I blamed my weight gain over the years on slowing metabolism. I exercised a lot, but the pounds kept creeping up. A year ago, I downloaded a free app (LoseIt.com) on my iPhone and started using it daily. It takes all of your personal info (age, weight, etc.) and sets a daily calorie budget for you depending on how much weight you want to lose over what period of time. You record everything you eat as well as all of your exercise, and it tracks your progress. Basically, if you follow the budget or go under it, you should lose weight.
I was skeptical but it was fun to play with on my new iPhone. The surprising thing was that I lost weight almost exactly at the rate I picked (1 lb/week) when I set my calorie budget. I reached my weight goal right on target and then reset the goal to a lower weight. Eventually I lost 30 lbs, getting back to my college weight, and I've maintained that weight for about 6 months now.
So, in conclusion, the old calories in/ calories out formula works but you have to be pretty diligent about it. Having my iPhone handy made it much more doable because I didn't have an excuse for forgetting to log all of the food I ate. Regular exercise also helped, mainly by making it possible to eat more and still maintain my budget.
I read an article recently that claimed that even after keeping weight off for 6 years, there are still some chemical indicators that your body is seeking to regain that weight.
That's not the end of the world - all kinds of people have chronic medical conditions that require more expensive and complicated treatment than eating a little less than you might want to.
I believe that those who did the work, calorie control and exercise, to get weight off are more likely to keep it off than those who had surgery to aid in weight loss.
A friend of mine who knows a lot more about exercise and human physiology than me says research show that the two best determinants of people who successfully lose weight and keep it off are: (1) weighing yourself daily, and (2) tracking all of the food you eat (and I assume exercise as well). That is why I've continued to track my weight, food intake and exercise even though I met my target weight 6 months ago. Checking the scales every day can be frustrating at times because weight can fluctuate widely for a number of reasons, such as salt intake, hydration, exercise and the kinds of food you eat. But it keeps you honest. My weight crept up in December for the usual reasons -- too much pie, cake, cookies, etc over the holidays -- even though I was exercising a lot. I cut back my intake of sweets in January, and my weight started dropping again. However, if I hadn't continued tracking my data and weighing in daily, it would have been very easy to regain 5 lbs.
It is said that you should weight yourself first thing in the AM, preferably after a good bowel movement, to have the least variation in your measurements.
Daily fluctuations are usually due to water retention or diuresis. I've noticed that sometimes the wieght will go up after vigorous exercise the day before, which is due to fluid retention I am told.
Whenever I get really out of control the "fix" is always to start counting calories on a daily basis. The other things that help me are weighing myself and waist measurement.
The expert is, of course, my own body. When I started this process in October of 2010, I realized that I did not know when I was hungry, and when I was not hungry. I had been tuning out those messages from my stomach for decades - and replaced those messages with eating out of boredom, habit, social discomfort, physical pleasure of eating, etc. Note that none of those are hunger. I reflected that I would overeat the most when I was at a social function with people that I was not particularly close to, with really good deserts (boredom, social discomfort, and physical pleasure of eating).
I had an insight that yoga might help me get in touch with my body, and re-establish a route of communication with my stomach. I was shocked when I lost 2.5 lbs in the first week of yoga. This was pretty mild stretching yoga - none of the more cardiovascular varieties.
I was shocked to keep losing 2.5 lbs a week for the next two months.
I continued to be shocked as I kept losing 2.5 lb/week for months on end. Altogether 7 months of losing 2.5 lbs/week.
I weighed myself every day - mostly to verify that I was in fact listening to my stomach, and not conning myself.
I realized at one point that I had lived my whole life with a screwy notion of self-nurture - that in fact a good yoga session was and felt more nurturing than an ice cream sundae.
As a part of exploring self-nuture and physical pleasure, I got on a bike - and had a lot of fun. I kept on the bike because it was fun - but I don't kid myself about calories. If I go out for an hour's ride in the evening, I probably burn 250 calories or so - about a half of a glass of chocolate milk. If/When I start eating due to those other factors - boredom, social discomfort, etc. - 250 calories isn't even a warm up.
For me - and perhaps only for me - tracking what I eat leads me to the wrong question. When I am around people who track their food closely (Weight Watchers, calories counters, etc), the fundamental question is "I really want to eat this, can I eat this?"
For me, the question is, "I can eat this, do I really want to eat this?" - and the answer is almost always "not really". That's mostly because I don't ask the question if I am really in fact hungry.
I realize that my results may be highly idiosyncratic for two reasons:
- I am a pretty contemplative guy, I guess. I am comfortable pondering my impulses - instead of reacting immediately.
- I was never an athlete - so I think the deeper cause was decades of alienation from my own body. People who were once athletic and no longer are may have a completely different experience.
I listened to my stomach a little less assiduously, and followed his advice, and gained 4 lbs over the next two months. I didn't like the way that felt, and have returned to my internal expert, and and have lost 3 of those lbs.
Im 73 and during the warm months, I ride approx 30 miles every other day. In the last 3 years since I retired I went from 195 down to 170 by that riding and eating reasonably. Just ride------as some one stated his recumbent bike was his LRM------lard removal maching!!!!!
One thing they teach us in diabetes educational classes---the secret of good eating is to make a pie chart out of your plate. Divide it in half, and then divide one of the remaining halves into two quarters. Half of your plate is vegetables. One quarter is complex cabrs. The other quarter is lean protein. Avoid drinking empty calories (soda, juice, and limit alcohol) and avoid processed foods, especially stuff with white flour, white sugar, and especially HFCS. This is a way of eating that anyone can stick to. You can have treatsm even, every now and then. You're at someone's birthday party? Have a small wedge of cake, and make the excess calories up somewhere down the road. You feel like having some ice cream after a ride on a hot day? Have a small cup, but leave off the sweet hot fudge which is full of that poison called HFCS (high fructose corn syrup for the uninitiated). Don't deny yourself the occasion treat or feel like you're cheating. Feeling "deprived" is bad for your long term prospects of keeping the weight off. Too many people get to their goal weight and decide to splurge, and then splurging becomes the norm again, rather than the occasional treat.
One thing that has not been looked at by this thread is physical issues like a thyroid not working properly.
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