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.