What is Left to Say?

Us bloggers tend to have a lot to say, no? That’s usually why we started blogging in the first place. When I first lost my weight, I loved talking about it. I wanted to encourage other people that it Could! Be! Done!! Now I feel a little like my grandpa, who used to say ‘the older I get, the less I know.’ Obesity and losing weight and maintaining weight loss are such complex issues. And actually losing weight is the least  complex. Everybody can do that. But understanding obesity, the source and type of it, and then maintaining weight loss long term turn out to be extraordinarily complex issues. What can I possibly say that might help?

I’ve listened to a couple of lectures given by Dr. Sharma on Youtube. Some of the things he points out might be perceived as discouraging. But I have always found comfort and strength in hearing the truth, even if it isn’t the magic bullet I would have wished for.

Dr. Sharma points out that obesity is not just a disease. It is a chronic disease. A chronic disease without a cure. It doesn’t even have very many effective treatment options. The best you can do is to manage it. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. As discouraging as this might sound, I found comfort in it. I was beginning to feel like there was something very wrong with me. On my last trip to Tahoe, I worked hard at balancing enjoying special treats with eating really healthy foods. Overall, I think I did a really good job on this trip. But I remember one day saying to myself, “MY GOSH, you think a LOT about food. Its abnormal.” After I got home, I kept on thinking about this. One day it occurred to me that at my heaviest, I also thought a LOT about food. I got a good laugh out of that one.

Dr. Sharma also talks a lot about exercise. He says that exercise has very little to do with direct weight loss. VERY LITTLE. But he pointed out that all the side benefits that come with exercise can have a beneficial effect on your efforts to lose weight. Stress relief, better sleep, and just feeling better about yourself so that you WANT to eat better are all side benefits of regular exercise. I totally believe this.

Dr. Sharma also talks about the time it takes to maintain weight loss. How it almost has to become a second job. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep (you all know there is a lot of information tying sleep to weight loss, right?), planning, preparing, and/or journaling your food all take a good amount of time.

So as I reach the tenth year of when I STARTED this last weight loss, and I do still struggle with maintaining that loss, I guess I just want to say that it is very much worth the struggle. I would love to be able to convince people that learning to be content at a weight that is much lower than your highest weight, but still not as low as your “ideal” might be a key to at least maintaining weight loss.

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16 thoughts on “What is Left to Say?

  1. You are a wise woman, my friend. The exercise thing, not for weight loss/maintenance, but for overall well-being? YES. I had to listen to a woman at breakfast talk about how she loves wearing her monitor (can’t remember which one, fitbit/jawbone/who cares) because it told her how many calories she was burning with her exercise so she knew how many she could eat…sigh. It really isn’t as simple as that, but she was convinced that was how to live. ::rolleyes::

    Also, your last sentence is SPOT ON. I think so many people get wrapped up in a freaking number/BMI/clothing size and forget about just being healthier than they were. I may not be at my best weight, but it’s a hell of a lot better than where I was six years ago, so I’ll celebrate it!

    And not to prolong this already too-long comment, but big props to you on 10 years of healthier living! Go Debby!!! 🙂

  2. 10 years is major – congratulations!

    Your topic is timely for me as just this morning on my run I was thinking about how I am so much more at peace and accepting of myself as I’ve learned to let go of food and also let go of trying to exercise my weight off and just view my 5-6 times a week workouts as something contributing to my overall well being. It’s a pretty nice place to be.

  3. I am still trying to find the best way to maintain my weight lose which I find hard ,once I started losing weigh that part was easy ( not that easy but it was great seeing it happening .)
    But now I spend my time worrying about everything I eat and really worried about putting it back on and being a failure again.

  4. Currently maintaining a 60 lb weight loss for five years (at 60 inches tall, that is more than 50% of my current body weight). During that time, I’ve fluctuated about 10 pounds in either direction, but have been able (somehow) to reverse gains when necessary (I have a ‘red-light’ weight/clothing size limit). Maintenance is a process. I know when I eat mindfully, track food input and emotions on paper, maintenance is easier, but when tracking feels like a chore, I struggle with doing it. I hope to be able to look back in five more years and feel good about my choices. For me, maintenance is about progress (mind-set, as well as balance), not perfection.

  5. I think the comments about exercise are spot on. I read somewhere that “food determines the size of your body, exercise determines the composition.” I think that explains why some folks lose weight by cutting calories but aren’t impressed that they aren’t “transformed” – they are a smaller version of their unfit self. And I find the whole “let’s burn off that pie” talk in spin class laughable.

    But I do know that exercise makes me feel SO much better, and helps keep me focused on eating better. It’s definitely important, but maybe not the way a lot of folks think.

  6. Wow – ten years!! That’s pretty amazing stuff. Are you still on the Weight Control Registry?

    I’ve been doing Zumba lately not because of the calorie burn, but mostly because it gets me out of the house doing my own thing. I would go 5 times a week if I wasn’t afraid of burn out. So for now I go twice a week and it’s just enough to keep me interested. Now if I could just find something else for the other 3 days a week that I liked just as well…

  7. Thinking about food so much. I’m wondering if it’s like that for guys and sex? They say every however many minutes a man thinks about sexual content. I think I’m the same about food! That is really an eye opening realization for me. Wonder if it’s the same for all of us who battle?

  8. Yes, I think about food a lot. I love food and that has never changed – whatever weight I am at. I do think more about food than I actually eat now, unlike the old days where if I thought it, I ate it. Guess that is the difference.

    Sometimes the maintenance thing feels like a slog and not like a second job, but my only job and it gets mired in stuff. However, I wouldn’t want it to be any other way (weigh??). While I have some 2014 stress poundage to get off, I certainly am in a much better spot than 7 or 8 years ago.

  9. good reflection of thoughts that fly through my mind. It still is tough to go to a new doctor or specialists who doesn’t know that I was at such a higher weight and only looks at my still obese weight and comments. I may exercise more regularly than they do , but I still get
    the talk’

  10. Exercise, especially weight lifting, increases your muscle mass which boosts your metabolism which in turn increases your Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR – your resting metabolism). It also increases your metabolism for up to six hours after a workout in addition to burning more calories while working out. There is also new scientific evidence that intensive aerobics for a certain period of time inhibits the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosts the satiety hormone leptin which all work in favor of eating less. Weightlifting alone inhibits ghrelin. Exercise also helps regulate insulin, the fat storage hormone. And this is something I’ve personally experienced. So apart from making one feel better and therefore binge less I’d say exercise is pretty significant in both losing and managing weight loss.

  11. The issue with reading such a thought-provoking blog, is that by the time I consider all the points, it’s usually a week or more after you wrote it. And/or, I have so much to comment about that it would be ridiculous to do so. The whole plan/prep/track cycle worries me – will I be able to maintain those behaviors forever? At this point (still trying to lose) I try not to think about it other than working to become as efficient and comfortable as possible in the process. I too have always thought about food a lot and apparently always will. It’s encouraging to know you are in the same position but have been a successful loser and maintainer.

  12. Once I started to think of my obesity ( I was obese on and off for 40 years) as a chronic disease, like my Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, then I could finally start to deal with managing it for the next 40 years. Onward!

  13. It is really hard to keep the weight off–much harder than initially losing it, but I figure if I’m going to be thinking about weight and food anyway, I’d rather do it at a lower weight. Congrats on your loss and maintenance. Your hard work shows.

  14. Debbie, I read this and thought, “Wow, how did she get inside my head?” You are spot on about how it feels to do this thing that is supposedly impossible. You really inspired me with this post and the couple posts that follow this. Sorry it took so long for me to say this, I was caught up in feeling “too busy.”

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