Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Losing / keeping off weight, in about ten thousand unfun steps

I have gone from 275 to 150 pounds, and I intend to maintain that loss this time-ideally I want to make it down to 140. I'm 5' 9"  140 is 20 pounds within the normal weight range for my height, meaning I can't have a few bad days and make myself overweight again...which remains a possibility so long as I'm at 150.
Having yoyoed multiple times, I gain very easily.Most obnoxious.
Losing the weight has been simple, if really hard. 
What my experience implies is that if you're obese on a typical American diet, and you want to not be obese, you have to stop eating the typical American diet and eat something a lot better for you.
You also have to stop living a sedentary lifestyle, like a typical American.
Again, permanently.
(A few people to whom I have described how I eat have said, "That's crazy!" when they hear it. It's fanatical, yeah, but it seems to be what I needed to do.  If eating whatever you liked worked, we'd all look like supermodels.)
Magazines and TV shows lure you in by advertising some new miracle diet. There isn't any miraculous wonder diet.
 You just have to be willing to endure a certain level of misery. Get up  and not eat what you want, over and over.
According to social research, the two behaviors found in people who maintain massive weight loss is calorie-counting and daily weighing.  I have to admit I'm not actually counting my calories, really, just sort of keeping an estimate in my head these days.
Since I've been counting daily for a year, that estimate's likely to be semi-accurate. if I start putting on any weight-like five pounds or more, it's back to being rigorous, writing it all down.
Right now I'm losing, so I'm not complaining.
But you'd better believe I climb on that scale daily. If you don't do that, it's really easy to put on ten pounds without realizing it.  I actually want a really good digital scale, but the budget fairy isn't waving her wand on it yet. Other priorities.
My other personal tricks: I'm vegan, save for honey and those meds/ supplements I absolutely can't get without gelatin capsules.  This, at one fell swoop, eliminates a large part of the fatty foods I could eat as a possibility.
Mind, I'm not insisting that will work for everyone.  You have to evolve your own strategy. I suspect some people need some meat. I don't seem to, but I'm really careful about my protein intake, too.
I also have binge eating I identify my binge foods and they don't generally get brought home. I'm finally pretty much banning peanut butter except for an occasional treat; I go hog-wild on that stuff.  Anything chocolate, cookies, gourmet bread products...
All the above I will binge on.  So I try to only buy it in small amounts-single servings preferred.
Changing your diet will take time-you body will drive you berserk wih cravings.  Therefore it's easier to taper onto almost-all healthy foods over about six months.
Other things: Fast food is not your friend.  It is a trainwreck nutritionally, it's very expensive when compared with a home-cooked meal, it can have contaminants in it.  Even the best of it is loaded with salt.  The worst is a breaded heart attack.

I also used an even more restrictive version of the Johnson up-day down-day diet than the doc recommends.  As I said, my metabolism is messed up
Your alternative to fast food when you really can't cook, or aren't at home?  The produce section and the health food section.  Go to the supermarket, get some fresh fruit, a vegetable you like raw, a protein bar, and maybe a single serving of nuts-or maybe a tiny bit of good cheese from the deli, if you eat cheese?  There's your to-go-meal for in the car. Cheaper, way better for you.
Take a vitamin.
I also...sigh...have to admit I used some sudafed to help suppress my appetite.  Off and on, because you can get hooked on it; you can also damage your heart.  No more than the recommended dose of 12 hour sudafed, preferably every other day.
And mind you, I have bad allergies too, so I wasn't *just* using the pseudoephedrine for its' appetite suppression and fat catabolizing properties.
I think white tea is way safer for the purpose of appetite suppression and catabolysis.  I would guzzle it, were I you.
I favor stevia as a sweetening agent, and chromium picolinate seems to help.
But nothing's going to substitute for restricting calories and working out vigorously. Absolutely nothing.
You also need to eat lots of raw vegetables and the lower-calorie fruits.  If you're eating the kind of lower-than-the-American-norm caloric intake you should be eating, you'll be hungry if you don't eat lots of bulky vegetables to fill your stomach up.
Oil on the veggies will help you absorb beta carotenes, but it takes only a little oil to do that.
Look, if your problem isn't as severe as mine was-275 pounds and medical comorbidities-you don't have to go quite as far.  The thing to remember is, if you don't want to go back to looking the way you did before you started dieting, then you have to commit to permanence in your changes.
Which I guess means implement change slowly. And do not expect the fat to come off fast-2 pounds a week is good.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Don't panic-diet ( "Ohmygod I have to fit this dress in three weeks!" ) Buy stuff loose and/or let-outable.
And I really do mean that you should only do that which you can keep doing. Because to maintain, you pretty much have to keep doing it.
Reason being? I can see how crappy my metabolism has gotten from yoyoing. I can almost look at food and gain.
 I know that yoyo dieting also has been shown to place a strain on the heart. 
Actually, any time you diet it's a strain on the body...and if you keep losing, then gaining, repeatedly, it's actually worse for you in the end medically than if you left it the heck alone and just focused on eating nutritionally well and exercising daily.'s important that you try and like your body, no matter its' size or shape.  
I know, easier said than done, but at one point I was so ashamed of the way I looked that it prevented me from exercising my body, for fear people would laugh at how much I jiggled. 
Like it and you'll respect it, move it and take care of it better.

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