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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Comments

I salute you, Mike. The difference is very noticeable to me, at least from your climbing wall image. BTW, your recommendation to limit your eating period is an excellent one!

I have no useful suggestions---being twelve pounds over is my idea of a serious crisis--- but I wish you success in achieving your worthy goal.

Cruelty-free for the win!

"Everybody in the study conducted by the Arnold School of Public Health had access to the support groups, the diet education and the healthy recipes. But at the end of six months, the participants on the vegan diet lost more weight than the other groups by an average of 4.3 percent, or 16.5 pounds.

"The study, published in The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences, backed the idea that a diet eschewing animal products helps people shed weight."

http://www.sph.sc.edu/news/vegandiet.html

Good luck.

Buddhist monks do not eat anything solid beyond midday. The only "fat guy" there, is the statue of Buddha ...

I think the Atkins diet is dangerous if you stay on it for any length of time (years), but when I was struggling with weight, the first two-week "induction" phase was very useful in breaking through a plateau. My plateau always kept me stuck between ~204-209. I once got up to 216 and panicked, essentially stopped eating, got back to ~204, and went right back up to 215 when I started eating again. I needed to be about 190. I whittled my weight down to 205 or so, then went on the Atkins diet for two weeks (the induction phase only) and got down to the mid-190s. After that it's maintenance, and I think I actually have a new plateau of 190-195, which seems almost self-regulating. I've been there for several years now. I've thought about doing one more induction phase, to take my weight down to the mid-180s. As you get older, you lose muscle weight, so if you maintain at a certain level at my age, you're really gaining more body fat while you lose muscle.

Well, I'll tell you how I did it; but, you won't like it.

Years ago (I'm 64 now), my weight ballooned to 253 pounds. While I am 6' 1" tall, I was still way overweight. My blood pressure was out of sight (I was taking four different blood pressure medicines and it was still out of control). I was taking meds for diabetes. Nothing worked.

So I went vegan. Very strict vegan. Over a year, I lost 70 lbs. No plateaus, no hassle. Just steady weight lost. My weight stablized in the lower 170's. And hasn't budged since. Within two years, I was no longer taking any medication. My blood sugar A1C's have been normal for years. My blood pressure consistently is in the 117/62 range.

Folks ask me all the time how I did it. When I tell them, they say, "Well, I could never do that." The problem with weight loss is once done, you can NEVER go back to how you ate before. Never. Not once.

YMMV.

I'd been considering commenting on how slim you look in the rockclimbing photos - it's a major and very noticeable difference, so congratulations. I won't presume to tell you how to break through the plateau, but as you mentioned limiting the number of hours during the day in which you eat, I will say that intermittent fasting (google it) has worked wonders for my wife after our second child: in her case, she has a large late lunch and then nothing through till breakfast the next day. I couldn't do that, though, and what has worked for me has been a move away from grains and the classic high-carb, high-dairy diet to more unprocessed foods, with plenty of vegetables, meat, fish and eggs. I sincerely hope you find a diet that you enjoy and that gives you the results you're after - it's so worth it.

Eliminate bread and pasta from the menu and all unneeded sugar, drink lots of water, eat lots of leafy greens, exercise regulary, something to do with breathing and movong instead of muscle gain(running, swiming,...). Decrease calory intake but mantain intake of necessary amino acids and vitamins. Keep at it, don't overdo it and it should work.

Cheers.

Hi Mike,

I lost weight and went from 213 to 184 over the course of about 4 months. I'd tried lots of things over a couple of years and nothing worked. So I set a strict calorie control for those 4 months, with a goal of 2lb a week which meant I would lose weight in time to go hill walking later in the year and save my knees. I limited my calories to 1500/day. An average person should eat about 2000-2200. To keep my food interesting, I bought "The Hairy Dieters" books (Just looked, they're available on Amazon.com, not just .co.uk). They're 2 UK TV Cooks who were carrying extra weight and resolved to eat enjoyably, control calories and lose weight. It worked for them. And for me too.

Truthfully, I didn't enjoy being hungry. I did enjoy the food from the recipes. I enjoyed the weight loss. To keep motivated I weighed myself every day, which became almost compulsive. As did seeing the scales keep ticking down.

Then back to 2000 (ish) calories once I'd hit my target weight, as I do enjoy my food, wine and beer.

Hope this helps.

Stu.


Alternatively, perhaps you are not over-weight but actually under-tall? Will stretching for those handholds on the climbing wall increase your height??

I don't have any sage advice on the plateau, but let me congratulate you on your success. If you're eating good food and getting regular exercise, you're way ahead of the curve. They say the weight isn't the dominant problem as much as it's an indicator of underlying problems like insulin resistance, fatty liver syndrome, and all that. Good food and exercise will banish those demons.

I went through a transformation as well from victim of metabolic syndrome to much healthier. The key for me was getting back to cooking and reconnecting with exercise that I like for the social and mental relaxation benefits. That and convincing myself that apples could replace potato chips because I love crunchy snacks.

I wish you success in the pursuit of your goal.

Congratulations on the weight loss to date. A sure sign of significant self discipline. And, applied in a rational, measured manner.

As for now, your internal set point....calories in vs. calories out...may have been flummoxed by the illness and intentional weight gain which followed. Your body may be under the impression that you're facing a threat of imminent starvation (one bout of which you recently rallied back from) and may be holding onto every ounce of fat it can store.

I'd say relax. Stick to your calculated optimal intake and let nature take its course. Tell your body all is well. Have a donut.

Mike,
Keep up the good fight. Personally , I used to be able to lose weight any time I put my mind to it. As I got older not only did my base weight creep up but have found it much more difficult with each passing year (I'm 65 and pretty active) . There are 25 unwelcome pounds that moved in and will not leave.
So I would say your efforts are very much worth while, and should you discover some secret formula, there are many here who would benefit.
Good luck.

If I'm reading you right, you're also a lot happier than you were in 2013/2014. New home, new relationship, extra pets.... and more. All of which is great.

If para' one is correct, my advice is relax, enjoy being happy, don't obsess about weight loss. Sure remember you're trying to achieve something, just don't let it take over.

Plateauing is perfectly normal in just about every thing we try to do. Learning to drive, improving a skill etc etc ...

Hang in there, your succesful old weight loss strategies will work again for you. Maybe not today, but give them and yourself a break.

We want you just as you are Mike,

Goodluck mate.

Ray

From the Mayo Clinic ...

Getting past a weight-loss plateau
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss-plateau/art-20044615?pg=1

You've worked hard to improve your diet and exercise habits, and your reward has been watching your weight go down and feeling better. Now, however, for no reason you can identify, the scale has stopped budging, despite your healthy, low-calorie diet and regular exercise. You've hit a weight-loss plateau.

Don't get discouraged. It's normal for weight loss to slow and even stall. By understanding what causes a weight-loss plateau, you can decide how to respond and avoid backsliding on your new healthy habits.

And it continues on with good information.

Mike,

On a different axis of the health spectrum, plateaus are also common in training to gain fitness. You'll be doing workouts and improving consistently, then stall out. The first advice is to stick with it, but if the plateau persists, you might have to change something up.

I lost 25 lbs 8 years ago without any added exercise at all (beyond normal living, which included taking care of a very large garden at the time and walking my dog). I've kept it off and have added high intensity weight training once a week (with a training coach) to daily walking and gardening, now in a small garden.

What do I eat? I cut the carbs (little or no pasta, potatoes, rice and bread), added lots of healthy fats (nuts for snacking, avocados, butter and full-fat yogurt). I eat eggs, fish, chicken and more rarely lamb and beef. I continue to strictly ration sweets.

Lots of veg, salads with olive oil dressing. Berries, yogurt and nuts for breakfast. Real cream with coffee, not milk.

I think the key for me was cutting carbs and making friends with fats. A tendency to being overweight and getting type 2 diabetes runs in my family, and cutting carbs is the best way to try to avoid that.

Last summer, I had months of GI issues and subsequently decided to go gluten-free -- Celiac disease is a health problem that runs in the family. (I stay largely grain free now, avoiding your standard GF products because they are all pure starch.)

To stay on track, I also strive to keep my eating within a 12-hour window.

Seeing a registered/licensed dietician (RD/LD after their name) may be worth it. They can provide insights into your diet and exercise that you might not be aware of. Here are some key learnings for me, from my dietician. But yours may be different.

Find exercise you like, so you look forward to doing it. Make it a scheduled activity that you CAN NOT skip or excuse yourself from. Put controls in place that make it really hard to skip the exercise. It may sound silly, but it works.

If you like reading/watching tv/playing video games, get a treadmill, and (this is key) leave it set up all the time, always plugged in and ready. Never put anything on it or block it from being used. If you are really serious, move all other furniture from your TV room so that if you want to watch TV, you HAVE to do it at least at a walking pace on the treadmill.

If you like playing tennis, join a club with regular meetings so you have to go. If you like hiking, join a hiking club. If you like riding your bike, join a cycling club. If you want more flexibility and strength, join a yoga studio. If you like walks join a walking group. Whatever it is, make it something that you can't skip out on because there is a schedule and other people are expecting you.

Joining a gym usually doesn't work for most people, because it's easy to skip going to it. Gyms make a lot of money selling gym memberships to people who never come. But actual classes and activity groups have much higher attendance rates.

One easy way to limit calories taken in - don't drink anything with calories or fake "no sugar" sugars. Just stick to water, black coffee, unsweetened tea. It's amazing how fast beverage calories add up.

For example, if you are stable at one weight, adding one can of soda a day to your diet will add about 15lbs a year to your body. Pretty crazy how it can add up.

Eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables. Half your plate of every meal should be vegetables. Meat and carbs should be no more than a lump about the size of a deck of cards each. Dessert is fine, carbs are fine. The main thing is to keep it balanced and in moderation and start off each meal with at least a half plate of vegetables. Switching white bread for wheat bread, white pasta for wheat pasta can help too.

Eat lean protein that's not fried. Chicken, fish, and egg whites are my go-to proteins. I get free-range egg whites in a milk-carton-type container and make a lot of veggie scrambles on the stove with frozen veggies in a pan, cook em in a light oil, then add the egg whites and stir it all up with a lot of garlic and onion powder (or fresh garlic and onions if I've got em). You can eat a meal that's got a ton of veggies and lean protein, and it only takes ten minutes to prepare, with some black coffee and wheat toast on the side.

I've found that frozen veggies are easiest to prepare. I get these huge bags of frozen organic broccoli, or organic green beans, or mixed veggies at Costco. Then I pull one out of the freezer and dump some veggies into a pot on the stove with one of those metal veggie steamers with the holes in it. Takes about ten minutes to steam them.

I flavor veggies and food in general with low-calorie things like hot sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, garlic or onion powder, turmeric, italian seasoning (basil/oregano/rosemary), or some parmesan cheese from a can (surprisingly low calorie - a tablespoon is 20 calories - and it takes the bitterness out of broccoli really well).

Sometimes it takes a LOT of garlic powder or parmesan to make vegetables taste good but it doesn't add calories like butter, stir fry oils, cheese, or dressings. Learning to eat veggies without dressings is a challenge at first, but you get used to using other things.

One other dietician recommendation - make breakfast your biggest meal, and make sure you eat protein with it, and not just carbs like cereal. Lunch should be the second biggest, and dinner your smallest meal. This is the opposite of how most people eat I think, but it really works. On days where I eat a big breakfast I usually eat a lot less overall.

So far I've kept the weight off, but it wasn't easy - it took wholesale changes to my lifestyle, completely changing how I eat, drink, cook, exercise, and how much I cook at home (a lot more).

For me, the exercise has been pretty easy - I just take my dogs out on a walk, every day, even if it's just around the block and back. They always love it, even if I'm hiding under an umbrella. I started by convincing myself that if I don't take them out every day, they are disappointed in me, and I am a bad dog owner.

These days, the dogs are so used to going on walks when I get home that they get really anxious and unhappy if we don't leave at the appointed time.

At work, I take the stairs, I park at the end of the parking lot, and I drink unsweetened hot tea so I am always getting up and going to refill my tea cup (or go to the bathroom!). Every little bit helps.

I have also plateaued - since 2012! I went from 235lbs to 180lbs and then have oscillated between 180 to 190lbs ever since (depending on how much I've been able to exercise). According to doctors I should really be closer to 165lbs but I've pretty much given up hope of reaching that. I would have to exercise significantly more than I currently do (4-5 times a week, 30-60min), which is hard with family/work time constraints, or eat significantly less (which I try to do on occasion). If there was some way to magically kick-start my metabolism into burning more calories I would love to know.

I'm stuck in the middle myself, though I was trying for less weight total than you. Fifty percent of goal seems where the body wants to stay. One thing I'm happy with, even though I think it has little to do with my weight loss, is my exercise routine. I've used the NYT 7 minute exercise program since December and it has been life changing. I have more energy, better leg and arm strength, more patience for physically difficult tasks, feel safer on my motorcycle, and my bad knee is less of a problem. My blood pressure is better too. It's suprising just how much exercise I can cram in to 7 minutes, and how winded I can get. Seems just short enough not to make it so unpleasant that I talk myself out of doing it the next day. So now I'm a 7 minute proselytizer.

Yup, I spent all of 2014, plus some, trying to get below 240. Currently 235 is a brick wall.

Some consolation to consider. As we exercise, more of our mass is muscle, which increases metabolism and burns more calories. Stay on the strength regimen. Secondly, all we need is to increase our height 4 inches to hit a more favorable BMI index. That seems more possible than punching through a stubborn plateau.

One last thing. Don't panic over a setback or a plateau. Be calm. It takes time to ride it out.

Mike,
I can only tell you what I do know:
The most fit person I know had to add core strengthening exercises* to move from ordinary levels of fitness (e.g. running 1-2 miles) to extraordinary levels of fitness (more than 6).

Perhaps you have reached a plateau of exercise effectiveness, not a plateau of eating effectiveness? Maybe a new kind of exercise goal, backed with something strengthening like yoga? Or a new kind of activity? Like, say, rock climbing? (I like the Wii video games, myself.)

*not situps, apparently they contribute to lower back problems.

My sympathies. I also am stuck, 3 years, the last 10 pounds refusing to go anywhere.

Many of the comments look promising. Please report if any work for you. I'll do the same.

My one sustained long-term weight loss (relatively modest: from ~175 to ~160lb in a year) was abetted by an app (My Fitness Pal) which tracks calories in and out and does all the math for you. Input is humane--you note your half cup of yogurt, brisk 2 mile walk, etc. The comprehensive database is supplemented by user data and you can always add to it.

It was the most painless and most flexible calorie diary I'd ever encountered. There are other similar apps. I also adopted some quick, compact at-home exercises (like running in place) for when I couldn't get to the usual exercise places or wanted to burn extra calories.

I enjoyed the flexibility in both diet and activities, though awareness was probably the most important result.

IMO, fat is a dieter's friend. Everyone should do their own research and consultations, but, as you know, U.S. medical and nutritional authorities are reassessing their prejudice against dietary fat and cholesterol. Calorie-for-calorie, fats are probably the most satiating type of food out there (for me, anyway).

But that gives me an idea for a more general diet tip: invest in finding non-guilty pleasures.

Do you swim? Excellent calorie burner; very easy on bones and joints.

Don't try to cheat by skimping on hydration--it's unhealthy, not to mention counterproductive in just about every way, including making you hungrier.

Good safe exercise is important not just for burning calories but for keeping fit so you want to move (or at least don't mind as much). On that score, take good care of your locomoting parts.

I've found replacing red meat with shelled edamame beans is good. If I need a jump start, a week of edamame and brown rice (main meal) does the trick (for me).

I like casseroles, Chili, Spaghetti (whole grain), etc made with edamame, chicken and occasionally 96% fat-free ground beef.

Sven Erikson is right about breakfast. I use one cup of eggs, mushrooms (protein and vitamins), bell peppers (Vitamin C), chopped white onions, diced potatoes, whatever. Sometimes turkey sausage.

I also eat a lot of veggies, raw cauliflower is a great snack. Lima beans and Hominy have a lot of Vitamins and Protein. BTW if you eat a lot of veggies and beans, gas ceases to be a problem.

Many people put sugar on cereal, I get my sweetness from high anti-oxicant berries.

Once a month I'll get a Jucy Lucy and fries. Grease is part of a balanced diet 8-D

Mike,
The plain and simple truth is, that you need to continue running an energy deficit. It does not really matter if you eat in the morning, evening, every other day or whatever else. You can live on hot dogs or on broccoli, and it won't change things in the least, if the deficit ( or lack of thereof) is the same. So update your basal metabolism calculation, figure out how much you move on average to add calories burned from activity and see what comes out. Then apply the calculation to what you eat. You should be aiming for a deficit of 3500 kCal a week, which is not a small thing. In my experience, lifestyle adjustments work best: intermittent fasting, selling the car, buying a dog, walking on a treadmill while working at the desk, buying smaller plates, etc.
BTW, exercise is far more important than being slim, and people who live the longest are actually considered to be slightly overweight ( BMI between 25 and 27). Last life extending advice: incorporate beans, lentils, peas, etc in your diet. It seems to be the main common ingredient present in the diets of ultra centenarians all over the world.

Well, even if you end up stuck at your plateau weight permanently, you might want to consider other health metrics besides the actual number on the scale. If you're eating properly and exercising daily, that's a good thing onto itself, and should make you score well on the less easily seen metrics such as cholesterol level, blood pressure, and overall "good health."

Failure isn't not dropping below 228; failure is abandoning the healthy routines that are keeping you from going above 228. So please stick with it!

[Actually the person who's happiest with me is my doctor. My cholesterol is very low, blood pressure is at the low end for my sex and age, etc. --Mike]

Try putting two carb free days in each week. That is what the ideal protein diet people do.

Very small plates and flatware.
Sounds really stupid yet it seems to work.
Perhaps regular sized plates with photos of fat people on them would work.

Living where the shortest path to anywhere is NOT through the kitchen seems to help, those traditional Chinese houses where the kitchen is in a separate building look like a good idea

I have gotten "stuck" and suffered "retrograde" motion many times on my now 35 year struggle for a sensible weight. The last 10 or so have seen me go from 290 to currently 225, and the campaign continues.

I found it helps to remember that 260 is a whole lot better than 290, that 230 is a whole lot better than 260, and so on.

And does seem that after a human body "settles" at a weight, very similar tactics will cause it to lose weight from that settled place again.

I find that I don't really lose weight by dieting very well. If I've had a long spate of grinding work and have eaten poorly (almost certainly on hotel locations...) I find the only way to get the weight back off is to radically increase my exercise. I almost always swim at least an hour a day but if I have five or ten pounds to use I'll add a two hour walk on weekdays or a half day walk on each weekend day until the weight comes off. Then the swim routine and fairly healthy (under Belinda's watchful eyes) home diet help me maintain. Diet is good for me but exercise is better.

Mike,
Check out the "Fast-5" idea here, in a Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHQbg4xH9lw

It is taking a pound a week off for me. The life-long change in eating that is required suits me. I've always had a problem with late-night hunger and so that's where all my overeating occured. The Fast-5 idea is that you don't eat during the day, until early evening, say 5pm. Then for the next 5 hours you can eat all you want. The thing is, after I've gone without food all day, I'm not particularly super hungry when 5pm arrives... just feels like normal dinner-time level of hunger. And during the day, I can busy myself with enough tasks that I never feel super hungry; just the occasional hunger pangs that go away when I get into some new task. Check it out.

Mike,

Congratulations on the weight loss. Have you considered just living with your plateau weight and calling it a day?

I was 280 pounds in early 2013 and now I'm 198. While someone my height really "should" be 185 I've concluded I just can't get there with an exercise and diet routine that I find worth sustaining.

Your body might be telling you you're fine as you are.

Mike, have you considered a walking desk to help with the caloric deficit you need? Geeky, I know, but an option.

I just read another scientific paper on intermittent fasting, and it has interesting results. They used a diet "designed to last 5 days every month and to provide between 34% and 54% of the normal caloric intake with a composition of at least 9%–10% proteins, 34%–47% carbohydrates, and 44%–56% fat." The human trial is small but encouraging, and one may hope that intermittent fasting in humans has benefits similar to those that have been well studied in mice in terms of longevity and general health...
http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131(15)00224-7

Congratulations! Weird question, but have you noticed a change in your photography?

My heaviest was 210, but my average has been 190 over the past 20 years. I've fallen below 180 four times, twice due to chronic illness (not recommended, but it 'works'). The other two times, the final pounds came off with endurance cardio. The first time involved cycling distances of 30-40 miles three or four times a week. The second it was running distances of 10 miles or more. Neither the running nor the cycling were done at paces that would be considered particularly fast, but they weren't leisurely either. Something about keeping an elevated heart rate for a couple hours at a time absolutely changes my metabolism resulting in calorie deficits far greater than just the calories burned during exercise.

Congrats on the journey so far - I'm week one on my plan, including a Apple Watch - which honestly inspires my to ride the bike to get all the activity points, silly but true, but serves as an expensive reminder to my wife that she get's to fuss at me if i don;t record everything and live by it. It's knowing everything that helps - I'm a Type 1 diabetic, and 40, and decided i had to do more than guess if i want to be a 70 or 80 year old Type 1 diabetic. Having the watch, and the i[hone apps - is having to record more data, but this time, it's MY data - not a doctor's, who could use it as a bludgeon to call me lazy, stupid, or a failure. It's a small thing, but for 3 years i refused to enter data into my pump, because the docs would attack me when the numbers where out of range, or honestly out of control.I wasn't crazy out of range - but 3 days into this and i'm on a really steady keel, and using 20% less insulin. Thank you for sharing this - I started this effort in part from a review of the apple watch by a blogger who lost 40-50 lbs - but your pic from the other day kicked me in the but, too. My oldest is 8.

I wanna climb walls with him too.

Thanks for teaching yet again.

I know so many people who have injured themselves in exercise programs, usually spurred by a desire for weight loss. And there's a lot of evidence that our ideas of "healthy" weights are often just stupid; certainly BMI has never had any medical significance relative to an individual person.

I'm inclined to think that a plateau in weight loss on a program of more exercise and more healthy eating may be your body telling you it's at a good point. Trying to force it past that often changes something in the metabolism to make it more efficient, and hence help you gain the weight back.

A little trick based on science and well proven.
Excercise before eating in the morning and allow your body some time to use energy deposits before "refueling". It works well for me. Also, if possible avoid eating until 12 noon or after 7 at night to extend the reserve use period. It has been proven that after fasting 10 hours+, the body starts to feed on (stubborn) reserves and rebuild.

Weight isn't everything. Like you I have struggled with weight for most of my life. at one stage I was over 23 st (322 lbs) but now hover around your mark.

I have found regular weight checks can be depressing and now also use a clothes check. I have certain jackets, shirts, trousers that only fit comfortably when I ma a certain size. I may not have lost weight over a certain week but if that jacket fits me a bit better I am happy. After all, losing weight isn't just about being healthier. We want to look better also.

I was stuck at 70kg for 4 years.
Two tragically failed attempts at new love later and I'm down to 63kg. Not that I recommend this procedure but filling the head with something seemingly more important that eating did it for me.

You're watching your calories intake. Good.

You're limiting the time window during the day when you eat. Good.
It might take you closer to the "McChrystal meal", by the way.

You say that you exercise every day, at least when you're at home. Good.
Hopefully, that exercise routine is something you can maintain even during the bitter Wisconsin winters, when exercising outdoors can be a challenge.
Incidentally, exercise bikes seem safer than treadmills.
A stand-up desk with a voice-commanded 27" iMac might be put in front of the exercise bike so that you can simultaneously exercise and read the stuff you need to read.

Anyway, there are many excellent comments above, including Sven Erikson's, about the diet. The important aspect seems to be vegetables.

I saw no mention of terraforming floraforming (The Online Floraformer ;-) in this comment stream yet, so you might want to keep in mind the possible benefits of a vegetable-rich diet on gut flora.

You seem to have the coffee side of things covered. You might need to add garlic, leek and celery to your diet; Belgian beer of the Lambic variety seems interesting from a microbial point of view too, perhaps due to its use of wild yeasts and bacteria, but I doubt it's widely availabile in your neck of the woods.

CONGRATS !!!

A blog that could possibly save a life or two, and improve the quality and longevity of many. Well thought through comments based on experience, no wonder pills or tonics but encouraging optimism.

Thank you Mike, thank you everyone ....

Dunno about weight loss, but I find that a 47 hour fast (nothing after dinner on Sunday until dinner on Tuesday) provides me with a massive productivity and creativity boost.

Cut out refined sugar and it falls away. You will have to work hard to keep weight on. That is my experience anyway. It is painful for about a week or two as you realise how many sugary things you eat without quite admitting it to yourself, but after that, it's easy. Personally I find cutting a food entirely much easier than cutting down.

Mike, My weight spiked to 218 lbs after a bout of illness this last winter – all I wanted to do was sit on the couch in front of the TV, eat potato chips and drink beer while I slowly recovered!

The turning point for me was hearing an interview on the radio with Nina Teicholz who wrote 'The Big Fat Surprise'. I bought it to read. The book is not about dieting per se, but is a very well researched study on nutritional science. It is a fascinating account of big egos, bad science, vested interests, and political interference, leading to some very bad advice to the general public; now enshrined as received wisdom, and which is only slowly being overcome. If you have even a basic interest/knowledge of science, the book is an easy and enjoyable read.

From reading it I was able to revise my own eating habits without following any specific diet (after overcoming some resistance from my good wife who looks after me very well), cut back on my intake of calories, and key – enjoy my food much more. I also got back to a routine of exercise of a type I enjoy (in my case swimming three times a week). Food you like and exercise you like are always good!

I'm kinda in that boat but what works for one person doesn't always work for someone else.
I will say it takes a combination of things e.g. diet & exercise, walking, etc.,

I started a year ago at 256. I'm now at 216.
I've eliminated soda and junk food, anything with high levels of sugar and/or salt. Sitting too much is bad. There have been recent studies that say sitting too much will kill you. Eating small meals and/or snacks throughout the day is better than just eating three squares. Smaller portion sizes -- stay away from fast food! More veggies and fruits but watch your carbohydrate intake.
The body converts carbs to sugar. Limit stuff like white rice, white bread, pasta. Bread intake in general should be reduced. I limit meats to fish and chicken (Geez! I'm tired of chicken).

Drinking lots of water curbs your appetite. I consume about 64 0z's. during my workout. It consists of about 4-5 oz. of cranberry juice, juice from one lemon and the rest water. I've read that vitamin C helps the body burn more calories, seems to work for me --YMMV. I try and workout 3-4 times a week, mostly cardio but weight training too. Exercising large muscle groups burns more calories.

I also create a calorie deficit: If I need 2500 calories per day to maintain current weight, I reduce my caloric intake to 1500 calories. I also bought myself a Nutri Ninja.

I buy protein powder from the local health food store; buy lots of berries (strawberries, blue berries, etc,), wash 'em and freeze 'em and use them as a ice substitute in the Ninja along with 2/3 cups zero fat milk , 1/3 cup water, smallish banana and the berries with 1 scoop protein powder into the Ninja -- that's breakfast and sometimes dinner. provides plenty of protein and fiber.
Ah yes, fiber! Get lots of fiber.

My goal is 190 lbs. We'll see after that.

Just keep at it.

During my cancer treatment I always joked about being glad I was losing weight - that I needed to. The clinicians did not appreciate that.

When I feel hungry and know that I should not eat, I drink cold fizzy mineral water. It helps. My BMI is now 24.999, but I use another measurement: blue jeans waist number should be smaller than leg number. Like 33-36. (Don't cheat with the leg number.)

I lost 75 lbs 2 years ago this way:
Slowly,(over 2-3 weeks) reduce the amount of food you eat by 70%. This accomplishes two critical things.
1. Your stomach will gradually shrink so when you do eat, you will feel full on far less food.
2. It will force your body to increasingly burn fat to sustain itself.
These things, with (increasing in length) brisk walks, attention to hydration, willingness to tolerate some hunger pains, and conviction is what did it for me.
Good Luck

Just saying good job. It's sooo hard. I started at 228-230, 65 yr. old. Type II diabetes. Love food, cooking, (bread baking is my other hobby), I'm active, don't like sweets. Been up, been down, on track, off track, etc. So now I'm going to be 73 in a month, at 208, trying like mad to be at/under 200 on my bday. Sounds like you've got most of it figured out, nice work. As to 'breaking plateaus, as noted above, the occasional (and short) fast does work for me. Kind of fun in a weird way, esp. as it's short. If you haven't tried that one, you might consider it. But mainly, nice job.

Mike, I need to strictly control my consumption of food because of my diabetes, but have no problem doing so, because of my adherence to advice from my diabetes educator.

One aspect of this acquired knowledge is the reading of all labels on packaged, processed food.

Oh, and golden rule #1 proffered by an old (late) friend, " body weight gain is directly related to what passes over your bottom lip".

Mike:

You can infer from the comments already, there's likely no single road to weight loss and good health. Worse, there has been very little really well done research. Observational studies, even large ones are problematic. Really well-controlled trials demand more of humans than most humans can live with--e.g. months in a metabolic chamber.

Even broad guidelines, like Carbs Bad or Sugar bad, break down when confronted with what seems to be a huge spectrum of human metabolic types. Some people can live on a pack of Oreos a day while others go pre-diabetic on few teaspoons of sugar.

It's a long way of saying my experience is n=1.

I came to weight loss accidentally. I'm on a highly ketogenic diet for other medical reasons. And for my metabolism, at least, it's been great. I went from 230 back down to my college weight of 189. (I'm nearly 6'5" and 50-years-old). My HDL shot up. My LDL barely budged. My BP fell and my A1C barely registers.

My diet is green vegetables, small amounts of protein and about 60-percent fat. I'm never hungry and find I can fast for several days at a time.

Again, I am just a sample of 1. And, again, I know plenty of people who do well as vegans. I tolerate carbs poorly. I didn't always, but do now. Others tolerate them swimmingly. I am preaching, therefore, absolutely nothing. Just reporting my very limited experience.

Pax and Bon Apetit,

Marshall

Hitting a plateau (albeit at a lower weight) hasn't been a problem recently for a couple of reasons.
Sessions with a really good PT identified that shoulder problems I was having were due to a whole host of problems with weak back muscles, causing poor posture.
I got back to targetted weight training (30 focussed minutes a week) & some home exercise (about the same in 2 15 minute sessions).
No weight loss, but I stand straighter & dropped a clothes size. A better distribution of my weight & how I stand. These are the improvements beyond weight I've been encouraged by.

One thing that worked well for me, several years ago, was to adopt the position, if I was not hungry enough to take the time to stop, prepare (or order)a meal and sit down at a table to eat, I was not truly hungry. IOW, until I was hungry enough to stop whatever I was doing, and take a proper meal, I did not eat.

At the time, I was on the road a lot, and prone to drive-through food. My new eating policy eliminated all of that. It also eliminated trips to the pantry.

Sorry, but I couldn't read through all 56 comments, so forgive me if this point has already been made. The main reason for hitting a weight loss plateau is that your body's basal rate of metabolism falls as your body mass decreases. Hence, you are burning fewer calories even when you are sleeping. Exercise has been found to be of limited (but not zero) benefit for losing weight. All that I can recommend is that you continue to eat a balanced diet with reduced carbs. I say reduced, rather than zero carbs, because that latter is extremely difficult to maintain.

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/121923199701/the-health-advice-i-dont-find-credible

Firstly, congratulations on keeping the weight off.

I also had weight problems a few years back and wanted to enter my 50's slimmer and fitter. I set my goal as 82kg with the ultimate goal of 78kg. I was at 102kg. Reasons were many, small child whose food had to be finished, an accident and knee surgery and walking with a limp.

Went to a physiotherapist who told me the limp was my fault and gave me exercises. I hated her. But it worked and I started to jog again. At first I was slower jogging than walking because of all the breaks i needed to catch my breath. Food intake was watched but not strictly adhered to. I came down to 85kg and stayed there. That was my plateau.

I then went overboard on the jogging and set myself the goal to run continously at 4:45 a km (about a 7min mile) and trained for it. I also cycled and swam so as to keep healthy and not obsessed. I also stopped eating carbs after breakfast. I got down to 81kg but got injured running which pushed my weight up. I would love to say I got it all under control but the injury was an achiles tendon problem which has taken years to heal and a cycling accident put me off that too. Now i am back to jogging and heading back towards 85kg.

Raw diet will achieve everything you seek Mike,

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=raw+diet&sprefix=raw+diet%2Caps%2C228

When trying to reduce body eight the most important question is: How old are you ??

New studies show that losing weight does not prolong life for more than one year once you are sixty years old, and might even shorten your life when you over sixty-five !!

The reason of this paradoxon: when you lose weight, you also reduce the amount of muscle tissue, and when you gain weight later, it is just fat tissue...

So: for us people in the 60+ age range it is better to increase bodily activity by walking 10.000 steps a day and 4+ flights of steps, and throw away your weighing scale...

My vote is: keep doing what you're doing and hold on. The body craves stability. Start tracking your progress at a slower rate. If after two years, you're still in the plateau, then it's time for a bigger lifestyle change.

I have a close friend that lost almost 100lbs in one year. She went to a gym, hired a personal nutritionist and a trainer, and followed a strict exercising program : running, work-out, six times per week. Food-wise, she, at first, had a low-calories diet. But she was now just eating well : no processed food, a lot of proteins, fibres, no sugar (except before working-out). She was eating often, so she was never hungry.

She began to gain muscles, and the more muscles you have, the more fat you burn. I didn't know that, but it makes sense. Some months, she weighted the same than the month before, but she had less % of fat and more muscles. Then they gradually increased the calories eaten each day. Which lead, combined with the work-out, to more muscles, less body fat, etc.

She had a flew plateau episodes : she simply kept working out as usual and she came over them. The body was just adjusting.

Now she has a problem : she is addicted to sports :P And she is finally healthy, and feeling 20 years younger.


I've several interests cameras , guitars and health. It surprises me that the competent people from each realm don't know about each other. :)

Let me introduce you to my other favorite blog.

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/

I began counting calories 305 days ago - I also began ramping-up to a serious workout routine around the same time. I've dropped from 240ish to a plateau of 182-184. My goal shifted as my weight dropped and I'd like to get down to 175ish, but if I don't so be it. I'm 5' 8.5" and stocky.

I began eating better following your post about food, oh, a year or so ago. Eating right just wasn't working, I was in the same boat as Gary (I was a generous estimator and cheat).

What has worked so far for me is myfitnesspal - both web-based and as an app on the iPhone. I became "that guy" who would scan the labels or weight the food before sitting down for dinner. It helped put everything in perspective and give me a good handle on portion size and whatnot.

The next step was the exercise. I began Krav Maga and, in the beginning, was lucky to make it through the warm-up without stopping. Now, 8.5 months later I completed an orange belt test that took 7 hours - I did forget my name during the last hour but have, mostly, recovered.

As many people have mentioned, I've really needed to take a holistic approach to the weight-loss idea and, periodically, revisit the methods I'm using.

I set some things in stone from the beginning. I would not give up beer (I am a homebrewer, but also, really, really like it). I would not keep temptation in the house (ice-cream). I would weight myself everyday. I would listen to my body.

I've found that I needed to do a lot of reading about food in general, but the reading on exercise and performance "fueling" has been the most helpful. Not plugging them but Hammer Nutrition has a bunch of free articles on-line that have helped. Reading has helped inform the various levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fats that I take in as well as the sources.

Krav Maga was a good fit because it works both on endurance and strength (through body-weight exercise). I needed to move past the shorter workouts into the medium intensity but fat burning zone. To that end I wore a heart-rate monitor that would help target a sustainable level of exercise but also recalculate the total calories I needed through myfitnesspal.

One thing that I need to be cognizant of is that as I lose weight and exercise I may lose fat but will probably gain muscle (which is probably why I've plateaued at the moment).

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