Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thinking It Over.

I've been looking back over my blog, trying to piece together in my head a picture of what has made weight loss success or failure over time for me. Of course, not every dieting attempt I've ever made is chronicled here, but an awful lot of it is. Maybe there are some bit of information that will be helpful going forward.

In the months before I started blogging, my weight had gone up (into the 280's) and down a bit as I tried to get a grip on my weight. In December 2006, I was counting calories and eating 1800/day. By summertime, I was able to get down to 266 pounds, but I was still having periodic binge episodes which landed me at 278 pounds by August, in the very beginning of my blog.

At first, I just focused on not binge eating as much, and eating lots of produce, lean meats, and whole grains. I wasn't counting calories and I was out of shape enough that even a one-block walk left me out of breath. Just by making those small changes, I lost 13 pounds the first month. By October, I had purchased my bike and was riding 5 minutes, 3 times a week. Sounds silly, but it was HARD. I was so out of shape. I had to work up to walking and biking more. By December I was down 30 pounds and able to walk 4 blocks at a time. I went off plan over the Christmas holidays, but maintained at 248 pounds through February 1.

That's when I started calorie counting. I began logging everything I ate and aiming for 1500 calories a day. I was also biking 10 minutes, 3 days a week. I kept this up, increasing my exercise, staying at 1500 calories a day, and having a rare, occasional (but big) binge. By April 1 I weighed 235 pounds and had added lifting weights 3 days a week. May 1, I weighed 228 and was biking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, and weight lifting 3 times a week. I kept up this activity pace and 1500 calories a day of eating until I hit my lowest weight, 214 pounds, in August.

Then I stalled out. I regained 11 pounds in one week in August. I was struggling emotionally, started to binge again, stopped exercising. I was stressed to the hilt with marriage issues and kids' health issues, and I let my eating get away from me. Over the next 18 months I tried *so hard* to get back in the groove. I intermittently counted calories (1600-1700), biked, and lifted weights alternating with periods of overeating, ignoring my intake, and not exercising. I went up and down between 222 pounds and 235 pounds, losing or maintaining when I was counting and exercising and gaining when I wasn't.

March 1, 2010, I weighed 234 pounds... a 20 pound regain from my lowest weight. I started Medifast and stayed on it (with some blips here and there, on and off plan, but very few) with very little exercise besides walking. I was eating an average of 900 calories per day, and in 8 months I lost 59 pounds, hitting my lowest weight of 175 pounds in October 2010. I felt GREAT. I maintained in the 170's for the most part, going up into the 180's here and there as I went on and off plan over the holidays. April 1, 2011 I weighed 182 pounds. I was struggling to maintain, and not losing anymore weight. I was finding it very hard to stay strictly on plan. During times of stress and overeating I got up to 198, but by June I was 184 pounds again.

In August 2011 I was eating a whole foods plan and not counting calories, but I gained weight doing this... 199 pounds in February 2012. I went back on Medifast and followed their Transition plan to go off to a whole foods diet. I started counting calories again aiming for 1500/day.Over the summer I went grain free, legume free, and sugar free, aiming for a Primal/Paleo way of eating. Intermittently I biked and lifted weights, too. In the fall I joined two gyms and religiously went to swim and lift weights three times a week. I started counting calories (1300-1400 calories) but was not seeing much in the way of results. I ate more when frustrated, sick, and stressed and saw the scale start creeping up again. By November, I weighed 222 pounds and went back on Medifast, trying desperately to stop the regain.

2013 has been interesting. I pretty much stayed within 5 pounds of 217 all year. I was very inactive due to plantar fasciitis, I went on and off plan with Medifast until I began the 4&2 Plan over the summer. I finally got down to 208 pounds and have been back on the 5&1 Plan since September 1.

So that leads me to the present time. I will tell you I am really sick of dieting, but that's nothing new. I am even more sick of being fat... even though I am 70 pounds *less fat* than I was when I began.

I didn't write this whole thing out for *you.* I know all of this is already on my blog. I wrote it out for *me*, because I do not want to keep making the same mistakes over again. This regain has been very frustrating. I have spent a lot of energy trying to get out of it, only to spin my wheels. Well, I am proud of maintaining and not gaining back another 70 pounds or more. I know that is a big accomplishment. But I want to get out of this rut... this rut of dieting and getting nowhere. Yes, I have lost 2 pounds this month. Ten pounds this year. But I am sorry, I just cannot believe or accept that THAT is all I am capable of... that it is the best I can do.

My story goes forward from here. I keep chronicling my activity and intake. I NEED to see bigger losses and I NEED to feel more energized. There is an answer here somewhere. I am taking the rest of this month to really work it out... what has gone wrong, what has gone right, what does my body really need right now? What am I capable of? While I work on that I am continuing Medifast 5&1 and will start biking as soon as I have my bike tomorrow. October 1, I will reassess. I just can't do this for another six years.


JeanneTops said...

I understand you weren't writing for us but for yourself. I don't have answers to give you but I would like to point to a few things.

1. You say "I can't do this for another six years." But what's happened in the last six years is that you've had both a lot of success and a lot of stress. You've had injuries, family problems, emotional struggles. That is not going to change in the future - that's what happens in life. Several times you said that during these times, your eating would get out of control, your exercising would slow down or stop. Most of us who struggle with weight control do that until we learn how to get through those times without overeating and underexercising. You'll need to find what works for you.

2. You mention several "big answers". Medfast, low calorie diets, major exercise. They all enabled you to lose weight. What they didn't do is enable you to not gain the weight back. What you don't say is that you've found a comfortable way for you to eat. A way that you can continue even through the stressful times without gaining the weight back.

3. Why do you say you "NEED to see bigger losses"? If you had just lost one pound a month for the past six years, you would have lost the same amount of weight that you have. But you would have kept losing it through all the stress and injuries. You would feel very empowered now because you would have had six years of continual success. Losing weight is like a drug, it's easy to get addicted to the high of lower numbers on the scale. We want bigger and bigger losses until our minds/emotions/bodies can't handle what it takes to get them anymore and then we spring back to our old ways and regain.

I have lost and regained 50+ pounds more than five times over four decades. I've been maintaining a 90 pound weight loss for more than two years now - the longest I've ever gone in my life. The difference this time for me is that I set out to learn how to not gain the weight back. I eat about the same number of calories as when I started. I've changed my eating habits to some extent - healthier foods - but I did it very gradually, not as part of some plan. My only restriction was to never do anything - eating or exercising - that I didn't think I could do for the rest of my life. Because I knew that if I didn't think I could keep doing it, I wouldn't. I've had my share of emotional stresses and physical injuries. I've had some eating binges. But I was able to return to my usual way of eating much sooner and more easily because I wasn't returning to a "struggle", I was returning to a way of eating and exercising that I could do comfortably. It might take me a few months to lose a five pound weight gain but that's a whole lot better than gaining another five or ten pounds instead.

Keeping a blog for six years is no easy task. You clearly have the drive and energy to accomplish a lot. It is a tremendous success to have maintained a 70+ weight loss even if it has been an up and down experience. My suggestion is this: decide how you want to be eating and exercising once you've lost the weight and then start doing that now. Eventually you will lose the rest of the weight you want to lose. And you won't have to risk gaining it back when you get there.

LHA said...

I admire you for not giving up! Your determination is your best asset. I know you will find the way forward. You may feel "stuck" and even unsuccessful, but you are a hero to me because you keep on trying! My own story has some similarities to yours and I am drawing inspiration from your unwillingness to throw in the towel, so many thanks for blogging.

Anonymous said...

5 bite diet. You eat 5 regular sized bites of anything you want for lunch and dinner each day. You take a multi-vitamin and make sure one bite is good protein. Oh and you only drink water. It's eating like you've had a tummy tuck when you haven't.

I lost 10 lbs the first week (and I hadn't been able to lose 10 lbs in a YEAR before that). It is crazy. It is hard. But, it teaches you portion size and it can get rid of weight very quickly. That's the whole point of it. Take off the weight quickly and be DONE with it. Yes, maintaining will be hard, yes you will never be able to go back to eating like you did, but it might just bring you out of this rut and get you to losing again.

I'm still losing. Just a thought. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I have a radical idea for you: Skip the diet and go directly to maintenance. Don't laugh--think about it.

Pick your ideal goal weight. You can estimate what combination of diet and exercise will enable you to maintain that weight once you get there. Then go ahead and make that lifestyle change now! If that lifestyle will equal maintenance at 160 pounds, say, then it will result in weight loss at 208 pounds, or any weight over 160.

Of course, coming off MF you will have some temporary rebound weight gain, but once your body is convinced it's not in famine conditions it will gradually adjust. The beauty of this is that while it's gradual, every pound lost is lost permanently, and you can start living your life like a normal person right away.

I'm 78 years old, and I spent most of my adult life yo-yoing between 268 and 130 until I learned the secret (for me), that diets inevitably create rebound. Maintenance is the trick. For the past ten years or so I've stayed happily and healthily in the 160's.


Lyn said...


you are right, the learning how to NOT regain is a huge deal and not something I have mastered. That is what I struggle with, because I never in my life had an exercise or activity habit, and have always preferred junk food. Sometimes, when I get off the junk for awhile, I start to prefer vegetables and healthy food, but usually somewhere in my mind is a preference for Twix bars and potato chips. So I have to figure out what is sustainable and healthy. Will give this further thought.


thank you so much. Your words mean a lot to me. I am glad you're inspired and I hope you have success AND perseverance!

Ty said...

I think you are on the right track mentally and with your approach. I agree wholeheartedly that you don't want to be dieting for another 6 years. That would be miserable. I also have no desire to drag this out for any longer than necessary as far as my own diet is conscerned.

I think that what is probably best at this point is to just go all-out, balls-to-the-wall for a few months, get to where you want to be, and then get your calories back up to maintenance levels at the earliest possible opportunity.

Get it over with and be done, done, done with dieting and just focus on maintaining. I plan to be done with this crapulence of dieting by Jan 1 and I am already plotting all the enjoyable yet healthy meals I plan to be eating at maintenance levels. I also plan to be doing cardio worth at least 600 calories a day for the rest of my life, because that is a lot of extra food I can consume and enjoy without storing any of it.

Protracted battles can really be wearisome, and I think we both should be thinking along the lines of " shortest path to victory". Think "Normandy Invasion" instead of "Vietnam"-as in a total commitment of all available resources in an all-out push for total victory as opposed to a low-level mediocre commitment that just never gets anywhere.

I mean, you kept most of your weight off, so all you need to lose now is what, 40 pounds? That isn't really all that much. Just do what you need to do and knock it out of the park and be done.

And I will reiterate that that weights and as much cardio as your body can hack will help get you back into fat burning mode and out of metabolic shutdown and diet-fatigue.

Hope you enjoy your new bike. Good idea about the TV reward. Very inventive.

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Jane)~

thank you, I will definitely give that some thought as well. I appreciate you sharing it with me and am so glad you found a solid answer!

Lyn said...


five bites of anything sounds like a good dose of moderation. Problem is, some foods trigger me to overeat.. a LOT. One bite of cookie dough is going to turn into a whole dish. And I do think I need more vegetables/nutrition than that. Part of me is ashamed I struggle so much with moderation, like a child with no self control, but it is what it is. I am working on it but I have to accept that I will probably never be able to eat 'one bite' of ice cream and stay sane.

Lyn said...


yeah, I agree about getting it done asap... which is why I am on Medifast. In the past it has gotten the weight off me very fast. Seems something is different this time around. I will see how much exercise I can fit in... probably more than I think, if I make a good effort, especially in the winter. If I could ride that bike for 45 minutes a day without getting some kind of injury, and lift 3x a week, I do think I would start losing pretty well. Although then I might need to increase my calories again...

LHA said...

Lyn, I was thinking about you while I was showering and getting ready for bed, trying to think what might jump-start your loss again. Here is a little trick that often works for me. Maybe you have already tried it, and if so I am sorry for the repetition of the idea:

Eat your main meal (meaning the highest calorie) early in the day. Eat VERY few calories after mid-afternoon. You could keep to your same MF meal plan, but I guess that would mean your lean and green meal would be mid-day and something very low cal at night for dinner. Many years ago I read a study where three groups of subjects were put on a 1000 calorie diet. One group ate most of the calories in the morning, one had them evenly distributed throughout the day, and one ate most of them at night. The morning eaters lost much more weight than the evenly distributed weight, and the night eaters lost nothing at all.

Just offering it as an idea.....you wouldn't have to lower calories overall, just redistribute them. Good luck with however you decide to proceed!

Anonymous said...

You may take the weight off with a quick fix, but you won't KEEP it off unless you change your lifestyle. The sad truth is, whatever you do to take off the weight, you have to keep doing to keep it off.

Anonymous said...


You might want to consider water aerobics. It sure burns the calories off and is fun too. Three times a week would really help burn off at least a pound a week. I am 63 with bad knees, arthritis, and had plantar faciitis in the past. Water aerobics, wearing sturdy water shoes, has been about the only aerobic exercise I can do. It's been fun to watch the swimsuit sizes decrease. You could do water aerobics 2 or 3 days a week and your bike on other days. Just an idea if you like the water.

I really admire your determination in continuing toward your weight goals. It does get harder as time goes on. I know that all too well. Consistent exercise is the key, I'm finding, and I've not done much exercise in my life. I don't like it, but at least the water aerobics classes are fun and you don't get bored with all the other people around.

I hope you enjoy your new bike. Hang in there. Even 2 or 3 pounds off a month would be success at this point. I'm losing about 3 pounds a month right now and I'm fine with it. It's better than nothing. I know exercise is the key to more, but it's hard to do with injuries and arthritis.

Wishing you success!


Anonymous said...

Lyn - this is just a thought. Is it possible you are premenopausal or even menopausal? I'm asking because I noticed a hgue decrease in my energy levels, both mentally and physically when I was 46. I'm 52 now and feel better, but nothing like how I felt before I stsrted going through menopause. I have days when I feel great and days where I'm totally exhausted.

I've started taking some natural supplements that have helped alot, although nothing will make all the symptoms go away.

Just wondering if you may be having energy loss, mental tiredness due to menopause?


timothy said...

LHA had a good suggestion that could help. I don't know why we think the heaviesy meal should be before we go to bed anyway. I grew up on a farm and we always had a HUGE breakfast.

Lyn said...

LHA and timothy~

yes, that may be something to try. I can have eggs or yogurt as my protein source on Medifast, and have my big meal as an omelet or anything else.


I have heard that said but do not see it as truth. I have watched many people lose their weight by a diet or other more drastic means, and then move to a different, more moderate plan for maintenance. What IS true is that we have to change the eating and activity patterns from what got us fat, or we just go back to being fat.


I do like to swim but unless I join a gym, my pool access ends when summer ends. I might rejoin a gym this winter though; I liked the swimming and lifting last year. Biking and lifting right at home is, I think, something I am more likely to do out of convenience, but you're right that swimming is least likely to cause injury.


yeah, there is definitely something going on there, not sure if it is pre-menopause or something else but my cycle last month was really messed up.

Anonymous said...

Cutting back further as some commenters have suggested (700 calories?) would be utterly foolish. You have only two reasonable choices.

1. Keep eating 900 calories of Medi-Fast and exercise more.

2. Increase calories (with or without Medi-Fast, doesn't matter) and exercise more.

Whether choosing A or B you have to exercise enough to burn excess fat. You also must eat enough to feel well and have energy. You CAN do this but you must be careful not to eat the deficit. I would not go over 1600 calories by any means, and I would do as an earlier commenter said and exercise twice a day, morning and night.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, at 208 pounds the absolute minimum you should be eating is around 1650. That is assuming you are lying flat on your back doing absolutely nothing.

You are doing such damage to your body and your metabolism by eating with such restriction.

Please go look at the GoKaleo website. I was in the same boat as you (worse actually, I was GAINING at 1000 calories a day) and now I maintain easily at 2300 - 2800 calories a day. It does work, it just takes time.

You will never lose the weight this way. If it was possible, you would have lost is years ago. It's time for something new.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Being sedentary really does a number on your ability to burn calories in daily activities other than exercising. Plus, while weighing less might have put less damage to your feet long-term, losing weight won't undo the damage immediately.

Dieting is not something to hate or love. It's just what happens to our metabolism and lifestyle as we age. I spend time with my parents, and their food needs are so low - I'll usually eat one meal that's the same as both of them combined.

PamL said...

So sorry you haven't found what works for you. I like the comments that say you have to decide what you are going to do for maintenance and then do it now. I find that interesting--if it is something you can do for the rest of your life, why can't it work now? Something I'll think about.

I don't know much about Medifast, but I don't like prepackaged stuff. And it does sound like too few calories--especially if you are getting sick and have not energy. Your body might need a change.

I have decided to eat real food only. I am reading The Primal Blueprint and I read Wheat Belly and I am convinced by what they are saying. In order to lose weight, you have to control your insulin levels, which make you retain fat, and not be able to lose it. Wheat products and sugar increase insulin (some people may not understand that wheat products actually increase insulin more than table sugar!) We have to eliminate those things, then our body can start using the calories we give it to burn the fat we have accumulated.

I have lost almost 10 pounds in a month. I have not felt deprived and I feel like I have lots of energy. The days I logged my food, I was eating about 1300-1400 calories. The one thing I read in the book that has stuck with me is--don't poison yourself. Those foods that are not going to help me maintain a healthy weight or drop weight are poison to my system, so why would I want to eat them? Poison...that's a strong word, but it's (mostly--I'm not perfect)kept me from eating junk that I would otherwise just shove into my mouth without thinking about it!

Good luck in your journey and I hope you find what works for you!

Tamra Augostino said...

I have no real advice for you because I struggle with the same thing. I feel like I've been on a diet for the past 25 years. I am choosing to eat a clean diet along with Weight Watchers. WW is the only plan that has ever worked for me in the past and then I just stop and give up. Trying to keep reminding myself that if I quit, I'll never reach my goal and I'll just slip backwards again.
Good luck to you. I hope you find the "magic" combination for you.

J. said...

Hi Lyn- I just found your blog and I completely know how you feel - I have been yo yo dieting my whole life and just gained 40 pounds due to infertility meds. I agree with Nan above- water aerobics. I am in my mid thirty’s and have arthritis in my lower back. I decided to give water aerobics a try because someone in my weight watchers meeting told me that a new class was starting up the following week at a local rec center. I gave it a try… AND I LOVE IT! They also have a water Zumba class that I am going to try next session. I think there is also a water body pump. You can do the exercises at which ever intensity you want but if you do at the intensity of the instructor it is an AMAZING workout. A 45 minute class burns as much calories as a 2 mile run! Check out your local rec centers in the area and see what’s out there – I was really surprised that something like this was available.
As far as losing weight – I am having success with Weight Watchers (11.5lbs so far). The new program is a lot more user friendly than in the past and the phone apps make tracking a no brainer. I have a friend who says she doesn’t like WW because it makes her think about food too much – but that’s what I need. I need to think about what I’m putting in my mouth because I have a tendency to mindlessly snack and not realize how much I am shoveling in my mouth. Portion control is also a huge problem for me. Whatever you chose to do I think you need to not only look at the diet itself but how you will be able to live after the “diet.” On WW I can go out to dinner with my husband and/or friends and partake in a real meal (not nibble on salad) and still stay on plan. It teaches you how to eat. I feel like for me a it should be something that’s a lifestyle change, not a diet… something that once I get to my goal weight (and I AM going to get there) I can maintain it in a real world way.
I wish you luck in your journey and I will be following you along! Take care :)

Sara Richter said...

Wow... I know EXACTLY where you are coming from. I weight 230lbs, highest was 240 and I can't tell you have many diets I have been on in the last 3-4 years. Weight watchers, calorie counting, just watching. I'm glad I found Medifast...and my best friend has been doing it since march and lost 40 lbs of her 60 she wants to loose and she was overweight too. I was just tired of thinking I got a handle on things when really I had just figured out how to work the system. (the diet system.) and that doesn't last long. High hopes for medifast...because I fit into the category of must loose weight naturally/can't have a surgery (which is where I would like to stay or go down from.)

Be encouraged. There are many out there knowing what you're going through. Keep it up!

Sara Richter said...

Wow...it's like what i went thru...exactly. up and down, weight watchers, counting calories, i've hit on south beach and mayo clinic (which I actually approve of it's just I didn't do very well on)

Keep it up...

suzyc said...

I just started reading your blog. I've got the same problems. Keep going, and know that you are an inspiration to many of us out here. Good luck to you on the rest of your journey!!!

Sue C