What are you doing during weight loss to prevent future relapse?

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You know the statistics. About 80% of us will re-gain the weight we lose. More than a third of us will gain more than we lost. Why can we lose weight but can't keep it off? It seems like it should be simple, but I've failed several times myself (see graph in my profile photo). I heard the theory (again) on the radio this morning that your body defends against weight loss by making you hungry until you put the weight back on.

But, really. We should be able to do this if we try hard enough. Shouldn't we? I'm currently losing weight (the easy part) and thinking ahead to how to maintain the loss (the hard part). Here are my ideas. I'd love to hear yours.

1. Don't see your goal weight as the end point. I have this analogy in mind - I have seen this game at fairgrounds where someone runs on a slippy surface with a thick piece of elastic tied to their waist. The aim is to run as far as possible until you fall over and the elastic snaps you back to the start. That's how weight loss feels to me sometimes. It's about how much weight you can lose, not how long you can stay there. And as soon as you have achieved your goal, you get snapped back to the start.

2. Set goals in terms of time, not just weight. I am setting myself the goal of logging food for a whole year (to start with). And tracking the amount of time I spend under key weight milestones. This is all to encourage me to keep going, rather than just to achieve a certain weight. This is not for a few months, it is for a lifetime.

3. Concentrate on never going backwards before you go further forwards. I am thinking of this as a 'ratchet' diet. I will pass a weight milestone, take a break from weight loss, commit to never going over the milestone again, and then carry on.

4. Appreciate what you have achieved. Yes, I'm impatient to get to the top of the mountain, but I've already made it half-way up and the view is pretty impressive from here. This thinking helps me stay patient and commit to doing this forever, and keeping on heading upwards.

5. Practice maintenance before you get to the goal weight. I have so little experience of monitoring my eating and being in control when maintaining my weight. I have only experience of losing weight or being out of control. If you practice maintenance before you reach goal weight, it will be easier to get into that habit when you need it.

6. Have a plan for how to behave when it seems too hard. Mine is something like this: If you can't eat moderately, eat healthily (lots of lean protein). If you can't healthily, at least log the food. And eat slowly.

7. Have a plan for keeping the motivation up. Have a spare stash of new goals to set, new activities to try, new groups to join.

8. Make losing weight easy and enjoyable. If it's too much work, you won't continue. This may be the most important one but I find it easy so I'm putting it last.

Those are my ideas; looking forward to hearing yours. And to reading your comments, following your irrelevant tangents and watching fights break out needlessly among some of you (judging by my last post).
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Replies

  • maria0elisa
    maria0elisa Posts: 199 Member
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    Great post- I agree with your points, especially number 1 and 6! If for some reason I can't resist snacking, I reach for carrots/tomatoes rather than biscuits etc.

    For me personally, it's been important to eat relatively healthily but "normally" whilst still having a calorie deficit- i.e. not cutting out any food groups.

    I also make sure to incorporate flexibility. I have treats about twice a week- small portions of chocolate or cake etc. If I were to cut these out completely, I might lose weight faster but I can't guarantee for the rest of my life that I'll never have another slice of cake... so it makes sense to practise losing weight whilst incorporating these things.
  • harmar21
    harmar21 Posts: 215 Member
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    I think me starting at 350lbs helps. I know Ill never ever let myself to go back to that again. I am almost out of the 300s and as soon as I am at 295 I know I will never ever see a 3 at the start of the scale again while I am standing on it. Even if I don't continue on successfully with my current diet, I learned so much about nutrition that I won't eat like I did before. I've learned about portion control, how important water is, wasted calories on caloric beverages. It's not like I didn't know this stuff before, but I didn't know how to manage it, whereas I do now.

    I am still early in my journey but down 40lbs and already so much stuff is easier to do, can't imagine what it will be like when I am down another 100.
    My 2 good friends recently dropped from 220 and 270 down to 180 from eating right and working out etc. They say "Ill tell you what, from being both obese, and fit/healthy ill take the being fit and healthy any day over being obese". They still get to enjoy foods, just not the quantity of it that they did before.. which is fine.

  • marsellient
    marsellient Posts: 591 Member
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    For me, it's your #3 and #4. I started on MFP almost three years ago, and have not lost the last 20lb yet; however, I have not gained back any of the 40+ I lost in the first year and a bit, either. I've disposed of all clothes that are too big and therefore cannot afford to gain!

    I've also focussed on more and different kinds of exercise, and although I should work on both the weight loss and exercise more I'm pretty pleased with myself and very happy that I've found what works for me. That's what you (will) need to do, too.

    The biggest thing is the recognition that I can't take weight off and then forget about it. I have to keep at it. I have friends who say they don't have time to log what they eat, but it's what works for me, and I now am pretty good at keeping a running total in my head when I'm not logging. I wish I had figured it out 30 years ago!!
  • icrushit
    icrushit Posts: 773 Member
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    Relearning hunger signals, being more mindful re: eating in general, and keeping an eye on my weight via weighing/ body-scrutiny, are what I'm thinking for myself. Making peace with any troublesome foods also, as while I can eliminate such foods in the short term when focussed on weight loss, doing so over the long term is not an option.

    I like your points, and will add a focus on fitness to the above, as I find it much easier to keep things in check when even just moderately active, with something even as simple as 2 miles a day walked allowing an extra 1400 discretionary calories over a week :smile:
  • zyxst
    zyxst Posts: 9,135 Member
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    I'm eating how I'm going to eat until I die - keeping food diaries, tracking sodium, portion control. Imo, people gain back the weight they lost because they return to eating how they ate before losing.
  • catceol
    catceol Posts: 31 Member
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    I don't see this as a "phase of my life" I see it as a beginning of a way of life. I am certain that working out is now a way of life for me and eating healthily is how I am going to live. Most people will be shocked to know, it is not loosing the weight that is hard it is keeping it off. But, preparation is key. I would say if you are loosing more then 20-30% body fat: go to a councilor, your a new person and you need your mind to keep up. Also meditation and maintenance. Your on no diet, your on a life changing journey, when you fall of course get back on and you will have already learnt what to do.
  • WildOkapi
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    I see my exercise and diet changes as a permanent thing. There is no 'going back' to what I previously did. I will continue to weigh and log everything I eat to stay at my TDEE. I really don't see how it can be that hard to maintain if you stick to goals.
  • SrMaggalicious
    SrMaggalicious Posts: 495 Member
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    I like #5 and have been doing that for the past couple months...only 4lbs to my goal, and iI no longer obsess over getting there anymore. I know it'll come..
  • flatlndr
    flatlndr Posts: 713 Member
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    I'll be looking at my before picture (see left side of profile pic) every day to remind me, "never again".
  • PeterSedesse
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    8. Make losing weight easy and enjoyable. If it's too much work, you won't continue. This may be the most important one but I find it easy so I'm putting it last.

    Weight loss should never be a bitter pill to swallow. It should be about exploration. Experiment and find healthy foods you like, don´t force yourself to eat things you hate just because they are healthy and don´t get to the point where you eat the same seven healthy meals every week..

    The same with exercise. Find things you enjoy doing. experiment and try everything.
  • onelentilatatime
    onelentilatatime Posts: 208 Member
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    Thanks for your ideas everyone. Of course I missed off exercise. That's the whole reason I'm doing this so I forget to write it down.
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,623 Member
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    Nothing. Because I plan on logging probably for life, especially since I am planning on doing bulk/cut cycles and will thus be perpetually eating above and below maintenance. Otherwise I just eat exactly all the same foods I plan to eat once I'm done this first cut.
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
    edited November 2014
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    I don't know how I'll do it later. I'll have to tell you later how I did it, lol.

    I'm trying very hard to keep the end in mind. I am changing how I eat, not just adjusting the portions. I know I won't log forever. I don't even want to log forever. When logging becomes too big a pain in the butt, I take a break. That gives me time to see how I do without it. I'm lucky that I lost a lot of weight before I began the logging. That helps because I know I don't need it to lose or maintain.

    I focus on health more than thin. I want to be healthy even more than I want to be thin, so that helps.

    I don't forget that there is an end to losing. I will be a thin person who just lives her life. I think a lot about how that's going to work, but I don't know yet. Not for sure. :)
  • Maitria
    Maitria Posts: 439 Member
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    I'm not thinking of it as an issue. It's just food. If I overeat, that's not relapse. (I understand that for those with ED's this is a different issue.) Lately, I just feel like it's not all that important. On days I'm not that hungry, I give more of a deficit. On days where I need more, I try to top out at maintenance. If I go over by a bit, eh, it's ok. If I go over a lot, I try not to do that again soon. Basically, I'm only dieting on days that I feel like it and banking those for the days when I will inevitably not feel like it.
  • GaleHawkins
    GaleHawkins Posts: 8,159 Member
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    You know the statistics. About 80% of us will re-gain the weight we lose. More than a third of us will gain more than we lost. Why can we lose weight but can't keep it off? It seems like it should be simple, but I've failed several times myself (see graph in my profile photo). I heard the theory (again) on the radio this morning that your body defends against weight loss by making you hungry until you put the weight back on.

    jissn.com/content/11/1/7

    This science paper on yo yoing helped me understand there are real reasons that can cause yo yoing based on how we lose the weight the first, second or third time and we can get to the point we may not physically be able to re lose regained fat the more often we yo yo.
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,623 Member
    edited November 2014
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    ]You know the statistics. About 80% of us will re-gain the weight we lose. More than a third of us will gain more than we lost. Why can we lose weight but can't keep it off? It seems like it should be simple, but I've failed several times myself (see graph in my profile photo). I heard the theory (again) on the radio this morning that your body defends against weight loss by making you hungry until you put the weight back on.

    jissn.com/content/11/1/7

    This science paper on yo yoing helped me understand there are real reasons that can cause yo yoing based on how we lose the weight the first, second or third time and we can get to the point we may not physically be able to re lose regained fat the more often we yo yo.

    This specifically has to do with athletes.
  • BenjaminS_Fitness
    BenjaminS_Fitness Posts: 70 Member
    edited November 2014
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    the problem is that people see weightloss as a diet aka do it until you have reached your goal weight and go back to (what they consider) normal instead of a lifestyle change. Instead of going back to your old habits stay at around maintenance.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
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    Great thread and ideas, OP. I know in the past I maintained for 5 years and then, for various reasons, stopped caring and gradually slid out of my good habits, starting with exercise. Thus, my focus is on how to prevent that. One way is to try and make fitness part of my social life, so I'm working on that, and another is the one you mentioned about having continuing goals. But I also know that when I eventually decided to lose again it wasn't too tough since I knew how to do it in a way that wouldn't be terribly burdensome--I'm enjoying myself more now than when I was regaining. The trick is not to let it go to far, so to keep up with regular weighing, etc.

    But ultimately either you care or you don't, and I am a little concerned about my past ability to not care.
  • erinbear33
    erinbear33 Posts: 91 Member
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    Thank you for posting this. As someone who lost a lot of weight over 18 months, maintained for 8 months, then gained the majority of the weight back over 2 years...I can attest that this is all so so so true.

    For me, it was that I didn't change so much how I was eating. It was more that I was exercising SO MUCH (1-1/2 to 2 hours a day, 6 days a week) that I could get away with more than usual. But when I burned out on exercise, I didn't adjust with my food intake. Then I had surgeries which sidelined me further from exercise.

    So...Yup. I'm learning the hard way as I lose this nice big chunk of weight again, that it is a lifestyle change. All around lifestyle change. Thanks again for posting.