Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gaming the System

Sometimes I just cannot believe I have been at this for six whole years. I have floated by, reassuring myself that "hey I've kept off 60+ pounds, that is great!" Yeah, it is great. Not a lot of people can do that long term. But this is not the goal. It's just not. I think part of me is just afraid that if I look hard and square at what is going on with my body, I'll feel so hopeless I'll just quit. So I try to look at the good I've done.

Tonight I had a discussion with my daughter while we were watching the first bit of Extreme Weight Loss. She did not understand how anyone could *become* so large as the woman on the show. She knows that everyone is different and some kids, even kids she knows, are bigger or smaller, shorter or taller, darker or lighter than others. But if the person was not born that way, how did it happen? It's easy for her to understand that some kids are born missing a limb while others might have lost that limb in an accident. But she did not understand how, if you are not fat as a child, do you become fat as an adult?

We talked about nutrition, about how food is energy, how when we move we burn that energy. We talked about needing energy just to live and breathe and be, and how extra energy gets stored as fat. She got it. It was fairly simple. We even talked about how when we eat some foods it makes us feel good, and some things tastes extra delicious, so sometimes people eat more than they need to... either because it is so yummy or because it makes them forget about being sad for a little while.

I still do that, sometimes. I haven't binged on Medifast foods, but sometimes I just want to eat yummy stuff or forget about the sadness and I have a little too much cheese, or convince myself that a piece of sugar free chocolate is somehow on plan. A friend of mine on Medifast, Steve, calls it "gaming the system" when you try to push the envelope on Medifast... adding extra condiments, a little extra lean protein, a bit of extra here and there... to see just how far you can push it and still lose weight. I did that, I still lost weight for awhile. But it seems like now I have to stay very strictly on plan, as written, if I want to see results. I still try to tell myself that it doesn't matter TOO much if I have regular fat cheese sometimes instead of reduced fat, or if I add some extra salad dressing to my dinner when I don't really need any fat servings. I try to convince myself that a piece of bacon or two is a condiment or that the half & half in my Americano doesn't really count for anything. But it does. It all matters. One serving of fruit is NOT 3 peaches. Adding sour cream to my food or using butter to grease the skillet when I scramble my eggs DOES count. It does, and I have had to really sit down and face this and get a little hard on myself about it. Maybe it worked for me before, but it doesn't now.

I have always been honest on my blog. When I say I was 100%, I was. But there are also times I was gaming the system and not really seeing it as such. I know that has to stop for this to succeed. I've been working at it... at being totally honest with *myself* about whether that food I am putting in my mouth is truly on plan or not.

Well, that's enough for now. Thanks, Steve.


Anonymous said...

Gaming the system. :} Been there.

Although, it's really only "gaming the system" if you WIN at it.

Otherwise, it's trying to "beat the house," which is a fool's strategy. Everyone knows--the house always wins.

Leslie said...


I totally relate to this. The hard part is sometimes you become so good at gaming the system that you start to fool yourself.


Anonymous said...

What an eye opener! I have done the same thing. The most important thing is being aware of the behavior. The second most important thing is being able to stop it.

Anonymous said...

So true lyn....so true! I watched a TV program about weight loss and the coach had to say the same thing to the patient. He was also gaming the plan and got by for a while, but then he added a little here and there until he started gaining weight again.
You are correct...every little bit does matter...it just does.
I'm exactly where you are. I've been at this so long and still have about 50 lbs to lose. I've tettered around the same weight for a year, but NOW it's time to either get happy where I am, which is not a good idea, healthwise....OR...get on the wagon fully and finally get to goal.

I wish you all the best!

Lori said...

Been there. Done that. Only my term was 'on plan cheating!' I eat way too much protein because it doesn't have any carbs so it isn't so bad. Stuff like that.

Anonymous said...

I worked the plan until it did not work anymore. In my case 2 medifast meals lean and green and 1 large frozen yougert per day. In my case having more the 2 MF meals ALWAYS. Meant a gain unless I STUCK TOTALLY. To 5 and 1.

Jami Stakley said...

I can't tell you how much that hits home with me. When I initially started the program, I followed it to the letter. I lost weight. Then I started and pushing/gaming and I have put back on 2 pounds. I consider myself lucky. Thank you Steve and Lyn for putting that into a clear perspective. Back to the beginning for me. I refuse to lose this game!

Anonymous said...

Yep, it's always easy to add "just a bit of cheese"... to the salad... but, in the end, it all counts!

However, in looking at why I had so much weight on my body... I had to look back at how I ate...

I remember buying a bag of small candies... and promising that I'd eat one a day... make the bag last a month! But, I'd have one... then, another, then, another... and so on... before I knew it, the bag was empty! Where did they all go?!?

I found this article recently though, which might explain what happens...


You'all know how it works, after a day at work, stop by your local grocery store, hungry... hmm, look at that bag of potato chips, "that will help..., open, eat one... well, that didn't help, maybe more will..." and down the path to an empty bag without really tasting anything!

So, watch the depression!

BTW, I started Medifast at 483lbs... and, after 3 months, I've lost 60lbs!!!! It sounds like a LOT, but, remember, how much I started with!

PamL said...

Just read this today and thought of you. It talks a lot about "eating philosophy" and how that is going to fail us....weight loss is a lot of emotional/psychological stuff that gets ignored by the "experts". I just thought it was really, really interesting, a very good read.

dlamb said...


CatherineMarie said...

Just remember, just like "Biggest Loser" Extreme Weight Loss is about losing weight fast, not necessarily healthy. And I have yet to see one of these weight loss shows come back and do an update 3 years later... and from what I've read online, it is because they regained, and then some. So you really want to do this healthfully, for you, and end up with a plan that you can sustain long-term.

Every little bit does matter, but you also need to figure out how to not feel deprived, too. Which you did by going on the plan with the increased fruit and veg...