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Give Me Your Best Weight Loss Advice

JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
Putting myself out here because I really want to be successful at losing weight. I feel like I have been on a diet every other day for 18 years with very little to show for it and don't want to continue on this cycle. I've done a lot of different things, both on the extreme end and the moderate end.

I feel like I am either eating 1200 calories a day and binging on the weekends, or I am eating 1800 calories consistently and not losing anything. Can you please look at my stats/info below and give your best advice/plan?

Stats:
Age: 34
Female
Weight: 247lbs
Height:5'6
Very Sedentary-- Work 10 hours a day sitting, M-F
Not super active when I get home either.

Exercise:
I currently dance in my apartment for 30 mins 2-3x's per week consistently.
Inconsistently, I lift weights and go for walks.

Goals:
Lose 100lbs
Minimize as much muscle loss as possible in the process

Health Issues:
Diagnosed as slightly insulin resistant (If I am not careful, I will become prediabetic)
Some knee pains, sometimes

Tools I have:
Food Scale
Apple Watch
Internet/Access to Youtube
Gym with all of the basics for weight lifting, walking, and elliptical.
Access to a walking path at my apartment and close to my work.


Struggles:
My biggest struggle is night-time eating and too many sweets. I keep trying to be a "normal" moderate person and allow for sweets in moderation, but in all honesty I end up eating them all up in a night.

I also struggle with not being prepared and grabbing food on the go. Some weeks my meal prep is on point, other weeks I don't do so well... or just straight up hate the food I cooked lol.



Okay... I think that is as much detail as I can think of that would be helpful. Ask me anything else you need.
edited February 23
«13

Replies

  • callsitlikeiseeitcallsitlikeiseeit Member Posts: 7,180 Member Member Posts: 7,180 Member
    without opening your diary, we can not give specific advice.

    if you are binging you are likely undoing any good you HAVE been doing.

    Some people are able to moderate, some are not. if you can not, do not buy the foods you cant control yourself around. I don't buy peanut butter cups or the nutterbutter cookes (the wafer kind). I will eat it all in one sitting. most things, I can control.

    I have sweets of SOME kind almost every day. I make room for them and log them. Oreos are my favorite. If you look in my diary, you will see 3 oreos on the agenda for tonight

    I did have a week or two when I did not log due to power outages and a back injury (if you go past a couple of days you will see my logging stop for a bit) but go back further and its there. Complete with bedtime cookies ;) I lose weight consistently and am in no hurry to lose (I lost 130 pounds, maintained for 3 years and then regained about 50 over the past year). I typically eat around 1400/1500 calories. I work out 3-4 times per week and am relatively sedentary otherwise (despite the fact I live on a farm LOL)

    q2ym0qkilykq.jpg
    edited February 23
  • L1zardQueenL1zardQueen Member Posts: 8,391 Member Member Posts: 8,391 Member
    Patience will be key for you.
  • lhcp12lhcp12 Member Posts: 4 Member Member Posts: 4 Member
    Weight loss advice is so easy to give based on how one person has been able to achieve it, but one size doesn't fit all so take everything you receive here with a grain of salt and choose the ones that are going to work for you.

    For me, I have found the best way for me to lose weight is to make small goals, none of which are weight based. This has allowed me to be proud of myself for accomplishing a goal while not being upset when the inevitable higher weigh ins occur. For example, I gave myself a goal to walk 10000 steps a day. I have a 34 day streak of 10000+ days. Due to the freezing cold weather we have had, I did a lot of those steps are from walking on the spot in front of my tv set. I gave myself a goal of "not eating out of the bag"; what I mean by this is that I always weigh out a specific portion of whatever I am eating and only eat that. As an example, I weight out a serving of potato chips into a bowl but don't sit with the bag. This has been huge for me as it is far too easy to demolish a family size bag of chips by aimlessly eating. I have a goal of weighing any foods that I prepare and have been consistently doing so for 2 months. While I am currently not weighing premade foods, I am aware of the fact that this could ultimately be necessary when I get closer to goal but I'll avoid it if I can. I have a goal of logging everything I eat, even if I have to make estimations because it is from a restaurant or made by someone else.

    I am also setting aside a small amount of money each week so that when I reach my goal, I can purchase myself some new undergarments. This is both practical and will allow me to buy things that I feel good in when I am at goal.

    All this has been working for me. I am down 7 pounds in 7 weeks and unlike previous attempts to lose weight have not been deterred by an increase of weight on the scale when it happens. Find something that motivates you. I personally recommend small goals and small steps instead of drastic changes because for me, drastic changes don't work. For others, drastic changes work way better than small steps. You will need to decide what works best for you. Best of luck.
  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
    @callsitlikeiseeit Unfortunately, my diary won't show you much because I just started on MyFitnessPal-- I was using a different app before. I did log as accurately as possible-- slacking on weighing just for low cal things.
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Member Posts: 2,229 Member Member Posts: 2,229 Member
    My best advice: take the time and make the effort to determine the appropriate and sustainable deficit and calorie intake for you. (Quiksylver gives amazingly good advice for this.) Everyone knows overeating works against fat loss, but seriously, under-eating is an express ticket to failure. Under-eating does not get enough recognition for how much it undermines fat loss. It's counter productive in a number of ways, but you have already mentioned one big one -- binging. Dialing in the right caloric intake will make your path easier and more successful long term.
  • JohnBarthJohnBarth Member Posts: 619 Member Member Posts: 619 Member
    Be consistent. Don't beat yourself up. Keep moving forward.
  • joanna_82joanna_82 Member Posts: 148 Member Member Posts: 148 Member
    My best advice; set your rate of weight loss to the lowest possible rate and enjoy a nice slow steady weight loss and create some healthy happy habits around food that you can take forward for the rest of your life.
    Weight loss is not a quick fix, it’s a change for life and you need time to put better habits in place.
    Keep the faith, don’t panic if they scale doesn’t drop quickly, as long as you’ve stuck to your calories weight loss will happen.

    Coming from someone who set a 0.5lb weight loss/week rate this time last year and have managed to stick to it, change my habits and still enjoy cooking and eating. ☺️
  • loonylovegood0715loonylovegood0715 Member Posts: 99 Member Member Posts: 99 Member
    As someone who is also working to eliminate bingeing from my life, I have found that after a 5 month attempt to stay at 1200 cals or less a few years ago made it worse! I know everyone´s mind works differently, but personally cutting my calories that much made me feel suffocated and 10x worse every time I gave in to the urge, because it was such an up-and-down lifestyle that threw my mind and body into chaos.
    In January of this year I decided to jump back on the wagon. I started at about 1600 calories per day and currently have my diary set to 1440 calories/day (weird number, I know). The best thing you could do is start at a very relaxed deficit, and over the course of a few weeks gradually reduce to your goal deficit, whatever that may be (depends on your activity, age, height, etc.). Patience is my worst virtue, but playing the long game has proved (for me) to be a much more effective and much less damaging way to overcome bingeing!
    Please feel free to add me, I'm always looking for new friends.
    Happy Tuesday! (:
  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
    without opening your diary, we can not give specific advice.

    if you are binging you are likely undoing any good you HAVE been doing.

    Some people are able to moderate, some are not. if you can not, do not buy the foods you cant control yourself around. I don't buy peanut butter cups or the nutterbutter cookes (the wafer kind). I will eat it all in one sitting. most things, I can control.

    I have sweets of SOME kind almost every day. I make room for them and log them. Oreos are my favorite. If you look in my diary, you will see 3 oreos on the agenda for tonight

    I did have a week or two when I did not log due to power outages and a back injury (if you go past a couple of days you will see my logging stop for a bit) but go back further and its there. Complete with bedtime cookies ;) I lose weight consistently and am in no hurry to lose (I lost 130 pounds, maintained for 3 years and then regained about 50 over the past year). I typically eat around 1400/1500 calories. I work out 3-4 times per week and am relatively sedentary otherwise (despite the fact I live on a farm LOL)

    q2ym0qkilykq.jpg

    Super helpful! And congrats on 130 weight loss.
  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
    JustaNoob wrote: »

    I feel like I am either eating 1200 calories a day and binging on the weekends, or I am eating 1800 calories consistently and not losing anything. Can you please look at my stats/info below and give your best advice/plan?

    For how long have you consistently eaten at 1800 calories and not binged?

    Here's my advice for what's it's worth. Eat at 1800 for 3-4 weeks. If that's successful with no binging, drop to 1700 calories for 3-4 weeks. If that's successful with no binging, drop to 1600 calories for 3-4 weeks. Continue this until you feel too deprived and/or binge. If you have a binge, go back to the last calorie amount you were successful eating at and hang out there. You will lose more slowly, but you will lose.

    Also, I would try to get some consistent exercise in. Can you commit to a 15 minute walk every day? The more you move, the better. It doesn't have to be hard core exercise, just move more.

    Last April-July, I ate at 1800 and didn't binge... but then I didn't lose. So then I tried going lower and got really impatient. I tend to have some hindsight bias and feel like I am working so hard, that when I don't get results I get discouraged.

    I like the approach of taking it down little by little and can definitely add 15 minutes of exercise.
  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
    You almost definitely don't need to be restricting to 1200 calories. The people who actually need to eat that little in order to maintain a safe, sustainable calorie deficit are little old ladies with five pounds to lose who spend all day watching Maury and do no appreciable exercise whatsoever.

    Go through the guided setup again, set it to lose 1lb per week and mark yourself Sedentary. Log your intentional exercise and eat those calories back, to keep your net intake at whatever level the app sets for you. For context, I'm three inches shorter than you and five pounds lighter, and my budget is 1990 net calories per day.

    Thanks... what about maintaining muscle? I saw a video where people who have dieted for a long time often have slower metabolism because they lose so much muscle over time. My fear is that some of my crash dieting mistakes of the past has lead to muscle loss and therefore slower metabolism.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 17,932 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,932 Member
    Don't be impatient, focus on building positive habits as much as the numbers.
    If your habits support your goal the numbers will come to you more easily. Don't go out of your way to make losing weight harder and more hateful - think about making it easier even if that means longer.

    As much as possible don't be very sedentary at work, build as much movement into your day as you can. What do you do in your breaks?
    If you look at people who maintain at goal weight long term you will probably notice they typically move more than your average person.

    Don't be inactive when you get home as that might well be contributing to boredom eating - "my biggest struggle is night-time eating and too many sweets." Do something you enjoy that occupies your mind and even better if that gets you up on your feet as well.

    Really have a deep think about excuses you might make - you will know those excuses better than anyone and when you confront yourself over them you might find they aren't such a big hurdle after all.
    e.g. "I also struggle with not being prepared and grabbing food on the go" - food on the go has a huge range of choices and calories. Make those choices, read the labels and don't use it as an excuse to grab something high calorie.
  • lgfrielgfrie Member, Premium Posts: 1,365 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1,365 Member
    First. you are not not losing weight on 1800 calories. TDEEcalculator.net says your maintenance level is 2205. So you are eating more than you think you're eating; you'd lose almost a pound a week on 1800. Step 1, tighten up the weighing, counting, and logging. You need to have solid, accurate knowledge of how many calories your consuming, and, for what it's worth, the formulas out there suggest that currently you're underestimating by quite a lot.

    Couple of suggestions.

    - don't think in terms of 100 pounds. Just focus on losing a pound this week, or 4-5 pounds this month, or other simple, doable goal that you can give yourself a gold star for achieving in the near-term. You'd be amazed how actually achieving a modest, short term goal can increase confidence and lead to more success, but first you have to get that "I have to lose 100 pounds" voice out of your head.

    - trying to have 1200 calorie days and then gorging on snacks as night is classic binge and restrict behavior. It never ends in a good place. Binge-and-restricters rarely lose that 100 pounds and NEVER keep it off. Go to the MFP Goals tool, enter your age, gender, height, weight, and 1 lb per week as the goal, or if you reallllly want to be ambitious 1.5 pounds per week. However many calories it tells you to eat, eat that many, not less, not more. For you, at your TDEE as per TDEEcalculator.net, it'll probably be right around 1450 for 1.5 lbs per week and 1700 for 1 lb per week, and either will give you a much better chance of success than 1200. 1200 is not enough food for most people, especially people who like to eat and have a habit of overeating. No wonder you are binging at night, you are not getting enough food.

    - maybe save yourself 100 or 150 calories for eating at night, and get yourself some snacks that are pretty good but not great, which fall into those caloric parameters. Something in between "chocolate cake" and "carrot sticks". Then throw out or donate all the junky snacks you love and can't resist. You can't eat what isn't there. For me, I got rid of allllll the cookies and ice cream and chips, and replaced it with things like 130 calorie packs of goldfish and 100 cal packs of popcorn. I like those, but I don't crave them, so I tend not to binge them.

    - don't take off days, cheat meals, etc., for a while. Later on, when you're on a solid footing and have 10 or 20 pounds in the rear view mirror, sure. For right now, just focus on living within that MFP calorie target every day.
    edited February 23
  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Don't be impatient, focus on building positive habits as much as the numbers.
    If your habits support your goal the numbers will come to you more easily. Don't go out of your way to make losing weight harder and more hateful - think about making it easier even if that means longer.

    As much as possible don't be very sedentary at work, build as much movement into your day as you can. What do you do in your breaks?
    If you look at people who maintain at goal weight long term you will probably notice they typically move more than your average person.

    Don't be inactive when you get home as that might well be contributing to boredom eating - "my biggest struggle is night-time eating and too many sweets." Do something you enjoy that occupies your mind and even better if that gets you up on your feet as well.

    Really have a deep think about excuses you might make - you will know those excuses better than anyone and when you confront yourself over them you might find they aren't such a big hurdle after all.
    e.g. "I also struggle with not being prepared and grabbing food on the go" - food on the go has a huge range of choices and calories. Make those choices, read the labels and don't use it as an excuse to grab something high calorie.

    Great insights. I can do more and move more and being inactive probably does contribute to my night time eating.

    Also, I think the older I get, the more excuses I have! I really struggle between two extremes-- one being catering to my excuses and the other, trying to fight against the excuses in unrealistic ways.
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 115 Member Member Posts: 115 Member
    Short and sweet:

    Give yourself a calorie RANGE, rather than lock in on one number and take breaks where you eat at maintenance every so often.
    edited February 23
  • cindis6943cindis6943 Member, Premium Posts: 2 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2 Member
    I am 58 years old, and work out hard 7 days a week. I still have 55lbs to lose but to lose I have to not only work out hard 6-7 days a week, I have to restrict my calories to under 1400. The TDEE chart says I should be eating 2500, I would gain weight quickly. I have around 90lbs of muscle which is high for my 5.4 frame. I am post-menopause, 58, with a thyroid condition. I have tried ALL diets, the only thing that works for me is less than 1400 cal a day, and exercise 60-90 min a day 6 to 7 days a week. I enter everything that goes in my mouth into my fitness tracker. I have lost 13lbs since Jan1.
  • JustaNoobJustaNoob Member Posts: 58 Member Member Posts: 58 Member
    lgfrie wrote: »
    First. you are not not losing weight on 1800 calories. TDEEcalculator.net says your maintenance level is 2205. So you are eating more than you think you're eating; you'd lose almost a pound a week on 1800. Step 1, tighten up the weighing, counting, and logging. You need to have solid, accurate knowledge of how many calories your consuming, and, for what it's worth, the formulas out there suggest that currently you're underestimating by quite a lot.

    Couple of suggestions.

    - don't think in terms of 100 pounds. Just focus on losing a pound this week, or 4-5 pounds this month, or other simple, doable goal that you can give yourself a gold star for achieving in the near-term. You'd be amazed how actually achieving a modest, short term goal can increase confidence and lead to more success, but first you have to get that "I have to lose 100 pounds" voice out of your head.

    - trying to have 1200 calorie days and then gorging on snacks as night is classic binge and restrict behavior. It never ends in a good place. Binge-and-restricters rarely lose that 100 pounds and NEVER keep it off. Go to the MFP Goals tool, enter your age, gender, height, weight, and 1 lb per week as the goal, or if you reallllly want to be ambitious 1.5 pounds per week. However many calories it tells you to eat, eat that many, not less, not more. For you, at your TDEE as per TDEEcalculator.net, it'll probably be right around 1450 for 1.5 lbs per week and 1700 for 1 lb per week, and either will give you a much better chance of success than 1200. 1200 is not enough food for most people, especially people who like to eat and have a habit of overeating. No wonder you are binging at night, you are not getting enough food.

    - maybe save yourself 100 or 150 calories for eating at night, and get yourself some snacks that are pretty good but not great, which fall into those caloric parameters. Something in between "chocolate cake" and "carrot sticks". Then throw out or donate all the junky snacks you love and can't resist. You can't eat what isn't there. For me, I got rid of allllll the cookies and ice cream and chips, and replaced it with things like 130 calorie packs of goldfish and 100 cal packs of popcorn. I like those, but I don't crave them, so I tend not to binge them.

    - don't take off days, cheat meals, etc., for a while. Later on, when you're on a solid footing and have 10 or 20 pounds in the rear view mirror, sure. For right now, just focus on living within that MFP calorie target every day.

    -100lbs is DEFINITELY overwhelming. I am motivated by checking off lists, so maybe bite sized portions would be better. I have tried this in the past, but my weight fluctuates so much that until I get 15lbs under my belt, it is hard to see if I am really making progress. Probably just sticking it through until I find my stride will be helpful.

    -I'll go back through my settings and see what number it gives me. I've changed it so many times that I don't know what on earth my methodology was.

    -I agree with the off days and cheat meals. I realllly need a win! I am super tired of losing and gaining 5lbs every week.
  • steveko89steveko89 Member Posts: 1,851 Member Member Posts: 1,851 Member
    Disclaimer up front: Not a doctor, formally trained or have any credentials in health & fitness. Basically some dude on the internet who considers themselves at least reasonably well-versed in a common-sense approach to weight management and fitness.

    I'm going to try and break things up to cover everything you laid out and put my overall recommendations at the end.
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    My biggest struggle is night-time eating and too many sweets. I keep trying to be a "normal" moderate person and allow for sweets in moderation, but in all honesty I end up eating them all up in a night.

    I've struggled with this sort of thing a few times and the best way to break the habit is to remove/avoid the decision point where you keep finding yourself making the choice you don't like.
    - At one point I noticed I was torpedoing my progress by getting too many things out the vending machines at work, purely out of boredom. At the time the machines were cash/change only... so I stopped having cash on me. Eventually they added credit card readers to the machines but I'd curbed that habit such that it's not a high risk for me anymore.
    - My wife and I are both big snackers if left to our own devices. We started keeping each other accountable to the kinds of things we bought at the store and kept in the house. It made a world of difference to how much we would snack. Again, we mitigated the habit to a point where it's not a calorie bonanza if one of us buys a pack of oreos or she makes a batch of cookies.
    *Generally, the solution I've found is to start with restriction while training yourself to tolerate moderation for the long term.
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    I also struggle with not being prepared and grabbing food on the go. Some weeks my meal prep is on point, other weeks I don't do so well... or just straight up hate the food I cooked lol.

    I am a HUGE fan of pre-logging as much as humanly possible. I also LOATHE leftovers so traditional meal prepping/batch cooking just makes me sad. The balance I've found is that I pre-log my day the night before. It starts with planning dinner with my wife so we can take something out of the freezer, etc. Once I know what's for dinner I can adjust the rest of the day to hit my macros accordingly. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are usually some combination of protein shakes, portable fruit, or reasonable pre-packaged snacks (especially during the week). Is it ideal? Probably not but it's what I've found that works for me and is way better than what I find myself doing if I don't plan. It will surely take some iteration but figuring out what works for you and fits your definition of "good enough" will be a valuable learning process.

    Given the difficulty in accurately measuring exercise burn I'm partial to the TDEE model vs. MFP's NEAT+Exercise model. I've found good accuracy with Tdeecalculator.net with my own data. Given the stats you provided your maintenance level is likely somewhere in the 2200-2300 cal/day range.
    *Source: https://tdeecalculator.net/result.php?s=imperial&g=female&age=34&lbs=247&in=66&act=1.2&f=1

    Based on some recent data from RP and their RP Diet app, the most successful dieters in their user base favored a loss rate of ~0.6% body weight per week lost, aka a starting loss rate for you of just over 1.5 lbs/week (750 cal/day deficit). For round numbers let's say your maintenance level is 2250 so to achieve a 1.5 lb/week loss set your goal at 1500 cal/day and see how that goes for about 6 weeks and re-evaluate based on your loss rate and adherence.

    For macros, get 0.6-0.8 g protein/lb and treat that as a minimum rather than a limit so long as other macros aren't being neglected. Fat should be ~15-30% of your total calories and then you get the rest of your calories for carbs. Consider shooting for a +/- 15% range on macros and don't give too much thought to days you're a little off. You can drive yourself crazy obsessing on hitting the perfect macros.

    A moderate loss rate and sufficient protein should help you hold on to muscle as you lose, though getting some resistance training in certainly won't hurt. The best workout program is the one you'll execute consistently. If you don't enjoy it, you probably won't do it (I know that's been the case for me).

    As far as other tips are concerned:
    - log everything as accurately and honestly as possible. Even if you have a day you're way over your target, the data is valuable to have.
    - weight yourself daily and use a trending app like HappyScale to monitor your progress. You will see water weight spikes and general noise in your data. I've found nothing else to be as reassuring as seeing those ebbs and flows to really believe them to be true.
    - Foster a positive relationship with food. There are no good/bad foods just recognize there are certain things you're probably not going to be able enjoy without consequence when restricting calories. There aren't any demon foods that will prevent you from losing weight, only quantities.
    - It's less about motivation and more about habit and discipline. Do what you can to refine your process to remove obstacle and set yourself up for what you define as success. Plan meals, lay out workout clothes, block out gym time in your calendar, etc.
    - Have patience and be kind to yourself. Losing 100 lbs is going to take some time and weight loss is never linear. You will have days you don't feel like following your plan, getting in a workout, etc. Avoid any sort of time limit or deadline and don't shy away from shifting to maintenance for a diet break if you start to feel some burnout. It's always better to hit pause than totally throw in the towel. Sustainability and consistency are going to be what gets you where you want to go, not some shortcut or fad diet. Get good at executing the basics and rest will get easier as you go.
    edited February 23
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