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  1. #1
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    The Illusion of Time

    When I lost a lot of weight using bicycling, aerobic walking, and Weight Watchers, I found one of the biggest things attempting to hold me back was my misconceptions about time. Time can be an illusion. Think about it - If you think of something that happened one year ago, many times it doesn't seem like that much time has passed. That year seems to have gone by quickly. On the other hand if we think of something a year into the future, especially in context to something we need to accomplish that will take a year, it can seem like a long time. If I want to lose 30 pounds, at a healthy rate of 5 pounds a month, it will take a whole year and it can feel discouraging. Yet things we did a year ago don't seem so distant. Time is a great illusionist. One of the keys to weight loss was me saying to myself "A year really ain't that long. It'll go by fast. Don't sweat it. I remember where I was a year ago - it wasn't that long ago." Dig it?
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    Agreed on the observation my friend.

    On the topic of weight loss, it's funny when we give weight loss a time frame. It's like, what the hell? What are you going to do after the weight loss? What will you do to keep the weight loss off? If it takes you 3 years to lose 100 pounds, than it takes you that long. A friend, who is in inspiration to me in weight loss journey said that take whatever time you need because if you didn't embark on that journey, you would be eating and being lazy.
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    Weight gain doesn't happen suddenly in most circumstances. It takes as long to get off as it took to put it on.

    There was a post in another thread that discussed the concept of a target weight, and maybe that weight should be what a person weighed when they were in college (around 18 years of age, I suppose). Think about that and what weight you are carrying around now -- and how long it took for you to get to that point.

    I am a firm advocate of taking off weight slowly, mainly by physical activity and portion control. It has worked quite well for me, going from 104kg (228lb) in December 2012 to 87kg (191lb) right now.

    I've plateau for a while a couple of times, and most recently added treadmill running to my physical exercise regimen. I think that these changes in my diet and exercise are sustainable and I will keep losing the weight I want to. I am not sure I want to get down to the 68kg (~150lb) I was when 18 and playing field hockey, though... but I might live another 40 years to do that!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    Good observation. The time it takes to gain 20 pounds is definitely shorter than it would take to work your butt off to lose that 20 pounds. I've been at this for 2 years, starting at 230+ a couple years ago I didn't want to do anything physical. Today, weighing around 170, I'd rather ride my bike than drive. Time shows how much we improve ourselves. I tend to always look into the future, if I looked at my past self I would probably have negative thoughts (holy crap you fat bastard, just end it all already!) but presently I'm glad I never resorted to that.

    I now realize the value of life, the desire to have a child of my own as well as watching my step daughter who I helped raise the past 5 years graduate high school and move on in her life. Life isn't easy, but sometimes you have to play the hand you were dealt.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    I don't set time goals for that reason. I am not losing weight with the intention of gaining it back I am learning and implementing a healthy lifestyle and even if I don't lose any weight this week I am healthier and happier because of it.

  6. #6
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Hey TL,

    12 * 5 = 60 so you've only got 6 months to go

    You're right on the money on your thoughts. I always tell myself I'm going to be a year older anyway I can either weight X or Y when I get there.

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    I just got back to work after being on vacation for a month. I feel like I've been loosing weight really slowly (only 1 pound a week the versus the 2 lbs a week when I first started), but people who haven't seen me for a month all notice the weight I've dropped.

    I am also glad I took photos of myself every 10 pounds or so. When I feel like it's going too slow, sometimes it nice to see what you looked like 2 or 3 months previous

  8. #8
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
    I am also glad I took photos of myself every 10 pounds or so. When I feel like it's going too slow, sometimes it nice to see what you looked like 2 or 3 months previous
    That is a great idea. I really need to do this. I have vacation photos from the beach last year that my wife took from the balcony of my daughter and I building in the sand. That week before is when I started counting calories with MyFitnessPal. That's the latest picture I have of myself. I should do a picture in the mirror ever so often for the lookback motivation.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    That is a great idea. I really need to do this. I have vacation photos from the beach last year that my wife took from the balcony of my daughter and I building in the sand. That week before is when I started counting calories with MyFitnessPal. That's the latest picture I have of myself. I should do a picture in the mirror ever so often for the lookback motivation.
    It's great for when it feels like you're not loosing anymore. I do my piucs in front of a mirror in my boxers, and try to always the hold the camera in the same hand. It's cool to flip through 5 or 6 pics and see you mid-section melt away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Weight gain doesn't happen suddenly in most circumstances. It takes as long to get off as it took to put it on.
    It took 53 years for me to eventually reach a body weight of 210 pounds, the last 40 pounds of which was gained slowly over the last 25 years of those 53 years.

    However, after bicycling and commuting regularly via my portly mountain bikes over a period of just 9 months, I managed to lose 37.8 pounds!

    Hence, your statement clearly doesn’t hold true in any generalized manner that it takes as long to lose weight as it does to gain weight.

  11. #11
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    Hey TL,

    12 * 5 = 60 so you've only got 6 months to go
    Hahahaha - - Math is (apparently) not my strong point lol
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnosis View Post
    It took 53 years for me to eventually reach a body weight of 210 pounds, the last 40 pounds of which was gained slowly over the last 25 years of those 53 years.

    However, after bicycling and commuting regularly via my portly mountain bikes over a period of just 9 months, I managed to lose 37.8 pounds!

    Hence, your statement clearly doesn’t hold true in any generalized manner that it takes as long to lose weight as it does to gain weight.
    Come back to me in five years and make the same statements.
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  13. #13
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnosis View Post
    It took 53 years for me to eventually reach a body weight of 210 pounds, the last 40 pounds of which was gained slowly over the last 25 years of those 53 years.

    However, after bicycling and commuting regularly via my portly mountain bikes over a period of just 9 months, I managed to lose 37.8 pounds!

    Hence, your statement clearly doesn’t hold true in any generalized manner that it takes as long to lose weight as it does to gain weight.
    Well, if you want to use yourself, a lone individual, as proof of something "General" -- but that's reverse logic. I would think your experience is a stand-alone and may prove nothing except the fact that there are exceptions. I think experience shows that most people (or, rather, most that I've known) invest about the same amount of time gaining and losing weight. Especially those that are more interested in health, as opposed to scale worship. For those people I see a very, very gradual weight loss over a looooong period. Just my observation.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    I think experience shows that most people (or, rather, most that I've known) invest about the same amount of time gaining and losing weight.
    I can't really agree with that. I think people deliberately trying to lose weight are often targeting about 1 pound a week weight loss, which is considered moderate and sensible. That's 50 some pounds a year. But most didn't put on the 50 pounds in just one year. At least I didn't, it was more like 2-3 pounds a year for 20 years; I don't think I'm atypical. I sure as hell didn't want to take 20 years to take off what I put on, the extra weight might kill me by then, or at the least give me diabetes, so I'm taking it off in one.

    Now maybe some yo-yo dieters get into a rebound cycle that does spike up faster, but I think the initial gain for most people is more of a gradual process.

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    The real illusion is expecting to achieve a goal without setting a timeline.

    I started the year at 246 and am at 205. My deadline to achieve my weight goal is July 14.

    On target.

  16. #16
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    I typed:
    I think experience shows that most people (or, rather, most that I've known) . . .
    Then stephtu answered:
    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    I can't really agree with that.
    Would you kindly name the "people that I've known" that I based my statement on? Which one of them am I lying about?
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    I think the initial gain for most people is more of a gradual process.
    I can't speak to "most people", but for me at least it was packed on quickly. I gained weight so fast my first year of college I got little stretch marks around my waist. Next surge was when I quit smoking. I'm probably atypical, but it's come off slower than it went on.

  18. #18
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    I think people deliberately trying to lose weight are often targeting about 1 pound a week weight loss, which is considered moderate and sensible. That's 50 some pounds a year. But most didn't put on the 50 pounds in just one year.
    Although most people may attempt to lose 50 pounds in a year, very, very few are successful.
    At least I didn't, it was more like 2-3 pounds a year for 20 years; I don't think I'm atypical. I sure as hell didn't want to take 20 years to take off what I put on, the extra weight might kill me by then, or at the least give me diabetes, so I'm taking it off in one.
    Why not? Most people I associate with who started with a weight problem that have experienced successful health gain (as opposed to the term "weight loss") gained their weight as teens, through a relatively short period of time - 5 or 6 years. When they made a choice to be healthy, and started making healthy choices, then as health increased and weight came off, a lot of time passed. For example, my niece - She was skinny when she was a kid. Then when she was 13 or 14, suddenly she became obese in a relatively short period of time. When she moved from home, she went on a long term exercise-and-better-eating program that changed her life gradually. (She let me help her plan yay!) So she gained her weight in 4 or 5 years, and has been successfully becoming healthier over the last 11 or 12 years. Now she does triathlons, loooooooong bike rides, plays soccer, eats whole foods, and looks amazing. What's really cool is she doesn't even use a scale - she has no idea what she weighs. Among my friends, this is the more common scenario. Also, my personal experience is the same - My peak weight was about 310 to 320 when I was in my early 20s, and I weigh around 230 now at 61 years of age because of a lifetime of bicycling and better eating. Yes, I've been up and down through the years, but the overall trend was about 5 or 6 years of not caring and becoming obese followed by 38 or 39 years of very happy, healthy living.
    Now maybe some yo-yo dieters get into a rebound cycle that does spike up faster, but I think the initial gain for most people is more of a gradual process.
    I think it would be more honest to say "most people in my circle", or "many people". In my life, and in my circle, health and healthy weight is more a life-long lifestyle decision, not necessarily a one-year diet. Yes, I've used Weight Watchers and my weight has fluxuated, but in the overall picture many of us spend a long time recovering from poor health decisions when we were young.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    I typed:
    Would you kindly name the "people that I've known" that I based my statement on? Which one of them am I lying about?
    I guess I parsed your statement as "most people take as long to lose the weight as they did to put it on", without the emphasis of the parenthetical of "people I've known", because it seemed like you were trying to make a general statement applying to population in general, not something that only applied to your circle. I think your circle is atypical.

    I guess you and I just know different people. I agree that to be successful long term it has to be a lifestyle decision, not a "go on a diet" mentality, but in my view once one really commits to it, one should be able to lose at a rate of 0.5-1 pound per week, with some hiccups along the way if there is a long way to go. It's just that I don't really know people who went from say 150 to 300+ in just 5 years, for most that I've talked to it's just a slow creeping on of weight after college into middle age, from being more sedentary and dropping metabolism while still eating as you did at 20. Maybe it's different for people who reach 300+ than those in the 240- range. If one put on a huge amount in 5 years, then yes I can see taking that long to take it off, but if one's gain is substantially less, and over 20 years, which I do think is more common, I really don't see why it would take 20 years to reverse it, and I don't think it's advisable to take that long, as you want to get into a healthier body state sooner rather than later. Or are you saying people like me should only target losing 2 pounds a year, and be overweight/obese for an extra decade? I was obese last August, I'm now in normal weight range by BMI, I'm quite happy to do it in 8 months not 8 years.
    Last edited by stephtu; 04-18-14 at 09:07 AM.

  20. #20
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    I guess I parsed your statement as "most people take as long to lose the weight as they did to put it on", without the emphasis of the parenthetical of "people I've known"
    Helps to read the posts before one responds lol . . .

    We're clearly talking (actually, typing) about different subjects. I think you're speaking about weight loss, and I'm talking about a healthy lifestyle (of which weight loss may be a part). Generally, people that are my age (60s) who are healthy, mobile, and strong, and don't have chronic disease and have a healthy weight, have made lifestyle decisions that have lasted for decades. People that are scale worshippers, and diet a lot to get within their "BMI" (which is a misused concept anyway) are more likely to be using prescriptions to control their BP, have weight and mobility problems as they age, etc.

    The fact is that the onset of debilitating disease (like the diabetes you mentioned in an earlier post) is not the result of a short (or even long) period of being overweight; it is usually the result (when not genetic) of a lifetime of unhealthy decisions. Your concept of quickly losing 50 pounds and suddenly you're healthy is a dream. Great health, especially as we enter our "golden years", is the result of a lifetime of healthy decisions. Yes, we make mistakes, but the result is certain.

    Since most of my peers are approximately my age, live a very similar lifestyle, and (strangely enough) are healthy, I reaffirm my earlier statement that among people I know, losing weight (or becoming healthy) is a longer-term commitment when done successfully and permanently than gaining weight.

    You've lost a lot of weight since August, and for that I congratulate you, however don't fool yourself into thinking it made you healthy. It started you down the road, yes, but health is a lifetime decision. I'll repeat what my friend Rowan said in post #12 : "Come back to me in five years and make the same statements."
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    Helps to read the posts before one responds lol . . .
    I did read, but your post does read as if you were making a statement about the general population, not a statement solely about a specific group of people you know. You said "most people", when you could have simply said "some people I know". I'd argue it's your writing, not my reading comprehension, if you didn't really mean "most people".

    I think you're speaking about weight loss, and I'm talking about a healthy lifestyle (of which weight loss may be a part). Generally, people that are my age (60s) who are healthy, mobile, and strong, and don't have chronic disease and have a healthy weight, have made lifestyle decisions that have lasted for decades.
    I'm not arguing against healthy lifestyle, or committing to decades of healthy lifestyle. I'm arguing about your specific statement that it takes as long to take off the weight as it does to put it on. You said people "spend the same amount of time gaining and losing weight". Your statement I was disputing was about losing weight, not healthy lifestyle.

    The fact is that the onset of debilitating disease (like the diabetes you mentioned in an earlier post) is not the result of a short (or even long) period of being overweight; it is usually the result (when not genetic) of a lifetime of unhealthy decisions.
    I'm not sure what you mean here. Getting type 2 diabetes is highly correlated with being overweight. Chronic high insulin levels, people develop insulin resistance over time. Being overweight is often the result of unhealthy lifestyle, of course. They are all linked together. You can't really say "it's lifestyle, not being overweight", because one leads to the other.

    Your concept of quickly losing 50 pounds and suddenly you're healthy is a dream. Great health, especially as we enter our "golden years", is the result of a lifetime of healthy decisions. Yes, we make mistakes, but the result is certain.
    Of course you have to commit permanently to living more healthily, and it's an ongoing process after you take the weight off, but I don't see what you have against losing 50 pounds quickly. I don't see why one should take 10 or 15 years to lose 50 pounds when you can do it in one or two. It's a long term commitment to health, but the weight itself can come off a lot quicker than it was put on, for most people. Surely it's better to get to a healthier weight sooner, and stay there for 15 years, than to s ... l ... o ... w ... l ... y take the weight off and just be slightly less obese a decade.

    I wouldn't say "suddenly you're healthy", but really health markers like blood pressure and blood glucose levels can be improved quite a lot over the course of a year. Lifelong commitment to healthy lifestyle, total agreement, but it just doesn't/shouldn't take full decades for the "losing weight" portion of it.
    Last edited by stephtu; 04-18-14 at 11:06 AM.

  22. #22
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    I did read, but your post does read as if you were making a statement about the general population, not a statement solely about a specific group of people you know. You said "most people", when you could have simply said "some people I know". I'd argue it's your writing, not my reading comprehension, if you didn't really mean "most people".
    My exact words were: "or, rather, most people I know". I have no idea what you find unclear about that. To summarize my stand: 1. Health and weight control is a lifetime commitment, not a year of dieting. 2. Most people I know have spent the same amount (or more) time correcting health issues, including weight, than creating them. If your experience is different, it simply means we hang around different types of people.
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    The thing is, your stand is in contradiction with your characterization in the initial post of losing 5 pounds a month as a "healthy rate". That implies 60 pounds a year. If people are taking a decade to lose weight, that implies they were like 700+ pounds. I've read of such cases, but they certainly aren't common. So either you don't think losing 5 pounds a month is healthy, and that people only should be losing 5 pounds a year or something, or people do in fact lose faster than they gain, except for the exceptional cases gaining say 150+ in 3-5 years.

    In reality, most people simply don't truly commit to the permanent healthy lifestyle, and regain weight. Or those who take a super extended time to gradually slim down are oscillating between periods where they are sticking to the healthier regime with periods where they act as they did before and lose some of their progress. It's not that it really takes that long to take the weight off, it's more that people have different ability to stick with their program, and maybe difficulty finding a program that is truly sustainable for that individual.

    My stance is:
    - figure out how you want to adjust your eating/lifestyle, to something that is healthier and you think you can maintain indefinitely
    - try to lose weight at a reasonable clip somewhere between 3-8 pounds a month depending on where you are starting from, pace will naturally slow as you drop
    - at some point you will reach your weight goal and find a eating/activity balance to maintain equilibrium
    - then stay on your plan and work on maintaining at this level thereafter, adjusting as needed.

    It's still a lifetime thing, long process, but I don't see why one should only try to lose like one tenth of a pound per week. Lose weight faster than that, most people ought to be able to get to a weight goal within 1-3 years, then the long (forever) time is remaining in maintenance.

  24. #24
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    The thing is, your stand is in contradiction with your characterization in the initial post of losing 5 pounds a month as a "healthy rate".
    5 pounds a month is indeed a healthy rate. Losing weight at 5 pounds a month is not contradictory at all to living a healthy lifestyle.
    That implies 60 pounds a year.
    Your math is better than mine in the op! lol
    If people are taking a decade to lose weight
    which I never said
    , that implies they were like 700+ pounds. I've read of such cases, but they certainly aren't common. So either you don't think losing 5 pounds a month is healthy, and that people only should be losing 5 pounds a year or something, or people do in fact lose faster than they gain, except for the exceptional cases gaining say 150+ in 3-5 years.
    I think you're arguing now just for the sake of arguing. Have a great day!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Come back to me in five years and make the same statements.
    Rowan, I’m 58 now, so it is 5 years later. What would you like to know?

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