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Maintaining weight loss

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  • #16
    Thanks for your responses, everyone.

    I was trying to make my question brief and to the point, but I seem to have made it not-informative-enough and confusing.

    I am 5'2" and 148 lbs, and it's not because I've been lifting heavy things, more like because I've been lifting bags of macadamias. Before the vortex of the last couple of months hit me, I had plateaued at about 140 for several months. And by "plateaued," I mean, I was still eating primally and eating to satisfaction, but not losing weight (I started at about 165). I *know* there are many things I still need to change in order to be living primally and not just eating primally (I can start with the "17 Things" post if I'm ever lacking for ideas--that alone will take me years). So, perhaps "plateaued" is misleading, as it implies that I'm already doing everything right and not losing.

    In any case--my question then was not really about my weight loss (though I can see why it seemed that way). My question was more about other people's experiences with calorie restriction. I know Mark doesn't particularly discuss it, and it's not my next line of defense (there's a lot of moving slowly and lifting heavy things and getting enough sleep to add before I *ever* start counting calories again). I was not trying to write another tweak-my-primal-life post, because there are obvious tweaks that need to be made.

    I guess that what I'm after is--what is people's experience with maintenance in general? I'm particularly interested in other middle-aged women's experience, as maintenance was no problem for me when I was 22. And in specific, if you are someone who felt that calorie restriction was necessary for you to achieve your happy-with-it body, how has it worked for you to transition from restricting calories to regular eating again?

    I've been interested in Kurt Harris's blog--the point of losing fat by eating a bland diet seems to be to convince the body that it really doesn't want to eat more--so that the "restriction" happens at the point of food choices, and not at the amount consumed. My understanding of his theory is that this reduces the body's set point, so that you end up at a place where you can eat reasonably and maintain weight loss.

    I am wondering to what extent this is true of paleo/primal eating as well, and am interested in hearing people's experiences.


    • #17
      Consider intermittent fasting.
      PDF Ebook The Fast-5 Diet and the Fast-5 Lifestyle | Free PDF Ebooks Files @AcrobatPlanet.Com


      • #18
        SuBee, what happened to me is this:

        I was slowly gaining from 118 to 128 lbs from about age 22 to age 28. Then I had a baby and ballooned to 150+ lbs after childbirth. 2 years or so after being 150, I decided enough is enough and lost 30+ lbs on CW in 14 weeks (boot camps, sever calorie restrictions). For the next few months on CW diet, I tried to restrict calories to 1350 a day eating 70% from "healthy carbs" (yeah, whole wheat toast and oatmeal!) and under 10% of fat (my methabolic type, duh). I was starved, dizzy etc. If I let myself to eat till fullness, I clocked at about 1,800 cals, and gained like 3 lbs overnight.

        Then I tried low carbing (anabolic diet) on wrong kinds of food, like nut butters and liver sausage. I restricted calories to 1500 a day and was still very hungry, and end up in near faint in 2 months.

        Then, 2 years ago, I tried whole foods (sprouted grains, whole unprocessed garins only, legumes). I plateaud, but stopped feeling hungry, feeling satisfied and not re-gaining weight at ~ 123 lbs (I am 5'6 and 1/2") at about 1500-1700 cals a day.

        Then I went Paleo with ~ 40% fats and mostly the right foods, some indulgence in whole non-glutenous grains (millet or buckwheat) and dairy. I continued to plateeau.

        I went on carb cycling diet, lost weight to about 118 lbs, but started regaining once the diet was over.

        What I did next was to go for a few weeks on not calorie counting eating of ground beef, eggs and potatoes - whichever I wanted till full; after a couple weeks of that my appetite stabilized and weight stabilized at 118 lbs. After that I did Whole 30 with no fruit, coffee, nuts, but with white potato instead of sweet. In other words, i eliminated all sugars & I also stopped using all fats but coconut oil, rarely olive oil and animal drippings. I eat all fat from my meats though and skin from my chicken!

        Now, I am back to calorie cycling and IF'ing when I feel like it, but the most amazing thing is that I am FULL on 1,200-1,400 calories a day, a caloric range that I could not manage on CW or just low carb. In other words, my appetite got re-set ONCE I WENT LONG ENOUGH WITHOUT SUGARS. I consume plenty of NON-SWEET carbs, but I also train heavily and do pretty cool short cardios. I am at ~ 116 lbs now.

        So, my advice is to spend a few weeks with no sugar and sugar substitutes, eat simple, eat plain, keep calorie count and see how much you actually eat, and if the nature of your hunger and appetite change to scale down on its own & you re-start loosing weight.
        Last edited by Leida; 02-24-2012, 01:46 PM.
        My Journal:
        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


        • #19
          I agree. Even though I am still losing weight, I seemed to have settled in on an 1500 - 1800 cal a day diet/lifestyle. And I'm
          6'-4" tall and weight 254 right now. I can IF 2 to 3 times a week when I want to as well. Once you fiannly break from the carbs, the calorie intake tends to drop IMO.
          Started 9/15/11 at 323 pounds
          2/16/13 at 241 pounds
          Goal is 223 pounds or less


          • #20
            Thanks, Leida, for writing your story in such detail. I appreciate the input!

            Also, had to come back to correct myself, it's not Kurt Harris's blog that talks about bland diet, it's Stephan Guyenet's. Got my health gurus mixed up.


            • #21

              I have recently lost a significant amount of weight eating very low carb (and primal), but because I'm not 'middle age' but 'old' and hypothyroid, I also have to keep my calories very low. I won't share the number because it might scare you (and it's unique to me), but here's what I've discovered about maintenance--which is also true of a friend who is in her 40s and recently has lost weight.

              The calorie level you're eating at when you get to your goal weight is not significantly less than you will need to maintain. Perhaps you can add 200-300 calories--tops. Keep in mind that your smaller body simply needs less food. The difficulty I have is that my 'head' wants to feed my body more food than it needs (or wants). That is, we're used to a certain amount of food, but it is habit more than need.

              The key to maintenance is to be neither gaining nor losing. Both my friend and I have found that for those of us who were obese, maintenance has challenges that are different from weight loss, but still significant challenges. Once you go from being 'hard core' to eating a little more 'liberally,' it's easy to go too far.


              • #22
                Emmie, that makes a lot of sense, in a sad sort of way : )

                I think part of what I'm trying to figure out for myself is whether easy maintenance at 140 is a better solution for me than working my way down to 125 and then really not being willing to maintain it (which is what has happened in the past).

                I have a lot of mental and emotional work to do around food and my habits in general before I'm ready to maintain a smaller body size, I think, in addition to the primal things I'm still working on.

                It's possible that IF'ing will end up being a better solution for me than trying to eat less each day, I don't know. I have not really managed to experiment successfully with it, as part of my job is chief cook and bottle-washer... it's hard to fast while still feeding other people all day long!


                • #23
                  I personally believe that it's healthiest to lose weight slowly through increased exercise rather than increased calorie restriction. This tends to produce the best results in the long-term in terms of body composition, health and basal metabolic rate.

                  I think it'd be a good idea to try techniques like IFing before restricting calories further. That's what I'm experimenting with now, as I think I only want to lose another 16 lbs. I also plan to spend one or two weekends a month doing long hikes (15 km +) both on Saturday and Sunday for further body fat reduction.

                  I'm not prepared to try chronic low carb or low calorie because it tends to lower basal metabolic rate - not for everyone but that seems especially common for women.
                  F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by SuBee View Post
                    I guess that what I'm after is--what is people's experience with maintenance in general? I'm particularly interested in other middle-aged women's experience, as maintenance was no problem for me when I was 22. And in specific, if you are someone who felt that calorie restriction was necessary for you to achieve your happy-with-it body, how has it worked for you to transition from restricting calories to regular eating again?
                    I have been sort of wondering about this, too. I wonder how does one know it's a plateau vs what your natural weight is? How do you know when to try to force your weight lower or to just accept what you've got? And is it possible on this diet to just find a level of eating that keeps you feeling satisfied without thinking about it and have that level work toward your ideal weight and then have your ideal weight automatically be where you stop, no changes needed in what you eat at all ever? Can the level that works to reduce your weight be the same level that leaves you satisfied AND also be the same level that gives you maintenance? Or do you have to reach some ideal through a lot of purposeful restriction and then consciously stop the loss by eating more? In other words, does eating primal in a natural way simply cause your body to reach an ideal equilibrium that's also visually appealing without any particularly vigorous tinkering through either exercise or food?
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                    • #25
                      Try using this link:
                      Food Focus - Nutrition & Weight Management
                      It's really helped me to evaluate my diet. I do look at calories but, on the whole, I focus more on Fat, Carb & Protein grams per day. It's a bit of a faff to start off with but, once you've got the hang of it, it's pretty helpful. I used it in conjunction with the weight loss section in PB to calculate how much fat & protein I needed to start losing weight (again, bit of a faff but it's working so I can't complain!). It's helped me get my head around things, mght help others too :-)


                      • #26
                        The only thing that works for me to maintain weight is continually keeping tabs on it. Otherwise fat always creeps back up. Primal helps with stabilizing hunger to a reasonable # of calories better than anything else, but I have to count otherwise my lazy over-eater nature always triumphs and I start slowly but surely overeat, a littl' bit every day... and we know where it ends. My 'I am Okay with it' weight range is 118-122 lbs, and whenever I stop counting calories, and 'just eat reasonably', it starts going up to 130 lbs unstoppable. Normally I catch myself somewhere around 124-127 lbs, and start dialing it down, and it is hard. It is easier to keep on top of it always than re-losing the 5-10 lbs. My weight creeps were almost non-existent before I had my child. It seems that gaining weight with pregnancy re-set the body to wanting to just gain more and more fat. I so far was unable to drop and hold below 118 lbs, while I held 115-118 easily in the University when I was 23 yo, had a bowl of oatmeal or a couple of toasts with jam for B, a source yogurt and a couple of apples for L, & a normal supper with a dessert, went to skate at lunch & did a few buns of steel a week.
                        Last edited by Leida; 09-19-2012, 06:48 AM.
                        My Journal:
                        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.


                        • #27
                          I understand your post is about calorie restriction during maintenance phase but it seems a bit cart before the horse since you are mentioning sleep and exercise and some of the other components aren't dialed in. I have found when my weight starts to creep back up, it's not from overeating/excess calorie volume, it's from not taking care of those other components in my life. People severely underestimate their power and it's a shame that's the case. That remaining 20% might be what your looking for to both break a plateau & conquer maintenance... what's the harm? You are at peace and well rested?

                          best of luck to you.


                          • #28
                            I think the problem with "maintenance" is that one tends to go "off the diet" when they've lost weight. In other words, they cut calories to lose weight, then once the weight is gone they tend to revert to eating the way they did before... obviously this causes weight gain (or they wouldn't have had excess weight in the first place), and yes, in general it means putting on MORE weight than you started with (experienced this myself).

                            The point is that when you enter maintenance you CAN'T go back to eating what you did before. You weigh less, therefore your caloric needs are less, and eating the previous amount of food will put the weight back on. I think it's a fine line! Obviously, you don't want to get obsessive counting calories forever (which goes against everything the PB stands for), in fact, I don't think you should count calories NOW, just cut back a little on the quantity you're eating.

                            My aim is to eat the right amount that lets me get to my goal weight AND keeps me there. I don't want to "diet" my way to weight loss, rather find the ideal amount of food FOR ME to be where I should be.


                            • #29
                              Maintenance has always been my sticking point, too. I am 48, 5'4", 60kg and not wanting to lose more. I exercise 2-3 times a week in a weights class or gym routine.

                              I found primal on June 22 and have been eating this way ever since. I easily lost the weight I wanted to, and was becoming a little scared that I would not be able to stop. I have consciously added some extra (still primal) calories and so far have been maintaining for a few weeks now. It feels like a fine line, though.

                              I am starting to realise though that I am not actually afraid if I do gain a few pounds, I now know how to get rid of it again. Whereas before, I had success on low-carb diets but the weight would always come back when I reverted to eating normally, which was not junk but I now realise still far too heavy on the grains.

                              Now that I eat gluten free I feel so much better that the weight loss (which is what I was aiming for and does feel great) now doesn't actually seem to me to be the main thing!
                              Annie Ups the Ante


                              • #30
                                I think if you're listening to your body and not just being a glutton you're going to be just fine. No worries!