcessed with food and my body image, it was very distorted also very negative... I used alot of negative self talk back then when looking in the mirror, which I rarely, if ever, do now...

    Funny how distorted our views of ourselves are... When was a size 14 I thought I looked like an 8, now that I'm at an 8 I think I look like a 14 .... Go figure ! I guess I have to give the size 8 time to sink in ... or a 6 for that matter ... I looked at a size 6 pants last week thinking "no way" do I fit my butt in those they looked so small on the rack, when I took them in the change room they easily slid over my hips, but I just felt they were too snug and I didn't like the style... Time I guess all in good time...

    Well I have to get going I hear DH getting supper ready I have to make sure it's health conscious... TTFN.......

    This has been a great discussion BTW...
  • Did I say that?
    I haven't chimed in yet because I found that my experiences ran counter to just about everything that is listed as a key to success in the TFL book. So much for my success. I'm still trying to puzzle it out.

    Like Meg, I didn't really believe that I would be successful at either losing a significant amount of weight or keeping it off. I didn't even have a goal. I had no mental image of myself as a thin person, but like Ilene, I really didn't have an image of myself as a fat person either. I just didn't look. About the only thing I had going for me is that I've always been active since I was about 12 years old, and even when heavy I spent a lot of time exercising. I was more surprised than anyone that I actually succeeded in losing weight, and the only way that I did it was by suspending disbelief and past experience, forcing behavioral changes without too much self-examination.

    Maintenance is exactly the same. It's a lifestyle in the sense that I do it every minute of every day, but I think about it all the time. The day I stop thinking about is when I will fail. So in that sense, I'm not in the "acceptance" phase. What I have accepted is that I love the result, so I will live the process. Karen says it gets easier, but I find that it's exactly the same. Day in and day out.

    I've had food issues/obsessions since I was 12, ranging from anorexia to bulemia, periods of a more relaxed attitude towards food when I just got fat, and for the last almost 4 years, a very structured relationship with food. This is what works for me: it's a very behavioral approach. I'm certainly not perfect either...but I have learned that slips are not the end, that it is possible to close the jar or the cabinet door, forgive myself and start again right away.

    So that was a longwinded answer to the question "Do you need to believe?"
    Nope, I don't think so. You just need to do it.

  • This is such a fascinating topic.

    Ilene, that is wonderful that you told your friend you were going to the gym. That's putting yourself first! (I'd probably do the same thing, but for an entirely different reason... I'm anti-social! )

    "Fake it 'til you make it." Yes, I can relate to that, Meg.
    And Mel's, "You just need to do it!"

    I ran for about 10 years when I was in my teens/early 20s. I loved running. I think I was probably a bit masochistic about it. It hurt, but at the same time, I felt euphoric.
    I know it's something I'll do again once I've dropped 30 or 40 pounds. I feel "cool" when I run. I feel like I belong to some little private "club" as a runner. I know a lot of people who run, but they're not all "runners", if you know what I mean. They don't "get it". That little secret "something".
    For about 30 years, I've seen and waved to the same man running along the road near where I grew up. He must be in his 80s now. I've seen him shopping a few times, and he can barely walk now. He positively totters. But when he runs, he flies. There's joy there.

    For me, the whole exercise/diet thing is a real head-game. I feel fabulous after a workout. I feel slimmer, more energetic, and mentally clear.
    So why is it that the following day I can't REMEMBER that feeling!? All I can think of is, "It's too much work."
    Why is it that when I eat a huge meal and feel terrible afterwards, I "forget" that bloated sense of discomfort, and do it again?!
    And why is it that when I stay OP for a few days and drop a couple of pounds, I think, "Now I can really chow down!"?
    It's as though I'm still a child... when am I going to "grow up"?
  • Ellis, you're so right - the whole diet and exercise thing - the whole weight loss thing - is totally a head game. I'm convinced that 98% of weight loss happens in our heads, not our bodies. It's not about growing up - these are issues that a lot of us will probably always struggle with, you know. No one ever said that this is easy (OK, except for the charlatans selling diet books and pills, but they don't count )

    Why not go ahead and run tomorrow? I don't think you're too big to run now. Sure it might only be for 30 seconds at first, but why not try? You could build a little every day ... and get that runner's high back again. You probably think I'm ... but why not? You love it, obviously, and it's awesome cardio. Running might help you get that head integrated back into your body and make them work together, not as enemies.
  • Quote: So why is it that the following day I can't REMEMBER that feeling!?
    Oh Ellis, you hit home with me there!! I'm the exact same way!! I worked really really hard to REMEMBER and eat THOUGHTFULLY -- bedore endulging during the holidays, sometimes the memories worked and other times it didn't *sigh*... On running: Ellis you should really try it again no matter what your weight just start slow... I'm hooked on that feeling and I always want to remember it ... I also love being in that "club" what a wonderful feeling that is .... I honestly felt selfish when I told my friend that I was going to the gym instead of having her visit, I honestly did...
  • Hi Ellis,

    About 8 months ago i started excercising, was very out of shape too, and I just ran a small bit, then walked, ran again, walked again. This at first for all of 5 minutes. As an athletic prestation it was laughable because my 9 year old daughter could easily keep up with me on her bike. But it got me moving whcih is the only thing that counts, and now after 8 months I notice I can keep up the cardio for 70 minutes.

    So just starting is enopugh, and if you keepup at it it gets a bit better everyday.Just focus on the process, not the results and you will get there.

    good luck
  • Thank you so much, Meg, Ilene and Rabbit... you've inspired me! I'm going to try it today.
    I'm not coming back until I've done it, so if you never see me again...
    And Rabbit... congratulations on your achievement with the cardio!
  • GO ELLIS GO!!!!

    We're all cheering for you! And we'll all be here waiting for a report.
  • Ah... here I am. You've all been hovering over my head, and I finally got on the treadmill this morning.
    I did 15 minutes, including a 3 minute and a 2 minute run!! I feel GREAT!!!
    Thanks for inspiring me to start, girls!!
  • This is the beginning of something really good, Ellis, I just know it!
  • Hello all. I'm reading all your responses to this thread and first off - I haven't read the book, but it's now definately on my to buy list.
    And i'd really love to join this discussion.

    now - as far as these questions go...first off a little about me - i am currently 16 pounds over my lowest weight of 160 - and my total weight loss was 60 (now 44) from my highest weight of 220. i honestly DO KNOW that i AM a success because of the fact that I not only lost 60 pounds and maintained that for 6 months - but, even though i DID gain back 20 (and have since lost 4) - the fact is, i did NOT gain back ALL 60. now - those questions.

    Do you/did you believe that you could reach goal when you started your weight loss?
    When I started for the first time - back in January of 2002 - yes I did believe that I could do it. I started weight watchers for the very first time in January and by August I got down to 180. My goal was then and always has been 160. The thing is, when I was in high school, I went down from 220 to 150 and so of course i believed I could do it - HOWEVER...come August of 2002 - I got cocky and backslid and a year later - in September of 2003, i was back up to 205. I decided then and there THIS IS IT. NO MORE. and I got back on WW and dropped 45 more pounds to my goal of 160.

    Do you believe that you can keep the weight off for life?
    Absolutely! However...I know that I'm not like my thin friends. I WILL always and forever have to "diet" and "exercise" to keep my weight at the point that it needs to be. I CAN'T eat whatever I want whenever I want it. That's not to say, however, that I don't allow myself to indulge...BUT I also know that I can't indulge ALL the time - as proven by me gaining back 20 pounds. But at the same time, I know that I've done this twice now and the fact is I CAN lose this weight AND keep it off. The hard truth to face, however, is that I HAVE to constantly keep with this healthy lifestyle. I CAN'T become lazy.

    How important do you think it is to believe that permanent weight loss is possible in order to achieve your goals?
    For me, being thin and being HEALTHY is really who I want to identify myself with and who i want others to see me as. I know many people may say, "oh you need to not care about what other's think" - but the truth of the matter is. I do. Almost EVERYONE does. don't lie. truth be told...i LOVE showing people my before and after pics because it shows that I DO have the committment to do something that not a lot of people CAN do. Plus, too - I'm just not happy when I'm not at my lowest / goal weight. When I AM there - I AM happy.

    What does maintenance mean to you?
    Maintenance means continually striving to be as healthy as I possibly can. It also means allowing myself a slice of pizza and a beer every now and then - but also making sure I DO go to the gym 3 times a week and also making sure that I DON'T become lazy and get back into my old habits. When I DO have a weekend with my friends of too much alcohol & food - saying, "I had fun - it was yummy - but now it's time to get back on track". It also means NOT allowing myself to go to the vending machine every day or buying the worst foods in the cafeteria but reminding myself that while those foods may be "tasty" they really AREN'T healthy - and being HEALTHY is what maintaining the success I've come to achieve means.

    Do you/did you ‘break the rules’ of weight loss?
    I don't know - I really don't believe in "rules" of weight loss...because everyone is different and loses in different ways and needs to "create" their own healthy lifestyle rules.

    Are you presently in one of the four stages of weight loss? How many have you experienced?
    I think I've definately had the "Honeymoon phase" - when I lost the first 60 pounds...(actually 40 from Sep 2003 to May 2004, but there was 20 from my highest in 2002)...
    But I think I'm pretty much always in the tentative acceptance stage because my life pretty much is LIFE. I slip up - but I ALWAYS get back on track. yes, I've gained back 20 pounds - but I'm currently down 4 - AND in between the past year and a half I've gained and lost the same 10 pounds anyways...but that's just it - i ALWAYS go back down when I "slip up"

    Have you ever tried to lose weight by non-dieting? Was it successful?
    yes - when i was in high school, i wasn't dieting or anything - but I was in marching band and I ran during gym class and took my bike everywhere (had no license yet) and i ended up dropping 70, of course, back then i had NO clue that I could gain it back - and i got into college and decided i LOVED partying...and all those empty alcohol calories and LOADS of food...yeah. it ALL came back.

    Do you believe that you control your weight or do you believe that forces beyond your control predetermine your weight?
    It's all about me. I am the one who puts food into my mouth and I am also the ONLY one who can make myself go to the gym.
  • I just finished the book tonight (started last weekend).

    I don't think I realized it before but I probably believed myth # 1 most of my life.

    "Myth #1: If you’ve been overweight since childhood, it’s next to impossible to lose weight and keep it off."

    Since I've always been not only overweight but very large boned... large feet, hands, all of that, I've always been told that my size is "just the way I am".

    I wonder if there is a part of me that really believes this even now. Will that part of me have trouble accepting a slimmer me? Will my family? (not my husband and children, but my siblings, mother etc...)

    If I am totally honest with myself.. I think this is an area I have to work out. Can I even imagine a smaller me for life?
  • Test post for Susan.
  • I'm bumping and posting to bring this amazing book to everyone's attention.

    I'm so agonizingly close again that I've been reading it again and lurking in Maintainers.

    Do you/did you believe that you could reach goal when you started your weight loss?

    No, I thought I'd fail again. A few pounds and I was getting better. 10 lbs was truly motivating.

    Do you believe that you can keep the weight off for life?

    After reading and learning so much about the commonly held (and dismal) expectations ... I feel obliged to succeed. I can imagine myself thin for life but that's not the same is it?

    How important do you think it is to believe that permanent weight loss is possible in order to achieve your goals?

    I believe that you can stumble a long blindly and have some success. I have a friend who lost 30 lbs years ago and still doesn't know what a protein is. But lasting thinness? I think you have to be very determinded and positive.

    What does maintenance mean to you?

    Apparently, a life time of vigilance. It has been so easy for me to backslide as much as 25 lbs ... all the while thinking I knew how to fix that.
    I want it to mean a knowing control ... a lifetime of wisely chosing the best without distress.

    Do you/did you ‘break the rules’ of weight loss?

    Yes. I eat junk. I do not exercise hard.

    Are you presently in one of the four stages of weight loss? How many have you experienced?

    I think I'm a doer-overer ... I remember several honeymoons. Just lately actually. I've dropped afew pounds and I'm bright and sparkly and into it ...
    I'll have to think about that ... I don't remember where I set the book when I came in tonight.

    Have you ever tried to lose weight by non-dieting? Was it successful?

    Uh, no. Food is usually the easiest part for me. Intuitive eating is not.

    Do you believe that you control your weight or do you believe that forces beyond your control predetermine your weight?

    I was surprised to find how strong the genetic links are. And ashamed to think that mine are not bad. I'm afraid I've always been a self blamer. The fact that there may be other entities at work here has never been a serious thought of mine.