Monday, February 8, 2010

Shake Up That Crystal Ball

There is a great post over at Escape From Obesity that led to a spot of self-examination around here. Lynn predicts the level of effort required to maintain different weights-- questioning whether or not it is worth the effort to reach each one. She expressed doubt that a surgeon-general-approved-type weight would be attainable for her, let alone maintainable. Check out the post, interesting stuff.

OK, now that you're back: who here has done that? Theorized in advance like that?

I used to figure that losing any significant weight was just too hard. God knows I'd tried. I was eating whole foods and exercising, and not getting any thinner, and I figured that was about what I was willing to do, until my glucose readings lit a fire under me and I suddenly realized I was capable of doing quite a bit more.

And the truth is, it hasn't been that horribly hard to drop 10%. I'm not saying it's easy peasy-- it's not-- but once I got the weight down, eating plenty of calories along the way (usually in the 1500-2000 range), I figured out that a modest amount of exercise (around 3 hours a week) and eating decently most days are enough for me to stay where I am. On some level I didn't believe this a year ago, but it's true. A modest weight loss like mine can be achieved and maintained without wreathing and writhing and fainting in coils (thank you, Lewis Carrol!)

But a more significant one? 20% 25% That I can't address from experience. I've been sub 135 and found that it required vigilance and a certain willingness to tolerate hunger. To paraphrase the '40s beauty Gene Tierney, "Hollywood has its rewards, but I remember being hungry for much of those 25 years." (She maintained a Hollywood-style BMI of 18 by losing on a Harper's Bazaar diet and then sticking with it for years). I maintained around 145 until my kids, and that took exercise and some degree of care, but nothing fanatical. I don't know whether that would be true now. The science suggests my metabolism shouldn't have altered by more than a hundred calories or so since then.

So what's my point? I have two opposite ones, of course.

1. It's a good thing to be honest with yourself about what you're willing to do to manage your weight for the rest of your life.

2. It's a good thing not to mislead yourself the other way-- as in (speaking from personal experience here) popping a box of Good N Plenty here, a cheesy bagel there, exercising erratically, and then shrugging and saying, "Losing weight is just too hard."

The freaky part is that losing fat is, in my opinion, less of a straight road than you'd think. There are hacks and tips. Bodies get more efficient or less so. In my own experience, I've starved and lost nothing, and eaten comfortably (from the right stuff) and lost fat. It's hard to predict what you'll be able to do, until you give it a try and see.

What do you think, dear reader?

PS: I exercised before work this morning-- 25 minutes of weights and elliptical-- which made me late but my body has felt nice all day. I ate well. And I had plain iced tea twice instead of diet soda, which I tend to imbibe in toxic amounts when I'm overbusy and stressed.

14 comments:

  1. Some great insight here. I set my goal at 135, but honestly, I have no idea how I'll look or feel at that weight. I might be happy and content when I hit 150...or 180? who knows. Thanks for the enlightening post - it's definitely food for thought.

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  2. I hit 138 about three years ago, but that was an unsustainable weight for me. I had to run many miles per week, ached all the time, and had to watch every morsel. Not worth it. I'd like to weigh 145-148, but I seem to be unwilling to do the work to get me down from 152ish.

    And I so need to get off the diet soda - I did drink water TWICE today so that's something, right?

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  3. This is something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately. I know I'm willing to work hard to keep losing, but I have no idea what any number I reach from here on out is going to look like. And I have no idea what number will be on the scale when I look in the mirror and realize I'm content. This is the smallest I've ever been as an adult... its kind of like entering a whole new world... not that I'm complaining... but its definitely something to ponder...

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  4. First, what is right for one is not always right for another, and, second, what is right for one right now probably won't be right forever. Got that!? Lol!

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  5. Well, I thought 115 (I'm not quite 5 ft. 2), but I'm at 129-130, and have been for a month and not been able to budge an ounce lower. Perhaps at 58, this is as low as I'm supposed to be. But my diet isn't a struggle, so I'm sticking with it a while longer. Time will tell. :)

    Oh, and the link doesn't work. :(

    Good luck!

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  6. I'm a smidge taller than you and currently weigh your starting weight. But I've lost about 7 pounds to get there. I thought that considering my age and how long it's been since I've been anything like slender, that 160 was a reasonable goal. Sure, I'd love to weigh what I did in my 20s (125 - 130), but I can't even wrap my head around what I would have to do to get there.

    But, as you say, it's hard to know what my body will do. And I'm definitely a work in progress these days.

    Since the beginning of the year, I've cut out the diet sodas, except for a few restaurant servings. Oof, that's been tough. I miss my shiny cold cans of bitter bubbly caffeine!

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  7. Can't get the link to work. I would post my code in comments for help but blogger won't let me, sigh! Anyway, the link is on my sidebar ===>

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  8. Success is certainly far from a straight road. I agree that we can always find more ways of becoming motivated when forced to do so.

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  9. It looks like your URL got added to the original. Can you edit the link remove http://larkspur-thebackforty.blogspot.com/2010/02 ?

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  10. It's never a straight line. If only weight loss was linear and worked like the books say (eat less, move more). I think it is just a matter of finding out what works for you, and that will probably be different than what works for someone else, etc. As long is it is something doable forever, then that is okay!

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  11. Very good insights and some great thoughts for me to ponder. Thanks! (I needed it..)

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  12. A really thought-inspiring post! I've never thought about weight loss this way... Thank you for giving me the way to such insight!

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  13. Love this introspection! Early on in my loss phase, or even before it, I gave up on the notion of losing a certain amount or getting to a specific weight. Instead, I decided to focus on getting to a "happy place" where I could enjoy life, including its food forms, and be healthy. Apparently, that's at around the 150-160 mark. :)

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  14. I think it's a good idea to know what your goals are going into weight loss (non-scale) so you know when you're done-regardless of what the scale says!

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