Advice from people who've lost 50+ lbs?

operationfitlikejmo
operationfitlikejmo Posts: 3 Member
edited January 2016 in Health and Weight Loss
I need help.

I know how to lose weight (eat less, move more, calorie deficit and all that) but, I suck at it.

I once lost 40lbs by extremely unhealthy dieting, and it was impossible to maintain and I paid the price by gaining it all back and then some.

Now I have 70lbs to lose and I'm not sure how to start.

I eat extremely unhealthy (fast food, junk food, tons of carbs and barely any protein), so I'm starting by cutting out the fast food completely, and trying to aim for more protein and fat and less carbs. What I'm having problems with is my calorie deficit in that I feel like I'm starving all the time.

So what I'm wondering is, is it okay to start out focusing on eating healthier and hitting my macros, or should I be striving for the calorie deficit from the start? I feel like I should aim for eating better and then cut back once I have that down, but I also can't trust my own thoughts because I know I rationalize my behaviour and eating habits (one does not become obese without some rationalization, right?)

So if anyone can offer advice on what works long term and how to get started, I would appreciate it so much! I don't want a fad diet, I want a lifestyle change and I want to do this right so I never have to do this again!
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Replies

  • mkakids
    mkakids Posts: 1,914 Member
    Just keep plodding along.

    Choose a goal, and a method of getting there...then stick with it.
  • Cortneyrenee04
    Cortneyrenee04 Posts: 1,117 Member
    Any change at this point will be a good change. Make changes that you can handle and be consistent with. When I first started losing, I went with your idea. For me, it was no soda and way less booze, cheese, bread... Then I focused on calorie deficit (well, I thought I was, but I wasn't using a food scale so I was way off)!

    I'll also add that you shouldn't be super hungry but it's okay to be slightly hungry every now and then. I realized I hadn't been truly hungry in so long when I was I overweight. Soon you'll learn what true hunger vs. just wanting to eat feels like.

    Good luck!!
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    I need help.

    I know how to lose weight (eat less, move more, calorie deficit and all that) but, I suck at it.

    I once lost 40lbs by extremely unhealthy dieting, and it was impossible to maintain and I paid the price by gaining it all back and then some.

    Now I have 70lbs to lose and I'm not sure how to start.

    I eat extremely unhealthy (fast food, junk food, tons of carbs and barely any protein), so I'm starting by cutting out the fast food completely, and trying to aim for more protein and fat and less carbs. What I'm having problems with is my calorie deficit in that I feel like I'm starving all the time.

    So what I'm wondering is, is it okay to start out focusing on eating healthier and hitting my macros, or should I be striving for the calorie deficit from the start? I feel like I should aim for eating better and then cut back once I have that down, but I also can't trust my own thoughts because I know I rationalize my behaviour and eating habits (one does not become obese without some rationalization, right?)

    So if anyone can offer advice on what works long term and how to get started, I would appreciate it so much! I don't want a fad diet, I want a lifestyle change and I want to do this right so I never have to do this again!

    I think that your method is perfectly fine. Baby steps helped me. IMO it's a good sign that you are trying to plan this as a long term change of habits. Best of luck to you!
  • I didn't initially set out to lose weight. I did what you are thinking - I focused on adding healthier things into my diet. I haven't cut any foods out. I do eat fast food, just to be clear. I just went for a better balance and a lot more produce and less refined carbs/boxed food.

    When I was ready, I first set up MFP for 1/2 pound per week. I was able to eat plenty and that helped ease me into going full steam ahead a couple of months later.

    All that said, while I believe some changes in most people's way of eating are likely essential to long term success, you can lose weight with a caloric deficit by simply eating the same foods that you eat now in smaller amounts - i.e. tackle the deficit first and not worry so much about what you're eating.

    A lot of people also discover that certain macro ratios keep them fuller. Produce helps with volume. Fat and protein help with satiety.

    Like another poster said, you have to find what works for you. The best way of eating is the one that makes you happy and that you can keep up for life.
  • oddtrees
    oddtrees Posts: 13 Member
    The key to sustained weight loss is a change in habits. That's why 30-day diets and the like may work for that time span, but they usually don't actually teach you about how you're supposed to eat, and, more importantly, why. People do these short-term diets, see results, and then go right back to their old habits. People want quick fixes like these, but it doesn't work for long-term results.

    "I feel like I should aim for eating better and then cut back once I have that down, but I also can't trust my own thoughts because I know I rationalize my behaviour and eating habits (one does not become obese without some rationalization, right?)"

    This is how I started. I didn't initially count calories, just focused on eating better. I made little changes at first: the soda and sweetened coffee was the first to go. Then I actually started making/cooking the majority of my own meals, instead of just buying frozen premade food or getting take-out. I found that this REALLY helped me. It allowed me a lot more control over what I put into my body. I found out I actually liked a lot of vegetables I used to think I didn't, and started eating a lot more veg as a result. Since I had actual control over what I ate, I was able to more accurately track my calories once I started. I realized the portions I used to eat were WAY too big, and adjusted my cooking so I wasn't cooking enough food for two people and eating it all in one meal.

    A tip: load up on vegetables. They're super filling, good for digestion, and they can be really yummy without adding a bunch of butter and salt.

    Another tip: eat off of a smaller plate. You can't put nearly as much food on it, and if you go back for seconds, I find that I tend to take less. One and a half small plates is less than one large plate piled with food.

    Start slow and change your habits. Realize why you need to change your habits and figure out the best way. Maybe don't cut out the fast food completely, but start to wean yourself off of it. Get a small soda and a water instead of a large soda. If you are going to fast food places out of convenience, there are a lot of resources online for making large batches of food that you can then divide for your weekly lunches at work or school.

    Source: I lost 60 lbs over two year. I gained back 20 lbs because of sheer laziness and terrible time management, but I'm getting back into things now1



  • sunfastrose
    sunfastrose Posts: 543 Member
    Don't make any changes now that you can't maintain for a lifetime. I definitely agree as well to take baby steps. Don't expect perfection. Don't fall into believing that the macro balances that work for others will work for you. My advice right now is to focus on the calories, and learn from there how you balance best.

    --- signed someone who lost 52 pounds and has maintained that loss (within 2-5 pounds) for close to 15 years
  • rankinsect
    rankinsect Posts: 2,238 Member
    edited January 2016
    I need help.

    I know how to lose weight (eat less, move more, calorie deficit and all that) but, I suck at it.

    I once lost 40lbs by extremely unhealthy dieting, and it was impossible to maintain and I paid the price by gaining it all back and then some.

    Now I have 70lbs to lose and I'm not sure how to start.

    I eat extremely unhealthy (fast food, junk food, tons of carbs and barely any protein), so I'm starting by cutting out the fast food completely, and trying to aim for more protein and fat and less carbs. What I'm having problems with is my calorie deficit in that I feel like I'm starving all the time.

    So what I'm wondering is, is it okay to start out focusing on eating healthier and hitting my macros, or should I be striving for the calorie deficit from the start? I feel like I should aim for eating better and then cut back once I have that down, but I also can't trust my own thoughts because I know I rationalize my behaviour and eating habits (one does not become obese without some rationalization, right?)

    So if anyone can offer advice on what works long term and how to get started, I would appreciate it so much! I don't want a fad diet, I want a lifestyle change and I want to do this right so I never have to do this again!

    I did the opposite, started with the deficit and tweaked the macros later. I never eliminated anything - I'm 75 pounds down and still regularly have hamburgers, pizza, etc. although I eat far fewer donuts, mainly because they don't fill me up, not because I think I can't.

    Remember, those who start with a lot of weight to lose can afford to eat more and still have a strong deficit - don't go nuts and try to have a crazy deficit. I ate (and eat) an average of about 1900 per day and still lose a bit above 2 lb/week on average.

    Some other things I do:

    I time most of my eating to when I am hungriest, which is the evenings. I make do with only light foods (granola bars, etc.) at work so I can put my calories to one really satisfying meal. Works better for me personally, you need to find the meal timing that works for you.

    I pre-plan all my meals for the day except I leave a few hundreds calories for snacks. Everything else is logged the day before, and I eat only what I logged, weighing out the portions on a scale. I take note of the meals that really fill me up, and I try to make one of those the core of most of my days, and fill in the rest around it.

    Even now, protein is the only macro I try to hit. When I have days like today where most of my food is carb-heavy, I add a protein bar or shake to meet my goals.

    Fully agree with giving up nothing you won't give up forever. I see food as a trade-off, not an absolute. I could go and get fast-food burgers and custard, and sometimes I do, but the trade-off is that I'll be a bit hungrier afterwards than if I spent my calories on something more satisfying. It's up to me to decide when it's worth it.
  • brb_2013
    brb_2013 Posts: 1,197 Member
    Start with a single change you can handle for now. I'd personally chose to cut out fast food and start cooking whatever you'd enjoy eating at home. Make your own tacos, your own burgers, whatever you'd be eating out.

    Then you chose another change, or add in the deficit. Set it to lose a half pound a week at first until you feel good about it, then 1 pound per week. You'll have more to eat and be able to literally "practice" the deficit until you get your bearings.

    Good luck! It got a lot less difficult when I made it simple... As silly as it is to say! Don't make it difficult.
  • PaulaWallaDingDong
    PaulaWallaDingDong Posts: 4,640 Member
    edited January 2016
    I did the opposite of what you're doing. I started by fitting my fast food, soda and ice cream diet into my calorie goal, and finding that it wasn't enough food, went in search of lower calorie options. I still haven't given up any of that stuff, but I work it into my diet. 68 pounds down since Jan 24 2015. That it works for your lifestyle is what matters most.
  • hoyalawya2003
    hoyalawya2003 Posts: 631 Member
    edited January 2016
    So my advice is the opposite--just do calories. Track everything and hit your calorie goals. Once that is routine, then you can worry about fast food, macros, etc. Someone above mentioned baby steps, but at least for me completely changing how I eat all at once was not doable. I've lost 55ish lbs, and kept it off for over a year all while eating fast food and too many carbs. I'm not at goal and still trying to improve macros, but I'm a lot closer than I would've been had I tried to do a complete 180 all at once.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,574 Member
    I need help.

    I know how to lose weight (eat less, move more, calorie deficit and all that) but, I suck at it.

    I once lost 40lbs by extremely unhealthy dieting, and it was impossible to maintain and I paid the price by gaining it all back and then some.

    Now I have 70lbs to lose and I'm not sure how to start.

    I eat extremely unhealthy (fast food, junk food, tons of carbs and barely any protein), so I'm starting by cutting out the fast food completely, and trying to aim for more protein and fat and less carbs. What I'm having problems with is my calorie deficit in that I feel like I'm starving all the time.

    So what I'm wondering is, is it okay to start out focusing on eating healthier and hitting my macros, or should I be striving for the calorie deficit from the start? I feel like I should aim for eating better and then cut back once I have that down, but I also can't trust my own thoughts because I know I rationalize my behaviour and eating habits (one does not become obese without some rationalization, right?)

    So if anyone can offer advice on what works long term and how to get started, I would appreciate it so much! I don't want a fad diet, I want a lifestyle change and I want to do this right so I never have to do this again!

    Put some things back in.
    Stop focusing on what is "healthy" and what is not healthy because there is no clear definition of that.
    Eat at your calorie number for the day.
    Eat enough protein: ground beef, eggs, chicken thighs, bacon, . .
    . . . . (any meat or fish or seafood or dairy or eggs or nuts or seeds)
    What works long time is spending two or three weeks weighing and logging your food and getting used to the data base. Log everything starting now. Try to log the day before so that you do not encounter surprises.
    Check the calorie information at the fast food places you like. Include the options with relatively low calories and a decent amount of protein into your plan.
  • Josh_lol
    Josh_lol Posts: 317 Member
    The only advice I can give really is use a method that will be sustainable not just for when you're losing weight, but for the rest of your life. Cutting out every food you enjoy is no fun. If your target is to lose 2lbs a week and your goal is leaving you hungry or without enough room to enjoy the food you like, lower the goal to 1lb a week.

    I've averaged a little over 1lb a week for like the last 15 and a half months. Like 80lbs in 67 weeks. And that's with eating around 2500-4000 calories a day.
  • out2024n
    out2024n Posts: 3 Member
    I dropped carbs too and have lost 95 pounds since Feb 2015. When you drop carbs you should up your fats. My macros work out to be about 5% carbs, 25% protein, 70% fat. The fat keeps me feeling full and I actually eat less doing it this way. I only eat about 1 to 2 meals per day and when I only eat one meal I may have a snack which naturally drops my calories. Low carb keeps your insulin levels low and constant which helps with craving and false hunger feelings. My carbs come in the form of diary, protein, lots of veggies, berries and nuts. The first 2 weeks were the hardest for me but it's been smooth sailing since. Honestly I don't even count calories, I focus on carbs, protein and fats and I'm never starving! It's great! I don't feel like I'm starving myself, I don't feel like I'm missing out, none of that. If I'm honestly hungry I eat and I'm good, no over eating just eating until I'm satisfied. The calories have naturally gotten in line as I've been getting my cravings and hunger back under control. You just have to make sure you have healthy fats (I use lost of animal fats and coconut oil), not processed fats like margarine. Also drop out the processed foods, eat whole natural foods and watch your labels! This way of eating totally goes against what most people follow and I'm ok with that. It's working for me, I'm losing weight and my blood work/pressure is better then ever. Sugar/carbs is very addicting to many people but once you get that stuff out of your diet you will probably feel much better after a bit. But be aware that once you take those carbs out you can't eat a piece of cake or ice cream even if your under your macros because it will knock you out of ketosis (the whole reason why low carb works). I'm not saying you will never be able to again but there are consequences and it will set you back. I've treated myself in the last year but it's very far and few between because it just not worth to me. If you really want to try a low carb diet I would be more then willing to help out with questions. Also check out Butter Bob on You Tube. I send a lot of people to his you tube videos because he has done tons of research and has been living and breathing low carbs for awhile. I've personally learned a lot of things that have helped me from his videos. Does low carb work for everyone, no, but defiantly research it and talk it over with your doctor.
  • mdonnay
    mdonnay Posts: 4 Member
    This may not work for you, but I'm going to tell you exactly how I did it:
    1. I decreased my portion sizes. I ate whatever I wanted (because I was still trying to kick bad habits) but I made sure that I only ate what could fit in a sandwich-sized tupperware.
    2. Then once I got that down, I started to delve into cooking -- making it a hobby. And I looked up recipes for meals 400 calories or less. After two months, I lost about 15 lbs. and I was at a plateau
    3. Then I started walking 10,000 steps a day and lost another 10 lbs in about 6 weeks.
    4. Then I took a diabetes class (because I was pre-diabetic) and I learned about volumetrics. So, I changed my diet to include foods with more volume which makes you full faster. I changed my breads to thick breads; I made homemade potato chips instead of store-bought, etc. I drank more water and less sweet drinks. I lost about another 10 lbs in 6 weeks.
    5. I had the gastric sleeve surgery.
    6. I decreased my portion size to 1/4 cup and kept my calories below 1,500. My focus was getting in protein, iron and fiber because focusing on everything is just too much for me. and lost 40 lbs in the first 4 months. Then i was at a plateau.
    7. I upped my walking to 12,000 steps a day and I decreased my calories to 1,200. Now I'm up to 110 lbs lost. This past November, I lost 13 lbs doing the 22-Day Challenge (a plant-based diet). I enjoyed it and it broke me from the habit of eating fried foods. Not that I was trying to lose weight, but I fasted for the first two weeks of this year and I lost another 6 lbs. I did the Daniel Fast, and it seemed to re-set my metabolism.

    I eat completely different now. Fried foods make me sick. Junk food is not as appealing. I am very aware of what I put into my body; and the results feel so good that I just don't want to go on the deep end ever again.

    I think that had I not had the gastric sleeve, I would have still lost more weight, but I would not have lost as much. I hope this helps.
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    Ninety five pounds down here. I think the error you are making is "all-at-once". You know all the things you want to change. Make a list. Now concentrate on knocking one thing off your list a week. Re-evaluate every week if your strategy is working and if not modify your plan. Only tackle a new thing after you make the old one a habit.

    The fast food abstention is a good start. If it were me my target would be "eat home cooked 5 of 7 days a week". I haven't given up any foods. I control my portions instead.

    A good second week goal may be "log everything". The key to sustained weight loss is maintaining a modest deficit.
  • Psychgrrl
    Psychgrrl Posts: 3,176 Member
    Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once. Even if you have a lot to lose, there's no rule that says you have to lose two pounds per week. Start slow, maybe .5 pounds per week. Give yourself a chance to adjust to that, just focusing on the calorie deficit. Then maybe move a little more. Get more steps in for a few week. Then maybe adjust your weight loss to a pound per week. Try that for a few weeks. Then maybe focus on macros once you're motivated by losing some of the pounds.

    Give yourself time to adjust. Be flexible. Weight loss isn't linear. It's a marathon, not a sprint so pace yourself at the start.
  • wrenak
    wrenak Posts: 144 Member
    I've lost 60+ so far. Nothing is off-limits unless I decide it's not worth the calories in that moment/that day. Choose a deficit that will work for your hunger level but still give you a steady(ish) loss. Unless you have foods that will absolutely trigger a binge every time you have it, don't deprive yourself. Want chocolate? Fit it in. Want a jack & coke? Fit it in. Want a nice medium rare steak? Fit it in. :) Understand that weight loss is not linear. As long as there's a downward trend you're doing well. Sometimes you'll do everything right but won't lose, or may even gain some. Sometimes you'll think you completely blew it but wind up down instead. Don't let those wobbles frustrate you or make you give up. Mistakes will happen. Learn from them and move on. Love yourself, accept this is an ongoing process, and make sure whatever you choose to do is something you can do for the rest of your life.
  • cthakkar1985
    cthakkar1985 Posts: 137 Member
    I lost about 70 lbs. Ate whatever I wanted as long as I hit my target macros that put me at a caloric deficit. Trying to hit my macros and caloric deficit first automatically made me make healthier choices. When it came to deciding between a couple of donuts or a healthy, filling, burrito bowl it was easy to pick the bowl rather than the donuts and feel hungry all day.
  • azulvioleta6
    azulvioleta6 Posts: 4,169 Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    Ninety five pounds down here. I think the error you are making is "all-at-once". You know all the things you want to change. Make a list. Now concentrate on knocking one thing off your list a week. Re-evaluate every week if your strategy is working and if not modify your plan. Only tackle a new thing after you make the old one a habit.

    The fast food abstention is a good start. If it were me my target would be "eat home cooked 5 of 7 days a week". I haven't given up any foods. I control my portions instead.

    A good second week goal may be "log everything". The key to sustained weight loss is maintaining a modest deficit.

    I agree with this. Pick one or two small things to work on at a time and wait until you have mastered those things before you add tougher goals.

    Think of it this way. If you lived on the second floor and you didn't have stairs, could you jump up that far in one big leap? Of course not. However, if you go up the stairs one step at a time, that distance is something that you can manage. One step at a time!

    I never ate much fast or junk food to begin with, so I can't really speak to that issue. It certainly is less of a challenge to be full and satisfied if you are not spending a large part of your calorie budget on empty foods.

    What is your daily calorie goal?
  • Orphia
    Orphia Posts: 7,097 Member
    edited January 2016
    I've lost 29 kg (64 lbs) since April.

    Eat "fast food" or "junk food" if you like it, keeping within your calorie limit.

    Fast/junk food is all about healthy choices these days anyway.

    Just stick to a calorie deficit and eat whatever it is you love.

    That will probably also be salad, veg and protein at some point, because it makes us feel good.

    Don't beat yourself up over your food choices, because that's just giving yourself an excuse to overeat (people are inclined to think their guilt makes up for bingeing).

    There are no good foods and bad foods. All food nourishes in one way or another.

    Don't deprive yourself, because deprivation leads to playing "catch-up" and gaining back your losses.

    Just eat everything in moderation, according to your taste, and if you stick to your MFP calorie limit, the weight will come off.