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I made it, now grateful for this great community to help keep it

daroadaheaddaroadahead Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member
After 3.5 years, I've lost 45 lbs going from 220 to 175 through a series of lifestyle changes. First I started walking and lifting. I slowly added in some daily calisthenics. Those changes took off the first 10 pounds with no other changes. In November 2019 I had my last sip of alcohol. Another 10 pounds came off like magic. Since the pandemic, I started focusing on CICO and tracking my calories. It was a long process to develop this skillset, but over the past 4 months I've been 90% + successful in tracking my calories and have finally hit my goal weight while continuing to lift and walk with some jogging thrown in a couple times a week. I still hit my calisthenics. I typically walk at least 10K steps a day (desk treadmill) and it's not uncommon to exceed 20K steps. I'm grateful for the number on the scale, and all the benefits I've seen. Skin problems like eczema have cleared up. My joints don't hurt. No lower back or knee pain anymore. I can "get after it" in life with a lot more zest and vitality. I can't lie, I love the comments I receive from people I haven't seen in the COVID shutdown and don't recognize me and I'm proud of how I look.

But I am much more proud of the changes that have been made in between my ears. How I look at food. How I deal with stress. How I manage discomfort. How I am able to pause. How I am able to make a plan and stick with it. How things that once became hard became just another part of what I do without thinking. These changes are much more valuable than any number on the scale and I can and do apply them to other areas of my life.

Now I look at the road ahead and want to stack the odds in my favor. I was a lone wolf on losing it, but my research shows that keeping the loss is fundamentally the maintenance of a new lifestyle for the long haul. One of the best practices is to find a support network and MFP is repeatedly named as a great one. Now it is time for me to invest in my future by getting a little bit more involved here.

On a practical note, my plan is to keep tracking and add back in calories from my current deficit at 100 per week until I can stumble on my maintenance. I weigh myself every morning after using the bathroom, but I really focus on the 14 day moving average since the number on any given day can vary up to 4 lbs. So I'll be watching that moving average.

Anyway - no need to respond. Just reading about the rest of you swimming up stream in our food obsessed culture is inspiring enough. My plan is just to lay it out here once and a while in this thread to hold myself accountable. If it's helpful to others - that is great as well.

One last thing - thanks to all each of you do everyday to take responsibility for yourselves and all you've done to show me the path. The stories and best practices I've seen on this forum have been a big part of me being able to find that path for myself. Take some time this holiday season and feel grateful, not just for what you've done for yourself, but what you've done for others including me.

Replies

  • SummerSkierSummerSkier Member, Premium Posts: 2,034 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,034 Member
    Congratulations! Well done and inspiring to read your post. Welcome and you will also find a ton of interesting reading in the stickied messages at the top of the forum.

    The most important things I have learned in my 3 plus years of maintaining?
    1) think longer term
    2) it's OK to change your plan over time but don't over react to small fluctuations
    3) stay off the roller coaster which over reactions tend to do
    4) like you mention - keep your toe in the pool here. It's never over. But it certainly doesn't have to be hard. There are a lot of successful people here who manage in many different ways but the one thing you see is that they are here. It's hard to know but my suspicion is the ones who are missing have lost their way.
  • 142jmh142jmh Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    That was just so wonderful to read! Congratulations on your success, and thank you so much for sharing. It's really inspiring! I particularly love the changes between the ears part... I'm only halfway to goal, but I'm finding that the changes between my ears have such positive benefits in so many areas of my life!
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 30,744 Member Member Posts: 30,744 Member
    Congratulations on taking back your own one precious life.

    Stopping alcohol (congrats on your first Year, BTW) and the weight loss were huge life-changing events in my life.

    Well done. :) Maybe you'll be teaching us some stuff.
  • Dootzy1Dootzy1 Member Posts: 915 Member Member Posts: 915 Member
    Congratulations. B) I am coming up on one year in my maintenance range, and find that I can't overthink it. My confidence has been built up by the past year of success with food and exercise. You acknowledge real truths in your reflection. There are days when I feast too much, but I regain my footing fairly quickly, because I don't want to experience the mental stress of having to lose it all again! It is not selfish to do self-care, and I have had to learn that it is okay to put my health needs on the front burner. I actually left my calories at "lose .5 pounds a week" for a couple of months, when I was at the high end of my range. For some reason, it helped my transition. I lost a few more pounds over that time, but it kept me in the game of calorie counting. My goal is to log at least 5 days a week, and I take part in some challenges to keep it interesting. All the best to you!!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,139 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,139 Member
    What a great post! You've followed a really well-thought-out, well-managed plan to get here, and you've succeeded: Yay!

    I particularly liked this bit in your post:
    But I am much more proud of the changes that have been made in between my ears. How I look at food. How I deal with stress. How I manage discomfort. How I am able to pause. How I am able to make a plan and stick with it. How things that once became hard became just another part of what I do without thinking. These changes are much more valuable than any number on the scale and I can and do apply them to other areas of my life.

    That's really powerful. And, yes, the skills of working through steps to a long-term goal are things we can bring to so many other areas of life: Education, career development, raising kids, developing new skills (such as hobbies in music, art, cooking, carpentry, gardening, or whatever), financial planning for big goals like a new home or retirement, and much more. Life enhancing, in a big way!
    On a practical note, my plan is to keep tracking and add back in calories from my current deficit at 100 per week until I can stumble on my maintenance. I weigh myself every morning after using the bathroom, but I really focus on the 14 day moving average since the number on any given day can vary up to 4 lbs. So I'll be watching that moving average.

    That sounds good. On a similarly practical note: I did a similar thing to dial in maintenance calories at first (5 years ago!), and am now getting close to the end of a very long term process of (re-) losing a few vanity pounds ultra-slowly in maintenance (all within a healthy range, so about preference, not panic).

    As you get closer and closer to maintenance calories, the trend becomes less insight-provoking, and can be misleading. If you're using an app/spreadsheet that allows it, you may eventually find it helpful to use a slightly longer trending basis (i.e., more than 14 days). For example, if I'm losing a pound a month (as I have been sometimes, by plan), but my daily random weight fluctuations are up to 2-3 pounds (and they are), I can have several weeks, maybe even a whole month, that looks like maintence or even gain based on short term trend, but really represents continuing slow fat loss playing peek-a-boo with water weight shifts on the scale.

    At this point, I trust the process (my logging & my understanding of my calorie needs in various circumstances), but when I first starting doing this, I did change the trend basis to spot check occasionally.

    When first doing the "add 100 calories" thing, I found I needed to wait longer and longer between adds, to be sure what was going on. (I'm not saying that's a problem, I'm just sharing experience.) With the recent slow loss, I just got on my well-understood slow-loss bus, and rode it to where I was going, not worrying too much about the scenery along the way. That's worked fine, but I wouldn't have had that same level of process confidence in year 1 (perhaps you do!🙂)

    Congratulations on your success: Wishing you a smooth, happy path ahead!
  • snowshoe072snowshoe072 Member Posts: 1,035 Member Member Posts: 1,035 Member
    I am new to this part of the process and my weight does fluctuate I also know that my choices can be my downfall and I own that. However I am a bit confused when you speak of adding back calories, wouldn’t one just want to remain and occasionally reduce calorie intake if the scale creeps back up? Forgive my confusion but this is a new area for me even though I am not quite there yet just trying to prepare my plan for continued success. Thanks for any input.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 17,590 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,590 Member
    I am new to this part of the process and my weight does fluctuate I also know that my choices can be my downfall and I own that. However I am a bit confused when you speak of adding back calories, wouldn’t one just want to remain and occasionally reduce calorie intake if the scale creeps back up? Forgive my confusion but this is a new area for me even though I am not quite there yet just trying to prepare my plan for continued success. Thanks for any input.

    @snowshoe072

    You can think of maintenance as a series of corrections but try to make those corrections in reaction to your trend weight rather than perfectly normal weight fluctuations.
    If you think of a long term trend you can mix days at maintenance, days under and days over calories in a myriad different ways that suit you. Most of my corrections are small and quite painless but in January I tend to make a bigger correction to get back down from the top of my acceptable weight range.
    A personally suitable weight range and a long term view make maintenance far less stressful.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,139 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,139 Member
    I am new to this part of the process and my weight does fluctuate I also know that my choices can be my downfall and I own that. However I am a bit confused when you speak of adding back calories, wouldn’t one just want to remain and occasionally reduce calorie intake if the scale creeps back up? Forgive my confusion but this is a new area for me even though I am not quite there yet just trying to prepare my plan for continued success. Thanks for any input.

    There are two things:

    One is probably obvious to you: If a person's been losing weight quite clearly and steadily (even if slowly), then reaches goal weight, s/he will need to add back calories to stop losing weight. (There are various strategies for handling that, some of which involve gradual small adds or one bigger one; no need to get into it here.)

    Second, and partly anecdotally, some people's energy level seems to be more sensitive than others', when it comes to calorie intake. For this reason, even after stabilizing weight at maintenance calories for a period of time, some people start to see very gradual weight loss (without an obvious explanatory change in lifestyle or exercise). The presumed mechanism is that their energy level has picked up, leading to subtle effects that could range from near-invisible (slightly higher body temp, slightly more robust hair/nail growth, etc.) to noticeable but only if paying attention (getting more projects done around the house, being more restless physically (fidgeting, basically) when theoretically at rest (watching TV, say).

    If people see this slow loss happening in maintenance, they may need to add calories to their intake to stay at their goal weight (to stop the slow loss).

    As an extension of that idea, some people explicitly pursue a strategy that's often called "reverse dieting": They intentionally and very slowly increase calorie intake, starting from then-current maintenance calories, intentionally trying to bump their calorie budget upward by encouraging their body to burn more in everyday life. (May work, may not. There are other process details, but also not essential to get into here.)

    This next is not directly related to the points above, but I'm going to add it anyway.

    It's not that unusual to see people here who over-react, or act too quickly, when the scale moves upward in maintenance. (The classic oversimplified example is the person who writes "I'm still losing a pound a week at 1200 calories, but everytime I increase to 1500, I gain weight!"). I suspect it's possible (in effect) to train one's body to get along at lower calories than ideal (via subconscious lassitude/weariness, more or less), and IMO that's a Really Bad Idea. It's a path of (maybe) adequacy, not a path of thriving.

    I guess the connection between that last idea, and the ones above, is that that group of people (who freak out too soon and drop calories) would possibly be best served by adding small numbers of calories gradually to get from loss-inducing calories to true weigh-stable calories, because they'd be less likely to see misleading scale jumps simply from water weight and digestive contents changes. (The scale adjustments likely still happen with slow adds, they're just small enough to hide amongst routine daily fluctuations, and super slow loss will continue until the actual maintenance calories are reached to sort of cancel them out on the scale, so that approach is not so freakout-inducing.)

    I hope that all makes sense.
    edited January 5
  • snowshoe072snowshoe072 Member Posts: 1,035 Member Member Posts: 1,035 Member
    Thanks for all the input I thought I was on the right track will keep up with what I am currently doing and take the ups and downs as part of the process
  • jugarjugar Member Posts: 5,359 Member Member Posts: 5,359 Member
    This is a wonderful thread. I am coming up on 9 years - started serious losing in December 2010, got to 1st goal within a year. Even though I lost more after November 2011, it has all been within a good range.

    I'm still here this far in. It is always helpful to connect with others, enjoy making any necessary adjustments as we age (I'm just about to turn 67, and feel fantastic), keep finding good ways to stay on track, and get in a good fix after holidays or other short periods of free range feasting.

    My current favourite fix after hitting the top of my "safe" range is pre-logging. If I log a meal or a whole day before I eat anything, I stick to it much more faithfully than if I log afterwards. I go through periods of not logging at all - the basic principles of how I am eating don't change much - but it remains the first habit I go back to when things start to slip.

    Thanks! (and enjoying both the horse and the snowshoe references in the people here :smiley: - my 2 favourite activities)
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