Motivation for losing weight
January 31, 2013 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I am grossly fat and very unhappy. I've already figured out how many calories I need to consume to lose weight and joined a gym and bought a scale (gross). I'm an emotional binge eater. How can I maintain my motivation?

Always been fat, always felt like I always would be fat. Always been the fat friend. Tired of it. Moving to NYC in August, which has kind of put my fatness in very real terms for me: I don't want to be too tired out by walking several blocks, I don't want to be the gross fatty mcfattyson in a sea of models. I'm 307 lbs, 5'10", size 24, female.

Right now I do a lot of online window shopping. If I wasn't fat, I would be really into fashion. I browse r/loseit on Reddit, which is a pretty nice community. I have depression and anxiety issues, though, so when I'm in a rut, I eat. Like a pig. It's gross and unhealthy. I do sort of have a weight loss buddy - my best friend is totally supportive and willing to go to the gym with me, but she's a really gorgeous size 12 so it makes me feel weird. She's trying to get to size 8.

What resources and techniques do you guys have for maintaining your motivation when you need to lose weight but you're feeling sad and defeated and overwhelmed and all you want to do is order a pizza? I am disgusted by myself, but I feel like all the weight I have to lose is insurmountable and there's no way I'll be able to do it, much less ever get to a size 10, which is my ultimate goal.

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (61 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure, but if it's any help, the hardest part is to get the point where you first see results, then it becomes very easy.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:56 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

First of all, do this for you and your health. And stop comparing yourself to everyone else! No matter what you look like, comparing yourself to others is always a downer and self-defeating. Who cares if your gym buddy is smaller than you? Make it about having fun and being healthy.
posted by greta simone at 10:59 AM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]

I don't have the links here, but I know when researching this that one of the most effective weight loss tools is tracking what you eat religiously. If you track every bite, every day, and you can have a string of days (weeks, months) where you know everything you've consumed, then staying motivated will be more of a "keep this going" thing than a "I hate doing this" thing.
posted by xingcat at 11:00 AM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Memail me, please. I have something to share with you privately.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2013

There's some good stuff in this question. I still stand by what I said then. When I live like I actually want to be living and don't treat it like some ideal to push toward, it's easier.

Very best wishes to you.
posted by gnomeloaf at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

You gotta tackle the emotional stuff first to make whatever weight loss efforts you commit to stick. I hear a lot of really harsh self-hate coming from you and that low opinion of yourself is not going to dovetail into your desire to eat better and maintain a healthier weight. Don't go into weight loss because you want it to make you feel valuable and deserving -- you must know that you are valuable and deserving to begin with and go from there.

Don't be afraid to seek therapy and a support group like Weight Watchers to move yourself forward. Do this for you, because your health and your life are important and because you deserve to feel and look as good as conceivably possible. Don't compare yourself to anybody else because they don't have your life and cannot be comparable mirrors.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:02 AM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]

Try attending an OA group in your area.
posted by unixrat at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

I stopped thinking of food as treats and started thinking of it as fuel to get me where I want to be. Also, if I slip up, it's on a relatively harmless (vegan, gluten free) food so I stop that cycle of feeling guilty. I am down 15 lbs so far this month. Seeing a change has really helped me.
posted by mochapickle at 11:04 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

When is the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. When is the second best time? Today.

What worked best for me was throwing money at it: I joined a gym, which it sounds like you're doing. I could run for free, but if I was going to, I would already be doing it. Having a gym membership made it money that I would waste if I didn't go.

I joined a small kettlebell gym, which had a sense of community. From there I got turned on to low-carb - as the instructor put it, "you can't out-swing a donut," or "abs are made in the kitchen."

Eating low-carb was the catalyst - I started tracking my macronutrients (fat, protein, and net carbs), and after going through induction for keto (FAQ here) plus the it changed my whole perspective on food. Eating high-fat, moderate-protein food took getting used to, but eating tasty and satisfying food keeps my motivation up and helps control both hunger and anxiety. Joining the xxketo (female keto) community on Reddit also helped keep me going and conquer my carb-cravings (aka the carb monster).
posted by bookdragoness at 11:05 AM on January 31, 2013 [16 favorites]

- Set lots of little goals. Lose 5 pounds, get a manicure! Make it a week tracking your calories, $20 at Target on whatever you want.
- Tell trusted friends about your goals to help motivate you or find an online community that can support your success and setbacks.
- Realize that you are in this for life. Your failure yesterday or even today does dictate your future tomorrow.
posted by quodlibet at 11:06 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Beck Diet Solution is CBT for losing weight. I really recommend it. I've never been seriously overweight, but have always battled my weight. Obesity runs in my family so I figured it was mostly bad genetics. It wasn't until reading the book and doing the exercises that I realized what an emotional eater I was. Mantras like "hunger is never an emergency" really hit home and made me reassess how I eat and how much emotional baggage I bring into it. One of the big exercises is to have a card with all the reasons why you want to lose weight on it and then to review it multiple times a day so that you are constantly maintaining focus. There is also an audio book which is great for listening to in the morning or on your commute. Some people listen to it over and over to maintain their motivation. I was never that devoted to it, but even just doing half of what she recommended helped me lose weight and do so in an unemotional way, which was far more pleasant.

Also one of the steps is getting a diet coach who you regularly check in with and your best friend sounds perfect for the task.
posted by whoaali at 11:07 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Being disgusted by oneself is for abusers and drunk drivers and people who lie and cheat and steal and hurt other people and kick puppies. You have no reason to be disgusted with yourself. None. You dealt with some sad feelings by putting too much food in your mouth and swallowing it. That's all you did. You are not disgusting.

Loving yourself enough to find other ways of dealing with the bad feelings, gradually gradually, whilst nurturing and exercising your body, is what you're going to do. The first step towards this self-love is to stop describing yourself as 'disgusting'.
posted by Salamander at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2013 [58 favorites]

MyFitnessPal is a really nice site for getting support from people who are losing 10 pounds or 100 pounds. Having "friends" on there who encourage you can be great for motivation. It sounds like a small thing but it be a big help.
posted by trillian at 11:14 AM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

First of all, New York is not a "sea of models." People look all sorts of ways in New York. Big, small, tall, short, made-up, makeup-free, hairy, waxed, whatevs.

You draw stark contrasts between yourself and others. You are "disgusting" and "like a pig." Your friend, who is a size 12, is "beautiful." You know what? There are people who are your size and are beautiful and think of themselves as beautiful, whether or not they want to be a different size. There are people who weigh 100 pounds who think of themselves as "disgusting," too.

Have you taken a look at any "fat fashion" blogs? You can be "really into fashion" right this second.

As far as weight loss goes, if you're an emotional eater, any kind of "failure" might make it difficult for you to resist feeling even more "disgusting" and thus turning to food as punishment or comfort if you don't first work on the way you view yourself. Thing is, very few people lose weight in a straight line down and down and down without some slips, quirks, and breaks along the way. So plan for that.

Set smaller goals. "Under 300 pounds." "10 minutes on the treadmill." Measurable, attainable, not-too-distant goals. And don't wait til some point in the far future to start liking yourself or giving yourself permission to engage in things you LIKE -- like fashion and beauty!
posted by houseofdanie at 11:16 AM on January 31, 2013 [19 favorites]

I suggest checking out some of the new research on the relationship between carbs/grains/sugar and weight gain. Gary Taubes's book "Why We Get Fat and Waht to Do About It" is a good place to start, along with websites like

I gave up grains and sugars a little less than a year ago in an effort to get rid of some allergies. I wasn't even trying to lose weight, since I had been a size 18 or so for most of my life, and had come to terms with the so-called fact that my weight would never budge more than 15 pounds or so. But, a month after starting this new regime, I was down thirty pounds, and within six months, I had lost another forty. Now I limit myself to four servings of carbs per day, and as long as I stick to that guideline, I can eat pretty much whatever I want. My hayfever and rosacea are pretty much a thing of the past, too.

And oh yeah--the urge to eat in response to emotions, positive or negative, is gone, too. It seems that was also a symptom of my metabolism being out of whack. YMMV, of course, but it really is worth a try.
posted by rpfields at 11:17 AM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

I was overweight for most of my life. I hated photos and clothes shopping. For decades, I often set up plans to lose weight, eat better, exercise, etc., but would always give up after a day, or at most a week.

For me, I was too laser focused on the goal of looking better rather than just doing what was better for me.

So, the last time, I took smaller steps. No gym membership, I went for a walk in the morning before work, just to do it. Maybe a 1/4-1/2 mile there and back. No tiny portions or diet shakes, I brought breakfast and lunch food with me to work, or better yet kept it in the fridge.

My body was still used to large amounts of food (and still is to be honest), and Lean Cuisine meals and small salads just don't cut it for my lunchtime cravings. I seek the "fullness" almost as much as the taste of the food.

So I started bringing 5 1LB bags of california blend vegetables, and a bag of pre-cooked grilled chicken. Throw the entire 1 LB Bag of Veggies into a tupperware (180 Calories!) and 6-8 strips of grilled chicken. Cook in the microwave at work, and add blend of Mrs. Dash Chipotle and a small amount of salt and parmesan cheese.

I ate that every day for a year (it's good tasting), and used my laziness against my weight. I tried to have sensible dinners every night of the week, and I had the entire weekend off to eat fast food and other "crap."

I didn't lose weight based on that alone, but the walk and the lunch were small steps in the right direction that I could easily continue. Once I got used to them, after a month or so, I found myself naturally increasing the distance I walk, and reducing the garbage on the weekends. I didn't worry about getting on a scale, and just trusted that worst case scenario, I was eating MUCH better, and exercising a BUNCH more, and gave it no more thought than that. Without the constant checks and "distance to goal line" checks, it seemed like it was just a short time until I was buying newer (and smaller!) clothes, and people were commenting on my weight loss.

TL/DR: Just think about the tunnel from the Shawshank Redemption.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:18 AM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]

Give yourself six weeks. Thats just 42 days out of your life. All you have to do is stay motivated for that amount of time. If you're eating right and excercising well then you'll lose a stone in that period of time. The best bit? You'll notice a huge difference in how you look, feel and act in half that time. Get through the first day and the next few will be easier. Get thought the first week and the next two weeks will be easier still. That's you half way and you'll be on track with good patterns of eating, excercising and feeling great.

Things that work for me:

Low-carb food - no bread, pasta, rice or sugar. Plenty of fish and chicken, lots of green vegetables (spinach, broccolli, salad leaves...), some dairy and stacks of berries (strawbs, rasps, bluberries...) Fill the fridge and eat when you're hungry, carbs kick off my binge eating but the pangs just disappear when I'm eating just meat, veg and berries.

No alcohol, sodas, teas, coffee or fruit juices just loads and loads of water. Always have a bottle filled and on hand.

Exercise - I do the couch to 5k schedule and throw in push ups and sit ups. Lots of apps out there to help you build up. Go swimming, cycle, walk everywhere. A week of challenge, pain and reluctance very quickly gives way to pride and the buzz.

Sleep well, meditate, hang out with friends, see good movies, read good books...anything that keeps your mind in a good place.

Finally buy some new clothes and beauty products, start out like you mean to go on. When I started just having a bunch if fresh white tees to pull on after a workout shower made me feel positive and new.

The hardest part of all this is getting the ball rolling but knuckle down for just a very short period of time and I guarantee you'll find this weird momentum that will keep you from slipping back to square one.

Good luck!
posted by Callicvol at 11:18 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Here's something that will especially help after you move to New York City: keep a daily log of all your physical activity. And I mean all of it, not just things you do on purpose for excercise. So "walked 2 blocks to the subway" counts. Keeping track of how much you move around will help you think of yourself as a physically active person, which will encourage you to be even more active. And trust me when I tell you that moving to NYC will make you much more active than you used to be, unless you're one of those people that take cars everywhere, but don't be one of those people.
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:20 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Got to bed at 10pm every night and start going walking or hiking on the weekends. Seriously, two easy changes you can make that will help you control your weight and emotions a ton.
posted by fshgrl at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

The number one piece of weight loss advice I'd give to anyone with depression, body image anxiety, or disordered eating: you cannot take care of your physical health without taking care of your mental health. You can do both at the same time, or you can work on your mental health first, but attempting to lose weight without seeking mental health care is a recipe for disaster. Please find a therapist you like, preferably one who specializes in eating disorders. You do not have to feel bad about yourself, you do not have to lose weight in order to feel good about yourself, and you do not have to make yourself miserable in the weight-loss process.

I say this as someone who's had all sorts of eating and self-esteem issues, and as someone who's lost ninety pounds and now actually enjoys working out. Your goal is more possible than you think. But in order to accomplish it, you have to make your mental health a priority.

Best of luck; I'm rooting for you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]

I bunch of people at my office got the fitbit pedometer thing. They are so enthusiastic that I am suspicious, but then I am kind of a grinchy type in general. The coolest thing I remember hearing is that you can plug in lifestyle options and it will show you what the average fitbit user with similar circumstances is doing per day so that you can feel connected and competitive within a community of peers. Office dudes were like OH DANG other office dudes are walking 10% more than me! I need to catch up! Then they would instigate reasons to walk outside if they hadn't hit their numbers for the day.

review: PCMag
posted by skrozidile at 11:38 AM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

It sounds like you are motivated to make changes now, so that's the first step. I agree with houseofdanie's comments, please try to be easier on yourself and take the steps to make that happen.
I joined Spark People and was successful with my goals. The community is super positive and you can find all kinds of advice and support from people with similar struggles (whether it's depression, exercise, amount of weight to lose, etc.). I was pulled in by just reading all the boards with friendly advice and various success stories, but it's also educational with some practical articles. Can't speaking highly enough about it.
And the advice to track your food is straight on. Sometimes I find that I won't eat something "bad" (although I really want it!) because I don't want to write it down and ruin my day's food diary.
Keep your chin up and give yourself credit for wanting to start being more healthful.
posted by MuckWeh at 11:40 AM on January 31, 2013

I am not your therapist. I do however suggest going to see one and not just any therapist, a therapist that specializes in eating disorders. Calling yourself gross, disgusting and like a pig is not going to help you toward your goal.

I know you say your goal is losing weight, but perhaps it is also being comfortable in your body, that sounds weird. It did to me too. I've struggled with an eating disorder (bulimia) for most of my life. All of those words were words I used as well, as well as some choice other ones that you have probably thought of. It's not healthy. In fact, it's really hard to be happy when someone is being mean to you all the time.

Food is not a sin, hunger is not a virtue and you are more than a number on a scale.

Memail me if you want.
Be gentle with yourself.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:40 AM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]

Hi. I was a size 24 & now I am a size 16 (not all the way to where I want to be but I have kept it off for 3 years).

You can do this. It can be hard (omg, so hard) and seems like it will NEVER happen but it can - although imho, what motivates some won't motivate others and it is very personal. Also, as several have mentioned, negative self-talk is not super. My therapist helped me with that aspect. I really truly believe if it had not been for therapy the weight would have come back.

I used my anger. I got mad. Mad that I couldn't buy the pretty clothes I wanted. Mad that I got winded too easily, very, very mad at (what I perceived as) judgy mcjudgey people who looked at me all nasty (or wouldn't meet my gaze at all). I had a moment where I realized I was in charge of this and I could make it happen and ONLY I could make it happen which was really empowering.

I did strength training which was awesome because I felt strong and kickass. Maybe that approach/thought process will work for you. MeMail me if you like.

You got this. It will not be easy and won't always be fun but you got this.
posted by pointystick at 11:41 AM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]

My parents don't have the best eating habits, so (now 7 years out of their house) it was a big discovery for me to live with other people who ate "normally." Now we were in university, so normal was a pretty wide range, but living with roommates has really out into perspective for me that most people eat a lot less than my parents, pay more attention to whether they are hungry or not and the portion sizes are smaller.

It was really hard for me to get an idea of how to be healthy without this base line.

I also really recommend focusing on the fitness goals. Appearance will come eventually, but no one can take away your ability to complete a 5k or push-up set. It can be easy to regain weight.

You are an amazing person so don't let your weight define you.
posted by raccoon409 at 11:43 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was you. I weighed 335lbs and I am only 5 foot 4. I started gaining in my early teens and just never stopped it seemed like. I honestly can't remember when I was last under 200lbs. I was probably 14 years old. I suffered from depression. (Still do.) I was the "fat girl" amongst all my friends. I had an intensely mediocre boyfriend. I had an intensely mediocre life. I felt like being fat was my life and I could never change it.

I've lost the better part of 100lbs. It has taken me a few years but I've DONE IT. I'm still going, and I have a ways yet to go, but I want you to know it is ABSOLUTELY doable.

What I did:
- dumped my nice-but-stupid boyfriend that I knew I could never be happy with long term but never got around to dumping because I figured I was lucky to have ANYONE, and at least he was nice. Fuck that. I deserved someone who make me feel excited and passionate and loved.
- I joined Weight Watchers. I did it all online, never have gone to a single meeting. I started following their plan and tracked everything I ate and all my exercise. The weight dropped off SO QUICKLY once I started just tracking what I was eating. Knowing I was going to have to record what I was eating did a lot to keep me from making the same sorts of bad decisions I had been. Sure, I still binged and made mistakes, but they started to become less frequent.
- I paid for a year membership at a local gym, the most convenient one to my house. A whole year, committed. Scary to drop that much money, but the fact that I dropped that much money kept me going.
- At the gym I started really slowly. At first I could only do 15 minutes on the recumbent bike before my feet would go numb and I would get cramps in my legs. But after a while I was able to get to 20 minutes. then 25. then 30... I just built on as I could, and actually my endurance increased surprisingly quickly. Once I felt relatively okay on the cardio machines I had a meeting with a personal trainer (just one meeting) to work out a general strength training plan. (I've since began working with an athletic therapist because of some joint issues but also because, shock of all shocks, I am actually extremely athletic and strong and he is able to work with me to maximize it.)
- seek treatment for my depression. (For me that meant getting medicated.) The depression wasn't a symptom of my weight, but it was more like my weight was a symptom of my depression (to a degree). I was sad and unhappy and felt helpless and damned to be that way for my whole life. Those feelings kept me from ever really trying to get my health under control. Once I got my feet under me emotionally, I was able to FINALLY get some traction on my weight loss.
- I stopped defining myself as fat. I stopped making fat jokes at my own expense. I stopped thinking of myself as fat. I stopped letting my weight be a reason to not do ANYTHING.

Honey, seriously. It is scary and daunting and feels impossible but holy christ, it can be done. I am the LAST person who should have ever been able to lose 100lbs, and I have.

Please memail me. I would be happy to help you in any way I can.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2013 [20 favorites]

Echoing MyFitnessPal. Not just the app, but the website. When you get there, look for people who are like you and add them as friends. Build up a support network. It makes it so much easier to go through this with a cheering section! Memail me and I'll give you my username on there and I'll be your friend. I'm a little taller than you and started heavier than you and I'm nearly to my goal. It's doable!
posted by cecic at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

+1 to MyFitnessPal. In addition to the social-media aspect, at the end of each day when you submit your food and activity, it says "if every day was like this you'd weigh X in 5 weeks". That actually feels more motivating to me, knowing I am on the right track for today, regardless of what happened yesterday.

I am currently reading The Unapologetic Fat Girl's Guide to Exercise. It's explicitly not about weight loss in a "we've all felt enough weight-related body shame already", Health At Every Size way, but it has a lot of good tips about motivation as well as choosing exercises and modifying them, finding a size-friendly gym, etc. You might like it.

Meanwhile, at the YMCA, I tell myself that my membership dollars are worth just as much as the skinny folk's, and if they don't like the way I look they should look somewhere else. It helps.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:49 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Before I started Weight Watchers, I felt out of control because I didn't understand how to eat. Deciding to give up control by abiding by their points system and seeing a five-pound loss two weeks later were all it took to get me hooked (and I went from a size 24 to a 10 over the following two years.)

Make the next two weeks all about nourishing your body within the confines of your chosen diet program. At your weight, it's all about diet. Make small, easily-achievable goals: shoot for 5% weight loss. Save the exercise for when you're comfortable feeding yourself. Just start by paring down your kitchen to acceptable foods, shopping for a few new items and experimenting with new habits. Starting now, any time you consider putting something into your mouth, ask whether it fits into your plan. Have a loose idea of what you can eat in a day and what you can eat in a week. If you screw up today, start again tomorrow. Just don't give up after a binge and quit trying to achieve your goal, because that's way worse than screwing up your eating for the day.
posted by theraflu at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2013

Chiming in on Flannery Culp's point about the gym, I am 10000000% in agreement. We're paying the same money they are. They can suck an egg if they don't like it. But, honest to god, after preparing myself for the "inevitable" snarky comments or rude looks from the skinny people, it was totally unnecessary. The intimidating perfect athletic women smile at me. The scary muscle bound juice head men ask me politely if I am done with the hand weights. The gym staff treat me with great respect and friendliness. Actually, not only as no one ever said one unkind thing to me, I have actually had strangers come up to me and be encouraging and supportive and congratulatory.

True story: I had one woman who was this tall, skinny, athletic godess type who would have been the exact type I would have feared would give me a snarky comment actually get my attention one day and tell me how she has been noticing my coming to the gym for the past few months, and how she was impressed and in awe over my dedication and improvement. She told me *I* inspired *her*. And I was still about 300lbs at the time.

FWIW I go to a YMCA as well.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2013 [12 favorites]

There's a great group of mefites over at Health Month. It's been a great motivator for me because it breaks goals down into little daily (or weekly, or x times per week) rules. It includes forgiveness, and the team can lend a hand when you lose points. Each day, week, and month is something of a fresh start. There are many eating/exercising/calorie rules to choose from. If Health Month isn't for you, I encourage you to find other social support - I resisted it for years, but it Helps motivate.

And to echo others, "losing weight" has never been a goal that's worked for me long term. There's a lot of emotion and psychology in there. But being healthier for myself has, so I'm still down 40 pounds, thanks to my religious devotion to my gym and finding non-food treats for myself (baths! perfumes! manicures! makeup! books!) to help motivate and comfort.

Lastly - if you don't walk a lot now? You Will get lighter when you move to NYC, because walking that much more of your day is a great way to get a little lighter.
posted by ldthomps at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Six months ago I was a size 20. I'm now a size 12, down 50 lbs from my heaviest weight, and still on track to lose another 35 or so lbs. What worked for me was tracking everything I eat (I use LoseIt!, but some of my friends use MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople, whatever you like best), avoiding sugary and starchy things, and regularly going for walks and just generally increasing my activity. You don't have to go all hardcore and do a juice fast for the next year while also doing competitive Zumba, you just need to retrain yourself to eat in a way that is sustainable and healthy for you. And if you slip up or have a bad day and eat a bunch of stuff that you are trying not to eat, just log it and move on.

nthing everyone who said to be gentle with yourself - you are not disgusting, or a pig, or any of the negative things you are saying to yourself. You are a person who wants to change an aspect of themselves. You can do it.
posted by bedhead at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

Another recommendation for Weight Watchers. 'Keeping you engaged' is their thing. Its the whole point of the meetings. Go to the meetings. Be surrounded by people who are like you, even if they are smaller.
posted by Kololo at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

What works best for me is to give all my eating decisions over to a third party. In my case I've done South Beach Diet. It tells you precisely what you can eat and when, especially in the early phases of the diet. I know several people who've done well with Weight Watchers, and largely for the same reason.

During the work week it's easiest. I plan my meals and snacks and pack my lunch. If it's not in the lunchbox, I don't eat it. It's that simple.

The hardest parts for me is when I first started on the diet I craved carbs especially early in the morning. Getting to my morning snack was a challenge. The other danger time is after dinner and trying not to eat until bedtime. One thing that helps is to brush my teeth after dessert. Once brushed, I don't let them get dirty before bed.

For exercise, I ride a bicycle. If you think you might be interested in starting to ride, join and come over to the Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) forum. The head admin at BikeForums has lost over half his weight. When he started, he needed an oxygen tank to get around.
posted by Doohickie at 12:23 PM on January 31, 2013

I went from a size 20 to a size 12 in twelve months, and it was mostly diet (and a little exercise) changes.

You want to do something right now? As in start this minute to feel better? Only drink water for the next 21 days. Just commit to drinking water as your only beverage and really pay attention to how you feel and what your body does in reaction.

21 days is nothing - it's not even a month! You can do this, I promise.

Do you want to do something else? Give up extra bread, chips and potatoes for 21 days. That means no bread brought to the table while you're waiting for your entree, no bags of chips as a side, no pretzels to munch on, and avoid potatoes completely. Again, pay attention to how you feel and how your body reacts.

What can you eat? Lean meats, fish, green veggies, and fiber rich fruits. Have huge salads made of kale, spinach and green lettuce - add sunflower seeds, broccoli florets and cheese. Have a portion sized amount of dressing and get the real stuff not the "fat-free" garbage. Eat the heck out of roughage and let it fill you up!

Memail me if you'd like - I'd love to help you.
posted by lootie777 at 12:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

My brother lost 150 lbs in the year 2012. He went from being 320 to 169. He had just gone through a terrible divorce and was in a really sad state. Here's what he wrote to a friend who asked him how he did it:

In a nut shell... I removed temptations and excuses, added routine and kept a positive attitude with lots of self grace.
I purged my pantry of everything that was un healthy and not on my diet (except expensive high end dark chocolate bars, which I enjoy one square at a time - letting them melt slowly in my mouth. I found this to be a low cal way to add pleasure to my diet).
I bought a treadmill and set it up facing my tv because I found depending on a gym or going outside gave me the excuse of not having the time or not feeling like going out in "bad" weather.
I then told my self I had to walk for 55 minutes after work before I could lay on the couch and watch tv, and I had to do it first thing in the morning on days off.

My initial work out was (with no incline):

2 MPH - 5 minutes
3 MPH - 45 minutes
2 MPH - 5 minutes.

Then I worked up to:

2 MPH - 5 minutes
3 MPH - 20 minutes
4 MPH - 5 minutes
3 MPH - 20 minutes
2 MPH - 5 minutes

When I missed days (we are all human), I told my self that it wasn't the end of the world, I'm not a failure, I'm not going to gain 5 pounds (I wasn't even going to gain one), all is not lost and tomorrow I'm going to pick up where I left off.

Finally, as I lost the weight, the feeling of success and all the wonderful encouragements from family and all my friends kept me chancing after more of the same. I found even little things (no matter how stupid) are keys to motivation! This empty box with the victory guy sat on my kitchen table every day of my journey, reminding me of the joy of victory. I then started adding pins to celebrate each victory. The 150 pounds lost pin marked my final victory! :D

The self grace is key! When other people brow beat us we shut down and resent them. It's no wonder we do the same thing when we brow beat ourselves! But resenting ourselves runs counter to our desire of self preservation so we project it and resent the diet and exercise. The truth is, as I said before, missing a day or two isn't going to add even a pound.

Oh and weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day on the same scale in the same location (to the point of where it is placed on the floor). You can gain and loose weight based on what you eat one day, your level of hydration (you can gain and loose like 5 pounds in a day, just by water weight) and just the unevenness of a floor can add a pound or two. Lastly, don't get excited or discouraged by weight loss or gain of a few pounds. I don't claim weight loss unless it's 8-10 pounds. When you do reach 10 pounds lost, post it on FB, write it on a calendar you look at everyday, etc.

I hope this helps. I really didn't believe that my brother (who had been very overweight for his entire adulthood and who loved the feeling of being button-bursting full after eating) could ever be this sporty little guy who can't get enough of long distance running and who passes on the mashed potatoes at dinner. But it happened! I think you just need to realize that it is POSSIBLE. It's a real possibility for your life, for your body, for you. I hope you decide everyday that this is what you want, and bit by bit make it reality.
posted by RingerChopChop at 1:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

+1 to MyFitnessPal. In addition to the social-media aspect, at the end of each day when you submit your food and activity, it says "if every day was like this you'd weigh X in 5 weeks". That actually feels more motivating to me, knowing I am on the right track for today, regardless of what happened yesterday.

I'm another MFP person (hey MeFites, you can add it as an "also on" thing on your profile if you want to) This end-of-day report is also a really good way to help you not give yourself a hard time about occasional overeating too. I get that you don't like that about yourself, but part of what it looks like you want to do is get out of the misery cycle and science-based information about the actual "damage" you do if you overeat one day can be helpful.

To me it was all about time. I had gained some weight in response to a bad life situation (death of a parent) and I wanted it gone. And tracking what I ate and how much exercise I was doing helped me set a timeline that was pretty accurate for how long that would take. And I checked in every day to see how I was doing (you can weigh yourself or just take measurements or skip that part entirely) and I had a really solid idea of how long it would take. So for me it was "six months of this and then I will be where I want" which, compared to a lifetime of sort of worrying about it but not doing anything, seemed like a totally decent sacrifice.

And what was helpful was just realizing what things made a difference (watching fats, for me, and snacking) and what things barely mattered (eat all the squash you want, forever!). And the whole "Hey you should eat this many calories but if you exercise you can "eat back" those calories" thing got me to really move my ass a lot) I sucked on cough drops when I was feeling peckish and drank a zillion mugs of tea and after six months, when I was where I wanted to be, I'd also gotten really good at just retooling my eating. So I still eat within a range, but it's more forgiving and I have the toolkit to make good choices for me and know what the pros and cons are. A lot of people use sort of magical thinking "I took a 15 minute walk, now I'll have a moon pie" ways of approaching weight loss and I found that having a totally non-judgmental but also non-forgiving robot to tell all my eating/exercising information to was super helpful.

I totally second a lot of the "fat fashion" blogs, there are a lot of women (and some men) who look terrific and happy and styling at various sizes. No reason to not get on that bandwagon if it's something that appeals to you.
posted by jessamyn at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

accountability, accountability, accountability

Background information for credibility purposes: in 2006, north of 300lbs. Today: fluctuating between around 180-190. Lowest body fat % a few months ago at the end of big cut: 12-13%. (33yr male).

HOW? Two big pushes. The first, pretty religiously following the program in Burn the Fat, Lose the Muscle. Got down to around 245. Then stalled. Fell off the wagon.

The second, which really did the job: hiring a trainer. Not to actually teach me how to do much, but mostly just to be there and provide that all-important accountability. Sent food and workout logs every week, and got feedback. Felt embarrassed when I had to say "and then there was the cupcake and pizza day."

I think if you can afford it, that's the best way. Hire a trainer who is willing to accommodate to unique your needs. (Like, mine was relatively new to the business, had all the expertise needed [is a figure competitor], but wasn't about to tell me to do things that conflicted with my considered judgment. But was always there to yell at me, in a gentle way. Which is what I needed. Your needs may be different.)

But weight watchers/friends may work too. It's just really about someone who can say "come on, you can do this" when you need encouragement, and "straighten up" when you mess up, and "don't be too hard on yourself" when you just slip a little, and "maybe you should try a bit less carbs" when you hit a plateau and all that...
posted by paultopia at 1:10 PM on January 31, 2013

I have to laugh at all the advice about getting your mental health in order, because over time, I've come to believe that's crap (no offense, guys; just an opinion.) My mental health has always been the healthiest thing about me. A year and a half ago I weighed 370 lbs and today I weigh 270, and let me tell you, it was not a year of intensive CBT or learning to love myself that got me here.

It wasn't a lot of hard work or calorie counting, either. It was cutting out all grains, including wheat; cutting out sugar for the most part (except for occasional dark chocolate); and sticking to the lowest-carb fruits and veggies. Oh, and getting about 65% of my calories from fat and another 10-15% as protein, so I didn't go around craving carbs all the time.

That's what worked for me, and continues working for me; YMMV. But I promise you, it was losing weight and being able to move and people being nice to me again as I dropped pounds and feeling like I could finally actually do something about the situation I was in that fixed my mental state; it didn't happen the other way around.

One thing that I did, and continue to do, to keep myself motivated: Read. When you find a way of eating that works for you sustainably, and lets you be happy (not neurotic) and lose weight at a healthy pace, google the hell out of whatever it's called and read everything you can. Books, articles, forums - forums are an absolute godsend. You don't have to do everything you read, and you certainly don't have to believe everything you read, but at least for me, it keeps me focused and on target. In my head I refer to it as my "daily scripture reading" - I'm not a religious person, but I think the idea is kind of on point. I could never do the "find a weight loss buddy" thing because nobody I knew had as much weight to lose as I did, and I basically hated everybody who was thinner than me. But reading about people doing the same thing I was doing, and watching it work for them while it worked for me, helped me say "no" to about a million things I thought I wanted to eat.

Another thing you should know is that while it takes a long time to go from the 300's to the 100's? The 200's are the land of compliments and amazement. I started feeling awesome before I ever broke the 300 barrier, because people started to notice and tell me how great I looked or how proud they were of me (if we were close). And I started to feel better - less pain, more energy - after about the first 30 lbs. The weight coming off is great, looking better is great, but even better is the sense that life still has possibilities for you, and that you know what to do to get what you want. You're not looking at several years of misery leading to one day when everything is good again. Everything actually gets good again pretty damn fast.

Feel free to memail if you want to chat about it. And good luck!
posted by kythuen at 1:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Actually, smaller goals don't really make much difference, according to a study published in the NEJM.
I lost weight by going low-carb, super low-carb at first, which worked very well for a biggish loss right away, which encouraged me greatly.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:33 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm currently in Weight Watchers, and I've lost about 15lbs. This is a Big Deal to me, it's the first time in my life I've actually seen the scale go down.

I resisted for years and told myself I could just make the changes that I never did. Joining Weight Watchers helped me see how unhealthy my eating habits really were (yes, I was eating fruit... each week, but also plenty of fast food & other junk) and gave me tools to reward myself.

I also agree with micro-goals and rewards. I have a list on my phone that's 'rewards', for each 5lbs I drop I get the next item. My rewards so far have been a bike rack and 3 new bras (I didn't start the rewards until I needed them to stay motivated-- the first 2 weeks I lost 5 lbs and was happy without rewards), next up is a new pair of shoes and then new jeans. Sometimes I do daily rewards-- ie, if I don't eat mayonnaise and cheese on my sandwich at lunch, I can have a beer when I get home.

What I like best about WW is that I don't feel guilty when I have a day without exercise. I don't feel guilty when I make the decision to chow down on peanut butter M&Ms. I can make a conscious decision to do that, and know that I'm not blowing my whole week/month/year, whatever. Before, if I missed the gym once, I was much more likely to skip the next day (the Don't break the chain method does not work for me), and then spiral back to inactivity.

I also think WW is pretty easy. I can still drink beer, and it helped me quantify my exercise. Before Thanksgiving, I was getting much faster on my bike, and that felt awesome.

When I have a day where I want to eat an entire pizza, I try to first drink a glass of water, eat a piece of fruit, and wait about 20min before ordering that pizza. If I still want an entire pizza, fuck it I'll order a pizza, but after each slice I have to think about whether or not I want to eat more (and I try to leave the pizza upstairs if I'm eating downstairs, so my laziness also factors in).

I also don't have an ultimate goal. I know I want to reach my next few rewards, so I know I'm planning on losing at least 10-15 more pounds, but thinking about weighing less than that only makes me daydream and doesn't feel achievable right now, so I try not to think about it.

I don't know if my anecdata is helpful. I know weight loss seemed impossible for me for years, and I know it's hard. The best thing you can do is figure out how to be healthier for you, and stick to it!
posted by worstname at 1:34 PM on January 31, 2013

What works for me is not forbidding all of the comfort foods I love eating, but allowing them as long as it's a supreme hassle, expensive, or both. So I can have a load of buttered popcorn, but I've got to drag out the big pot and pop it in oil and melt the butter and pour it over, I can't just nuke a bag in the microwave. If I want ice cream, I've got to get in the car, drive to the local ice cream shop, buy the smallest container possible, and drive back home before eating it. If I want more, I have to do that again. If I want chocolate, I can have as much as I want but it's got to be the really really nice stuff that costs $9/bar.

I don't feel deprived, and the comfort foods feel much more special, a treat, instead of something that satisfies me for a few minutes whereupon I turn to loathing myself for how much I've eaten.

(P.S. if you, like me, have problems with baking a cake or load of brownies and then eating all of it over the next 24-36 hours, the Small Batch Baking books are excellent: the desserts make only 2 or 3 servings, so even if you do eat all of it, it's less than half a normal recipe. And I still get the creative satisfaction of baking.)
posted by telophase at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2013

In 2011 I went from a size 24 to 18, kept the weight off, and as of January 1st I'm back on the wagon for another round. There is a lot of great advice here, but I have a few possibly different takes.

Using MyFitnessPal or something else is great, but some people like me can't handle it in the long term. I start getting really crazy about numbers and charting and trying to measure how many carbs are in a sprinkle of dried oregano and I just stress myself out to the point of quitting.

Instead I make my own general food rules. I low carb, so no sugar, flour, potatoes, etc. I don't snack after dinner, no alcohol during the week, and so on. I find by doing that I can still eat tasty, healthy food without feeling deprived or paranoid. (Learn how to cook, if you don't know already! And if you like savoury food primarily, definitely consider low carbing... losing weight while still getting to eat steak is the bomb.)

I also binge eat sometimes when I'm depressed or bored, so instead of ignoring that I try to prepare for it. For example, a big bowl of fresh kale with a dollop of super garlicky caesar dressing is large and packed with flavor and satiates the binge eating urge without being terrible. I mean, not binging is good, but occasionally the battle is just not worth fighting.

Oh, and I hate exercising because I find it boring as hell, so I do High Intensity Interval Training (sprinting up stairs, in my case) because it's short and action-packed. (Check with your doctor before starting a big exercise routine, ect ect.)

Also, just for interest's sake, I originally started losing weight because I had (have!) serious self-esteem issues. I dropped 40lbs and 3 dress sizes, and it did not make me feel the tiniest bit better. (Seriously, my husband had to drag me out to the store because I would just sit around in my old worn out baggy clothes.) What did make me feel better was therapy, medication, and being nicer to myself.
posted by jess at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

For me, the key is tracking. If I really want to lose weight, I have to track what I eat. I still indulge in treats, but I make myself write it down. The mere act of making myself record things pushes me to make better decisions. I also track measurements and workout data, and seeing improvements is extremely motivating. I am still in a stage where I set some kind of person record pretty much every week. (At the moment, I am focusing mostly on fitness, but I've previously used Sparkpeople to track my eating.)

Community is also a huge thing. I'm not big on discussing weight/diet stuff with most of my friends, but I am friendly with some people at my gym. They cheer me on when I'm there, and they (and the coaches) notice when I'm not.
posted by ktkt at 2:11 PM on January 31, 2013

Also -- for me at least, it's much easier to exercise restraint in stores and NOT BUY JUNK, than it is to not eat the junk in my house once I've already purchased it.
posted by ktkt at 2:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Binge eating disorder is what you need to fix. Do NOT try to replace binge eating with equally disordered dieting! That will fuck you up so bad.

Get help for the binge eating. Then work with a dietician and a personal trainer to come up with a fitness plan that works for you and will help you progress to your goals.

But first you need to fix the binging, because restricting calories prompts binges almost invariably, and upping one's exercise can prompt binges in some people as well. Trying to start a weight-loss and fitness plan without addressing the issue of binge eating is like trying to build a skyscraper without laying a foundation.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I mean, suggestions like kythuen's are great for after you've started to address the binge stuff, but please please please please don't start dieting before you've started working on ending the binges. Binge eating is bad for you no matter what your weight is. It puts stress on your digestive and endocrine systems. Quitting binging would improve your health even if you didn't lose one pound!
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2013

Actually, smaller goals don't really make much difference, according to a study published in the NEJM.

What this study says is that people who dream big and set ambitious goals for themselves lose more weight than those who set more "realistic" goals, even though they generally don't reach their goals.

Setting smaller, measurable, quickly-achievable goals -- milestones, really -- within a larger framework doesn't contradict that. It just provides more immediate reward and more opportunities for success.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry to post again, but this has just hit so so close to home for me. I am truly sincere in my offer to be your long-distance weight loss cheering squad. I have been through what you're struggling with and I know how hard and impossible it seems. But you are absolutely able to conquer this. You have strength you haven't even begin to tap in to.

If even months or years from now you ever want to touch base with me, please do.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:41 PM on January 31, 2013

Thanks for the profile tip, Jessamyn! I linked my MyFitnessPal account if anyone wants to form a MeFi cheering squad. Anon poster, this definitely includes you.
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:21 PM on January 31, 2013

Working out does not work for me. When I work out I get SOO hungry I eat to much and I make no progress.

Keeping SUPER track of what you eat is a good start. There a million things online that will let you know how your diet stacks up. But the way I DONT binge is keeping myself satisfied with low carb foods. If I skip meals I end up pigging out. Keep lots of foods in the house that are good snacks. I eat lots cucumbers with salt and pepper. I eat a hardboiled egg for a snack. When I go over board and eat "too good" I screw it up. Tonight I had a pomegranate and Kale chips for supper and then 3 oreos. If I had actually eaten a decent meal I wouldn't have grabbed oreos. Oh and I always drink a lot of water (normally flavored) to help stop me from eatting. win-win.
posted by beccaj at 5:47 PM on January 31, 2013

Such excellent advice and encouragement on this thread! Good luck! So, all I have to add is that the first thing I thought after reading your post was...don't set your goal at size 10, set it at size 22. Then, when you get to it, re-set it to 20, etc. Baby steps, otherwise it can be too overwhelming and may appear out of reach. As you lose, though, you will be surprised at how much better you will feel physically AND mentally and THAT will be your motivation to continue!
posted by ourroute at 7:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's a lot you can do, and a lot of it depends on the type of person you are. Do you want someone to hold you accountable, or do you want someone to support you? Does money motivate you, or are you more motivated by social change? Do you need to go into things at full speed, or slowly ramp into change? I've got a lot of different suggestions, but the main thing would be to identify what things won't work for you, and eliminate those immediately. There's no use trying things that are bound to fail from the start.

Your main goal right now should not be to get skinny. Your goal should be to start setting habits which you can keep which are healthy and will allow you to live a longer and more healthy life. The book "The Power of Habit" is a great read on this. By taking things slowly and creating changes you can stick with, you are more likely to succeed in the long term.

Expect this to take a long time. Some people can lose 25 pounds a month, but that is not a normal goal, and not realistic for most of us. If you can mentally prepare yourself for this, you'll feel much better about each pound lost, instead of being upset that you haven't lost 5 pounds this week.

Myfitnesspal is a fantastic tool. Even if you don't stick with it, tracking your food for 2 weeks will really open your eyes to exactly what you're eating. You will likely find that there are certain meals where you eat much more than you thought, and you can reevaluate how you approach those meals. You may also find that your meals are OK, but you're snacking way too much. Whatever you find, it will be useful.

There were two ideas which stuck with me, and have helped me lose about 60 pounds over the last few years. The first is this: Live like who you want to be. So, if your long term goal is to be a fit athletic person with a great fashion sense, than start living that life now. Buy fashionable clothes, start going to walks/jogs in the park, start hiking, carry a water bottle with you all the time, etc. You obviously won't be able to do everything at a competitive level right away, but by living like the person you want to become, you will be changing not only your actions, but also your mental image of yourself. If you think of yourself as an active person who just happens to be overweight, you're a lot more likely to make good choices than if you think of yourself as an overweight person who wants to become active.

The second is possibly a little harsh, but very powerful: You are the only one responsible for yourself. If you ever spend any time blaming anyone or anything else for your life, than you need to stop. From now on, take responsibility for everything within your life. No one can force you to eat something you shouldn't, no one can prevent you from exercising, no one can keep you from making your dreams a reality. The key to this is to not only take responsibility for your missteps, but also take responsibility for all of your successes. On days where you eat really well, take a moment to really appreciate it, and the fact that it was YOU who did that. At the end of each workout, know that it was YOU who put in the effort. If you spent the evening after dinner doing something to improve your life rather than sitting down and watching TV, it was YOU who made the decision to improve your life.

Taking personal responsibility and living the life you want to live RIGHT NOW will go a long way to getting you where you want to be. From there, you just have to accept that this is a lifelong process, and not something you can simply change in a week.

Some other random thoughts, even though I know this is getting long. Throw out all wheat and sugar based food in the house. Seriously, like right now toss it all in the trash. Base your diet around vegetables. If this means you have to go grocery shopping, than go do it. Buy lots of veggies of all types. The bags of frozen ones that you can cook in your microwave are a good start if you aren't much of a cook.

Don't be afraid of fat in your food. Most low-fat food is high in sugar and all sorts of stuff you don't want to eat. Instead, eat a diet with good fats in it, such as nuts, olive oil, avocado, etc.

Plan your meals the day before. Don't just wait until it's dinner time to figure out what you want, because you may decide you don't have anything in the fridge and order a pizza. If you plan the day before, you'll know whether or not you need to go shopping ahead of time.

"Never two in a row". When you get derailed from your food or exercise plan, never let it happen two times in a row. If you ended up eating a crappy lunch, make extra sure you eat a healthy dinner. Once it happens 2 times, you're much more likely to feel like things are off track and eat poorly for the rest of the day (or week). If you can get yourself back on track right away, you'll be much better off.

Plan in treats for yourself, and don't consider them "cheat meals". They are meals just like any other, and you should make them fit in your plan. So, if you know you're going to be going out to dinner on Friday, and you're going to eat a hamburger and fries, make sure that the rest of your day is filled with really healthy meals, so that at the end of the day, you aren't regretting that burger.

When it comes to exercise, use strength training to improve your life, and use cardio to eat more food. Working your muscles with weights or bodyweight exercises will do much more for your long term health and happiness than spending countless hours on the treadmill. Focus your exercise goals on strength training, and then add in cardio in order to help burn a few extra calories.

Diet is 80% of weight loss, but weight loss should not be your only concern. If all you did was to adjust your diet, you could lose a lot of weight, but you wouldn't necessarily feel a lot better. Make sure you include exercise. Even if it's just going for a 15 minute walk every day when you wake up, or doing 10 minutes of bodyweight exercises after work, including small amounts of exercise regularly is important. It may not be burning a ton of calories, but it will improve your life and health in many other ways.
posted by markblasco at 8:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Therapy and keto (swing by /r/keto next time you're at /r/loseit) pretty much cured my emotional eating. 312-244 so far.
posted by callmejay at 9:04 AM on February 1, 2013

The Power of Habit, also recommended above, has very real and interesting ways to incorporate healthy habits - not habit in something that you repeatedly make yourself do that you hate, but building in those things you know you should be doing in a way that makes you crave them and want to do them, as well as rewriting negative habits (like emotional eating). And it won't make you feel bad about yourself.
posted by R a c h e l at 10:14 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Even if you don't stick with it, tracking your food for 2 weeks will really open your eyes to exactly what you're eating.

Yes. When I first started counting calories, the first week or two were just data gathering - I ate as usual and it all went into the food log, no judgment. Then I used the data to work out my current intake and set a reasonable calorie goal that was low enough to lose weight but not a catastrophic decrease. Later I lowered it bit by bit as my body acclimated to less intake.

Last MyFitnessPal comment (I swear I am not a shill): I made a group called MeFite Cheering Squad. It should show up in the public groups listing. Come check it out.
posted by Flannery Culp at 10:18 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Try totally cutting out gluten and wheat -- milk too if that works. Oh, and sugar -- all white and other types of straight old sugar.

For many people the fat begins melting away, the bloating stops, energy levels rise, and things start moving in the right direction.
posted by rumbles at 11:12 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I read a really good book recently called Mindless Eating, not sure if it's been mentioned here yet, but it has some really fascinating stuff about the psychology of eating. There are interesting little tricks you can do to "mindlessly" *lose* weight as well as gain it. These are things that work for pretty much all of humanity. For example, using a smaller plate, and dumping out the chips you want to eat in advance, rather than reaching into the bag. I lost some weight without even noticing, just by trying some of it, it might be an interesting supplement to the many other good things people are suggesting.
posted by iadacanavon at 2:11 AM on February 2, 2013

One thing about motivation is that bad feelings will demotivate. If you beat yourself up for eating more then you had planned, you will be less motivated to follow your own rules next time. Kind and happy emotions DO motivate. Reward yourself, be kind to yourself.

I've found that starting every day fresh helps me a lot with motivation. I don't tell myself I have to make up for a mistake (so no telling yourself you will eat less tomorrow if you ate more then you wanted today). Having to meet a difficult goal and more so for yesterdays mistake is overwhelming.

I highly recommend The Willpower Instinct.
posted by Dynex at 3:18 PM on February 3, 2013

My goal has been "to love myself." That means:
- not getting injured
- not making fun of myself
- not being hard on myself
- not setting unattainable goals
- spending money on myself - gym clothes, great trainer, cookbooks
- make myself a priority
- being kind to myself in other ways

When a trainer wants to do something that I *KNOW* will re-injure my knee, I've asked for alternatives. When I want to eat a bit of ice cream, I ask if it's because I really want it, or because I want to feel something like comfort, and if so, what else I could do instead. When I feel 'bad' about buying new gym shoes or an expensive trainer, I remind myself that they've been effective motivators in the past.

It's been a good mantra for me. Try to think about a goal other than "lose 20 pounds" or "be healthy" or "get skinny." The goal is a great-feeling-you, and everything else is a step towards that goal.

Also: SLEEP. It's really hard to make big changes in your body and mind if you're chronically tired. It took me over three decades to realize this simple fact. Go the eff to sleep.
posted by barnone at 12:27 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

In addition to the gym--or in case the gym doesn't work for you--try getting an old, cheap stationary bike. Even if it leaves no space between your bed and the wall. That way, no one can see you being out of shape. Less than $100 on craigslist...if it's more, then you need older and cheaper.

What works for me is starting with an increment SO SMALL that it's actually not wrong to say "what kind of fool COULDN'T do this?" Like, are you REALLY incapable of riding the bike at lowest resistance for 30 seconds every day? 1 minute? You really, really can't do 15 seconds? Of course you can do 15 seconds on the bike.

The point of this is not exercise as such (yet) but rather to get yourself used to being A Person Who Exercises Every Day.

After, let's say, a week of 30-second morning workouts, you will say, hey, come on, stop dicking around, surely I can do 5 minutes on the bike. Purpose is not to up the resistance, break a sweat, lose weight, become fit, or any fucked-up stuff like that. Purpose is just to remain on the bike, pedals moving, for 5 minutes.

New York is fun. And you are NOT the only fat person here.
posted by skbw at 4:35 PM on March 23, 2013

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