Sunday, July 19, 2015

Doesn't Feel Natural

So far this month I am down 2.5 pounds. I've been thinking about how I am going to keep losing long term, whether by this same calorie counting or by some other method. Eating only 1100 calories a day is not really what I had in mind for weight loss this time around, and I do worry about whether I can keep this up for the months needed to get to my goal. I have very little "wiggle room" to cut calories lower if my weight loss stalls at some point. I'm really not sure what to do.

I would like to lose faster, not because I am impatient (okay, some days I am) but because the longer this takes, the more days there are that I could fall off plan. I mean, I am pretty sure I can do 30 days without screwing up. But the more days you add on, the more likely I am to falter. At this rate I am looking at more than a year to get the weight off. Diet fatigue is real; I'm not tired of counting calories because I have counted calories for 19 days... I'm tired of it because I have counted calories for much of my adult life. I'm trying to view it as a positive: more data, more control over the outcome, more ability to see what is happening and what I need to change. I just think people aren't meant to diet/restrict for years and years. That's why it feels unnatural to me. I guess I have never really done something that feels natural and like a new normal, except back when I was first losing weight on the blog in 2007-8. THAT felt natural, and generally low stress. It did not feel like I was forcing myself to do something unnatural to me. That is how I feel now; no matter how I look at it, trying to eat 1100 calories and keep my carbs to 80ish does not really feel natural. It *does* feel like restriction, because it *is* restriction. In 2008-9, I was also counting calories (on Sparkpeople) but eating 1500 calories a day of whatever foods I wanted, and that happened to be mostly healthy, unprocessed stuff. I was having fun making my old recipes healthier, eating portions that felt satisfying, eating lots of produce. I was also riding my bike 5 or 6 days a week. I was losing weight and feeling good and it felt like this was my *new life* and I could keep doing it forever. But I stalled, it didn't work forever, after losing 64 pounds I just stopped losing, regained some, and couldn't "make it work" anymore. I truly wish I could go back to *that* model of eating, but now, even though I weigh more than I did then, I gain on 1500. Granted I don't bike 30 minutes a day, so I am working up to that and wondering if that will allow me to lose and maybe eat at a higher calorie level again.

For now I am just sticking with this tracking, increasing exercise, seeing what results I get from doing this for the month of July. I have another idea for August... but we'll see. I need to mull it over a bit more before I decide!


Anonymous said...

I believe in you! You have never given up, and you will find a way. Following and praying for your success!

Jeanette said...

It took me a year of strict calorie control to lose about 60 lbs, the bulk of my extra weight. I think it's the same for everyone - it takes significant time being strict to lose the excess weight they've put on by not being strict! I know it sucks and FEELS unfair, but it's not - so many people have gone through this. I hope you can shake these negative feelings about this process and focus on the outcome: health.

Anonymous said...

I rarely comment here, but I have a comment today. I have lost most of the weight i needed to in the past year. I am 48, I have not for one single day counted calories and I have lost steadily around 2 pounds a week. I have of course changed my daily diet to a more healthy lifestyle - with more homecooked meals, less carbs.
When I read Your blog I see a person who is sedative and this is where I think you really need to step it up.
I too have a fitbit and I have used it for a year now. I am NEVER below 10000 steps a day and if I am I take an extra walk in the evening. I do swimming and strength training 6 hours a week in addition. I have a fulltime job but still find the time to this. I have no doubt in my mind I could not have lost the weight without changing to a more active lifestyle. There are in addition a lot of benefits; better Health, better sleep, better mood and so on.
That was my 5 cents - I wish you best of Luck on Your Journey.


Monique Noel said...

A few things, and I know I don't have a blog but this is coming from a person who lost 70 lbs. 14 years ago and has kept it off.

You can increase your metabolism eating 1200 cals/day, but not if you eat a spoonful of frosting and chips for lunch. Those are not the best choices if you have blood sugar issues and are attempting to lose weight. You increase your metabolism by eating 1200 cals worth of kale, chard, spinach, grilled chicken, ground turkey, egg whites, and non-starchy veggies. Those are the most nutritious foods with the least amount of calories. You will feel full while you increase metabolism, build muscle, and lose fat. That's what I ate when I was actively losing weight. In maintenance I added beans, fruits, and whole grains. I do occasionally eat cake with frosting or chips, but I try to offset that with more exercise and even then I can expect to gain 1-2 lbs. the following morning. It's not glamorous, but that's what maintenance looks like.

Re: meats, I know you love bacon, but it's not the most filling or nutritious option. If you look up the nutrition info for a slice of bacon, it contains more fat than protein. Fat isn't terrible for you, but when you combine the bacon with avocado (fat) and veggies cooked in oil (more fat) it's not going to help you lose weight even if you are sticking with an AIP template.

Re: counting calories, I consider it a crucial part of my success. But if you are getting fatigued from doing it, Vickie's suggestion to come up with a few go-to meals with similar calorie counts and then interchange them was a great idea. That could also really help with the problem you referenced earlier--getting tired of thinking about food so much.

I know you are not necessarily looking for advice, and my feelings won't be hurt if you don't take any of mine. As a maintainer, I try to offer helpful feedback if I can. Eating right is hard some days, but so worth it.

Pol said...

What if you seek interdisciplinary professional help? I've said this many times (I know) and I don't want to bore you with it, but it does work, maybe you need something new and different. I also don't think that restricting forever is healthy but let's face it, that's how weight-loss works and for now that's what you've got to do. Maybe you have to change the approach or you just need some other kind plan... Anyways, time will pass no matter what you do so while you decide just stick to your current plan.

suzee said...

As we age, I think it is harder to lose. At least it was for me. The only thing that really helped was increasing my exercise. I think that might help you too. And I don't mean that crazy, kill yourself, biggest looser or extreme weight loss exercise. To me, that is nuts. You can do it. Don't doubt yourself.

Lyn said...

Thank you. I woke up this morning feeling "out of the funk" if you know what I mean (I had a few PMSy-feeling days) and more positive. Your comments help me so much to feel I am not alone, and to think about what has worked for others.

I think this week I will try to get those steps up above 10,000 most days and see how that helps the weight loss (along with the swimming I've been doing). I have a problem that has plagued me throughout the past (at least 5) years. I seem to injure or tear some part of myself whenever I include steady exercise. And it makes no sense, since I am not going at it hard and I always try to ease into it (like, biking 10 min one day, 15 min next time, 20 next, with rest days in between just swimming). It's similar to the whole 2-year plantar fasciitis thing: I started biking, I had a knee bursitis flareup and have to wear a compression sleeve just to walk, and am told by the Dr to lay off the activity. Or I walk more and develop tendinitis in my feet or legs, which is very painful and inflamed and I have to go back to swimming only. Last week I started trying to swim more laps and add upper body weights, and now I have something painful going on in my right shoulder and can't do certain moves anymore. I know I have degenerative arthritis which hurts anyway but there is something going on with the soft tissue injuries as well, and it drives me mad. I want to go take an hour walk at the park with my dogs, and I can't... the whole thing is kind of depressing so I stopped talking about it on the blog. But I wish I could just work out like a normal person without ending up with some injury. For now... I mostly swim. No crawl stroke. Hopefully that, and just increasing daily activity/steps, will be enough. Good thing I love to swim!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn - first, I really admire your honesty and the fact that you just keep at this! I have had very similar struggles to you. By no means do I think what I have done will be right for everyone, but since we have a lot of similar issues, it may work for you as well.
First of all, exercise will probably not make the difference for weight loss. I gained 15 pounds training for my first half ironman. In my experience, it is a lot harder to control portions because you are so hungry if you exercise very intensely. If you also have joint problems, working out too hard can cause further problems. I firmly believe exercise is a wonderful, necessary thing. But mostly because exercise is incredible for mental health, and creates fitness, strength and balance if done properly. Some light strength training, stretching and working on your balance and posture will help a lot without risking injury or burn out.
Second, after gaining 15 lbs training for my last race, I knew the diet was my problem. I was intensely training for 10 - 15 hours per week and still managed to gain. I did not have it in me to track, count points, etc. even though I had lost over 50 pounds five years ago on Weight Watchers. I did a lot of research and ended up on a low carb, high fat plan. I highly recommend the book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living." I lost the 15 lbs I had gained, plus another 20. For me, being on this plan has completely eliminated any trigger food that I may overeat on. I also am extremely satisfied because there are filling, very tasty options. I am now two months into training for my first full Ironman (something I never thought possible when I weighed 230 lbs), and my training is going much better than a lot of my friends who are on high carb, low fat diets.
Again, I really believe that everyone has to find what works for them so I am not trying to push you into anything. I just feel your pain and struggles and this is what works for me. If you are interested in trying this plan, I can send over a lot of meal, snack and treat ideas. I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I have followed your blog for sometime now and have commented maybe one other time. I am someone who has lost 60 pounds at age 50+ and have now been keeping it off for more than five years. I will say it may not seem natural to count calories and restrict calories for years and some days it does get old. But the bottom line is that one way or another, an obese person who wants to lose weight and keep it off for life, will be very closely watching food intake for his/her entire life. Whether it is strictly counting calories or getting into a rhythm of knowing what fits into a 1200-1600 calorie a day lifestyle. I average 1600 calories a day but the exercise I engage in brings my calorie level down to 1200. Its just life now. Some days I hate it. Earlier I used to feel I am too obsessed with watching what I eat. But overtime, I have come to realize there is no other way. This is my new normal. If you want long-term success it has to be your new normal as well.

I have become more and more active and sought out different exercise options and made fitness part of my lifestyle. Currently have added weight training to other more activities. I started slow but built up over the years and while I dropped weight.

Anonymous said...

Echoing Anon above. Whatever you do, you'll be doing it for life if you have any desire to maintain whatever weight you do lose. You can't think of this as something that will "end", after however many months or however many pounds. That's why there's absolutely zero point in doing anything to lose the weight that you won't be willing to do for life afterwards in maintaining your loss.

People aren't lying when they say maintenance is actually harder. You have to do all the work, but don't see any pay-off at the scale. It gets tedious, boring. If you don't do the work, though, the weight comes back because - as you've noted - the margin for error is very narrow indeed. The only two choices are keep doing the work, or stop (or slide, take breaks, etc.) and start gaining all the weight back. Make no mistake: if you want this, you will be doing it forever.

My best advice would be to give some very serious thought as to what you can actually sustain long-term. What can you live without, what won't you ever give up? What activity level is actually realistic? Have a plan, but not one full of short-cuts or "quick fixes" to get you down however many pounds....plan for what you can do for the rest of your life. Then, do it. Bit by bit, you'll see progress.

The cold reality is that you may never see 175 pounds again. It's not impossible, it's just a question of whether you can or are willing to adjust your eating and activity level enough to get there (and stay there!). Only you can truly answer that question, though.

Rachel said...

I was coming in here to encourage exercise (and real counseling) but then I see another commenter saying it won't help-- and I know you listen to and take advice from commenters-- and you listing reasons why exercise is problematic for you. Oof! So much conflicting stuff.

I know that must be frustrating. But everyone can agree that permanent lifestyle changes so that you burn more calories than you take in is the way to lose weight, and adjusting a tiny bit (but still burning more than you need to maintain, since there will be times you over consume and also margin of error) is the way to maintain. Simple and scientific! The way you do it and how you balance it with other health needs is on you.

Anonymous said...

If you can't exercise due to injury, I think you can still lose your weight. It would just have to be done through your food intake alone. Would you ever go back on MF or try something like IP? The few people I know that did the latter lost a lot of weight very quickly. I'm not sure what all is involved but I think it's a pretty strict program. Might be worth looking into!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:50PM gave you the best and most comprehensive advice you could possibly have received from multiple professionals, Lyn. Therapy or no therapy, hundreds of people offering support or none, it will always come down to those few paragraphs. I have not commented in years because it seems to me, you are simply not ready. Your motivation seems inconsistent, from your own reports.

Some therapists will tell you that, as with any other addiction, you need to hit rock bottom in order to implement permanent changes . Others will tell you you can "raise the bottom". I hope that whatever it takes, you find PEACE. I cannot even imagine how distressing it must be to live with this kind of pressure, yet be motivated to solve the problem, only intermittently. I am not the first person to suggest this, nor is it the first time I am doing it: at this point, perhaps learning to maintain would be a good thing.
As always, wishing you the best of everything!

Vickie said...

I am extremely limited in what exercise I can do also. (My left foot, my lower back, my knees have to be guarded carefully.) So I understand what you are saying.

A couple things occur to me.

First are you starting slow enough in the things you can do?

The many times I restarted walking, after surgeries and the like, I restarted by walking to my mail box and back. A very short distance. I am not suggesting you walk, because I do not think you should. Just using it as an example.

Swimming I did not try to do many laps of the same stroke. I alternated laps. I did backstroke, side stroke, just kicked holding a kick board. I was in a very short pool. Not regulation size. If I were in large pool I would have started with half laps. I would have started with just a couple laps and then stretched well.

I do the simplest of the simple Pilates and yoga which really helps me (range of motion, flexibility, balance). I stretch well, after.

I restart with 1 and 2 pound weights. Shoulder moves I never progress beyond a 5 lb weight. Other moves, if it causes pain, I stop immediately. There are a few things I simply cannot do (all shoulder related). I stretched well, after.

You have done a lot of Physical Therapy over the years. If those moves helped, I hope you continue to do them.

The 10,000 steps thing is very good for the people who need to just get moving (and sometimes distract themselves from eating 24/7). For me, the 10,000 steps thing is asking for trouble. Major trouble. It is turning me into the waitress who is on her feet all day, but not actually getting exercise, just putting wear and tear in her body, re aggravating problems.

I personally am better off doing very slow motion walking lunges. Or stationary lunges. And squats.

I also do alternating toe touches (feet wide, arms wide, right hand to left foot, come back up, left hand to right foot, come back up). I can work up a lot of sweat doing those. I keep slightly soft knees as I do them.

I do Pilates moves. I do a very basic set of hand weights and stretchy band moves.

I can elliptical. I can bike. But I do not try to be a speed demon or use resistance with either. I do not do too much. I am on for a very short time. I might get on for five minutes or less, between sets of something else as a tiny cardio burst. Or to simply loosen up my body. I might go up one flight of stairs the same way, between sets. Just doing the stairs once or twice between sets.

Someone might read that and think very little of it. Because it is not 5K and it is not complex.

If you have ever looked at my exercise lists over the years, you might have thought the opposite. Because when I string these very simple things together, they are effective for me.

After one surgery, maybe sinus, where I was restricted from everything from the first week in november to the first week in February, I started back with a geriatric chair class with very light weights. Yes, we sat in chairs. I was probably in my mid 40's at the time. The class average was probably age 80. I think we used two pound weights. Lots of range of motion and stretching. But it was very smart way to get going again. I think I stayed with them for 4-6 weeks.

This summer I started back in a bootcamp or stations type class modifying everything down to the simplest and safest level possible. The 20 somethings did it one way, I did it a very different way. I moved slowly and carefully. I did less reps. (I am very experienced. My positioning is very good.) I did not hurt myself.

I think range of motion, flexibility, tone, balance, strength, etc when I do exercise.

I first do no harm.

And I NEVER think "calorie burn". I never think "how much food can I add back?". I never equate food and exercise.


Vickie said...

The people I see, with the most success getting the weight off and keeping it it off, never think diet.

They change their habits.

Pretty much all their habits.

And they do not think X pounds by X date.

Nor do they think of an ending point.

Weightloss is practice for maintenance.

And during weight loss one changes all the things in their life they need to change to be able to maintain.

The obvious ones are food and exercise. Water and sleep are just as important. Clutter and organization are usually part of it. Boundaries and priorities are too. Therapy is too (a real therapist). Medical and financial are too.

My hardest work was after I hit my second maintenance level. When all the fat was off, I had major therapy work to do. That was my boundaries time. Having all the fat off was a very vulnerable time for me. I remember even during the first part of weight loss, when I was still big, but now small enough that I felt someone could grab me (like a man in a parking lot), I was genuinely scared. That was major therapy work time too.

Lyn said...


a lot of what you say hits home for me. I definitely felt vulnerable when I was 100 pounds down. I may try again with a therapist later, but have not really felt like I've had a good match yet. They were 'real' therapists, but I felt like I was just going over and over the same things, getting nowhere. I got a few good nuggets from each that helped, though.

I use a lot of the old PT exercises and stretches to stay flexible but could definitely do them more often. Do no harm... a very good way to think of it. I do love to swim and do strokes that don't cause my shoulder pain. Seeing a Dr today about the shoulder.

I have been feeling lately that I am spending too much time thinking about diet, weight loss, food, counting, tracking, numbers... and want to lay off it to focus on other things. But don't want to do so and regain or stagnate, either. Trying to find a balance and will probably take a blog break at some point this summer. I'm leaving on a trip back east soon, then when I get back would like the just enjoy the month of August with my family and not spend my mental energy on THIS. I need to keep moving and eating well, but the blogging and tracking may get shelved for a month in August.

Vickie said...

Then you are exactly right, you do not want to back track, if you are not tracking, then eat super, super smart for the month of August. Lean protein. Green veggies. Whole foods. Very safe. Very smart. Be proactive and self supportive. Make sure you are getting your water in, etc. good luck with your trip.

CatherineMarie said...

Start just measuring what you eat in terms of cupfuls, etc. At this point, you know the calorie load of something.

I've found, for me, too much tracking and obsessing makes me nuts. I have a belt from college which I am using as a measuring tool at the moment.

I found for me, I don't like to eat breakfast, particularly in summer. Buying a juicer and having a fresh juice (mostly cucumber at the moment) for "breakfast" seems to be helping me. (I am doing a CSA share, so I have a ton of veggies). I keep the juice mostly veggie based with a little fruit. I'm about to go buy a spiralizer, so that I can have zucchini noodles.

I do NOT weigh, that makes me crazy. And I can't track too much, because that also makes me nuts. But I've found other ways to monitor...