Occasionally, I share my numbers here at DietHobby to show some personal details about my years of working to maintain a very large weight-loss.
I post many of my thoughts about my Maintenance struggles here at my website, DietHobby, where I've scrapbooked a great many articles, pictures, and videos. To learn more about my personal history, SEE: ABOUT ME.
Many of these are articles and videos that I've created myself, and many are those of others which I find helpful, interesting, or amusing. I named my website, DietHobby, because I've found it personally necessary to treat "dieting" as a "hobby". To learn more about how and why I do that, SEE: Dieting is my Hobby.
Today I am sharing about my own personal experience, as a small, inactive, "reduced obese" elderly woman. It is not a one-size-fits-all-world so my experience may be vastly different from your own. Even people who are the SAME size, age, and activity levels often have bodies with different metabolisms. Some bodies burn through their fuel like large luxury cars, and some bodies burn fuel like really efficient economy cars. The Metabolic Process is an involuntary one, like breathing and temperature, and .... despite what many Diet Guru's, including medical doctors, say, ... an individual's voluntary behavior can do almost nothing to change their personal long-term Metabolic Rate.
Furthermore, you might not share my personal Values. Food may not be as important to you as it is to me, or we might prefer entirely different foods and different eating styles. Your body might be capable of more physical activity, and you might even find some types of strenuous exercise to be enjoyable. Your standards of beauty might be different than mine, and you might consider Thin to be more attractive than I do, or even consider Fat to be less attractive than I do.
So that being said.... here's where I am. Below is a chart that is self-explanatory. It shows my monthly weight totals for the past 8 years. These monthly weight totals are my daily weights AVERAGED out over a 1 month period. Therefore, these monthly weight totals include both the UP-Bounces and the DOWN-Bounces that happen during each month's period.
This weight chart demonstrates an upward Trend, which is an ongoing problem that I struggle with here in maintenance. The chart shows my most recent 8 year period, however, I am now in my 11th year of maintenance. The first 3 years I was able to keep my weight mostly between 110 and 120 pounds, while eating an average of around 1300 daily calories. Then, my weight began to climb, and I began working hard to keep my calorie average lower to drop off the extra pounds or to at-least-compensate in order to avoid further weight-gain.
This is a graphic of my Weight Maintenance Plan. Basically, I've been working very hard in an attempt to keep my weight somewhere inside my "normal" BMI weight range.
For the past 4 years, I've been bouncing around near the top of my "normal" BMI range, mostly between the 24 and 26 range, and no matter HOW long and how hard I struggle to eat less food, I haven't been able to get my weight to drop back down into the lower ranges of my Maintenance Plan ... back to where it was during the first 3 years of my maintenance.
Below is a chart showing some details connected to the 8 year weight-range chart that I posted above.
Notice that on April 1, 2009, my weight was 118.2 lbs. while here in February 2017 it is 134.0 lbs. This is a 15.8 lb. overall gain. It shows me with a starting BMI of 23.08, and a current BMI of 26.17... which is a +3.09 BMI change.
This chart also shows the "average" basic metabolic rate (BMR) for a person my age, weight, size... which is a Starting BMR (at 118 lbs) = 1007 calorie burn; and a Current BMR (at 134 lbs) = 1040 calorie burn. However, the bottom line of the chart says my "Sedentary" total calorie burn is 1248.
Since September 2004 ... the past 12+ years... I have been recording all of my daily food intake in a computer food journal that provides me with ongoing detailed calorie information.
My data in that computer program gives me the ability to view my actual daily calorie intake, after being averaged out over any 1 year period. Here is a chart I made showing that information.
This calorie information includes ALL of my High calorie days and ALL of my low or zero calorie days. It includes ALL of the diet experiments I tried, and ALL of the times where I was not involved in any such diet experiment.
Some of the diets it includes are low-calorie diets, very-low calorie diets, low-carb diets, ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting diets, alternate day diets, water-fasting diets, the 5-bite diet, various special macronutrient diets, as well as non-diet or vacation and holiday eating. ... during ALL of these eating occasions - both high and low calorie - I recorded all of my daily food into my computer food journal records.
To give you perspective about my highest calorie days, during ALL of 2016, my daily calorie count rose up to the low-2000 calorie level ONLY three times (3 separate days on 3 separate months). Usually, when I was overeating, my highest calorie days came in somewhere between 1200 and 1600 calories.
Notice that the weight chart above says that my maintenance calorie intake (that of the "Average" person) is 1248. But my own personal calorie records show that my ACTUAL daily calorie intake was somewhere around between 150 to 525 calories LESS than that amount.
My daily food records show that my own personal 8 year calorie average was 986 calories, during which I gained a net 15 pounds.
If that 1248 number were correct, it would mean that for 8 years... 2,920 days... my eating was creating about a 262 daily calorie deficit.
Since my starting weight was 118 lbs, and the bottom of my BMI is 95 lbs... the most weight I had to lose from that starting weight, while still remaining inside my optimal weight range was about 23 lbs. Using the "3500-calories-equals-1-fat-lb" rule, a 262 daily calorie deficit over 307 days should have allegedly caused that 23 lb loss.
In fact, the numbers indicate that over a 2920 day period, instead of gaining 15 pounds, my body should have lost about 219 pounds, ...but of course death would have overtaken me when my body reached a weight of around 50 to 60 pounds. So I would have died about 160 pounds short of that 219 lb loss.
Again, using the 3500-calories-equals-1-fat-lb rule, a 15 pound gain over an 8 year period (2920) days would require taking in about 18 excess calories per day. …. To put that in perspective, 18 calories is about the amount in 3 sticks of sugarless gum; or 1 Ritz cracker; or 1 potato or corn chip; or one-half a level teaspoon of peanut butter; or one-fourth of 1 egg; or one-sixth of 1 oz of cheese; or 1 prune. …. My actual 8 year daily calorie average was 986. Subtract 18 calories from that number and the balance is 968 calories. Therefore, instead of the 1248 calories stated by the chart, my own Sedentary total calorie burn was about 968 calories. This means that my body used 280 calories less than an “average” person of my same size, age, and activity level…which makes my own personal daily calorie burn about 22% less than the average.
NOTE: that during the past 3 most recent years, my daily calorie average totaled only 839 per day, which is almost 150 calories a day less than my daily average for the entire 8 year period.
Calorie counting can never be totally accurate, so it is possible that my personal calorie data is incorrect. However, since I weighed and measured and recorded my calories the same way during the entire 8 years, my erroneous calculations would at least have been CONSISTENT ones. It seems to me that making that big a margin of ongoing, consistent calculation error would have been VERY difficult for me to achieve while following my normal measurement process together with my timely and accurate food recording.
986 calories of food is not a great deal of food, and it seems unlikely that ... while eating and recording such small amounts of food; and considering how careful I have been to accurately weigh and measure and record my food in a timely manner, ... I would have made ongoing mistakes that would total a 20% error for the past 8 year period. If so, why didn't I make those same ongoing mistakes during the previous 3 year period during my 11+ years of maintenance?
What does it matter? Actually it doesn't. It is What it is.
All I can do is my personal best.
The DietHobby ARCHIVES contains many articles that talk about the specifics of my own eating and weight struggles. Every year I become more and more convinced of the truth of the following statements made by the obesity specialist, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.:
"at the end of the day if you don't like the life you're living while you're losing weight, you're virtually certain to gain it back."
"Physiologically, Plateaus don’t exist. Unless it’s a TEMPORARY trick of the scale, …....... if you’re not losing, either you’re burning fewer calories than you think; you’re eating more than you think; or some combination thereof.
However, although there’s no Plateau, there IS such a thing as a “FLOOR”.
If you’ve truly stopped losing weight, there are really only two questions you need to ask yourself.
1. Could I happily eat any less?
2. Could I happily exercise any more?
If the answer is "yes" then you can tighten things up, but If the answer to both is "no", there's nothing left for you to do.
This is because if you can't happily eat any less and you can't happily exercise any more -- then it's unlikely that this will ever become part of your permanent behavior."
My own current answer to both Question No. 1 and Question No. 2 is "no".
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the Costs vs. Benefits of dieting. Both the Costs and the Benefits involve personal Values, and what’s personally important isn’t a Constant. As Life Happens our Values tend to adjust to fit into our present Realities.
The Cost of dieting. I am now going on 73 years old. The body is designed to wear out so my time left on earth is relatively short. My life is very sedentary, both from necessity and by choice, and I spend most of my time relaxing in my home. Food is one of the biggest pleasures in my life. I handle this in various ways, and you can see the way I eat... and have eaten for many years... by watching my Recipe Videos here at DietHobby, and by looking at my food photos in my Photo Gallery.
For me, the Benefits of dieting to maintain a large weight-loss involves striking a balance between how I want my body to look and to feel at a specific size; AND how little food I am prepared to eat indefinitely.
This morning I ran some numbers for these first weeks of 2017:
6 week calorie average: 849
6 week average weight: 132.4
Cost vs. Benefit
The COST is eating the small amounts that I’m eating.
The wished-for Benefit is ongoing weight-loss
to get lower in my maintenance range…
however…I am NOT receiving that benefit.
The Benefit that I am actually receiving is…
The BENEFIT is avoiding a RAPID regain inside maintenance.
…. i.e. successfully maintaining a large weight-loss.
So my plan is to just
keep on doing what I'm doing,
while hoping for the best.
Jan 01, 2019 DietHobby: A Digital Scrapbook. 2000+ Blogs and 500+ Videos in DietHobby reflect my personal experience in weight-loss and maintenance. One-size-doesn't-fit-all, and I address many ways-of-eating whenever they become interesting or applicable to me.
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