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How do you lose weight/maintain good weight?
Old 06-04-2016, 11:17 AM   #1
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How do you lose weight/maintain good weight?

Since turning into an old Grumpy-Drawers who asked people not to use my "caring whether others are fat" thread to talk about other topics, such as how to lose weight, I thought I'd start a thread where folks can give advice and tell stories related to getting to/maintaining a healthy weight.

There have been other such threads, but the topic seems inexhaustible. It is an important and complicated topic. Just a few variables:

*Excess weight carries many health risks.
*We all must eat, so can't just "quit."
*Eating is a pleasure for most people. For some, it is almost their only pleasure.
*Many people don't enjoy exercise. Some can't do much exercise at all, due to limitations.
*Different people's bodies metabolize food at different rates.
*Society sends complicated messages about food, eating, and weight.

So, how do you approach the matter of your body weight? The topic applies, whether you consider yourself to be overweight, underweight, or "just right."


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Old 06-04-2016, 11:50 AM   #2
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For most of my life I could eat anything and as much of it as I wanted and at times had difficulty maintaining at least the 145 lbs that my job required. (My sisters hated me for this.) In HS friends accused me of having a tapeworm because I ate so much but didn't gain weight. Once I got past 50 or so I found that I could no longer do that and had to actually pay attention to how much and what I ate.

At 40 I had to go gluten-free (celiac) and that helped by virtually eliminating carbs since that eliminated all breads and pasta, although lately gluten-free versions are in grocery stores.

Now I am almost perpetually trying to lose "that last 5 lbs" but I don't obsess over it. When at 160 lbs I told my doctor that I wanted to be at 145 (where I'm most comfortable) he was surprised and asked "What for? You're not heavy." So going by the other threads I'm just lucky to have a metabolism that naturally burns calories instead of storing them because it still really isn't that hard to lose weight when I want to.

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Old 06-04-2016, 12:09 PM   #3
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Most of my adult life I have been able to eat anything I wanted and never gain an ounce. In my 50's I started to gain a little weight but still within BMI range. I have always exercised 3 times a week, utilizing both running and weights.

I do eat healthy, and recently I have really restricted added sugars in my diet. Unfortunately I enjoy a nice beer or scotch and that often leads to not as good of food choices after a couple! But overall I am a healthy weight and so far have avoided any medications or other age related health ailments. Knock on wood!
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:24 PM   #4
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I used to be able to eat anything and not gain a pound...then one day I turned 40

The reality is that it will always be easier for some people than others. I run a bit and lift weights and combine it with healthy eating. My general rule of thumb for meals is to divide my plate into 4 parts: 1 part protein, 1 part carbs, and 2 parts veggies.

I also found that it takes less food to feel satisfied than what would I would normally load on the plate, so I dish out smaller portions. For example, a lunch that used to be soup and a good sized sandwich is now soup, a half sandwich, and a banana. At buffet style meals, I completely ignore items like bread and potato salad and instead choose a little bit of meat and lots of veggies.

I golf and got in the habit of going to the clubhouse restaurant after the round for a beer and lunch...which was often a cheeseburger platter. I now eat before the round and throw a couple granola bars in the golf bag to eat mid-round. We'll still have a beer after the round, but I rarely order food.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:24 PM   #5
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DH can eat Ben & Jerry's every night and not gain weight. Me, not so much. I have found that keeping refined carbs (sugar, white flour, white rice) to a minimum, plus walking a couple of miles most days, to help the most at keeping my weight constant. It's about 6 lbs. higher than I would like it to be, but it's pretty easy for me to stay at this level. If I notice my pants getting a little snug, I focus really hard for a few days (think South Beach Diet Phase 1) and that usually does the trick.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:51 PM   #6
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I used to weigh more until I retired, but I am now back down to my college-age weight of about 145 lbs. I am about 5' 11".

I lost 20 lbs at a rate of about 1 pound per week, by doing the following:

1. Stopped drinking non-diet soda. I found that the diet sodas were something I didn't like, but I found that I like the "10 calorie" sodas which have some sugar (in the form of fructose) along with the artificial sweeteners. Root beer and Dr Pepper have strong enough flavors that overwhelm any after-taste. Mouth feel is decent, too. I hypothesize that the zero-calorie sodas mess up your biochemical signalling system, but the 10-calorie sodas with a little bit of sugar do not do that. I have no proof of that.

2. Reduced carbohydrates in the diet. This is a tough one for many people. I still eat carbohydrates, but will not keep bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, chips in the house nor cook them. I will have some of these in restaurants and take-home, but will not eat a full portion except once a week. I will have a huge stack of pancakes w/ maple syrup about twice a month.

3. Reduced alcohol. That's a carbohydrate. Maybe one drink a week. Not two a night.

4. Eat more protein. I found that protein is better at reducing hunger than sugars and carbohydrates. So for breakfast I eat hot oatmeal with an added 20 grams of chocolate-flavored protein powder, nuts, and fresh or dried fruit added. I suppose one could have eggs and more milk, too. I consciously try to have about 30 g of protein per meal.

5. If I eat something sugary, it just makes me hungrier, so I have to watch out for that. There is one exception: If I eat a milk chocolate w/almonds candy bar, then I still can lose weight. I think the chocolate and nuts are a mild laxative and pushes food/nutrition through the digestive track before all the calories in it can be absorbed.

6. I try to eat a salad daily. The salad can have added protein like a boiled egg or meat leftovers (chicken, fish, beef, pork) from take-out or a previous meal.

7. I do exercise. I walk the dog nowadays say 3 to 5 miles a day and I run some. I also do crunches most mornings before eating breakfast. I am not afraid of exercise, but I am not going gung-ho like some people.

8. I lose about 2 pounds overnight simply from sleeping and defecating in the morning, so if I go to bed weighing 148, then I will be about 146 after my morning constitution before breakfast.

9. I am sure that the bacteria and microorganisms in my gut have changed because of my diet. And that's especially the daily oatmeal and almost daily salad. When I travel, I do not eat the same and I gain weight. It comes off quickly though when I get back to my regular eating pattern.

10. I am happy to eat meals in restaurants or take-out or cook at home. I am unconcerned about the amounts I eat of vegetables and meats/fish and fats. If I get hungry mid-day, I am going to eat a full 100 g milk chocolate candy bar w/almonds or maybe two of them. Or I will eat greek yoghurt with fruit and chocolate sauce.

11. I prefer spicy dishes and not salty ones. While I am not on a restricted salt diet, I retain more water if I eat lots of tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant or lots of take-out pizza which is quite salty. This weight comes off within a day or so, especially if I run in hot weather.

12. I weigh myself every morning before eating breakfast. I have a pretty good handle nowadays of why I gained a few pounds (ate an entire pizza last night) or lost a pound (ate salmon and asparagus last night).

13. I don't count calories, but I have noticed that the portions I eat are less than my wife and daughter eat. I will usually eat half a restaurant meal and bring the rest home. I will usually divide the meal in half before taking the first bite.

OK, do you see that chocolate makes oatmeal and yoghurt palatable? It is an important food group for me.
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:36 PM   #7
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1) Get a notebook and record all the calories you consume each day.
2) Keep calorie intake below 1600/day.
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:42 PM   #8
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I like to drink water and snack on veggies. Radishes and scallions, carrots and cukes. Just salt them and munch. I also love Clausen dill pickles, a whole 5 calories per pickle.
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:32 PM   #9
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We did a lot of different things to get our weight under control in the last year. We're really in the 6th month of maintenance after both going from BMI of obese to healthy.

We were both surprised at how well we seemed to lose it. The single best thing we did was started recording all of our food in MyFitnessPal. Next was the costly part, buy a $15 food scale and use it with MFP! We started paying attention to the macros; added protein and healthy fats while removing most processed carbs. I took over as cook and added a lot of fruits and vegetables. I noticed too that certain foods were less calorie dense. We eat more fish, chicken and plants. Red meat went from every day to once a week.

Exercise at first was a 48 minute mile in the hills around here. I thought it was killing me; today we go 2-3 miles at 16 minutes per, and to the gym 3x weekly. Gym started last November for cardio now it's all weights. It's pretty amazing how much difference that made. DW dropped from another four sizes from it.

We still record all of our meals and the food scale is the most important item in the kitchen.

We've added in some processed food we have a serving of Ben Jerry’s every night! Three hundred calories! I bake desserts and we enjoy them immensely. If I eat my protein, fats, fiber, and stay within my calories then a little home made apple pie is still part fruit.
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:44 PM   #10
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I'm 5'7 and have been in the low 130s most of my adult life. I got up to 147 a few years ago; I blame it on DH, who took over the cooking when we married in 2003! Nothing fried or cheesy, but good home cooking.

I developed something on my own that just felt right and now I'm back to normal. Two days a week I eat almost nothing but fruits, vegetables and low-cal liquids. I have a dish of yogurt with honey at night on those 2 days so I don't wake up hungry. I've since discovered that this is 5/2 fasting and many people do it. I have not given up my nightly adult beverage but I have cut back sharply on refined sugar. A few times a year, faced with a special-occasion cake with buttercream frosting, I enjoy a piece without guilt then back away from the table. In general- low fat, low sugar, moderate meat, tons of fruits and veggies. I also burn about 700 cal/day during workouts.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:04 PM   #11
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6', 175 lbs. used to be 210 lbs +

Started running and lifting weights in the 80's to lose weight. Workouts stopped many times due to injury, etc. Weight would yo-yo. Lived on a diet of fast food, pizza, and beer.

Since retirement in 2014:

Started eating healthier, on the paleo diet for the past 3 weeks. Very low carb.
1-2 beers a week.
Hiking, biking, and running - running now around 25 miles a week.
Just started a navy seal workout I saw online- push-ups, pull-ups, dips, sit-ups.

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Old 06-04-2016, 03:38 PM   #12
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Another thing I do is to pick the package with smaller portions. A package of 6 or 8 chicken breasts can cost the same if the 8-pack contains smaller pieces, so I would take 8-pack, which is an automatic 25% reduction in portion size.

Or, I work it the other way and pick the larger pieces (usually with steaks) but then cut them in half turning 10-ounce steaks into 5-ounce.
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:38 PM   #13
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1) Track what I eat. It only takes a couple of minutes per day with an app. Otherwise, I'll just eat until the food is gone.

2) I eat lots of vegetables, avoid sugar and white flour, don't worry about the rest. I eat food, not "macronutrients". I eat a lot of legumes and potatoes because they're filling. I try to pay attention to what controls my hunger.

3) Desserts other than fruit are an occasional treat, not a daily item. I don't drink anything with calories besides a splash of half and half in my coffee or a rare glass of wine.

4) Weigh once a day so that I'm not tempted to let things slide.

5) I eat a big breakfast and lunch and a minimal dinner, because that's what controls my appetite best. It took me a while to realize that I can sit and have dinner with my husband without eating as much food as he does.

6) We eat out a lot, so it doesn't have to be a celebration every single time I go to a restaurant.
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How do you lose weight/maintain good weight?
Old 06-04-2016, 04:06 PM   #14
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How do you lose weight/maintain good weight?

At 5' 10" 160 my Levi's are 32 waist.

In the past when my weight would go up a little I would just do the calorie count thing until I was back at 160.

Recently I have learned about eating properly and lifting weights (Stronglifts 5*5). My weight is currently 173 but my Levi's are still 32 waist. My stomach muscles are starting to show and my entire body is feeling strong.

I'm no longer a believer in maintaining a good weight by counting calories. Although my weight and BMI are higher than ever my fitness level is much better now.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:01 PM   #15
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It's not complex: when clothes start to feel tight, I eat less. Yes, that means I'm hungry at times. If I insisted on instant gratification I would not be discussing FIRE.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:15 PM   #16
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How do you lose weight/maintain good weight?

Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
Another thing I do is to pick the package with smaller portions. A package of 6 or 8 chicken breasts can cost the same if the 8-pack contains smaller pieces, so I would take 8-pack, which is an automatic 25% reduction in portion size.

Or, I work it the other way and pick the larger pieces (usually with steaks) but then cut them in half turning 10-ounce steaks into 5-ounce.

DH eats a lot less than I do (also a lot less active) and we frequently share a pork chop or a chicken breast. There's money to be made in selling larger pieces of meat for "individual" servings; the pork chops and chicken breasts I buy are at least twice the size of the ones I had as a kid. It doesn't mean I have to eat the whole thing at one sitting.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:36 PM   #17
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Back in college, I weighed around 145 lbs. By the time I retired, I was up to about 170, with most of the excess weight around my mid-section (not a good thing). So I went on a paleo-type eating plan, which I intend to stick to for the rest of my life (basically eating mostly "real food"......veggies, meat/fish/eggs, healthy fats (butter, olive oil), nuts, very limited grains). As a result, I lost 20 lbs. within a few months, and have been around 150 lbs. ever since (I've been retired for 6+ years now). The key for me is to eliminate the junk food (or, if you prefer, food that is very nutrient-poor.......things like most sweets, crackers, chips, pasta, pizza, etc). I grow my own vegetable garden, and most days now I load up my plate with garden veggies, to go along with whatever meat/fish I have (preferably pasture-raised meats), and that comprises the bulk of my dinner. For breakfast, I eat 2-3 farm-raised eggs with fruit on the side(usually berries of some kind), and tea. I used to drink orange juice with breakfast, but that had to go (sugar content is way too high). I drink water and some wine with dinner (and an occasional beer) sodas or fruit juice at all.

That is what works for me, anyway. I do eat sweet potatoes and some regular potatoes (from my garden), and they don't seem to add any weight. I use butter liberally on most veggies (and to cook with)......definitely no margarine or other artificial fats.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:41 PM   #18
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Hmmm, it looks like there is a theme or commonality to the foods that people eat and don't eat.
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Old 06-04-2016, 05:49 PM   #19
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:55 PM   #20
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There are all sorts of ways to do it, depends on circumstances, you can do it solely through food, through a mix of exercise/food, or just exercise. It requires doing things much more carefully if you aren't using a mixed option, as you can cause serious damage going overboard with either of the pure options.

For me, either walking to work/school, as well as doing some moderate food control, such as limiting deserts/candy, mostly worked, but I still gained a little bit, about 1-2 pounds/year. Then I started working from home, and got to into enjoying my own relatively healthy but large portion home cooking, weight shot up on me 15lbs in one month, to 10lbs over a normal BMI for me. That's when I quickly switched gears.

To initially lose weight, I did a full blown mixed option, I did aerobic exercise for 30 minutes/day, very slowly increasing the difficulty. I started counting calories, stopped all desserts/candy/baked goods, limited snacks to things like raisins/almonds, and ate more salads. Lost about 2-3 lbs/week. Once I got back to 10lbs below the upper limit of normal BMI, I switched to just purely controlling what I eat, even more carefully, and didn't need to exercise much, however, I only lose about 1/2 lb a week doing this. Specifically, at that point, in addition to what I was doing before I kept calorie counting, weighed portions with a kitchen scale, and generally tried to eat 20% below the caloric limit for my BMI.

Basically what you can eat gets restricted a good bit when going that low in calories, as it is harder to get the required nutrients if you eat too much of one food group. Most commonly people either go too overboard with either protein or carbs, too little protein will result in cellular breakdown, too little (simple) carbs can result not eating enough dietary fiber (this can be replaced by eating a lot more vegetables, but it isn't very convenient). One example of this was someone at work that I knew that only ate vegetables. He would bring in a big bag of something like peppers. He certainly kept off weight this way, but the problem was his muscles were atrophied, he was palid, stick thin, and didn't even realize he had gone way too far in the other direction.

Also, things that naturally inhibit hunger can be useful. The most common one is caffeine, it isn't good to just drink some caffeine and ignore food, but including something like a cup of tea/coffee along with a somewhat smaller portion can help someone get used to not eating really big meals.

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