1. Have you installed the new JSF Mobile app? Check out all the details here.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. One account & one avatar for all of JSF. Unified login and profile. Forum alerts on the main site, and more. Check out the details here: Forum & main site unified account feature is live!
    Dismiss Notice

Back where we started, here we go round again.

Discussion in 'Fat Loss/Cutting' started by gravityhomer, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hello JSFers,

    Been awhile. I have been away from the forums for a few years. Actually I have been here only sporadically for a few years before that. Fitness-wise, the last 6 years have been really tough. It would have been great if 8 years ago, when I lost over 40 pounds, that I just continued to live at that weight, but that didn't happen.

    The initial weight loss is such a high. Progress comes quickly, seeing the fat disappear using pictures, the tape measure and the scale, it's incredibly motivating. I feel like I cannot fail. And I can keep this up for 1, 2, 3 months, 6 months, even a year. But as I have less and less fat to lose, the progress slows, the motivation decreases, and the high disappears. That is when I become vulnerable and exposed to greater life issues. And life has not been stable. But now we are squarely in the land of excuses and I don't want to focus on that just yet.

    My high school cross-country coach would tell us something before a race. As the other teams were gathered around near the start, whooping and yelling, jumping up and down and getting excited, my coach would say, "All that yelling and hollering, all of that energy is gone about 60 yards into the race, but you still have another 3 miles to go." That is how I feel about the initial weight loss now. The excitement and the motivation, it can carry me the first 6 months and even a year, but I cannot rely on it in the long term. It will not carry me 5 years, 10, 20 years. Being highly motivated for 3 months and losing 20 pounds? I can do that. I've done it 5 times in the last 12 years. Here's the data.

    All_weight_graph_JSF.gif

    I definitely don't need advice on how to lose weight. I know I can do it. But I do need advice on how to maintain a low weight. I know there are many people out there like me. I'm hoping to hear from other JSF members that have had the same problem. Maybe you had an initial successful transformation, but you haven't maintained. Maybe you try again and again. I'd like to hear about it.

    Now for the excuses. I have an amazing ability to store fat. I'm just really, really good at it. Like all physiological traits, height, hair color, shoe size, there is a large variation among people. I believe it is the same with the ease of storing fat. Some people are very bad at storing fat, some are very good at it. I am an easy fat storer. I guess, if food becomes scarce, I'll survive famines well. So that's one thing I have to deal with. Another thing is that I do not deal well with stress. I eat my stress. When I am dealing with uncertainty, when things aren't going well I eat to make the pain go away. And since I am so good at storing fat, it makes for one hell of a problem. For example, here is the same graph, where the periods of time that I have been job searching are now colored red. Notice that all the periods of red involve weight increases, including the last 10 months.

    All_weight_graph_JSF_2.gif

    So, I would love to use this thread to generate discussion and advice for people that have the same problem as me. People that are able to lose fat, who know how to do it, but for whatever reason they consistently cycle in weight anyway. I know what it is like to cycle up and down 30 pounds over the course of 18 months, I just did it. And I will tell you this, it was absolutely NOT because I lost the weight in an unhealthy manner as people might think. It wasn't that I went on an unsustainable diet and starved myself. Each time I lost the weight in a very healthy manner, losing no more than 1-2 pounds per week over the period of several months. And then, when I stopped working out and was not as strict with my nutrition, I gained the weight back at the same rate or perhaps slightly slower.

    I haven't figure this out yet. But I want people to know, that the initial transformation is only the first step. I would say it is the easy part. Maintaining the weight loss, year after year, with all of the things that life throws at you, that is the hard part. That is what I have not figured out yet.

    Do you have a similar story? I would love to hear about it.
     
  2. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    14,091
    Media:
    37
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    68
    You've got the answer right there, from a statistical side. We know what to do to lose weight and maintain a "healthy lifestyle." It's when we stop doing those things that the weight comes back.

    I think it's more the external factors. Let's face it, for many people (I'd guess most people) it's more fun NOT to work out. Unless you LOVE to lift weights, I doubt most people would WANT to go to the gym. And that's why many people take up running, cycling, zumba, etc as fitness activities... while they can be physically demanding, there's also an element of fun to them.

    And don't get me started with food. Tell me you'd rather have cod and broccoli than a pizza and a pitcher of beer, and I'll probably tell you that you are lying. The pleasures of eating, along with (in some cases) the pleasures of drinking, far outweigh (no pun intended) the pleasures of losing a few pounds through "mindful nutrition."

    Add in the challenge of maintaining the social aspects of your life (not only your daily existence, but your interpersonal relationships) and the stresses that a "healthy lifestyle" can create, and it's VERY easy to let things slide. And if I recall, an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by other forces. The upward trends on your graph (which some would consider a downward spiral) are a clear indicatior of that fact.

    The trick is in the balance, and identifying the trigger points that alter that, otherwise known as the tipping point. When we are "fit," we think "Well, I can miss a workout or indulge my appetite... because I'm fit. I'll pick it up again tomorrow." And sometimes we do get right back to it. But there are other times where tomorrow gets further away with each passing day, and before you know it, the workout plan has been abandonded, the nutrition plan has been discarded, and we find ourselves back where we started.
     
  3. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
    Staff Member Owner

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    20,867
    Likes Received:
    75
    Phil said something that I agree with, and also disagree with:

    Yes and no. Taken as a single event, sure--pizza over cod. However, think about how much you enjoy that pizza when you're mostly eating clean compared to how much you enjoy it when your diet consists of mostly junk food.

    For me, even though pizza will always taste good, my enjoyment of it is about 1/10th of what it is when it's the exception rather than the rule. Most people who eat nothing but junk food don't really enjoy it. I know I don't. Now, when I had pizza last night for my weekly "splurge" meal? Every damn bite was amazing.

    I feel horrible when I eat mostly junk food. Sometimes when I'm on vacation I eat "dirty" for a week, and by the end of the week I'm craving chicken breasts and broccoli way more than pizza.

    As for exercise, I think Phil hit that nail on the head. Not many people enjoy going to the gym just to "stay in shape". When you're first transforming training is a means to an end, so that's different. For maintaining, however, it's about finding physical activities that you love. Once you do that, your training has purpose apart from "I need to stay in shape because I'm supposed to". I touched on that subject in a recent blog, Some thoughts on why people fail at fat loss, or fail to keep it off.


     
  4. Telecide

    Telecide Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Having interrupted a week of chicken breasts and broccoli with a pizza last night, I can attest to this. It was pretty dang yummy, although I'll probably be paying for it into the middle of the week.

    As someone who doesn't really do moderation I can definitely attest to the diminishing enjoyment of a consistently dirty lifestyle. I guess it's like any addiction: euphoric at first, then just enjoyable, and finally just fulfilling a need with no lasting pleasure. When I really hit the bottom of the barrel with diet I'll consciously anticipate how long it'll take my gorged self to get hungry again, so I can gain a bit of pleasure from another ridiculous feast.

    I read an interesting article in Scientific American last month where they were trying to determine the parts of the brain responsible for pleasure. By stimulating different areas in mice they realized that areas responsible for pleasure and those responsible for desire were different. They could make the mice obsessively crave things that they didn't even enjoy, and noted that this is a similar situation to addiction.

    I'm about 2/3rd of the way to my weight goal now and it's definitely more enjoyable to be on relatively good terms with pants and mirrors. I really don't want to ever put myself in a situation where I have to lose more than 10 lbs again. I'm getting too old for this! The progression seems to always go from adding an occasional cheat day, to a regular cheat day, to basically living for the next cheat day. Then trying to fit as much hedonism as I can in one day (I think the record is around 8000 calories), then extending the cheat day to a cheat weekend, cheat week, and finally catastrophic mission failure.

    Hmmm... better make sure to hit the gym today!
     
  5. Robert2006

    Robert2006 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,695
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like pizza. I like brocoli -) Just don't mix the two.

    I'm a big believer in eating what you like. Pizza needs more portion control then brocoli and chicken but if you like pizza you can make it work.

    Real pizza is just a fairly basic bread with not a huge amount of toppings.

    If you treat your food like a burden. It's going to be a problem. Figure out what you like that fits your calorie and macros. That CAN include pizza.
     
  6. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    Phil the part you quoted, me eventually stopping workouts and eating healthy, there is always a reason. It's not like I get bored of working out, or I get tired of it because it is not fun.

    The reason is actually related to John's article on moderation and sports (great article John).

    I love being physically fit. I love sports. My sport was running. LOVED IT. I could breathe running. The high when I'm in the middle of a 5 mile run was amazing. Used to run half marathons at sub 8 min mile pace.

    But running was taken away from me over the last few years. Tendonitis in both legs of the ITB. If I am really strict and use the roller for a week, I can manage a 3 mile run. Haven't run longer than 3 miles, since the Philly distance run back in 2008.

    So that was a setback. The problem at first was that the tendonitis would only come back sometimes. I would work hard, stretch, do my rolling exercises and i'd be able to run for a few months or half a year. My body would get used to that, I'd be eating to compensate for 20-30 miles a week. Then the injury would kick in, it would always be acute, and I would have to drop to no running. When it would first start, I wouldn't be able to even walk. Of course this would be sad, and I was already eating a lot, and I would keep right on eating because I was depressed. That is the reason for the sharp weight gain right after at the end of 2008.

    But I still came back after that, and said fine, I can't rely on running anymore. It is too risky. Too risky to work it into my life and then have it just taken away from me, too easy to spiral in gaining weight. So I made rock climbing my sport, and I would incline walk and lift weights. That's the decrease in 2009. But in late 2009 I injured my neck weight lifting. Was doing bent over barbell rows (which I'll never do again) because the row machines were being used. Was using too much weight. Could not move my neck for 2 weeks. Couldn't rock climb or lift weights for a few months. Of course got depressed and was job searching at the time, and that started off the huge weight gain in 2010.

    The last tipping point was last november, the reality of not having a career path, of needing to find a job without an end date.

    So injuries, and job searching have been my undoing. But it's my fault. Mentally, these things should not destroy me. I need more stability. I need to be stronger than that.
     
  7. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    14,091
    Media:
    37
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    68
    None of my friends have ever asked me to go out for cod and broccoli.

    Let's not discount the social aspect of food, and the attendant "issues" around being the one who is always monitoring what they eat and drink.

    For example, I generally don't drink alcohol at home. And I have no problem keeping my fridge clear of "unclean" food when I want to.

    But put me in a social situation where there is a "good" food choice and a "bad" food choice, and I'm more than likely to choose unwisely. When everyone else is ordering nachos and burritos, it's hard to be the guy asking for a grilled chicken breast with brown rice, no guacamole or sour cream, even if that's available.

    And I've yet to turn down a drink when offered.

    Tell me about it... after a week on the Velocity Diet, that steak dinner last night was something. Even the salad was good!
     
    #7 phillydude, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  8. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can sympathize with the fluctating levels of fitness.

    I spent the last 4 years living and working primarily overseas in Spain, Russia, and Kazakhstan for varing lenghts of time. Each time I was able to get into great shape while abroad due to the overall healthier lifestyle lived by the local people (fresh food/more physical activity), and each time I returned to the States I ballooned back into my old, fat self within a month or two.

    It's amazing how difficult our society and culture makes it to not only get into to shape, but to maintain that level of fitness longterm.
     
  9. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    huh, so you saw a definite difference in your ability to maintain a health lifestyle when you were in another country? That is interesting. Usually when I am travelling that is when I have the worst eating habits.

    Maybe you could expand more on what you think is specifically different about your life at home in the states versus other countries. I find this really interesting.

    I guess a new environment breaks old habits perhaps.

    I think my current job has not helped me attain structure. Doing research at a university, I pretty much set my own hours, which is good but also bad, when not making the right choices. Too easy to stay up late, eat crap food, then sleep badly and late. Get to work late, then leave work late and start the process over again.

    Hopefully with a new job, I will be able to force myself into a better structure.
     
  10. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    14,091
    Media:
    37
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    68
    As someone who has experienced a fair amount of job insecurity and transition in the past few years, I can say that I am the MOST motivated when I am between positions. The phrase "Train like it's your job" was my mantra.

    I also found that in a situation which is very much outside my control (unemployment) I fell back on those things I COULD control to keep my motivation up. No matter what is happening in the outside world, I can control what foods I put inside my body.
     
  11. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    I wish I reacted that way. I am the exact opposite. When I am job searching, it makes me question and doubt everything. It makes me think, look at how old I am, and I still have no idea what I am doing with my life. Talking to my friend this past weekend, he said, it sounds like I lost my mojo.

    Do you think maybe your kids help keep you calm as well? I can see maybe an influence like that making things much more crystal clear. I am married, which I am very thankful for. That has been at least some sort of anchor for me. I feel like if I didn't have that, things could have gotten a lot worse in the last year. Like really worse.
     
  12. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

    Joined:
    May 23, 2005
    Messages:
    14,091
    Media:
    37
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    68
    What's wrong with not knowing what you are doing with your life, no matter how old you are? Some of the most interesting people I know have no idea what they are doing tomorrow, let alone what they are doing for the rest of their lives.
     
  13. Bradley326

    Bradley326 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    0
    First I should emphasize the distinction between "travelling" and "living" overseas. Travelling (at least for me) implies staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and generally being abroad for a short time. Living is being abroad as a permanent place of residence and doing things as local people do.

    The biggest differences in my lifestyle between the States and abroad were the following (I'll compare with Kazakhstan as an example since I spent the most time, 2 years, there):

    1) quality of food: In the States most of my food is prepackaged/processed and loaded with sugar and sodium and God knows what else. Even when I "cook" here, many of the ingredients I use are just a slightly less processed form. Take spaghetti, for example. I use boxed noodles, a jar of Ragu/Prego/etc sauce, and maybe some frozen meatballs. When I made spaghetti in Kazakhstan I used flour to make and roll my own noodles, used fresh tomatoes/salt/pepper/veggies to make a sauce, and used groundbeef with seasoning to make meatballs. Sure, it was a lot of work, but 1) it was necessary because packaged food wasn't always readily available (see below) and 2) it tasted AMAZING. Can I do that in the States? Sure! But the temptation not to is so strong (again, see below).

    2) accessibilty of food: Here in the States there is food EVERYWHERE. I can't walk or drive a mile in my town without seeing at least 3 fast food restaurants, and I can't watch TV for more than 10 minutes witout seeing at least 1 or 2 commercials for McDonald's/etc. In Kazakhstan people view places like McDonalds as a treat to be enjoyed once a month. They don't have many, if any, fast food commercials on TV. You're not constantly surrounded by and bombarded with temptation on every corner and every channel. Additionally, the amount and variety of food in supermarkets is miniscule as compared with in the U.S.A. My local supermarket in Kazakhstan didn't sell frozen meatballs, and the jars of pasta sauce were so small and so expensive that it made more sense to make it myself.

    3) physical activity: Here in the States I live in the suburbs so I have to drive everywhere. I drive to work. I drive to the gym. I drive to the supermarket. Drive, drive, drive. Overseas most people walk. When I first arrived in Russia, for example, I wasn't actively trying to lose weight, but I ended up dropping close to 30 pounds in 3 months simply due to the fact that I was walking day-in-day-out from necessity.

    Here's a little anecdote that I think really captures the differences in lifestyles between the U.S.A and most other countries:

    Shortly after arriving in Russia I decided I wanted to buy a new pair of jeans. So I went shopping and found TONS of fantastic jeans I wanted to buy, but the sizes were a problem. My size of 38 is pretty normal in the States; you can find them in normal stores, and that size isn't even close to being considered "big and tall". In Russia, however, I could not find a single pair of jeans bigger than 36 in any normal store. People simply don't get fat enough for stores to regularly stock 38s and up.

    Willpower certainly plays a part in living a healthy lifestyle, but from my experience it is MUCH easier to be strong-willed in many other countries than in the U.S.A, due to the culture of excess that we've cultivated here.
     
  14. Bluestreak

    Bluestreak Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    6,136
    Likes Received:
    16
    +1.

    It seems many of our long time forum participants are suffering similar fates. Perhaps I should toss my hat in this interesting little ring.

    My career evaporated after the 2008 cruise. I became highly trained and completely useless - and saw it coming... over the course of six months. Over the following three years, I had to gave up the old profession, went back to school, I'm still fighting foreclosure/bankruptcy (after nearly four years)... but in the last year, it's started the upswing. I've landed in a place I can trust (I run a handful of businesses with my best friend now). Losing my career was kind of like experiencing a death... I sometimes wonder if I don't have some mild form of PTSD from it all.

    On the other end of all this, I've found self-employment. Walking across my new house to "go to work". Living in rural SE Orlando, away from the tourists and city-idiots. Things are starting to come back together.

    Physically? I never exceeded 150-lbs. My weight never yo-yo'd, only my resolve.

    I suppose, as I come closer to finally having a fresh start and putting it all behind me, I've got to figure out where to go from here. While I never got fat, what I got ain't fit anymore, either. How to move forward from here...? That is the question I face...
     
  15. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    I don't know. Expectation from others I guess. And self pride as well. I certainly don't want to be unemployed. That limits things.

    I have placed a lot of emphasis on where I want to live and the family and friends I want to live near. More so than on the type of work that I do. But it seems that some people don't understand why I would do that. My job should come first, according to them.

    If I am going to take a job in a place that I don't want to live, near no one that I know, just because it furthers my career and pays well, what is the point? That's not what I want. I want to live in a place I like and near the people that are important to me. It just so happens the area of the country I live is very limited for my background.
     
  16. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ah yes, I understand now. That would make a big difference. Thank you for your take on this Bradley, very enlightening stuff. It would seem that we are bred to be consumers in the US, more so than the other places you have lived. Geez, kind of makes me feel like cattle.

    We are cattle for the US economy. And I'm all fattened up :lol:
     
  17. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hey Roger. Oh boy, essentially the same thing happened to me in 2010. I left my aerospace job because NASA funding got completely reshuffled. I didn't want to move to FL (no offense meant), TX, CO or CA, so I took a job outside of my expertise. Which became fairly specialized in a specific function in aerospace.

    Glad to hear that you are through it and onto the other side. I haven't figured it out yet. I have no idea where I'll be working or where I'll be living in a couple months. I go up and down daily.
     
  18. digitalnebula

    digitalnebula Plagiarist

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Messages:
    4,401
    Likes Received:
    2
    Welcome back GH! :)
     
  19. digitalnebula

    digitalnebula Plagiarist

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Messages:
    4,401
    Likes Received:
    2
    This is me. I lost 50 pounds between last November and this May. In just June and July, I put 20 pounds back on. Now I am back on it and dropping it off.
    I have ridden the rollercoaster more than once...:o


    I haven't figured it out yet.....but I have learned one thing this year....
    Make a plan.

    It has been *far* more sustainable for me to:
    - Plan to stick to a reasonable workout schedule (for me, currently twice a week)
    - Plan to eat healthy meals that fit your macros....that you actually like (This one was huge for me....cutting used to feel like torture and punishment by food after a few months....now, I eat stuff that I like better but is still reasonably healthy...Is it 100% perfect/organic/utopian-awesomeness? No. But I hit my calorie target.

    And personally, for me, the biggest contributor to staying on my program 7 of the last 9 months:
    - PLAN to have cheat meals

    I love food. I *really* love cheeseburgers, fries, burritos, etc....
    In a past life, I would cut weight by denying myself month after month....but then I would end up falling into a bit of a binge because I missed the foods I love and couldn't get enough.

    But eating something I love Wednesday at lunch and Saturday....I can satisfy those cravings.

    Anyway, you probably know all of this....but I thought I would share my experiences in the instance it may provide a decent nugget of info.....but everyone is different and I really hope you find what is long-term sustainable for you...

    Cheers!
     
  20. gravityhomer

    gravityhomer Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Messages:
    3,609
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks for your take. I would say I know what is needed to lose weight, but not what is needed for me to live my life at a healthy maintained weight. So I absolutely welcome all suggestions from people.

    I like your emphasis on the word plan. It is a very simple message. Weight loss or weight gain doesn't happen by accident. But weight loss requires a plan, while weight gain happens when I don't have a plan.

    For me it comes down to having a limited supply of mental energy or stamina. If other parts of my life become stressed and require a lot of mental energy, then fitness just gets forgotten about. I don't really understand it. I feel like it is working on a subconscious level. In order for this to work. I need to figure this out.

    Something that I just have to accept, is that I cannot live my life like most of the people around me. For me, eating crap and not working out has consequences. Maybe it doesn't for others in the short term. But for me, it does. I will gain weight. I will gain weight quickly, it will get out of control. I just need to accept it, and if I don't like being this big, I will need to make permanent changes. Kind of sucks right? Could be worse, though, people live with much worse problems.

    I had this thing that I started to say last year when I was on my last healthy kick. When I was offered pizza or cake or ice-cream, I would say no thanks, I'm allergic. It's far easier to say, than, sorry I get really fat if I eat that stuff. Sometimes people would not say anything and drop it, others would be curious and want to know specifically what I am allergic to, you can't be allergic to pizza as a whole. And I would say, yes, I am allergic to pizza, when I eat it I get really swollen in my midsection.

    It helped to just think about it that way. Essentially I am allergic to foods that make me fat. People live with far worse food allergies. I know people that can't eat any wheat, or milk or nuts. That is definitely far worse.
     

Share This Page