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TOPIC: "Why it is Hard For Obese People To Lose Weight..."

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February 6, 2013 4:04 AM
I was never overweight and really athletic throughout my teens and twenties. Then I was undiagnosed with PCOS for ten years. 10 YEARS! They only figured out what was wrong after I had a cyst the size of a grapefruit swallow up and kill one of my ovaries, sending me to the hospital for emergency surgery. Prior to that, I knew something was wrong and had been to my primary care doctor repeatedly, trying to figure out why I was gaining so much weight and could NOT get it off, despite diet/exercise. I had acne as well. I didn't have strange periods, which I guess is why my epic fail doctor never bothered checking into PCOS. Anyway, I knew I was getting fatter and fatter and was trying my damnedest to do something about it, but nothing was happening. SORRY to all those I might have offended along the way.

Once I got the actual problem diagnosed and under control, it's been relatively smooth sailing. See? I've lost a lot of weight. Got about 35-40 lbs to go before I'm back to where I was before. Shouldn't be a problem!
  28550113
February 6, 2013 4:05 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My question would be how you get to be 100's of pounds overweight without having any concern about it in the first place. It's not like you wake up one morning and you're obese. Is there not a point where you're getting a bit overweight that you notice and think "Wow, I need to lose a few pounds"? It always amazes me how people can go so off the rails that they are morbidly obese and seem to have no clue how that happened, like it snuck up on you.


My question is how does someone get 10lbs over weight. I mean it's not like they wake up one morning 10lbs over weight. Isn't there is a point where you say, "i am gaining weight." I can't imagine someone being so blind to a 10lbs weight gain.I mean with weight gain it has an effect on health, it can lead to health complication. 1 question, "Why are you here?"


I like this response, Pu.


Weight gain is weight gain, I may have misinterpreted your post, but it sounds to me like you are putting down people that are obese, just because they gained more weight than you? Not great for a site that's supposed to be here to support people.

There are many reasons for weight gain; depression, a bad period in life, medical issues, pregnancy, simply settling down into a comfortable relationship, etc etc.

I had over 100lbs to lose when I started. Just because you may have had less, doesn't make you better.
  2276902
February 6, 2013 4:17 AM
For me its a lot of factors , I wont go into details but life has never been kind to me , I ate because it made me feel better and the depression got so bad the only thing I could have any enjoyment at all in was food. I didn't drink or smoke and had no friends. I couldn't leave the house without a panic attack . I was around 16.7 stone then and in a size uk 20. Then I went on a diet (weight watchers) and actually gained at a rate of 2lb per month so I went to a doc and found I had PCOS and an underactive thyroid which were making it impossible to loose weight. During this time I had got rid of all the mirrors as my face repulsed me and I couldn't look at myself . It took 20 months to get my meds right and I left the house properly for the first time in years that was 2011 , someone took some photos and uploaded them to facebook and I didnt recognise myself my waist had only got a but bigger (uk22) but I was massive everywhere else I WAS DISGUSTED . I cried for a week on and off and decided to do something about it , By this time I was up to 19stone , I lost 5 stone but went off track when my husband had an affair so ended up putting it back on . Ive got myself together again and my meds have been upped . I still cant stand to look at myself and don't own a mirror except a small eyeshadow one I use to put make up on for work. I'm currently 23 pounds down from christmas. Until you have been through it its hard to understand , I hated myself (still do actually) but although I knew I had to change , the only way i felt as if i could get out of bed was that massive curry I was going to eat for dinner.
February 6, 2013 4:18 AM
oh and 3 kids /sections in the process
February 6, 2013 8:24 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My question would be how you get to be 100's of pounds overweight without having any concern about it in the first place. It's not like you wake up one morning and you're obese. Is there not a point where you're getting a bit overweight that you notice and think "Wow, I need to lose a few pounds"? It always amazes me how people can go so off the rails that they are morbidly obese and seem to have no clue how that happened, like it snuck up on you.


Denial my dear!

Oh I had it bad. My numbers were still ok even though I was so overweight and therefore, it's you not me set in. It literally took a loved one dying for me to get it. When I finally did get it I looked at myself and thought WHEN/HOW/WHY did you let this happen to youself!?! I've been moving and eating better ever since and love it. Since the weight has started coming off I have really seen how much my weight was actually bothering me. Not just losing sizes but my body just feels SO MUCH better. The way I feel now will keep me going because I NEVER want to feel as bad as I did. I NEVER realized how crappy I really felt until I had something to compare it to.


Is this your first attempt at losing weight? If it's not, then you where aware of your weight issue, so it's not denial.


No, I think denial sums it up pretty well for me.

Was I in denial that I was overweight? No. But, I was in denial about how much overweight I was. I was also in denial about the negative things that could come with being as overweight as I was. As I said, my numbers were all ok so that meant the weight I was carrying wasn't a big deal. I needed a strong dose of reality.

Same thing as a smoker (which I used to be also). It's the mind set that it won't happen to me only everyone else.

I would also say this is my first attempt at trying to lose weight the right way. I have tried to lose weight in the past through whatever quick fix was popular at the time and I can tell you it was all for vanity (not that there isn't a little of that this time). This time though I did get my dose of reality with the loss of a loved one so this time it's about health. If it weren't I wouldn't be working my ass off and eating well when the scale didn't move or even went up.

So yes, I was in denial about my weight being an issue.
  10139854
February 6, 2013 11:11 AM
For me it started with a 20lb gain back in my 20's. I was a nationally ranked tennis player and badminton player so 20 lbs was significant. I went to Weight Watchers and lost it, then after 2 pregnancies gained it back plus another 30, lost most of it with Nutrisystem, gained it back plus some. In my 50's I had knee surgery and had to quit tennis, badminton, skiing and my job teaching tennis. I replaced my hours of exercise with the internet without changing my eating habits. That led to more weight gain and more yoyoing. Then my hips went bad, had one replaced, and that further limited my exercise and resulted in more time in front of the computer. Now in my 60's my job is sedentary and all of my joints hurt probably from overuse when younger. I'm not making excuses, just explaining how it can creep up on you.
  14718047
February 6, 2013 2:25 PM
If you have been obese/overweight most of your life you can't image yourself looking thin. You start to wonder if you really do it and then before you know it the sabotage begins.

When I tried a low carb diet three years ago I was obese and lucky not to have any health issues. At the time, I had failed at every single diet which was mostly low calorie. I wanted to try the diet for two weeks and didn't expect to be on it for any longer. When I lost 10 pounds in those two weeks I was shocked because I never expected to have lost that much weight. I then started to think 'well if i look this good after ten pounds, I now want to lose another 5 pounds'. If it wasn't for the initial big loss, I don't think I would have continued and may have stayed at that weight now. It is frightening to think about because I would have been miserable.. I know it's better to lose slower but when you are extremely overweight and can't imagine ever getting to a certain size, losing weight fast makes you very motivated.
Edited by fun_b On February 6, 2013 2:28 PM
February 6, 2013 3:19 PM
Some of us found ourselves obese because life was unkind (and I do not wish to diminish those reasons in any way), but there are others, like me, who did find the weight sneaking up simply because life was very kind. I have a fantastically loving, very close family and circle of friends, of all different body sizes, who love me for me, no matter what size I am (just as I love them), and who would find it extremely impolite to tell someone they look fat. Despite the 100 extra pounds, I didn't have a problem finding reasonably flattering clothes, I didn't have any health problems (blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol all in normal ranges, no joint problems). The way I saw it (and, somewhat truthfully, still see it), I had no NEED to lose weight -- I only had to stop any upward progress.

I honestly don't know what put me on this path, unless it was just whimsy, but there's a little part of me (call it my Jewish mother voice, because, well, I have a Jewish mother) that feels somewhat guilty over the weight loss. Being proud of what I've accomplished also means that I'm admitting there was something wrong with the way I was before, and I truly don't believe that. But that's my own issue to deal with.

Back to the original point of the original post, I think can be hard for obese people to lose weight because there's a tendency to go for immediate results, and to do too much too quickly, because they want the weight off, like yesterday. I had a friend in college in the late '90s who was a classic yoyo dieter, and would grasp at whatever miracle was being touted that week - cabbage soup, grapefruit, Atkins (please don't throw things at me), so she was either severely restricting calories or cutting out entire food groups, plus doing cardio like a madwoman, which we now is not a safe, responsible way to lose weight, and it certainly wasn't for her, because her system was not prepared for that kind of strain and wouldn't let her lose weight (or it would, but she'd put it all back and more the second she decided she never wanted to look at another grapefruit again). After a while, you just stop trying.
February 6, 2013 4:22 PM
It creeps up on many of us, for many reasons. I was thin, healthy and athletic until I was in my late 40's. At that time, Arthritis and Asthma were making it more and more difficult for me to move around. Within a very short time, 2-3 years, I had put on over 100 pounds, not changing anything except not able to walk like before. It got worse from there, the added weight made everything worse. Before I knew it, I could barely stand, let alone walk. I spent 5 years as a prisoner in my own home, never leaving, never seeing people, no shopping, eating out, movies, nothing. Self imposed isolation was my life. I had turned from happy, carefree, friendly, funny and loving...into hateful, cynical, sad, angry. I didn't know the person I had turned into and I hated her! Depression is a horrible thing.

Not until I was ready to die or fix it, did I do something about it. That was on 02/24/12. I started slow, I started eating. I started moving, 2 minutes at first, then 5, them 15 and on and on. Since then, I have lost 92 pounds, I not only walk, I hike every Saturday, up mountains, snowshoeing, work out at the gym, I go out to eat, and I SHOP TILL I DROP! I can do anything I think I can. I can't do anything I think I can't!

My health has improved to a point that I have not had a breathing episode in months and the Arthritis only bothers me if I really overdo it. It is amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it!
  19113793
February 6, 2013 4:56 PM
Speaking for myself, I didn't put my health as my number 1 priority. I knew I was gaining weight but I guess I didn't care enough about myself to do anything about it. I used food as a healer when I had stress.
February 7, 2013 8:02 AM
I agree totally that the tendency to become obese is genetic. We all know people who can eat anything they want, never exercise, and stay thin naturally. I know people first hand that just process sugar differently. My ex was 125 pounds at 5'7" when we first married. He lived on beer, carbs, and pot. Seriously, the more sugar he ate, the thinner he got. He would binge on whole packages of cookies and snack cakes, and drank more than a gallon of Pepsi every day. He never exercised, and had a fairly sedentary job. He only gained weight after we married, when he started eating more healthy, home cooked meals. 8 yrs later he weighed 145.

My entire family is overweight. We weren't overweight when I was growing up, even tho our diets consisted of fried foods, gravy and biscuits for every meal. I think portion control and being more active as children were back in the 70s, kept us around a healthy weight. Once we grew up, got married, and society overall got so much larger, so did my family. In the 70s and early 80s, society was drastically different. What is now the Happy Meal for 3 yr olds, was once marketed as an adult meal at McDonalds. Only the really large men ate Big Macs. There were no Super Big gulps. And we were all generally more active, instead of spending hours a day on the computer. You didn't see very many Obese people back then. There were a few here and there that had hormone issues, but they generally stayed home a lot and outside of the public eye. It was just very unusual to see someone who was 100 pounds overweight.
Today, it is quite common to see young teens that are 100 pounds overweight and it is very socially acceptable. Especially in the South.

I was thinking the other day about how I never saw gyms or fitness centers when I was a kid. People didn't pay to go to a place where they could work off all the extra food they ate. No, they were just active in their life and ate an appropriate amount to keep their body functioning at a healthy weight.

How did we manage to make it to this point where we are forcing our self to 'eat back' our exercise calories that we burned off in the gym 6 days a week? My, how the people in third world countries must be shaking their heads at this.

I learned very early on that I wasn't one of those 'lucky' people who could eat whatever they wanted and not worry about their weight. I was always conscious of my weight and if I gained 10-20 pounds over a couple of years, I went on a diet to lose back down to a healthy weight. This worked really well for me for many years, and after my first child was born, I lost my baby weight and was down to 136 by the time she was 5 months old.

So how did I end up 100 pounds heavier 15 yrs later?

In my twenties, I could never conceive that I would ever weigh 200 pounds. That was just severely obese to me and I couldn't see how anyone could ever let themselves go to that point. In my mind, they were eating tons of ice cream and pizza, and stuffing their faces nonstop while watching TV all day. Come on, how hard is it to just keep an eye on your weight and eat moderately to stay around a healthy weight?

The only time I was ever able to eat anything I wanted without gaining, was when I worked as a baggage handler for a major airline. I was working my butt off for 8 hrs a day. It was very nice to finally not have to watch what I ate. And when I started lifting weights 3 days a week, then it was even easier.

Then I had a very serious accident at work that took me off work for over a year and moved to light duty when I returned. I returned to work 40-50 pounds heavier. I lost about 30 thru dieting and exercise, and managed to keep within the top end of healthy weight for the next several years. Then another injury and more surgeries added a few more pounds. Then I had a baby at 36. I was down to around 185 after he was born and I went back to work.
One final back injury left me completely disabled and partially in a wheel chair for a few years. I was diagnosed with a severe chronic spinal cord disease called Adhesive Arachnoiditis. A chronic inflammation of the spinal cord that resulted in scarring and clumping of the nerves in my lower spine, a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome. I was in excruciating pain 24 hrs a day. I couldn't walk, sit upright in a chair, or ride in a car for very long. Numbness and weakness in my legs, plus the worst pain imaginable made walking even a short distance with a walker very painful and dangerous, as my legs could give out at any moment. I had a baby, and 2 adolescent girls that needed me to care for them and be involved in their lives. My husband would push me around in my wheelchair so that I could go to their school events, and I would be in even worse pain for several days afterwards, but I was determined to be there for my family.
I was 'let go' from my job since I could no longer physically do the job, and my benefits were cut off completely. So no income, no health insurance. I fought them for 2 years, and found out first hand how nasty and cruel employers can be, and how unprofessional some doctors, lawyers, and judges can be.

Depression is very common among chronic pain patients. I had some very low moments, and it was only my Faith in God and the love of my family that kept me from completely giving up. I would have never imagined myself getting to that point either, but you never know what life is going to throw at you.
In 2003 my father died after a long painful fight with Liver failure.
My son was also beginning to have some severe behavior issues, and 2 yrs later he would be diagnosed with severe Aspergers Syndrome. A higher functioning form of Autism.

So by 2005, I hit my top weight of 237. A hundred pounds heavier than I was just 15 yrs before.

How did it happen? A combination of genetics and inactivity. I did have the moments that I ate emotionally. Carbs would give me a little temporary boost when I had no energy. I was not a binge-er, but would sometimes have a larger portion of food than I should have, and would 'graze' thru out the day, and would drink Dr Pepper some times, trying to keep enough energy to make it thru the day. Holidays and special events would result in a few hundred extra calories. And some days the pain and depression was just too much to deal with and I just didn't care what I ate. Once you are 50-60 pounds overweight, an extra 5 pounds just isn't a major event. I would have times that I reduced my calories for several days or weeks, and would lose a couple of pounds, then plateau. Without exercise, it is hard to keep your metabolism from dropping. I finally just quit weighing myself.
Financial struggles, raising 2 teen girls and a special needs child, while living with pain and disability was more than I could deal with properly, so weight loss had to take a back seat.

When my health finally started to improve, I started working on losing the weight. It was HARD. It was frustrating. I could manage a few pounds then stop losing, and eventually get tired of dieting and only maintaining, so go back to eating at maintenance level. I yo-yo-ed up and down for a few years, managing to get under 200 a couple of years ago, then my mom got sick with kidney failure from Diabetes, and after a long and painful year, she passed away last summer. My first grandchild was born 3 weeks later, and I vowed that I would be here to watch her grow up. I would not put my family thru the pain of watching me die from a preventable disease.
I started here on MFP at the end of August at 228 pounds.

Genetics, physical disabilities, and a really high BF% all contribute to me having a very low metabolism. My body simply doesn't burn a lot of calories, even with increased exercise that I am now able to do. Is it fair that others can eat more and lose more weight than I can? No, but not much in life is fair.

Is it frustrating? You bet. Even more frustrating is having numerous people insist that I should be eating more, and compare my body to theirs. I sincerely wish that I could eat 2000 cals a day and lose weight. But reality is that I couldn't do that when I was in HS and healthy, so it sure isn't going to work now.

But now, I can understand how people can become Obese. It didn't happen overnight. I didn't NOT realize that I was gaining weight. I knew it was happening and I just couldn't manage to stop it. I fought it. I fought hard at times. I imagine that if I hadn't fought it as hard as I did, then I would probably have ended up 200 pounds overweight, instead of 100.

But I am now on the road to recovery. I have managed to lose 33 lbs in the past 5 months. It has not been easy, but it has been doable. The pounds came off easier in the first couple of months than they do now, and that can be quite frustrating at times. But I keep pushing forward. In 10 pounds I will be out of the 'Obese' category. Woo Hoo!! And then I will work on 10 pounds at a time until I can get back into the 'Healthy' category.

The secret of my success is facing the reality of my situation. I will have to log my food, restrict my calories, and exercise for the rest of my life. I cannot lose focus, or I will end up gaining my weight back. It sucks. But I have accepted this reality and it is worth it to be healthy, and to continue participating in my life, rather than just being a spectator.

So yes, genetics play a huge part. As do injuries, illnesses, and life interruptions. These are all good reasons to why we are obese. But they don't have to be excuses. It just means we have to work harder to reach our goals. And now I 'get it'.
  28586799
February 7, 2013 8:18 AM
QUOTE:

If you have been obese/overweight most of your life you can't image yourself looking thin. You start to wonder if you really do it and then before you know it the sabotage begins.


Yes. I was not a fat child, but I have always been a little bit overweight - maybe ten pounds. My mum, constantly, and with the best of intentions, told me that I needed to lose weight, and that just made me feel terrible about myself (we have since both agreed, looking back at pictures, that I was fine.) When I got to 18 I had crept up to maybe twenty pounds overweight and I lost all of that by dieting and exercising sensibly over eight months. I went down just one size in jeans, because I carry my weight on my hips. I was normal sized. But I still didn't like myself. I still felt fat. I went to university away from home and all the self-esteem issues that had built up over years and years hit me at once and I basically shut down and disengaged from the world. I spent the next two years making bad decision after bad decision and all that time I crammed myself into the jeans I was wearing at 18. It was only one day when I realised I was constantly in pain around my stomach and hips, every time I moved, because I was wearing jeans four sizes too small. It was literally that moment of realisation.

It has taken me another three years to get to this point. I have made some efforts along the way, joined the gym, I do more exercise, I've tried dieting but it never stuck. This January something clicked. I realised that I didn't need to hate myself, I needed to look after myself, and you do that with nutrition.
  33772010
February 7, 2013 12:29 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My question would be how you get to be 100's of pounds overweight without having any concern about it in the first place. It's not like you wake up one morning and you're obese. Is there not a point where you're getting a bit overweight that you notice and think "Wow, I need to lose a few pounds"? It always amazes me how people can go so off the rails that they are morbidly obese and seem to have no clue how that happened, like it snuck up on you.


My question is how does someone get 10lbs over weight. I mean it's not like they wake up one morning 10lbs over weight. Isn't there is a point where you say, "i am gaining weight." I can't imagine someone being so blind to a 10lbs weight gain.I mean with weight gain it has an effect on health, it can lead to health complication. 1 question, "Why are you here?"


A 10 pound weight gain may not even cause clothes to feel tight and depending on the person's frame, it may not even really show up in a visible way. That's a completely different weight gain, in my mind, than gaining say 150 or 200 pounds. You simply aren't comparing apples to apples if you think the weight gain is the same in your examples.

I get the point you're trying to make. Weight gain happens incrementally, but I also get the point the person you quoted made. At some point in the weight gain of 100 pounds or more, you know what's happening where as with 10 pounds, you may not realize it.
February 7, 2013 12:33 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My question would be how you get to be 100's of pounds overweight without having any concern about it in the first place. It's not like you wake up one morning and you're obese. Is there not a point where you're getting a bit overweight that you notice and think "Wow, I need to lose a few pounds"? It always amazes me how people can go so off the rails that they are morbidly obese and seem to have no clue how that happened, like it snuck up on you.


My question is how does someone get 10lbs over weight. I mean it's not like they wake up one morning 10lbs over weight. Isn't there is a point where you say, "i am gaining weight." I can't imagine someone being so blind to a 10lbs weight gain.I mean with weight gain it has an effect on health, it can lead to health complication. 1 question, "Why are you here?"


A 10 pound weight gain may not even cause clothes to feel tight and depending on the person's frame, it may not even really show up in a visible way. That's a completely different weight gain, in my mind, than gaining say 150 or 200 pounds. You simply aren't comparing apples to apples if you think the weight gain is the same in your examples.

I get the point you're trying to make. Weight gain happens incrementally, but I also get the point the person you quoted made. At some point in the weight gain of 100 pounds or more, you know what's happening where as with 10 pounds, you may not realize it.



That is my point, it's incremental, it's tough to detect if you have no scale. The person who i original quoted is in the exact same shoes as everyone else, even the people who have gained over 100lbs.

I lost ove 155lbs, i see myself in the mirror and i feel i look the same. Pictures show the difference, if I didn't take pictures or track my weight, I would have no idea how much i lost.
Edited by Pu_239 On February 7, 2013 12:34 PM
  11390926
February 7, 2013 12:46 PM
Another thing to take into consideration is how long a person has been overweight - the longer, the harder because they have to relearn new habits to replace old.

Case in point - I have ALWAYS been big - even as a 5 year old. It wasn't until I started puberty that anybody even thought of doing anything about it (least of which myself - my parents where big, so why shouldn't I be). When my medical issue suddenly raised it head, they (the doctors) pushed harder for me to loose weight.

At age 11-12, I was forced onto several diets, none of which worked long term or stuck. Mostly because of my parents lack of consistency, encouragement, help or caring. They had "other" things more important to deal with and I was brushed aside to deal with my "weight" issue on my own. As I grew up they cared less and less, always more worried about something else more import to them. Growing up with this mentaly I adopted the same thoughts and lack of caring, even when my weight became a major bulling issue. By the time I graduated 12th grade, I was over 300 pounds. I hated myself horribly and my entire view of myself, food and more was so skewed.

It wasn't until I moved out and was on my own that I finally realized that I didn't have to be fat. I tried (several times) over the years.... and failed. I always drove myself hard at first, I lost weight but the longer I went at it, the harder it became and without changing my habits, I always failed at some point - injury (3 seperate times) or exhaustion.

But now I even see why I failed and I am taking things super slow because I know too much, too fast will not last.
Edited by sammniamii On February 7, 2013 12:52 PM
  21362859
February 7, 2013 12:50 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My question would be how you get to be 100's of pounds overweight without having any concern about it in the first place. It's not like you wake up one morning and you're obese. Is there not a point where you're getting a bit overweight that you notice and think "Wow, I need to lose a few pounds"? It always amazes me how people can go so off the rails that they are morbidly obese and seem to have no clue how that happened, like it snuck up on you.


yeah, it confuses me too. i got to 140 pounds and had an oh ****, i'm 5 pounds from being overweight and better lose it now moment. but i figure that everyone is different, especially people who have been overweight their entire life and that's all they know. i was skinny until i hit my mid 30's, so i can't really relate to that.


It's not as difficult as you think. If you overeat by 100 calories a day, every day you will gain approximately 10 extra pounds a year. First of all think about how little 100 calories can be. Then you can imagine that 10 pounds in a year happens very easily without you ever really noticing. You started our at 130 pounds but by the end of the year, 140 pounds is your new normal, and so on and so forth. Add to that the fact that clothing designer keep making their clothing size larger. A size 10 today was about a size 14 20 years ago. So you were in a size 10 and 30 -40 pounds later, you're still in a size 10. It can creep up on you. I will agee that I don't know how you can get to the point that you are literally bed-bound and can't leave your home but over the course of 10-20 years, it's not that hard to slowly add on 50 or more pounds.
  18107
February 7, 2013 1:51 PM
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  33689048

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