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TOPIC: How did YOU lose weight?

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November 18, 2012 7:26 AM
What did you eat? Did you workout? Did you eat healthy or eat bad but just a certain amount of calories? Did you make muscle after? Do you plan on making muscle?
November 18, 2012 7:30 AM
I'm having a hard time with this. Was so easy in the past but this time around my body is refusing to collaborate.
November 18, 2012 7:30 AM

What did you eat? Did you workout? Did you eat healthy or eat bad but just a certain amount of calories? Did you make muscle after? Do you plan on making muscle?

There is no one size fits all but the following is what worked for me.

There is no mystery to weight loss, everyone thinks something is wrong, their metabolism is broken, they have low thyroid, they have menopause or whatever issue, they are as unique as a snowflake, whatever. I thought a lot of these things once too but once the doctor helped resolve the health issues for me I learned there is still no magic pill. Most people eat more than they need to and are not at good at estimating calories as they think they are. Most people have a lower BMR than they think they do. The only way to know for sure is to go to a lab and have it tested. It doesn't seem fair to have to eat less and feel a little hunger. It's hard to face the truth of it, very hard. It's not fun. It's drudgery at times. But if you learn to enjoy your smaller amounts of food (necessary to lose weight, since the reason we got fat in the first place was eating too much whether we knew it or not), and rejoice in your victories it can be done.

Your body loses weight in chunks, not linear. I have found that you can do everything right and your weight loss seems to plateau but if you are patient and keep exercising and eating at a deficit (however slight) you will lose it, it will suddenly "whoosh". There are so many variables for the scale; water retention, digestion, hormones, allergies, sodium, carbs, water intake, DOMS, inflammation, the list goes on. People mistakenly think they lose or gain weight when they eat more or less because of these fluctuations.

Losing weight requires tremendous patience. You will not lose it when you want it or where you want it. The body does its thing. Some apparent plateaus can last a month or so. You cannot make it happen faster. You must focus on two things; calories and exercise. Nothing else matters. Scales and metrics don't matter. The day in and day out grind of exercise and calories are all that matters. It is not very exciting until things fall into place. You get your victories and you ride one victory to the next.

The scale is a trend tool. The scale is good but put it away and only check once a week and only use it as a trend tool. It will fluctuate, it does not matter. Take front side and back progress pictures at least once a month. You will see differences that the metrics won't tell you and it's that little bit of NSV that will keep you going until the next victory.

To say eat more is wrong.

To say eat less is wrong.

To find the exact calories needed for YOU to be in a healthy sustainable calorie deficit is the right answer. Wait, if you need to adjust by 100 do it, wait, adjust, wait, adjust, wait. The tortoise wins this race.

All that matters is calories. A healthy balanced diet within a calorie budget for a deficit that is right for YOU is all that matters for weight loss. Don't make it complicated.

You want to eat as healthy as you can because it makes you feel better and perform better, and makes you healthier. There are a bunch of tricks and clean eating; reducing sugar (especially HFCS), fiber, white flour vs whole grain, low carb, low fat, on and on. All that matters is calories for weight loss. If you need to eat a certain way for health reasons or to feel better do it, but extensive good food and bad food lists will drive you insane at some point, it’s a constantly moving target. Just eat what you like, mostly healthy, mostly balanced, within a calorie budget. We all know what healthy is by now, just do it.

Also people play mental accounting games with calories just like with finances. Make steps to make sure you are making accurate measurements. Packaged foods can have MORE than they say but not less (they get in trouble if less so they would rather error with MORE).

If you typically intake sodium at a certain rate your body adjusts, but if you make a sudden change then you will see a spike.

Exercise is for making your lean body mass pretty (especially lifting weights) for when the fat is gone. Losing fat with no muscle is ugly and cardio alone will not make you pretty. You cannot out exercise too many calories.

Everyone needs resistance training to improve their health and bone density and this will especially improve your quality of life when you get older. But you will not gain all that much lean body mass as fast as everyone thinks. Guys of course will gain more. A DXA scan will prove the point. There are lots of stories about changing size but no one REALLY knows unless they do a DXA scan. Here's more about that --> this is true whether you IF or not. My DXA scans proved that I really didn't gain that much lean body mass yet I look very muscular for a female. I have very high bone density from over 30 years of lifting yet my lean body mass is still only 104 lbs and my RMR is still only 1380.

I recently had my DXA scan done and at 51.5 years of age I have the bone density of a super athletic 30 year old. That is a direct result of lifting for over 30 years. Now if that is not scientific proof that lifting weights keeps you younger I don't know what is! Also I believe it is why most people think I look much younger than I really am. Because of this I don't have to worry about osteoporosis. If you wait until you are older and your bones start to deteriorate it's a bit too late, you can't get back what you lost, and you can only start a resistance routine that will prevent further damage.

Cardio is good for you but it is optional. I love cardio, but you can't out exercise too many calories. Of course you burn calories, but not near what all the HRM's say. I learned the hard way, running marathon after marathon (yes even multiple runs during the day), as well as hitting the gym hard, martial arts, staying active all the time, not eating while watching TV, not binging, not mindlessly eating, not pigging out, not having emotional eating issues, yet I gained weight year after year, each decade putting on the pounds. I worked harder and harder, not able to figure out what was wrong. It didn't seem like I ate too much, but for my small size I did and didn't realize it until just a few years ago when I finally started losing weight by eating less.

Everyone is different, but it's very easy to do a lot of cardio and think you can eat more than you really need, especially when you need to lose weight. It is also easy to think that you are burning more fat than you really are. Just do cardio if you enjoy it and because it's good for you.

Too many changes at once can be hard on some people. I've always eaten healthy so it easy for me to simply eat less. Eating at a calorie deficit is hard on people; even a small deficit puts your body in a state of flux with hormones and such. Everyone is different. Some people can handle a deeper calorie deficit than others, this is not right or wrong, it just is. Stress in your life affects your hunger hormones; lack of sleep, fatigue, job stress, family stress, financial stress, etc. Add in emotional eating issues and it gets even more complicated. Most people can only handle so much change/stress at once, they try to do too much and fail. Sometimes it might be a better strategy to eat at maintenance and make some small changes first, it really depends on how much stress you are taking in at the moment.


What is the exact number of calories for you?

We’ve been trying to figure out an exact NUMBER of calories that everyone should be eating, without recognizing that everyone is slightly different. In truth, the calories aren’t the end game. Your body is. So the EXACT amount of Calories that are right for you is the EXACT amount that will allow you to maintain your ideal bodyweight no matter what some calculator or chart says.

In other words, an online calculator might tell you that you need to eat 2,500 calories
per day to maintain your ideal bodyweight. But the only way to know for sure if this is
the right amount for you is to test it out. If you gain weight or can’t lose weight eating
that much, then you know you need to eat less to lose weight no matter how many
calculators and text books say otherwise.

This doesn’t mean your metabolism is broken, it just means the estimate of your needs
was just a bit off.

-John Barban (The Body Centric Calorie Guide from the Venus Index and Adonis Index Manuals)

The good thing is you don't have to worry about the starvation mode myth if you are fat. Only skinny people have to worry about starvation mode. It does not mean you have the capability to eat at a large calorie deficit if you have emotional eating disorders or other issues going on, but at least you don't have to be afraid of it anymore.

I am short, petite, small; my RMR is low compared to others. With my doctors approval I had to eat less than or right around 1000 calories to lose weight. We are all different. There is no one size fits all. Even people my height and gender are different and some need more calories than I do. My doctor checked my hormone levels throughout my 60 lb weight loss journey (from obese down to 10% body fat) and everything was fine. I got stronger and stronger at the gym, my running and weight lifting strength improved even while eating on a significant calorie deficit. My DXA scan proved I did not lose lean body mass or go into starvation mode.

Also you do not have to eat the same amount of calories every day. You can think of it as a weekly calorie budget. You can eat low some days and high some days. You can be flexible. You can find what is sustainable for you.


The Theory of Fat Availability:
•There is a set amount of fat that can be released from a fat cell.
•The more fat you have, the more fat can be used as a fuel when dieting.
•The less fat you have, the less fat can be used as a fuel when dieting.
•Towards the end of a transformation, when body fat is extremely low you
may not have enough fat to handle a large caloric deficit anymore.

At the extreme low end, when your body fat cannot ‘keep up’ with the energy deficit
you've imposed on your body, the energy MUST come from SOMEWHERE. This is
when you are at risk of losing lean body mass during dieting (commonly referred to
as ‘starvation mode’). This happens at extremely low levels of body fat, under 6% in
men and 12% in women [Friedl K.E. J Appl Phsiol, 1994].

-Brad Pilon and John Barban (from The Reverse Taper Diet in The Adonis Index and Venus Index manuals)

For me it's all about a calorie budget. I had less of a budget available when I was losing weight, more to spend now that I'm maintaining and all the tools I used for weight loss come into play for the rest of my life maintaining.

When you have accumulated excess fat, you have accumulated a debt. It is hard to pay off the debt (you have less calories to spend). If you are sitting next to someone your same gender and height and they are not overweight and you are, they get to eat more than you (have more calories to spend) because they are debt free. You have less calories to spend because you are paying off your debt.

Wishing you the best! -Bobbie
November 18, 2012 7:32 AM
I did it wrong. Perhaps if I didn't though, it wouldn't have kept me motivated?

I lost 120lbs in 9 months back in 2008. 30+ lbs of that was muscle!!! I've been slowly building it back up and I think I just got it all back!!

I did mostly cardio and low calories (1700) for 6 months and then finally incorporated resistance training in the last 3 months. I should have did that in the beginning with more calories and I could have just dropped the fat.

However, scale motivation tops all--I wish it didn't but it did back then. Today I realize measurements are key not just scale...
November 18, 2012 7:35 AM
I've been doing the south beach diet, and I work out frequently. Trying to be healthier and stronger. Working out has become my hobby so I try anything and everything my gym offers. Yoga, Zumba, kettle bell, tabata, turbo kick, I'll hit the tread mill if I can't make a class. I've seen the best weight loss since I added SouthBeach to my work outs, but it does seem my metabolism is my worst enemy. But I'm in it for the long haul and I don't let little set backs get to me. I've tried a few different diet programs but really the cutting the empty carbs and sweets seems to work the best for me.
November 18, 2012 7:37 AM
Got off my A$$ and started moving and quit eating junk!
November 18, 2012 7:40 AM
I too follow a calorie budget,
but recently my weight went up 3 pounds
and my size dropped from a 4 to a 2
During this time I increased my walking.
My weight gain most likely is building muscles!
November 18, 2012 7:41 AM
I am having the same issue, keep at it and don't give up! smile Slowly the lbs go.
November 18, 2012 7:46 AM
I got rid of as much processed food as I could.
I log everything
1600 to 1800 Cals a day
Bike outdoors 10 miles 3x week
Strength and weight training 2x week.

Good luck. Everyone is different. Just be consistent and persistent.
November 18, 2012 7:50 AM
Most importantly, I had to educate myself - how to eat healthier options, what my BMR is, etc. And once I had the information, I put it into action. For my body, calorie counting is a must and also exercise. I actually enjoy exercising now!!! I am depressed on the days I can't get to the gym. laugh
November 18, 2012 7:51 AM

Got off my A$$ and started moving and quit eating junk!

November 18, 2012 7:55 AM
Counted calories, stuck to the MFP goals, adopted healthy food habits and worked my way up to running 100 miles a month. Worked like magic.
November 18, 2012 7:58 AM
I work out and cut portions... just started counting calories..but I eat whatever I want.. I don't deprive myself of anything..
November 18, 2012 7:59 AM
Thanks to the OP and all the responses. It is motivating to hear how everyone loses weight and to understand that it is truly a unique journey for everyone...kind of like raising children--there are a few basic principles that apply to all but beyond that, the rule book varies for each. :) Hence the reason that it is so difficult but rewarding when success is found.
November 18, 2012 8:00 AM
Basically? Hard effing work.

The science of it - started at 16 stone (224lb) in September 2010, am currently just over 10 stone (142lb).

I shifted the bulk (fnaaar) of my weight through vigorous cardio, peppered with the odd kettlebells session to minimise the risk of loose skin.

At the beginning, I was very unfit so would go to the gym three times a week or so - not pushing it too hard at all; warm-ups on the treadmill with fast walks, spells on the crosstrainer, bikes, quick go on the weights machines. Then I started incorporating classes - spin and kettlebells - and added those to the three gym trips.

I then discovered a zumba class I really enjoyed in April 2011, and basically wound up going six times a week with a bonkers instructor - high impact, interval training be damned, wringing my top out at the end of the class...the works.

A few months ago, I started incorporating regular heavier lifting into my workouts - usually after a zumba class. This was paired with bumping up my calories, and trying to break a plateau.

In terms of diet, I basically exercised portion control - I have a man-sized appetite, and will munch for Britain. So no particular diet as such, just everything in moderation and limiting my treats. I tried low-carb for a spell and personally found it unsustainable, so just sensible eating really.

Now, I eat approximately 1800 calories a day and try and eat back most of my exercise calories. I burn between 680 - 1200 calories a day (depending on if I double up on classes or not).

Now? Exercise six days a week; and a much more even balance between cardio and weights. I have actually gained weight since eating more and lifting, but my shape has improved significantly and my clothes fit better.
November 18, 2012 8:06 AM
i changed my entire outlook on health, exercise and food...

i started exercising and made a commitment that even if i had a bad week/month and gained back weight i would never, never quit!

i decided that i would just throw away food that was off plan that came into my house, even if i had spent money on it...what is your health really worth? surely not the $4 that you spend on that pint of icecream, right???

i made small changes that i could live with over time...water, salads, lean these and you wont be fat, you will be healthy...
November 18, 2012 8:09 AM
I'm still at the beginning of my journey. I've been at this for a long time (4 years-ish) and failing all along the way. I tried everything from super restrictive L.A. Weight Loss to Weight Watchers (online and meetings) to cutting carbs (yeah, didn't even last a day) and a "weight loss specialist". Nothing worked. I would lose a pound, gain 4.

Finally, one day, I was sitting with a super healthy friend of mine and we were discussing books and she told me of Christine Avanti's book "Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salad". I bought the book on and from page one, she was changing my life. It's like I was reading my own story everytime I read one of her clients' stories (she's a nutriontist in CA). I started following her plan and I've now lost just shy of 20lbs since August and I plan to keep on going. I modified it a little bit to fit my life, and I'm still getting results. I'm about to start incorporating regular exercise in with it. Oh yeah, I lost those 20lbs without even adding extra exercising. So, now I'm going to start taking an aerobics class at my college and keep my head up. It's really working for me!
November 18, 2012 8:20 AM
this is very helpful thank you
November 18, 2012 8:23 AM
I ate 1500-1700 calories a day and exercised 5+ days a week (cardio). I ate 200-300 grams of carbs and about 15% protein. I cleaned up my diet tremendously and got a Fitbit. I looked for every opportunity to move more, even something so simple as parking further away from the grocery store. Exercising is important, but I also focused on the other 23 hours in the day that I wasn't at the gym.

Mostly, I was patient. It took me a full year to lose 45 pounds and get to my goal weight and size. I'm 50, and I do think it's harder to lose weight when you are older, but harder isn't impossible. I've maintained my weight for 4 months now and am looking forward in 2013 to being eligible and included in the National Weight Control Registry, a database of successful "losers".
Edited by themedalist On November 18, 2012 8:25 AM
November 18, 2012 8:35 AM
Short version: Eating less than I burned, but not TOO much less than I burned.

Longer version: I ate about 1350-1600 plus exercise calories to lose (depending how how close I was to my goal), for a total most days of 1700-2000+. I reached my goal weight in six months, and have been maintaining around there for almost a year and a half. At first, I did mostly cardio, with some body weight and 5 pound dumbbell work. It wasn't until I reached my goal weight that I started real strength training, and another year after that before I did free weights. If I had to do it over again, I'd have started lifting from the get-go.

Currently, I'm 5'5, 40 years old and about 135 pounds, eating 2000-2300 to maintain... and probably a little extra on weekends when I don't log my food. I run 2-3 times a week and lift heavy 3x a week (stronglifts 5x5).

I eat healthier than I did before, but I'm not a clean eater by any stretch. I'm mostly a IIFYM kind of girl. I aim for about 50% carbs, 25% each protein and fat. I still have pasta, potatoes, rice, breads, bagels and pizza, and sometimes chocolate, wine, cake, brownies, pie, and cookies, but I aim for lots of lean proteins, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables, too.
November 18, 2012 8:40 AM
Like everyone else has said...It's freaking hard work! I have been counting calories and learning to make healthier decisions along the way. The minimum exercise I do is walking 5 miles a day. I try to fit in other exercise as time permits Over the past 7 months I've lost 53 lbs but there have been a couple weeks where I've gained a pound instead of lost. One of the biggest things for me is staying motivated. In the past when I was trying to lose weight, if I screwed up and went over my calories, I would have given up and stopped trying. Now I know that this is not just about weight loss for me, this is about changing for life. I try not to beat myself up because that negativity will not get me anywhere good.
November 18, 2012 8:41 AM
I reduce my portions and exercise!!!

Drink water and keep moving!!
November 18, 2012 8:56 AM
To put simply,

1. Get a Kitchen Weighing scale, and meticulously measure the food your make. Read nutritional labels carefully. If all that is not possible, eat relatively smaller portion than you would normally have, eat slowly and listen to your body. A calorie is a calorie, however, the quality of it does make a difference in how you feel i.e. energetic vs. sluggish. I'd recommend sticking with eating good food.

2. Drink lots of water, I usually go through 8-10 cups of water.

3. Find something active you love doing, and DO IT EVERYDAY!. Keep moving! Move more than you normally would and I guarantee the pounds will melt off. (Invest in a good HRM if you want actual calorie burns to log, or workout how much you should be eating with regards to your goals using If you want to build muscle, lift heavy! Strength training will help with that. Which is great because you don't want to be skinny and play with loose skin, you want to be fit, tight and firm :P


Basically Calories in < Calories out :) Good luck!
November 18, 2012 9:06 AM
1) Joining MFP allowed me to log my food. I discovered how many extra calories I was eating every day on stuff that was not related to hunger. Logging food has continued to keep me in check a bit, so I think that is important.

2) I have changed how much I eat. I definitely eat less. That is a good thing. I didn't need to eat as much as I was eating.

3) I am eating things that are better for me and avoiding those that are worse.

4) I am exercising almost every day. I ride a stationary bike, swim, and walk. I also lift weights. The weights I lift are designed for me to build my core and maintain muscle mass.

5) I have adopted the idea that this is not a diet, but rather a lifestyle change to keep me fit and healthy through my middle age and into my "golden years".
November 18, 2012 9:11 AM
I fell into the 1200 calorie trap.
seriously I did, but lost alot of muscle, got headaches, no energy, sleepless, hair thinned out etc.....


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