You Don't Understand & I Can't Explain - POSTED ON: Nov 19, 2017
It is difficult to communicate the Realities of Long-Term-Weight-Loss-Maintenance. I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.
I am a Reduced-Obese person who has been successfully maintaining a large weight-loss for more than 13 years, which is a very long time. For the past 7 years here at DietHobby I’ve been demonstrating my involvement with that maintenance process.
One idea that seems to be uniquely my own was the choice to consider Dieting as an ongoing Hobby, and I’ve written a lot about that already. In fact, I’ve written a great deal about most of the Dieting issues that interest me. I’ve posted hundreds of articles, pictures, videos which are all still here, indexed and available for review Individually, in the Blog Archives, in the Blog Categories, and also under specific Section Headers. See the Contents Directory for more details.
Just like there are different stages of Dieting, there are different stages of Maintenance.
Unless you’ve actually spent a lengthy amount of time on one or more Diets, you cannot truly UNDERSTAND the experience of Dieting.
Understanding Maintenance also requires ACTUAL LONG-TERM EXPERIENCE of being personally involved with the Maintenance process.
In all this time, I have not personally run across any other “reduced-obese” person who has lost from a “super-obese” BMI, down to a “normal” BMI and has been successfully maintaining that weight loss for 10 or more years. Not in person, not diet-book authors, and not online. And yet I’ve been diligently searching for quite a long time.
People who are NOT involved with dieting … either on a diet or planning to be on one… are seldom interested in receiving extensive information about the benefits or pitfalls of dieting, let alone the maintenance issues that occur after successfully dieting.
Most of the people who ARE involved in the process of dieting, focus on their weight-loss goals; hope for an easy “maintenance”; and don’t want to face potential maintenance issues until after they cross their goal “Finish Line”.
The task of Maintenance during the first few years immediately after a large weight-loss is usually more difficult than most dieters expected, and the last thing new MAINTAINERS want to hear is that the process is not going to get any easier … and that, in fact, it will probably become MORE difficult as time goes on.
So… I’ve learned that most people NOT dieting don’t want to hear about the realties of long-term Maintenance.
Most People ON diets don’t want to hear about the realities of long-term Maintenance.
Most People WITHIN the first, second, or third year of reaching their weight-goal don’t want to hear about the realities of long-term Maintenance.
It is difficult to find a successful dieter who, after many years of morbid obesity, has been maintaining a “normal” BMI for more than three consecutive years. Such people are rare and therefore almost impossible to find and connect with. This sometimes causes me to feel very alone.
Posting here at this DietHobby website is a part of my personal dieting hobby. DietHobby is an online Scrapbook of information that I find to be personally interesting and helpful. For more than 13 years, as part of my dieting hobby I’ve involved myself with various online diet forums, and one of the main reasons I created this DietHobby website was so that I could easily explain myself in depth when participating in various discussions by using links to helpful articles that I had previously researched and written.
Over time I’ve discovered that doing this isn’t as simple or as helpful as I expected. Various forum members (usually those who were not involved in the original discussion) sometimes erroneously considered my linked articles in DietHobby to be “spam”, and objected to them.
Members who were involved in discussions with me often ignored the links, or chose to read only a few highlights of an article which caused them to miss the point entirely.
I’ve had many years of involvement with numerous diet groups and online forums, and at present, most of the time I find that involving myself in forum discussions results in a lot of repetition about issues that I no longer find interesting or personally helpful to me. This past year I’ve been reducing my engagement in that sort of activity, and expect that I will continue doing so in the future.
My dieting hobby appears to be working, in that I am still successfully maintaining a very large weight-loss. I plan to continue on …working to restrict my food intake while logging it all into a computer journal; tracking my calories and weights; experimenting with various diets; reading books and articles; following the various online posts that I find personally interesting or helpful; and posting here in DietHobby whenever I wish to do so.
Although I expect to greatly reduce my VISIBLE online forum involvement in general, I plan to stay personally available to interested members here at the DietHobby website, through posts, comments, and private messages.
At age 72 I am becoming more and more weary of the entire maintenance process, however, I plan to continue on with it as long as I am able to do so.
Many of you have followed me and my progress for a very long time, and I will continue to occasionally provide updated personal information here at DietHobby.
Today’s post will be included in the BLOG CATEGORY, Status Updates, which exists to make it easier for those who follow me to watch how things evolve as time passes. I recently ran a diet experiment from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and will soon be doing a Status Update post about that.
Although Today I am feeling very alone here in long-term maintenance, I do appreciate and value each and every DietHobby member and visitor, no matter what your current dieting status might or might not be.
Originially posted on 9/4/17. Bumped up for new viewers.
Why Is This Happening? - October 2017 - POSTED ON: Oct 06, 2017
During the this past 12 years of my weight-loss maintenance, I’ve been collecting data about my food and weight. This provides me with a great deal of personal information, and that data tells me that … over the years … my weight is continuing to creep upward, even though I keep reducing my calorie intake.
I find this fact very annoying, as well as perplexing.
Until I was faced with this personal information, I believed what our Culture teaches: “If Fat people cut back on their food intake enough to reach a “normal” weight, their bodies will become like the bodies of “normal” people. To maintain that weight loss, they need to eat more than they did to lose the weight, but not go back to eating as they did previously: in a gluttonous manner.”
Essentially, I thought that you diet down to your goal weight number; cross the finish line; and from that time on you will maintain your weight-loss by eating like normally thin people do.
This is NOT what has been happening for ME. So, I began wondering why? What’s going on?
I spent a lot of time studying books, and articles, and research about this issue, and learned that as a “reduced obese” person, what has been happening to ME, personally, seems to fall within the theories of Set Point, and Biological Adaptation.
I’ve spent my lifetime dieting, from my youth into my old age. I’ve lost, and regained, hundreds of pounds of fat. About 25 years ago, at age 48, I had an open RNY gastric bypass surgery, which - at the time - was still considered experimental. This forced me to eat in a way that dropped my BMI from a 52.9 BMI = Stage 4 - Super-obese, down to a 31.4 BMI = Stage 1 - just over the border of obese. After a few years I began actively dieting again in order to avoid a rapid regain.
About 13 years ago, around age 60, I was back up to a 38 BMI = Stage 2 -Severe obesity. I began logging my food and daily weight into a computer software diet program. I begun losing weight, and about 16 months later, in January 2006, I reached my goal of a 22.5 BMI = in the middle of the "Normal" weight range.
During the 12 years since that time, now almost age 73, I’ve continued using a computer program to log my food and daily weight. As a result of that effort, I’ve maintained my weight at-or-near a BMI range of “normal”. I now also have 13 years of records showing my personal daily food and weight data.
About 25 years ago, I actually experienced an open RNY Gastric Bypass surgery, after which I ate tiny amounts for many months,.... estimated amount is from 300 to 600 calories daily. “Cheating on that diet" was physically impossible for me.
The calculations in this chart demonstrate that one could reasonably assume that during that 30 week period in 1993, my body’s estimated average daily calorie burn was somewhere around 2100 calories.
About 13 years ago, I dieted from 190 down to 120 lbs over a 67 week period. At that time all of my daily food was logged into a computer program, which demonstrated that my daily average calorie intake was 1224.
The calculations in this chart demonstrate that one could reasonably assume that during that 67 week period in late 2004 & 2005, my body’s estimated average daily calorie burn was somewhere around 1746 calories.
12 Years of Maintenance of Weight-Loss
Here’s a chart of my past 12 years in Maintenance. It shows my total daily calorie amount for an entire individual year, averaged out. It also shows my total daily weight amount for an entire individual year, averaged out. It also includes the lowest recorded weight for each individual year.
One would expect that my average yearly weights, and my average calorie intakes would be directly proportional, in that as my average calorie intake decreases, my average weight would also decrease. Instead it appears that those values are inversely proportional: while my calorie intake has been decreasing, my weight has been increasing.
Even with my detailed records, my exact current total calorie burn still involves a lot of guesswork, but at this point, it appears to be somewhere around 25%-or-more Below the Average BMR for a female my same age, size, and activity level. Since I am a small, inactive, elderly female, that is a Very Small amount of food. Frankly, eating little enough for maintenance is quite hard to do, and I’ve been finding additional Weight-Loss to be nearly impossible.
To provide perspective:
BMR (basic metabolic rate - without activity) according to Mifflin formula,
1058 calories for an AVERAGE 60 year old female, weighing 125 lbs
1008 calories for an AVERAGE 70 year old female, weighing 125 lbs
When looking at these ongoing calorie numbers, the first thing that comes to mind is unintentional calorie error.
An important relevant fact is that these foods and amounts eaten were recorded at the time they were eaten, therefore the calorie counts provided are not based on inexact memories.
Calorie counting is never an exact science, and at the low calorie numbers required by my metabolic rate, an unwitting daily 10 to 20 percent error could account for a 100 to 150 calorie deviation from the actual amount.
However, another important relevant fact to recognize is that during all of these past 13 years I weighed and measured and recorded my foods in the same way. Therefore, any inadvertent calorie error due to my methods of measuring and counting would have been consistent over time so it is unlikely to account for the calorie average deviations shown over time.
Correlation is Not Causation
The common Scientific Belief is that that weight-loss is caused by a calorie deficit, and weight-gain is caused by a calorie surplus. I feel certain that this is true.
Correlation is not causation. Each of the above mentioned facts are variables, and there appears to be a correlation between these variables, however, this does not automatically mean that the change of one variable is the cause of the change in another variable. Causation indicates that one event is the RESULT of the occurrence of the other event. .. That one thing CAUSES the other.
I am able to REPORT here what I’ve seen happening with my body, but I am not able to actually KNOW what is causing this to happen. I’ve thought about this issue a great deal, and I’ve done as much research on the issue as has been possible for me. This has led me toward certain general opinions and beliefs about the subject, but I have no True and Ultimate Answer to what, for ME, is a genuine personal problem. I also have no Ultimate Answer for other people who appear to have a similar problem.
There are many articles here at DietHobby about me and my own weight and calorie History. See:
⁃ ABOUT ME.
⁃ How Fast…How Much…Weight Lost After Gastric Bypass?
⁃ BLOG CATEGORIES, Status Updates.
Here at DietHobby I’ve posted a great many articles on the difficulties of long-term weight loss and the subject of Biological Adaptation. Most of them are located in the section BLOG CATEGORIES, Research - Science.
Below are several links to some articles on the subject that I’ve found especially helpful.
⁃ Running down the Up Escalator
⁃ Set Point
⁃ Our Weight is Regulated by Our Biological System
⁃ Happily Ever After & Neuroscience
⁃ The Secret Life of Fat - Book Review
⁃ Body of Truth - Book Review
⁃ Biological Adaptations that Promote Weight Regain
⁃ Long-Term Weight-Loss Almost Impossible
The following statements by obesity specialist, Dr. Freedhoff M.D. make a great deal of sense to me.
He says that:
Physiologically, Plateaus don't exist. Unless it's a temporary trick of the scale, . . . if you're not losing, either you're burning fewer calories than you think; you're eating more than you think; or some combination thereof.
There's no Plateau, but there IS such a thing as a "FLOOR". If you've truly stopped losing weight, there are really only two questions you need to ask yourself.
1. Could I happily eat any less?
2. Could I happily exercise any more?
If the answer is "yes" then you can tighten things up, but If the answer to both is "no", there's nothing left for you to do.
This is because if you can't happily eat any less and you can't happily exercise any more -- then it's unlikely that this will ever become part of your permanent behavior.
Here is my ongoing personal solution to the problem addressed in this article.
Work to ACCEPT the reality of the situation while, at the same time, do my best to FOLLOW THROUGH WITH DOING THE INDICATED THINGS which are required for long-term maintenance of my large weight loss.
It is what it is.
Weight Range Mantenance Plan - POSTED ON: Oct 02, 2017
I created a Weight Range Maintenance Chart
in order to make my maintenance weight goals clearly visible.
This is my Current Chart.
Here is a scale photo of my current weight.
I have been successfully maintaining a very large weight-loss for many years. You can find my history in the ABOUT ME section which contains a great many links to detailed weight and calorie charts.
I reached my goal weight of 115 pounds in January 2006, and since that time I’ve been making ongoing, consistent, diligent efforts to maintain my weight near that number.
I work to keep my weight within a certain number range, rather than at an individual “goal weight” number.
I find this necessary because my body has frequent large weight bounces due to salt/water/waste issues.
Despite my best efforts, during any one-month period, my daily weight tends to bounce back and forth inside a 5 to 8 pound range.
For the past 12 years, I’ve been able to keep these bounces between 115 and 135 pounds.
On occasion however, my weight has BRIEFLY been as much as 10 pounds below and 5 pounds above that basic bounce range.
The yearly weight chart posted here shows my very lowest yearly weight during each of the past 12 years.
In order to demonstrate that the increases in these yearly lowest weights were NOT due to periods of inattention or a lack of effort, I’m also posting a corresponding yearly calorie chart showing my average daily calories during each of these passing years.
I’ll be writing more about this issue in an further article on the subject of Biological Adaptation to Weight Loss and Maintenance.
My current Weight Range Maintenance Chart shown at the top of this article is a modification and simplification of this previous chart.
During my 12 year maintenance period, although I’ve kept the Basic weight-range maintenance chart format, I’ve made several modifications to it.
If interested, you can read about it in the following articles.
Setting a Goal Weight Range
Change in my Weight Range Maintenance Plan
Weight Range Maintenance Plan Changes Again
You can also find further charts and detailed information about my weights and my food intake in the BLOG CATEGORY Status Updates.
Status Update - September 2017 - POSTED ON: Sep 06, 2017
Treating Dieting as a Hobby (see: ABOUT ME) involves the ongoing task of finding or creating ways to keep myself interested in detailed issues involving Weight-Loss and Maintenance, as well as watching how MY own body responds to those various issues.
Here at DietHobby I sometimes share my personal weight and calorie numbers, along with Tactics that I’ve used to help me in Maintenance. These past articles showing my weight and calorie history can be easily located under BLOG CATEGORIES, Status Updates.
Yesterday I posted about my Summer Experiment 2017.
Collecting, recording, and analyzing detailed personal data has helped me lose weight and maintain that weight-loss.
For the past 13 years I’ve been logging all of my daily food intake into a computer food journal which provides me with a calorie count. I’ve also been using a scale to see my early morning weight, unclothed, immediately after urination, which I record immediately.
As part of my long-term-weight-loss-Maintenance journey I use various charts to track my progress. Although each chart uses the exact same weight and calorie information, I’ve found that charting that information in different ways helps give me new viewpoints which sometimes results in additional insight.
My body’s daily weight tends to Bounce up and down quite a lot. In my weight-loss phase I created a table that I call a “Bounce Chart”, and during a specific time period, I make daily entries to a specific chart in order to track the range of my daily weight deviations.
The 98 Days of Summer “Bounce” chart shown here covers the 98 day time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2017. It shows my starting weight was 133.2 and my ending weight was 132.0. So, this shows that I had a net weight loss of 1.2 pounds for the entire summer which involved a 9 pound “Bounce Range”.
During that 98 day period, I ate an average of 662 calories per day. 1st third of the summer, my calories averaged 624 per day; 2nd third of summer, my calories averaged 654 per day; 3rd third of summer, my calories averaged 705 per day.
Weekly Results Chart
This “Weekly Results” chart shows my Monday morning weight along with my daily calorie average for the prior week.
It covers the 19 week period from April 17, 2017 through September 4, 2017, showing the ongoing connections between my weekly weight and my daily average calorie intake.
This chart shows that during this time period, my net weight loss was 1.2 pounds, with a 19 week calorie average of 684.
Online chart from TrendWeight
The Chart below is from the website: “TrendWeight, Automated Weight Tracking in the Style of the Hacker’s Diet .“
It provides a graph showing my weight Trend Line from April 17, 2017 through September 4, 2017 together with my actual daily weights.
This shows that on this current date, my actual weight is trending at 133.1 pounds.
Like most online calculators, the TrendWeight chart relies only on weight input, and makes assumptions about the calories of one’s food intake based on the commonly used metabolic formulas such as Harris Benedict or Mifflin.
I input 120 pounds as my goal weight, and took it’s lowest weight-loss option, which was to lose ½ pound per week. Based on that data the program told me that my body is eating 174 more calories than it is burning, and that to lose ½ pound a week, I need to eat 424 calories less per day.
My daily calorie average for the entire Trend Weight time period was actually 684 calories, and based on my ongoing weights, according to TrendWeight’s metabolic data, my body’s current total metabolic burn is 510 calories.
Furthermore, TrendWeight tells me that in order to lose ½ pound per week, I will need to subtract 424 calories per day from the amount that I am now eating. Subtracting 424 calories from my average calorie intake of 684 results in a recommendation to eat a daily average of only 260 calories daily in order to achieve a ½ pound weekly weight loss.
The Realities of Life
In previous articles I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing the issues surrounding the mathematical Metabolic formulas, including the fact that they are all based on AVERAGES; that a 15% deviation up or down is normal while there are some people (outliers) whose numbers are FAR different than the group number.
At present, most experts consider Mifflin to be the most accurate of these formulas. To keep things in perspective, Mifflin gives the average 72 year old, 5'0" tall, female weighing 130 pounds a BMR of 1016 calories. When sedentary activity is included to that number, the average daily caloric maintenance requirement is 1219.
One of the leading obesity researchers, Dr. Rudolph Leibel of Columbia University, says that a “reduced obese” person’s metabolic burn will normally be about 15% less than the metabolic burn of a person (of the same height, weight, age, and activity level) who has always been a “normal” weight. Also, I recently saw a medical obesity specialist that I respect say that he’s occasionally seen deviations 25% lower than the average Mifflin BMR.
So, if we assumed the average "normal" weight person of my size and age would have a BMR burn of 1000 calories, a 25% reduction would be 750 calories. As there are different levels of sedentary activity, a sedentary metabolic burn of 1100 calories would not be unreasonable, and a 25% reduction would be 825 calories.
Calorie counting is never an exact science, and at these low numbers, an unwitting daily 10 to 20 percent error could account for a 100 to 150 calorie deviation. This could bring an outlier’s maintenance calorie burn to around 675, which is where … evidentially… my calorie burn has been trending.
Here’s an online chart graphing
my Average Weekly Weights over the past 8 ½ years.
This chart reflects that since 2013, I’ve had several successful weight drops down into the low 120s, but even though during the past 4 years my daily calorie intake averages totalled less than 1000, my body has been unable to maintain those weight-losses long-term.
The right half of this chart involves weights from the high 130s to the low 120s … a bounce range of around 15 pounds or so.
I think it is relevant to point out that I diligently and consistently worked at dieting for weight-loss and maintenance during ALL of this time period, and the ongoing Ups and Downs shown in the right half of the chart can NOT be attributed to periods of inattention or ongoing periods of "overeating". The drastic weight drops involved a drop in glycogen, salt, water, & waste due to several weeks of radical very-low-calorie diets of around 200 to 300 calories. Many of the weight increases reflected the return of that glycogen, salt, water & waste when my calories increased to an average of between 700 and 1000 calories.
For an understanding of the kinds and amounts of food I normally eat, look at the photos of meals I’ve recorded in RESOURCES, Photo Gallery section, under the heading Petite Meals.
So, what can a reduced-obese person who has metabolic numbers like I have, do?
I feel certain that additional exercise is not part of a solution for me. Almost 12 years ago, when I got to my original goal weight of 115 pounds, I was 60 years old and physically able to be more active than I am now. Furthermore, I have spent my 72 year lifetime as a sedentary person whose favorite outdoor activity is to go back inside. When considering my age, my current mindset and physical limitations, there is very little I can do to change my current activity level. The small amount of additional exercise I might be able to tolerate would increase my hunger but do very little to increase my calorie burn.
I can continue working to track my calories and weight as carefully and exactly as possible.
I can continue working to keep the calories of my food intake as low as I can reasonably, healthily, and happily tolerate.
I can continue working toward keeping my weight as low as my body will healthfully allow.
I can work to ACCEPT the fact that things are just as they should be even though my body weight now has a BMI near the border between “normal” and “overweight”. Since my body appears to be unwilling to return to my original weight-loss goal … despite numerous, exhaustive attempts to force it do so, …. its continued refusal to cooperate with my weight-loss attempts might be an indicator that my body is already at its optimal weight for this late stage of my life.
Summer Experiment 2017 - POSTED ON: Sep 05, 2017
As part of my long-term Maintenance of a large weight-loss (currently 12+ years ), I do a lot of personal experimenting with various dieting issues.
My experiment this summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day was to see how my own body’s weight results compared with the Body Weight Planner’s (BWP) projected calculations;
... while making a consistent and hard-core effort to drop my current weight lower in my Maintenance Weight Range (back below the 25 BMI border between “normal” and “overweight”).
The Overview pictured above shows my personal data input and the program’s projections for weight-loss. I’m age 72, going on 73, so I listed my age as 73. I used the lowest percentage that the program will allow for my Physical Activity Level.
Based on my personal numbers, the program gave me an 1151 maintenance calorie burn. It projected that if I ate 900 calories per day for the 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I would lose from 133.2 pounds down to 126.0 pounds. This would be a loss of 7.2 pounds over a 14 week period, averaging about ½ pound loss per week.
Note that the program projects that at the end of the 98 days, in order to maintain a 126.0 pound weight, my calorie burn would be 1121, which is an ongoing 30 calorie reduction.
This Simulation Graph shows that Increasing my calories from 900 for weight-loss to 1121 for maintenance would cause a weight UpBounce of 1.5 pounds over a 6 day period (98 days of dieting, + 6 days of maintenance = 104 days).
Therefore my projected final ongoing weight result would be 127.5, which would bring me back just inside my “normal” BMI range.
Many years of keeping ongoing records of my weights and calorie counts have taught me that my personal metabolism burn is Lower than the Average rate predicted by Metabolic Formulas, so my personal diet plan for this experiment was to work to keep my daily calorie intake below 700 calories.
I chose to work toward a <700 calorie number because:
An 1150 calorie burn minus a food intake of 900 calories creates a 250 calorie deficit.
If my actual calorie burn was 900 instead of 1150, then a 250 calorie deficit would be 650 calories.
Also in my previous dieting experience, food intake of around 700 calories has been about the lowest calorie level that I’ve been able to sustain on diets lasting longer than 2 or 3 consecutive weeks.
I’ve had extensive experience with a great many different diets and ways-of-eating, and this has taught me that I tend to do best on a food plan that restricts the total daily AMOUNT of food that I eat (has a maximum daily calorie number), but does not restrict the KINDS of food eaten, nor restrict the FREQUENCY of eating. Therefore, my food plan for this experiment allowed me to eat small amounts of whatever food I desired, whenever I choose to do so, as long as I stayed under my daily calorie maximum.
My 5-bite dieting friends will understand when I say that 700 calories per day is the caloric equivalent of about 2 ½ Snickers or Protein bars.
For an understanding of the kinds and amounts of food I normally ate during this experiment, look at the photos of meals I’ve recorded in RESOURCES, Photo Gallery section, under the heading Petite Meals.
I expect to soon post a discussion of the RESULTS of my Summer 2017 experiment in a separate article, entitled “Status Update - September 2017”.
For more information on the Body Weight Planner (BWP) see Body Weight Calculator - Timeline Projections.
Nov 11, 2017 DietHobby: A Digital Scrapbook. 2000+ Blogs and 500+ Videos in DietHobby reflect my personal experience in weight-loss and maintenance. One-size-doesn't-fit-all, and I address many ways-of-eating whenever they become interesting or applicable to me.
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