Sunday, May 31, 2015

I Could Starve Myself

Sometimes, I feel just fine about the size I am. I'm happy with myself and the way things are going. And then every once in awhile, I have this flash of almost-panic about my size and want the weight off RIGHT NOW. It comes on without notice, when I am walking uphill while chaperoning a school field trip, out of breath and hurting, or when I put on a shirt that clings to every fat roll and looks awful in the mirror. It flashes before me when I have a health scare or when I am trying to walk up several flights of stairs or when I see yet another pair of jeans growing a thinning patch of fabric between the thighs, and I know soon there will be a hole and yet another trip to the store for something I can fit into. It hits me when I see people who knew me thinner, or when I am the fattest mom in the room, or when I am naked in the shower. Just a fleeting thought of "oh my goodness, this has to change NOW. I cannot stay this fat." I remember being 50 pounds lighter and I want it back.

When I look back on my history of losing and regaining weight via various methods, from calorie counting and exercise to low carbing to Medifast, I get scared. Scared nothing I do will work long term. Scared that even if I manage to lose 100 pounds again, it will come back. I *thought* I had changed my habits. I thought my new habits would keep me from regaining. But they didn't. I don't binge, and that's probably the sole reason I have been able to stay down 40 pounds from 278. I think of that 40 pounds as my "binge pounds," because they were there due to binge eating and when the binge eating stopped, they never came back. I think of the next 20 as my "junk eating" pounds, because when I stopped eating junk, I was able to stay under/around 218 pounds for over 3 years. I am pretty sure if I totally cut out the chips, gluten free cookies, cheesy stuff, candy, pudding, etc, I would get down to 218 (slowly but surely) and maintain there. I have been sliding slowly towards that number this year but my almost-daily junk keeps me from losing faster, even with exercise. Below and beyond 218, I have only been able to ever get and stay by doing something drastic, like Medifast. That is the *only* thing that has gotten and kept me below 218 in almost 20 years.

So sometimes when I get that "omg must get this weight off" sensation, I think about starving myself. No, not in an anorexic kind of way; I get sick and dizzy when my blood sugar goes too low, which seems to happen after 4 or 5 hours with no food. I can barely function. And I really don't wish to develop yet another eating disorder, either. What I mean by starving myself is going on another 800-1000 calorie a day weight loss plan. I think about it. I justify it because hey, weight loss surgery is an accepted means of losing weight, right? Doctors approve it and people generally are encouraging and supportive of WLS because, after all, the risk of surgery is less than the risk of staying obese. Isn't WLS basically like starving yourself for awhile? You can't eat for days, you have to drink liquids, then you can only eat a couple tablespoons of food. Your hair falls out and everything. It works because it limits how much you can eat. Isn't that a temporary starvation diet, at least until your stomach stretches a little and you can eat a bit more? So if everyone is supportive of that, and it is okay, why isn't eating that way *without* the surgery acceptable? Why do people flip out about those who do something like HCG or Medifast or some other really low calorie or liquid diet plan? It's all the same nutrition, I think. The difference is how you manage long term. Everyone says the low cal plans are not sustainable, I guess because you don't have a long-term stomach pouch to limit your calories forever. Obviously I did not manage well long term after Medifast and it did slow my metabolism. But people recover well from WLS all the time, by basically starving for awhile, and keep the weight off. There has to be a way to starve it off and keep it off without surgery. In fact I know there is, because I have online friends who lost weight on Medifast and have kept it off for 3-4 years so far by changing their habits and adding lots of exercise when they went off the liquid diet. (*Note: I do not mean literally starving. I think 800 calories of protein shakes per day is pretty nutritious and you can survive on that for a few months or a year).

This week I tracked with my new Fitbit. I found:

Steps per day: between 6,000 and 10,000
Average sleep per night: about 6 hours
Calories eaten per day: between 1055 and 2078, with an average of 1520/day (still gluten free)
Exercise: walking the dog or to school 1-2 miles/day, biking 20 minutes twice, hiking 40 minutes up and downhill, yard work

Weight lost: nothing. Nothing, on 1520/day with exercise and 10+ cups of water per day.

So I go back to, do I have to starve myself through WLS or a low calorie (800ish) diet to get this weight off again? Nothing else has ever worked. And yes, I spent about 2 years pre-Medifast counting calories, biking, etc without any loss.

I think if I had the dedication and fortitude to do a liquid diet right now I would do it. I would do it, get back to 175 or less pounds, and then figure out the rest, and try to fix whatever broke down last time I got the weight off, so I wouldn't regain it this time. That's the catch, isn't it? Regaining...

Maybe I will do it, or do shakes all day and a solid meal at dinner.

*I am not a doctor and I am not recommending that anyone else lose weight any particular way. So ask your doctor. I am just trying to figure out how to make this happen for *me.*


Anonymous said...

Most anorexics don't literally starve themselves either. I almost died living on 800 calories a day for 2 years. So...I wouldn't call that pretty nutritious or say that a person is able to survive on it. Maybe if they want permanent organ damage that will forever alter their quality of life, then yeah, go for it.

You don't have to eat 800 calories to lose the weight, Lyn. You don't have to go to extremes. You don't have to cut certain foods out.

You have to just restrict your overall calorie intake, EVERY DAY, for a LONG period of time. I would say two years STRAIGHT with no looking back, no thinking "this isn't working what do I do???". Just keep going. Sometimes you don't see the weight loss reflected on the scale for whatever reason and that can make you think it isn't working, when it really is.

If you aren't losing weight on 1500 calories a day with exercise, then cut down to 1400, 1300, or 1200. I recommend not going any lower than that. If you do not lose at least 20 lbs eating 1200 for 2 years straight (that means a small deficit of 100 calories per day), I would be severely shocked.

JM said...

I agree. When you lost weight pre medics at you were not eating so little, but it's consistency that matters. Research shows most people lost weight eating 1500 cal per day on ANY diet. But it has to be consistent. If you do it for 3 days then eat 2500 you have no loss. So it has to be a permanent change and mind shift. I am also in my mod 40s and it's just true that I cannot eat what I once did and lose weight. It sucks but so does being fat!

Lyn said...


I've been already losing at about that rate (10 pounds per year) this year, pre-junk-reintroduction this month (down 1/2 to 1 pound/week over the past 3 months). I was eating about 1350 to lose at that rate (according to the days I did track). Even if I cut the junk back out and keep exercising, this slow rate of loss is almost painful. From January I am down 13 pounds. If I lose 13 pounds every six months it will take me almost two and a half years to get back to 175. That's if I don't have any regains at all. That is a long time... feels impossible.

Anonymous said...

I seriously considered eating only shakes, and checked out a couple brands, earlier in the year when I felt like I was spiraling out of control. I thought I'd drink ONLY shakes, but ended up using them for just one or two meals a day.

I thought that the Primal Fuel protein shakes (20 gr protein per shake, low carb) were best in both taste and nutrition. But I had to order them on-line and they're a bit pricey...and you have to mix them up.

When my PF ran out, I bought Atkins Protein shakes. (15 gr protein per shake, also low carb) They contain what seems to me like a lot of Splenda. The taste wasn't as good as PF, but not bad. And they're cheaper and already made. But...sigh...they made me queasy. Really queasy.

I found some things out beyond taste and convenience, tho.

And that is...

1. The convenience of high protein/low carb shakes help me when I don't feel like eating a meal, but need to eat. (I tend to go without food,then chow down on sweets after dinner.) And they help boost my usually low protein intake.

2. Nothing works for weight loss until I'm ready to work it

3. I won't "work it" until I think eating for health is more important than is eating for pleasure. (Not that you can't enjoy healthy food, but you know what I mean.)

I've been on track for two weeks. Every day for two weeks. I've lost 6 pounds.

How? Ha. So embarrassing to disclose my secret, but here it is:

My husband, who has been thin to the point his entire life (He weighed 155 when we got married!), has gained weight over the past year. At 6' tall, he weighs exactly 200 pounds, so it's not like he's rally FAT, but I guess since he's always been on the low side of his ideal weight, it's made an impact. He's gained weight by becoming sedentary (arthritis issue), eating more sweets than he ever has, and eating sandwiches almost every day. (Sandwiches are not my fault. I don't eat them or promote them.)

He's not been feeling well, so he went to the MD two weeks ago. Among other things, his cholesterol is very high. The MD put him on statins, of course. And told him to change his diet.

And that's how I've stayed on plan.

For myself, taking care about what I ate was too much bother. I didn't want to become obsessed with food. NOW, when it's an issue for my husband, I'm all in. Suddenly, what we eat is important. No fear of obsession crosses my mind.

Bill is having some trouble sticking to the food plan, but me? I'm sticking just fine. I put healthy, veggie and lean protein meals on the table...and I eat them. I have to set an example... No sweets, no bread, no unhealthy fat.

Funny how that has worked, huh? When it was just for me, it was an "I wish I weren't so fat..shrug...pass the ice cream."

Now, eating for health is more important to me than eating for pleasure. As ridiculous as this sounds, all of a sudden, I get it. (Don't make me explain that...I can't.)


Anonymous said...

I understand that slow weight loss feels painful. But it's better than no loss at all or gaining. The time will go by regardless, and you might as well be slowly losing weight during that time since that's your overall goal (weight loss). Slow weight loss is known to be more sustainable anyway. During anorexia recovery, I struggled with binging and gained a LOT of weight...too much weight. I ended up very overweight and it took me about 5 years to go back down to my a "healthy" weight. I lost about 8 lbs per year. Yes, losing weight so slowly was torture and I thought nothing was happening. But the time went by regardless, and when it did, I realized that I had lost 40 lbs over the course of 5 years.

In 5 years, you could be 50 lbs less than you are now if you continue the trend you started this year. You should think of it that way, instead of "I'm only losing 10 lbs a year". 5 years is not such a long time. Time really goes by goes by too fast.

Anonymous said...

Also, if you are losing 10 lbs per year on 1350, that means you are having a 100 calorie deficit. You must maintain on 1450. So if you cut down to 1250, you could double your rate of weight loss and lose 20 lbs per year. In 2.5 years, you could be 50 lbs less instead of 5 years.

Jenn Kitty said...

As a 5.5 year post-op bariatric patient (I had roux en y aka gastric bypass surgery in 2009), I'd just like to point out two things:

1) protein shakes can be a healthy meal replacement for one meal for non-WLS patients
2) you don't necessarily lose all or most or even a significant amount of hair in the initial post-op months - meet your daily protein and vitamin/supplement goals, and the hair loss should be minimal

I mention protein shakes as a potential meal replacement, because I did them for a month prior to my surgery, and lost 17 pounds. It was a manageable adjustment to make - they became my breakfast.


Amber said...

Hi Lyn,

I understand the frustration. I lost about 50 lbs several years ago via calorie-counting. I ate approximately 1500 calories per day. Eventually I stopped counting and maintained this loss for maybe a year. I was desperate to lose the last 20-30 lbs and things were moving too slowly for me, so I hopped on the paleo bandwagon. This is when I first started experiencing binge-eating because I felt extremely deprived on that diet. As a result I gained all of my weight back plus an additional 20 lbs. I also developed fatty liver and a low thyroid. I wish I had stuck with calorie counting and never dieted. Or maybe I could have just started exercising, which I never did back then. I've tried going back to calorie-counting, but my relationship with food is now strained and that makes it hard.

The lesson I learned from all of this is: the only thing that works for me is a permanent lifestyle change. It has to be something that I can do consistently for the rest of my life. I finally found that thing. I made two simple changes to my diet: eat out less and avoid going to Starbucks daily. Secondly, I introduced heavy weight lifting and work out with a trainer. Weight loss is extremely slow (maybe 0.5 lbs per week). However, it adds up. I'm 20 lbs down since last year. I do wish it was faster, but I will never forget the consequences of my impatience years ago.

If you choose to go on a very low calorie diet, I would recommend eating solid foods. They are far more satiating. Protein shakes are filling at first, but they don't satiate for as long as solid foods do. I eat mostly solid foods right now, but I do supplement with protein powders because I have a strange aversion to most meat, so it helps me get enough protein in my diet. Protein shakes are really helpful, but I would never rely mostly on shakes to get me through the day. Give it a try if you want to, but don't get down if it's not working. Most people can't handle replacing more than one meal a day with shakes.

I've been keeping protein bars in my desk at work. I buy boxes of 12 because it's cheaper. I prefer Vega Sport bars (mint chocolate flavour). I find this helps me avoid going on a Starbucks run. Protein bars are wonderful. There are all kinds out there. Places like GNC stock a variety of them.

I would like to suggest the idea of compromise. For example, my old self would have shunned protein bars because they are not whole foods and they are processed. However, since they help me avoid 500 calorie Frappuccinos, I see them now as the good guys. I'm making a compromise. Yeah, my diet isn't perfect like I want it to be, but I'm making better choices now than I did before. I used to drink two Frappuccinos a day sometimes.

Another example of this is chocolate. I wish I could have the willpower to not eat it, but that will never happen. I truly enjoy it. If I cut it out completely, I will binge later. And I will not eat one square of dark chocolate per day like the gurus say to. There is no way bitter dark chocolate will ever fill that milk chocolate void. So, what do I do? I throw a small handful of chocolate chips into my oatmeal whenever I'm craving chocolate. Or I just eat them alone. Whatever works. That's better than all or nothing, I think. I know that if I don't compromise and have a little of something, I will go nuts and eat ALL THE FOOD :P

Another thing I find helpful is making food that I look forward to eating. This weekend I snagged a recipe from Skinnytaste for spinach ricotta lasagna rolls. I am so excited to eat lunch tomorrow that I cannot put it into words! It's easy to make lower calorie versions of tasty comfort foods.

You will be super successful once you find that thing you can comfortably stick to for the rest of your life and do consistently. It may take some trial and error. If nothing has worked yet, it means you haven't found your groove. You will. Never give up.

Anonymous said...


Accept that this is an ongoing, life time, life style. Forever. You might eat super healthy for a 3 weeks and not notice any difference.

Take this theory: If you have a roll of toilet paper, and every day you tear one piece off, you will not notice any change each day. Only until you get halfway into the roll, one day you will think "huh? There's half a roll left.."

Anonymous said...

HCG is kind of awesome. I would at least read the original protocol, Pounds & Inches by Dr. Simeon. His take on obesity as a specific condition different from just being overweight makes a lot of sense. If you decide to do shakes, check out Raw Fit by Garden of Life. Only shake that's kept me satisfied as a meal. I lost 35 pounds doing Raw Fit for breakfast and meat/veggies for the rest of the day, and one or two high carb meals throughout the week. Now I've just finished a round of HCG to break through a plateau. Really helps reset cravings, and I was not starving/unmanageably hungry. HCG Chica's website is a great resource for info.
(This is all my personal experience; not affiliated with any of the name-checks).

Lyn said...

What I want, most of all, is to not care about food anymore. To see it and it be an object like a piece of furniture or a candle and not something that draws, controls, calls to me. I want food to lose its power and for me to lose my reactions to it. I have experienced this, and it was when I was doing the shakes and one real-food meal a day. Keeping carbs under 100/day, keeping calories under 1000, and just drinking a shake instead of thinking about what to eat eventually put my brain into a state of literally not caring about food and wishing I could just *not eat.* Maybe that is not exactly a healthy place to be, but I was happy with it for the most part. I blogged about it. I had so much more freedom to do other things because I was spending almost no time or energy on food at all.

I guess I am tired of caring about it, thinking about it. This is the place I always end up when I spend a week measuring my food and counting calories: I just get so sick of thinking about it. I hate paying *so much* attention to my food.

Anonymous said...

I get what you mean about wanting to stop caring about food. But, in my opinion, if you want to lose weight you have to think about food. Not CONSTANTLY, but you do have to think/care about it. Counting calories is THE best, most reliable method. You don't have to constantly think about what you are going to eat or deciding what to eat....every night, make a plan for the next day, and try to stick to it. It doesn't take a lot of time or energy. It's just like deciding what to buy at a grocery store or order at a restaurant when you had a budget money wise, only in this situation you are making choices to fit your calorie budget for the day. It doesn't require a lot of attention, but it does require some.

I personally cannot relate to drinking a shake and not caring about food. For me, drinking a shake would leave me unsatisfied and hungry and all I would think about would be food. But if it worked for you, that's great. I would raise the calories though because under 1000 is very low and not sustainable long term.

If you want to spend no energy or time on food and still lose weight, I really do not know what to suggest...weight loss takes both time and energy and yes, attention to food. If weight loss is the ultimate goal, then you have to make some sacrifices, like doing things you hate such as paying attention to food.

If not paying attention to food is the ultimate goal, then that is an entirely different situation where you may want to explore intuitive eating. However, weight loss usually does not happen with intuitive eating. You usually gain in the beginning, sometimes a lot and for a while, and then you maintain.

kim ellis said...

Metab is slow. Find a way to speed it up or it will seem like u always have to consume a small amount.

Jen said...

Hi Lyn,

First I just have to tell you what an amazing person you are. You are SO MUCH STRONGER than you think you are. I spent 6 months from last September until February of this year reading your blog in it's entirety, and I am blown away at the things that you have accomplished and your ability to just keep going. You should be so proud of yourself, and stop beating yourself up for the little things. That being said, if you haven't already,
PLEASE READ THIS BOOK: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living--by Stephen Phinney & Jeff Volek
When I first found this book I thought it was just another diet book or cookbook about how to eat low carb food. It is nothing like that. It is basically a history and explanation of all the scientific research and studies that have been done on various ways of eating comparing them to low carb eating. Please, before you "starve" yourself, try reading this. I think you will be convinced that it is the way to go.
And please, just keep being you and doing what you're doing, because you're awesome.

Maureen said...


I am going through the same thing myself. In under a year, Dec 2013 - Nov 2014, I lost 87lbs. I gained about 5 back, then lost 3. At this point, it feels like I'm gaining and losing the same 5lbs. I've found that maintaining is MUCH harder than losing. I work my ASS off at the gym, eat well, but I have been battling binge eating over the past few months. I stay under 1,500 for two-three days, and then the cravings hit. I sometimes keep eating until I'm nearly sick. It's awful, and I feel like I'm losing control. I want to get a hold of it before I start to gain even more back. I want to find a happy balance with my eating. If I could suggest anything, though, it would be the same as what many others have said: counting calories and exercising is really the only way to lose. It's all about the math when it comes to weight loss.

Anonymous said...

Make food boring. Put it in its proper place. Instead of turning to shakes, develop a simple go-to menu, one that includes foods that you know you like and can tolerate. Its easy to come up with three pre-set breakfasts, three pre-set lunches and three pre-set dinners that don't trigger crazy. Then mix and match. My grandfather ate the same breakfast (oatmeal with toast and OJ) every day for 50 years and he was skinny forever. Simplify. Make food boring.

Rach said...

I can relate - it's a constant battle with my OWN body figuring out what I can and can't eat, how much and what kind of exercise I have to do, etc. I'm regularly tweaking and changing things up to try and find that balance.

For me, 800-1000 calories a day would not be sustainable. I think the least I ever ate was 1300, and that was really too low. That said, keep listening to your body and being consistent.

Anonymous said...

The issue is that you do care about food. So, with that said face it and move on. We all care about food in same way or another. It is what we are about, what we are made of. We figure it out and move on - we all do in our own way. You just don't want to go on a diet. You don't want to follow rules for a long period of time. That is what I am reading into this. Maybe that is not a nice thing to say but that is what it sounds like. None of like to follow rules, or diet or restrict things we like, but that is part of the "game". That is part of getting to where we want to be in the long run. The issue is, the same as many other people it is hard to do it on your own. So, go on Weight Watchers or some other planned program with real food (if real food is what you want). But it is a planned program with a plan that you must stick to for a long, long time to get real results. Every single plan is that way. We all know that - there is no surprise here. Nothing else is going to work. Nothing. So, do it tomorrow with no more reasons, no more excuses, no more thoughts about it, no more analysis, no more fooling around. Start in and get it done one day at a time, one foot forward on the same path with continued consistency on the same program with the same food - come on...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn,

Six hours of sleep a night isn't much. Have you ever looked into sleep deprivation and weight gain?

Nicki Kelly said...

To start I want to say that I like the 'toilet roll' comparison from Anonymous ....I had to laugh about that one and it is so true. First you don't really notice that it [or you] is reducing, but then tadahh! you only have half left. LOL.

Regarding Lyn's desire to not want to care about food anymore: I totally get it. Food can have such a power over us when things are out of whack with our hunger and body fat layering hormones. The whole eating and weight loss focus can sort of take over our lives.

A few years ago I finally found an eating regime that really suited me. And we are all different, by the way....My friends just look at me with big saucer eyes when they see me eat my rabbit food. But suddenly I was simply not craving certain things anymore, nor was I constantly thinking what I should or should not eat. I could take it or leave it. "Oh? There's a cake? Yep. I can see it but I do not care."

It was like being released from a cage and I could fly....I was free....A bit over dramatic, but that is how I felt back then.

So I think this can be achieved when the selection of foods you eat satisfy your own personal nutrition needs. IE not annoying or irritating your [insulin / leptin / gherlin ] hormones that are connected to our fat layering and hunger levels. The magic "zone" as Dr Sears once wrote in one of his books. (Not trying to recommend anything....just mentioning the description of the feeling of being in 'the zone' without cravings or unnecessary hunger)

If the shakes did it for you last time, why not try those again?

You will need a high speed blender for this but have you tried making your own thick smoothies out of a combo of almond milk, some chia seeds [soluble fibre and Omega 3] fresh fruit, vegetables, spoon of almond butter [again for good fats] and a heaped teaspoon full of a carb free protein powder?

You get all the goodies from the fresh foods and the protein to keep you satisfied. Healthy and yummy. There are many websites that offer great recipes for people wanting to lose weight and not stress about calories and food prep. So, if I were you, seeing that shakes [or perhaps smoothies] might do the trick, give it a go again. Let us know your decision....

Anonymous said...

The only thing that works is doing HARD cardio. Doing a few minutes of easy biking on the exercise bike here and there is not enough, it won't really have any impact on anything. You need to aim to do at least 45 minutes in one session, on a hard resistance level, AND add strength exercises in the same session. Anything less should not even be counted as an exercise session, IMO. Do this 4-5 times a week, and you will develop muscles which will help you burn fat.

Anonymous said...

I would do the shakes asap. At 240, a woman becomes a pariah, an embarrassment, an object of ridicule. Don't shoot the messenger, people, that's the way America is. Anyone telling you differently is either deluded or lying. When you reach 150, add exercise. By then, you will have plenty of motivation and it's a heck of a lot easier to do when you're not carrying an extra 90-100 lbs every step.

Anonymous said...

Food addiction, pretty textbook.

Lissa said...

Lyn, the fact that you stay honest and keep trying is why I come back to your blog again and again.

I think losing weight is first and foremost a mental thing. If that's in place, there are all sorts of plans and tools that allow you to execute weight loss.

I wish I could wave a wand at you and have that mental focus snap into place. (I bet you wish that, too!!) Since I can't, the best I can offer are ideas, like the other commenters are.

Here's my current diet:

Breakfast: homemade shake. Current recipe is 2 cups almond milk, 1 cup greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup tropical frozen fruit, 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs. Total 186 calories for a good 40 oz of shake (I save one for tomorrow).

Lunch: Jar salad! Current recipe has artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, corn, lentils, cocktail onions, romaine, and spinach. Total 192 calories for a quart jar CRAMMED full of veggies. I usually add 3 oz of lunch meat for another 75 calories. I line up the jars and assemble four at a time.

Snacks are reduced fat string cheese and Greek yogurt.

Dinner: sous vide lean protein (chicken or pork) with steamed veggies.

Notice anything about that menu? It's all prepared the night before (or up to 3 days before for jar salad). At no point do I sit there wondering what to eat next. It takes a lot of the mental work away . . . and when I'm not wondering what to eat next, my mouth can't go a-wandering.

This is my desperate attempt to be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Lyn ~ Much respect for your journey so far, but I can't help but feel you're making this so much harder than it needs to be. Two things speak to me out of what you've written recently and I hope if I call them to your attention, you will take it in the way it's meant.

The first is that you had your metabolism tested last year and it told you that your maintenance range of calories at your then-current weight of 235 was between 1440 and 1780. So if you're eating 1520 calories a day, you are eating at your medically tested and documented maintenance. Why would you expect to lose weight doing that?

The second is that you say you want to stop thinking about food but you spend a lot of time and energy sourcing recipes for the treats that you like and making them out of so-called healthy ingredients. I wonder why you don't stop tormenting yourself with those ersatz versions of treats and just eat food as it exists. If you want to stop thinking about food, I would think that would be a really big first step for you, mentally as well. If you need to make it mindless, then make a menu of 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 snacks, and 3 dinners. Make sure each menu includes fruits and vegetables and protein. Eat from those things and nothing else. Put them on index cards and mix and match every day if you don't even want to have to choose which ones. Then don't even shop for anything other than what it takes to make those items. It would be a lot healthier and lot easier to stick with that kind of limited, thought-free menu than trying to starve yourself with protein shakes all day.

S said...

Go for it!

Winner at a Losing Game said...

As a WLS patient, I can tell you that it is not easy and not so acceptable by many. Many people believe that it is somehow cheating. Like you, I get so tired of the fight to lose and the impending regain. Each time telling myself that it would not happen this time. Even as a WLS patient, I don't have any guarantee that I wont regain some weight. I can also tell you that I have not lost a hair on my head due to surgery. I have followed the recommended eating guidelines to a tee. I won't really deviate. The cost of this is great. Not in terms of money, but in terms of the self monitoring required. Supplements must be taken daily-no excuses. Frankly, eating is a chore. I almost hate eating. One thing that this did accomplish, was to remove the desire to eat in excess. That definitely happened. I really only eat to live. I don't live to eat. Sometimes, I do miss the thrill of sitting down to a meal. Now, its more like finding something healthy and protein. While I am not sorry I did this, there have been times of regret. It is hard when everyone is eating a large plate of food and I take three bites and am FULL. So, again, this really isn't easy. The positives are that the co morbidity issue I had are gone. No sleep apnea, no high blood pressure, no GERD. I have lost 80 lbs thus far with 30 more to go. WLS isn't for everyone, but it was for me.

Annette said...

Ive decided to have Gastric Sleeve Surgery for weight loss. Its a long process but Im excited. The first thing I was told was to never skip meals and eat six times a day. Also my surgeon said to get the book Eating to Live ( I got it for $5 on Amazon) he teaches a simple way to lose weight. Ive lost 5 lbs since beginning that plan. (surgery will be in october) My surgeon said the leading cause in obesity is skipping meals. My eating 6 times a day it helps your metabolism. You can do it!


Betsey C. said...

Well Lyn, you, me -- and everybody else -- will always have to think about food. We need it to stay alive, and so we need to decide what to eat, shop for groceries, prepare and cook the food and clean up afterwards, feed our kids. Even if we are eating fast food 3 times a day we have to spend some time going to get it. We will always have to give plenty of time to the chore of eating, no matter how fat or thin we are.

Amy said...

I feel your frustration and I have lived it, but I keep thinking of one of your recent posts where you examined what being thinner would gift you. And I think you determined that it wouldn't necessarily make you happy. I have a friend who is end-stage cancer and is not expected to see 2016. A year ago she was doing Isogenix weight loss (shake-based program) and lost a bunch of weight. She is 45 and that was her utmost concern for the 3 years that I knew her. Now she is battling the beast and passing on the message about what matters in life. We want to be thin because we think it will make us happy, but being overweight isn't the source of our unhappiness, so it won't be the cure of it either. Only when you find what the true cause of your unhappiness will you be able to work against it and then food will not have as much draw.

Lyn said...

Thank you for all of the feedback and helpful ideas. I appreciate each comment very much, and am re-reading them and considering all the information. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

please also consider that if the same things don't work then it can,t hurt to try something new before you throw in the towel. calorie restriction works until a point. the point where the metab slows right down. cardio also works to a point, again the point where the metab slows down.
strength training [building muscle 3 times a week- hitting the same muscle groups 2 to 3 times a week while over 3 week cycles slowly increasing carb intake will work. you can still do your cardio once to twice a week

dont give up yet lyn.

plan a didn't work, plan b and c didn't work...try plan d ....resistance training

your metabolism is the reason for the slow weightloss...that is the answer right there.

Charis said...

Just wondering if you have reasons for not getting WLS?

Lyn said...

A couple of thoughts...

I know I basically maintain or even gain (when sedentary) on 1500ish calories/day. But when I go a whole week eating in the 1300's-low 1400's with a day around 1000 and a day around 2300, it *feels* like I am just not eating much at all on those lower cal days, yet the higher cal day throws everything off so I don't show any loss. I ate higher cal on that day because I was hungry. Also I think all the focus on food (measuring, looking at labels, logging it all) makes me feel more frustrated and think about the food I am *not* eating. This is why I hate calorie counting every day: it seems to make me irritated and resentful, maybe because I have spent so much of my life doing it and am still fat. And I do not think the measuring, counting, tracking is sustainable for me; I can do it for weeks, or months, but eventually I get so sick of it and I cannot imagine tracking all my food for 20 or 30 years straight.

I sometimes wish I could just drink a solution three times a day that would totally nourish me and let me lose weight.

I get tired of the cravings and the only way they have ever been *gone* for long periods, truly gone, is low carb, whether that be South Beach or AIP or Medifast (none of which require calorie counting, and all of which were successful at losing weight... if only I had stayed with it and kept it off.)

I think about making some random rule like "I will only eat vegetables, fruit, and meat" or "I will only drink protein drinks all day and have a meat/vegetable dinner."

I admit I am really frustrated and I have a box of Wonderslim and Bariwise protein drinks in the corner of my closet that I bought a long time ago when I was using them to supplement my diet, and I think "hey if I just use those up, and stop eating, maybe my hunger and cravings will disappear again along with this fat!"

I cannot have WLS right now for two reasons: 1) finances and 2) I am a caretaker and there is not someone who can take over for me while I am in surgery and recovering from surgery. Then there is 3) I am scared of having WLS.

So, you know, if I was going to do something drastic, it would be more like "starve myself" than "let them cut me open so I am forced to starve myself for awhile."

Winner at a Losing Game said...

They don't exactly cut you open for WLS. Most surgeries are performed laproscopically. Secondly, I don't really starve. Once a person heads towards a more normalized weight, less food is required. I think you may have some of the misconceptions many hold in regards to WLS. Frankly, I don't recommend it for most. It is far too hard and long ranging in consequences.

Nichelle Dawn said...

Don't count calories. I can't stress that enough with the clients I work with.

Eat to nourish yourself. When you consistently under eat (by keeping to a calorie number), your metabolism slows down. It does this because your body's cells are not receiving the nutrients they need to to the things they are supposed to do. For example, (and I know this is a lame example), but a car needs gas to get anywhere and depending on how much fuel you give it will depend on how far. The type of fuel will determine how smooth the journey is.

Eat good, nutrient dense food: What does this mean? No more processed, boxed, packaged foods. And you know what, you can eat lots of good food. You really can!

And the second thing is to love yourself. You are an unique being with so much to offer the world. By loving yourself, your body responds by loving you back. The world needs you!

rachel packard said...

I know how you feel. I too lost 100 lbs and have since gained back over 60. I was married to a verbally abusive man, and when I was 16, I lost my virginity through rape. Those traumatic events have tricked me. My fatness is my comfort. No one is going to rape me if I way 260 lbs. The man I love isn't going to think that I am cheating on him, because no man is going to look at me. Those are the thoughts in my subconscious.

How do we get past those things?

I'm trying to work it out on my own, talk it out...but it's tough. So, I started weight watchers online last week...and stuck to it perfect...and lost...ONE pound. I was devastated. Then I get on the scales today, which should have been my weigh in day, since I signed up last Tuesday evening, and I am down 4lbs.

So, I just have to do this slowly...and so do you. If you ever need to talk...or a shoulder...I am here. I also have a fitbit...we CAN do this...and we deserve it. is my email address. If you email, I'll get ya my phone number, facebook, or fitbit info. Whatever you need. I need someone who has an idea of what it's like, who is going through this also.

CatherineMarie said...


You tried medifast, and I remember you being so frustrated with it. Here's what I suggest.
You like real food, go to the library or a used bookstore, look for Jane Brody's Good Food Book, Kathleen Daelemans' books, Cooking Thin, and I forget her second one. I don't know if they have any old eps of Cooking Thin on Youtube, but she had two seasons of that show, which is what helped me get the ball rolling. Because she has some sensible ideas. Maybe join a CSA.
Don't do shakes, the majority of them have sugar or artificial sweetener (which does a number on me). Why not get a V8 and drink that if you are hungry between meals?
Also, most people gain five pounds every year. If you lose five pounds every year, you are ten pounds ahead of the game.
I bought myself a juicer for summer because usually, in summer, I'm not terribly hungry, and in the hot weather, sometimes a veggie juice gives me enough oomph... (and I usually cut it a little with water)
Instead of weighing, measure yourself. Sometimes when the weight stays the same, the body actually changes.
And do something nice, non-food, reward for yourself every week or two. It could be a new lipstick, a massage, a pair of earrings, a book....

Are there places you could change out what you eat a little? So maybe halve the amount of avocado, and increase the sweet potato or fruit? Give yourself permission to have dessert once a week. I also bought a single-serve zoku pop maker, so that I could make a quick frozen yogurt pop, or a fruit pop without all the crap in the storebought stuff... Find some ways you can make things work better for you.

CatherineMarie said...

Also, if you decide to do mostly shakes or liquid, maybe consider having your meal at breakfast or lunch... some people sleep better with a light meal at dinner (I'm one, and I tend to sleep better having had carbs for dinner, protein for breakfast or lunch)

LHA said...

I have learned a lot and gotten inspiration from all of these comments. It made me think about the truths I have learned through decades of dieting.

The following things I know to be true (for me, at least):
2. Low (but not "no") carb
3. No calorie counting, no food diaries. Both lead to obsessing over food.
4. Weigh infrequently, no more than once a month.
5. Stay busy with non-food activities that you enjoy.
6. Exercise as much as you can, but don't torture yourself. Pick something you enjoy.
7. Perfection isn't possible, so quit beating yourself up.
8. Shakes, protein bars,Etc., whatever works for you is okay.
9. WLS is not for me. I had an acquaintance who died during it.
10. Persistence pays.

Again, we are all different, and I think each of us knows what really works for us. Find it and stick with it if you can. Good luck!

Sean Anderson said...


As you know, I lost 275 pounds, maintained for a year a half--then regained 164 pounds before finding the groove that worked for me to finally turn it around.
Cutting past the details and straight to the heart of the how...
Acceptance. I had to stop trying to be someone else's normal--and fully embrace my normal. I know people who have never had issues with food and obesity--and they don't obsess or even give their food a second thought. They eat intuitively, they exercise regularly (and they love it) and they don't rely on food for emotional support--or to help manage stress. I WANTED TO BE THAT KIND OF NORMAL.
I tried to be that kind of normal. It didn't work for me. I had to accept the fact that it didn't mean something was wrong with me--it simply meant THAT wasn't MY NORMAL.
My normal involves a careful approach with food and exercise--and it always will. My normal requires me to apply the same importance level to my recovery as a recovering alcoholic applies to their sobriety.
If I give my recovery the same reverence as someone in successful recovery from drugs and alcohol, it works for me.
This is the point where some counter with "It's different!! An alcoholic stops drinking--and we have to eat!!"
I once thought this same way. What I've found is--certain foods and substances trigger the bio-chemical reactions in my brain--and those compel me to ride the cycle of my food addiction. I had to identify the substance. For me, it was refined sugar.
My abstinence from sugar is held in the highest regard. It is a non-negotiable. And I know--that's my normal.
After nearly 14 months of abstinence from refined sugar--the clarity and peace has been something I always dreamed of experiencing---and something I read about and listened to others describe--but until I embraced it as my normal--I'd often reject or think along the lines of--yeah, well--that worked for them---good for them...but I can't do that.
It was baloney. I could do it. I didn't want to do it. It took giving it an honest try for a few weeks--and that's it...the difference was profound--life changing. It is the single best nutritional decision I've ever made--not because of what it does for my body in a physical way--but for what it no longer does bio-chemically in my brain.
Lyn, I want to be here for you and help, if you want my help. If you're interested, email me at and we'll discuss.
This entire thing is about finding our own personal groove---finding our normal and embracing it--because it's who we are. And embracing our individual authentic selves is never a bad thing! :)
I'm always pulling for you, Lyn.

CatherineMarie said...

I checked youtube, there's only one KD episode, and one clip. Just remember that you need to find something with long-term sustainability, because that is the way to keep the weight off.... Maybe also consider losing ten pounds, go into maintenance for a month, ten pounds, maintenance... Or go into maintenance around the big food holidays so that you can figure out how to deal with the food issue well...

Anonymous said...

You don't need to "starve" yourself to lose weight. Eating less than 1000 calories per day is not sustainable — you know this, because you've never been able to sustain it in the past: you stopped doing Medifast because of packet fatigue, you weren't able to complete the transition as prescribed, and you regained weight because it was difficult to control hunger and cravings after eating so far below your TDEE for so long.

To lose weight all you need to do is eat fewer calories than you're burning. To do it sustainably and with minimal muscle loss you need to eat nutritious foods which satisfy and nourish you (i.e. vegetables, lean proteins) at a small deficit and lift heavy weights. Is it frustratingly slow? You know what, compared to rapidly losing weight and rapidly regaining it I actually don't think it is. "I want to starve this off NOW" isn't the kind of mindset that's conducive to longterm success. If you build the behaviours it doesn't matter how long it takes to lose because once it's gone it's gone forever.

You also need to deal with your unresolved emotional/obsessive stuff around food.

Lissa said...

Oops - I should point out that my smoothie recipe up there makes two servings, about 20 ounces each, about 186 calories PER SERVING. If you chug the whole blenderful at one sitting you'll be eating 372 calories, not 186. Also, you'll be extremely bloated and sick. ;-)

Thanks Nicki for the catch!

JM said...

Total truth for me too!

JM said...

Also when in your 40s I believe that exercise has to be vigorous and 45 minutes or more to really make a difference, it may not happen all at once, but people who have been obese and lose weight and keep it off do daily vigourous exercise. Once u have been 100 pounds or more overweight there is no going back to a pre obese chemistry, those fat cells are screaming to be fed! So getting the acceptance that prescription for what ails you may not look like you want it to will be key to success in the long run will change the game.

Karen said...

I ditto Sean's statement. I could not stop a 40 year binge eating cycle without abstaining from sugars ( and grains). It's a very well practiced normal by those in OA , FA, Paleo, Primal. Millions of people get off and stay off processed sugar. Not my fault, but I do have to mind my brain chemistry, slippery slope thinking. I don't do this alone. I seek support when and where I need it.

Here's to living how you want to live. Sean's story, my story and many others show a new normal. Life is sweeter than any junk food I moderated. Better yet, I can give myself fully to my family, work, hobbies.

Hazel said...

40-odd comments and only one to recommend upping your exercise, rather than various calorie intake solutions. You know the equation as well as the next person - the more you burn off, the more you will lose weight.

I really felt for you with your PF troubles last year, but now your are through that, I think that you are going to have to get sweaty to get results. Swimming would be the kindest for your joints - get lessons if you have to in order to sort out your technique, then whack up and down that pool as hard as you can, as often as you can. Yoga/pilates too would be good for your flexibility and body tone.

Anonymous said...

Latest research has proven that exercise has very little to do with weight loss. It is good for the body for a myriad of reasons, but losing weight isn't one of them. Exercise stimulates the appetite and actually burns very few calories. Strength training is helpful in increasing muscle mass, which in turn burns more calories, but not aerobics. There are plenty of people that belong to a gym and/or work out at home like crazy, but see very little in terms of less weight. So the old equation of burning off calories in order to eat more really isn't valid. It is proven that exercise is helpful in not regaining weight, but not in actually losing it - so all the comments focusing on nutrition are spot on.

Cris said...

I understand your frustration. I'm also in your shoes (about weight wise and with an old injury) and I'm sick of dieting. I simply don't have another in me.

I'm trying intuitive eating again- with a concentration on nutrition- and going to therapy to help me with acceptance. It's a fact that weight loss only sticks for about 5% of people on diets. I'm learning to accept I'm in the 95% that it doesn't. But that doesn't mean I have to trash my health- it does mean that I'm no longer willing to run myself into this particular brick wall anymore.

I'm thinking of you- and hoping that you are well.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I am sorry to hear that you are struggling. I have read your entire story from beginning to now but have never commented.
I just want to er, offer my small opinion on this low-calorie plan. Please don't do it.
You said earlier how you wish food could simply not affect you and while that may not be altogether possible, restricting to that low will make you obsess over food even more.
Another problem is that once you start eating more (at a goal weight), you may begin to binge again...
I try to speak from experience and since I only eat 400-700 calories a day (unhealthy I know...... but this isn't about me) and I think about food so much, it is disgusting.
You might also go through great fatigue if you eat and sleep that little. :(
It is not worth it. But whatever you do, I wish you the best.