(Weight) Losers of MeFi!!
December 3, 2018 1:00 AM   Subscribe

For reasons, I (36F) am looking to lose anywhere up to 35kg which i put on due to medication (which I am still having to take) I know I need to create a calorie deficit, but how is it best to go about this? Am I better to skip lunch or dinner? Should I skip a meal everyday or do fasting days combined with normal eating? PS i know this is yet another diet question but the search function is not working for me
posted by EatMyHat to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Find a category of food that doesn’t provide much, if any, nutrition and replace it with a neutral calorie free option, fruit, or vegetable. Soda to sparkling water, all the time. Gummy bears to beets (that’s weird, but sweetness + mouthfeel), permanently. Don’t never eat cake again, obviously, just stop the regular consumption of whatever category of food that fills you with calories instead of nutrition. I take long breaks from chocolate, for example.

Stop drinking alcohol, if you do. This will have the quickest effect. If you’d rather not, switch to sipping whiskey instead of beers or cocktails. Don’t ever drink calories, if you can help it, unless you’re drinking a meal with fruits and vegetables and protein in it.

I do the mini fasts, but only twice a week or so. Research shows some inconsistent results of fasting ranging from neutral to actively unhealthy for fertile-aged female bodies, of which I am one, so I try to keep it minimized even though I like what it does for my blood sugar.

Eating is not the enemy.

Caloric restriction is tough to do without disordered patterns. Make sure you aren’t ever punishing yourself for “slipping up”, or trying to cut out all pleaurable food experiences. Food is great, and it’s possible to eat delicious things while trying for caloric deficit. Think more about how you can enjoy the food than about how “clean” you’re eating, or the restrictions you’re experiencing. If something is too restrictive, find another category to cut out or another way to include your favorite things in less caloric ways.
posted by zinful at 1:20 AM on December 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

Well, everybody is going to have lots of advice about losing weight and what worked for them. I think this is another one of those things that is highly personal to each individual, but I can tell you what I learned and maybe some of those things will work for you.

Weight loss is about the long term. The me that trained six times a week and hung around with people who were obsessed with the paleo diet weighed differently than the me who had a newborn and whose work gave a discount on all-you-can-eat lunches. This also means that it's more about the average day to day and less about the day I accidentally ate a whole medium pizza or the day I ate a whole box of thin mints while using my computer. If you do badly, try your best the next day.

Tracking calories is much easier today than it was ten years ago; you can download an app like MyFitnessPal. This has made it clear to me that it's about the total number of calories and not about what those calories are. I can lose weight eating cake, I can lose weight eating steamed broccoli. It's just that if I do it with mostly cake, I will be hungry for most of the day except right around glorious cake time. If I do it with broccoli, I will feel full for much longer.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's up to you: I don't mind eating the same thing every single day unless we're talking years, so it's easy for me to set up a set of food that I like to eat that fits my calorie goal and makes me not have to input calories each day. My wife cannot eat the same thing for more than a few meals in a row, so her task is a bit harder.

For some people, fast (high caloric deficient) is more motivating than slow, but other people see a huge backlash from fast. (You can get really sick of feeling hungry all the time). There's no good food and bad food, there's just your calorie budget and you get to decide. At my fittest, my diet was something like eggs, salsa, salmon, steamed broccoli and a daily chocolate chip cookie the size of my face.

Right now is the first time I have ever tried caloric restriction without exercise, and it is considerably easier. I guess it's true what they say about exercise making you hungrier. I'm not telling you not to exercise, it's just that I don't have a lot of exercise time right now.

If there is food in the house, I will eat it, so it's easiest for me to not keep too much calorie dense food in the house. If you drink soda, I found diet soda to be roughly as good and calorie free. I feel like for me the secret is vegetables (you get to eat a HUGE BOWL of something for only a few calories, plus fiber can be helpful if you lower your calories too much.)

Anyway, good luck with it all.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:23 AM on December 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

Finding a strategy that works for you requires some trial and error. I have one friend who never skips meals, but carefully monitors her calorie intake for each meal. I have another friend who does Intermittent Fasting, so she eats as much as she wants during a set window each day, and only has water and black coffee outside of that window. I love the simplicity of IF, but I find that it makes me feel ill, so it's not a sustainable strategy for me. I'm more of the "eat regularly and count your calories" type. It takes some experimentation. One way to start is to log everything you eat for a week without actively trying to make changes; mindfully observing your eating habits can help you identify "quick fixes" like cutting alcohol and finding substitutes. From there, you can start experimenting with different strategies to see what works for you, and what you can sustain. /r/loseit is a good resource and a source of inspiration.
posted by neushoorn at 3:17 AM on December 3, 2018

I changed from sodas to water and never looked back, also while at home I use smaller plates to encourage portion control. All candy, cakes, cookies, sweets stopped for a good looong while because I needed to make this a lifestyle change and not just "losing weight just for now". So, once I felt I had internalised that this lower level of caloric consumption was the new reality and was here to stay, I slowly began to incorporate a snack every once in a while. I had to not only find the achievable goal, I had to find the *maintainable* lifestyle. I do splurge when I travel but then go religiously back to my "normal" lifestyle when I am home again.
posted by alchemist at 3:34 AM on December 3, 2018

If the weight gain was rapid and med-related, make sure it didn't mess up your metabolism in major ways - test for insulin resistance and thyroid function at least. Note that drastic calorie restriction can also slow down the metabolism.

You may find that boosting the metabolism with exercise, green tea etc gives better results (and much better mood) than any kind of fasting. With a baseline healthy diet (no drinking calories, low-processed low-IG foods, no more than one piece of something sweet per day), for me regular cardio gives much better results both body and mood-wise than calorie reduction. Every body is different, so it's important to listen to yours and find something that works for you.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 4:23 AM on December 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have lost about 50 pounds in the past few years. I've lost this weight very slowly. The first thing I'd say is don't do anything you can't do for the rest of your life. It's no fun to do a lot of work to lose weight, then gain it all back. I know - I've done it.

This is all very individual. I cannot tolerate counting anything - calories, points, whatever. I know people who can keep it up, but I can't. I think I lasted about a week on My Fitness Pal. I ended up completely changing what I eat, which is easier for me than counting. I strongly believe that a whole foods, vegan diet (meaning no animal products and very few processed foods) is best for human health, animals, and the planet, and that's what I have changed to. Mostly. I'm not completely there yet (had a piece of vegan chocolate cake yesterday). I think most people would consider my diet extreme, but for me, it's easier than counting calories. (It's not biologically extreme - we're apes, after all - but it's socially extreme.)

BTW, when I first went vegan, I gained weight. This is because there is a lot of tasty, vegan junk food. Oreos and Coke are vegan, and I had both. That's why the "whole foods" part of this diet is important. Avoiding animal products is not magic, but eating whole plant foods sure feels like magic. I have normalized my blood pressure, ended swelling in my feet, and gotten rid of the acne I've had since I was a teenager (I turn 60 this month).

I've done a lot of changing one thing, keeping that up, then changing another thing. At one point, I did start intermittent fasting - for me, that means not eating after 7 pm. I lost about five pounds with that one. I still do it - it freed up my evenings, really helped my insomnia, and there is some evidence that it's better for health - but I don't think it's a big weight loss solution for most people. It might be for someone. It wasn't for me.

Some books that I found helpful are The China Study (which has not been debunked - that is an internet myth), Eat to Live, and The Starch Solution. I watch a lot of health-related lectures on youtube. Dr. Doug Lisle is a psychologist who supports people who eat the way I do. His How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind was helpful for me.

You can lose weight doing lots of things that aren't good for your health. I know someone here is going to suggest the keto and paleo diets. You will lose weight on them. They are not good for your long-term health. If you want to try one of those, please do research and don't just go to forums of people who follow those diets. It is no good to be skinny and have a heart attack at 50. The only diet that has actually been shown in clinical studies to reverse heart disease is the whole foods, plant-exclusive diet.

Also, "carbs" comes up a lot in weight loss discussions, and it's a silly word. Cake, brown rice, beans, and carrots are all technically carbs, but they are vastly different in terms of weight loss and health. Potato chips and doughnuts get called carbs, but most of the calories in those foods come from fat. I eat tons of unrefined carbs. I eat lots of potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice. Those foods don't make you gain weight. Dousing them with butter and oil makes you gain weight.

Try not to think of this as an emergency. You've gained weight over time, and you can take your time figuring out how to lose it. If you take it slowly and think about what you're doing, you can get there.
posted by FencingGal at 4:26 AM on December 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

Also, registered dietitian Jeff Novick is really great on calorie density. He supports the diet I follow, but I think what he says in this lecture is applicable whether you do or not. He is also funny.
posted by FencingGal at 4:31 AM on December 3, 2018

I just got a subscription to Weight Watchers. It's totally different than in the past. It's all online. You eat normal food and have normal mealtimes. You're assigned a certain number of "points" each day based on your age, sex, weight, level of activity, etc. You use a tracker to log your food each day and it does all the calculating. It emphasizes ways to build good nutrition habits by giving you a lot of "free" choices that are the stuff we should all be eating more of. There are articles and educational tutorials, and there is online coaching if you want it. There's an app and you can do it all online, and there's a 6-month deal on where the price is $0 for the first month. I'm appreciating it.
posted by Miko at 4:42 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

For me (33F), exercise has been more helpful than dieting. I'm really bad with the "can't have this" mentality of dieting, whereas the "go run for an hour" mentality of exercise felt more of a positive, rather than a negative, change in my daily habits. I tend to stress-bake (and then eat what I've baked), so replacing that with stress-running was a twofer, but aside from that, I didn't consciously adjust my eating habits, but managed to lose 25 lbs in 6 months.

On the eating front, though, I used Lose It and do think I cut back on random snacking/grazing throughout the day, because I felt guilty about having to log 5 pretzels or whatever. I agree with zinful's suggestions about replacing soda with water and limiting alcohol -- liquid calories don't do much to fill you up. Bulkier/fibrous foods with every meal.
posted by basalganglia at 4:51 AM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

The first thing I'd say is don't do anything you can't do for the rest of your life.

This is so so so important.

I agree that you'll need to experiment to find a way of eating that feels sustainable to you - maybe it's always eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch, maybe it's intermittent fasting, maybe it's cutting down on sugar, maybe counting calories, etc. As you can see from this thread different things work for different people.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:51 AM on December 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

I don't skip meals unless my body is telling me it's full or not hungry.

For me the big things that seem to help are:
-no juice or really sugary drinks, find something else you like to drink (for me herbal tea, water with citrus in it, kombucha as a treat)
-no snacking between meals unless the snack is an apple or carrot sticks or a few crackers with hummus
-one bigger meal a day, two light meals a day, one or two snacks depending on what I'm doing that day (sitting on my butt versus a day of walking the dog and cleaning and being active)
-try to have salad or soup every day
-have a set time after which I don't eat or drink (except water/tea), for me that's 7 p.m.
-reminding myself I can eat small portions of things I like but don't need to eat the whole piece of cake or several pieces of pizza to feel satisfied
-watching urges to eat out of boredom
-having healthy options prepped and planned so when I am tired or hungry I don't have to think about it very much

When I do the above my metabolism feels a bit more efficient than when I'm eating every couple of hours, I feel hungry between meals but not painfully hungry, just like my body is ready to digest what I'm putting in, takes care of bloat generally too. I also find that it takes a few days to adjust but then if you're eating enough bulk from vegetables your stomach capacity does go down a bit and you feel full sooner.
posted by lafemma at 6:42 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Let me also nth that whatever you do has to be something you are okay with doing long-term. I lost about 35 lbs (have gained a very pesky 5 which I am blaming on Trump-related stress) a few years ago by counting calories. That works for me, though I don't always do it. When I do do it, I lose weight and I know this, so I always know, "Welp okay it's time to start doing that again because this 5 lbs is threatening to be come 10 and then 15." When I'm not counting, I do exercise portion control, which I learned from the counting (weighing out how much pasta is in a 200 cal serving is... instructive if disheartening).

Some people are cool with just cutting out entire food groups, but I'm already vegetarian and not interested in restricting my diet any further. Cutting all sugar/carbs out would just drain my life of all joy, so while I could probably manage it for a couple of months, it's not sustainable for me. Some people decide to become serious athletes (the only way to lose weight through exercise is to exercise A LOT--30 minutes 3-5 times a week, while excellent for your overall health, is not going to impact your weight). When my dad was in his early 30s, he decided to become a runner and because of the kind of person he is, he turned that into a lifelong daily regimen rigorous enough that it keeps his weight down.

The only way to not gain back everything you lost is to keep doing whatever you did to lose the weight in the first place. Maybe less rigorously, but you do have to keep doing it. So, pick a thing you can do for life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:55 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have been both unsuccessful and successful (so far) at losing significant amounts of weight. I'll be brief. A lot of people like to evangelize for a particular diet or method. Be wary of advice like that. I use Weight Watchers, but there's nothing magic about it. It's about keeping track of what you eat, controlling portions, and consistently favoring nutritious food over junk. I need the tracking and accountability; many others do fine without something like that.

Don't skip meals. Won't you feel hungry, low-energy, distracted? Won't you be tempted to binge later? I can only lose weight if I eat at least three meals a day and have a couple treats throughout the week in reasonable portions.

My actual advice is: don't do anything to lose weight that you aren't willing to do for the ENTIRE rest of your life. You don't need soda or six sugars in your coffee to be happy and energized and healthy, so those are reasonable lifetime changes to make, but you sure as hell need to eat regularly. Sure, you could starve yourself for a few weeks or months (been there) but you'll gain it ALL back when your body demands to be fed (done that.)
posted by kapers at 7:04 AM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I (41M) have lost 25lb in the past 12 weeks, and feel much, much better than I did before.

The most helpful thing has been tracking all of my food intake, then very deliberately thinking about how I feel before each meal and relating that to what I ate earlier in the day. This practice has helped me truly _want_ to make choices that leave me feeling well on a longer horizon, instead of merely doing so out of discipline.
posted by whisk(e)y neat at 7:41 AM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Echoing again what folks have said above about finding what works for you. Some people can skip meals/intermittent fast, others can't. Some people love meticulously tracking what they eat, others don't. What I would suggest is getting a calorie tracking app (LoseIt, MyFitnessPal, etc.) or even just journaling and tracking what you eat now for a week or so to see what your caloric intake is at the moment, and where you calories are coming from. Once you establish that baseline, figure out how you want to trim. Maybe it is intermittent fasting, or maybe it is cutting your 6 oz serving of beef down to 3 or 4, maybe it is cutting out sugary/starchy snacks you didn't realize you ate so many of, etc. etc.

You don't have to track forever if you hate it, but I think just getting a sense of how much you are eating and where it is coming from will help you make informed choices about where you reduce your intake/change your eating patterns. I'd also encourage you to be pretty scrupulous about measuring or weighing your food in your baseline week (and beyond if you decide counting/tracking works for you) to get a true sense of how much you are taking in--people notoriously undercount/estimate. You'd be surprised how small a serving of many common food items is.

As to what works for me-I've lost significant amounts of weight twice. The first was pure calorie counting. Tracked everything, ate around 1300 calories a day. I put that weight back on once I started hanging with a new group of people who socialized around eating a lot and drinking a lot. Now I'm tracking calories plus keto. I like keto, it is working for me (and I'm checking with my doctor for benchmarks and my numbers for things like cholesterol have improved, so no ill health effects for me) BUT I don't think it is a magic bullet/I don't have a million times more energy or some of the other things people claim. It's pretty restrictive and you have to think about food a lot, and it can be hard to just go out to eat anywhere with friends. However, I am losing weight and because of the nature of the foods (skewed heavily towards protein and fat vs. carbohydrates), I get full pretty fast and can go for longer without eating/am naturally satisfied with between 1000-1500 calories/day. But again this works FOR ME and is sustainable FOR ME. That may not be true for you, but with trial and error you can find what is true for you.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 8:23 AM on December 3, 2018

Seconding r/loseit; I check it every day or two for inspiration and motivation. It does skew very heavily toward calories-in, calories-out, but there are also people following different strategies, like keto or intermittent fasting.

Just speaking personally I've lost a little over 40lbs since June, entirely through tracking calories and watching portion sizes. I've stopped eating some foods because they're just not worth the calories (cookies, chips, cereal), but I still have some indulgences (Starbucks bottled frappuccinos; also, I ate leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast all last week). I agree with everyone above who said that whatever you do, it has to be something that you can do for life. It's like cleaning your house--you can't do it just once and then you're done forever.
posted by velvet_n_purrs at 9:20 AM on December 3, 2018

Portion sizes are your friend. Skipping meals, cutting out categories of food, etc. are unlikely to stick long term. Just eat less of the food you already like to eat. If you’re starving, add more vegetables.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:39 AM on December 3, 2018

In my opinion, there are several reasons why we eat (or rather overeat):
1. your body tells you to eat (and in overweight people - this signal is highly skewed)
2. habit (where you mindlessly eat popcorn while watching TV for example)
3. dopamine hits when certain food is consumed. (sugar - I'm looking at you)
4. there are others of course. Like for example the company you keep - it'd be infinitely harder to stop eating out if the company you keep likes to eat out all the time.

Modern highly processed food are specially designed to hit the first 3. Ever notice that you're actually thirstier 2 minutes after drinking that refreshing cold soda? So first order of business is ditch them. All of them. Throw them out of your pantry. Do not even look at them at the supermarket. This will help with # 2 and 3. Yes...you can still mindlessly eat carrots while you're watching TV....but our body is equipped to deal with it. In fact that human bodies do well and actually thrive on a whole bunch of different food (from mostly animal product of the Inuit people to high in veggies per the Mediterranean diet to high in rice of Okinawan people to that one tribe that consumes 60% of their calories from coconut). The single diet we cannot tolerate is the Standard American Diet.

The second is re-calibrating the signals that your body does tell you. Being overweight and certain medicine messes up with this but I am a firm believer that your body, running on things it's supposed to run on, is a lean mean well-oiled machine and knows more than we give it credit.

And for me....low carb is incredibly effective at re-jiggering those signals. It stabilizes my blood sugar and teaches me to learn when I'm full even when my stomach is not. (Anecdotal story : I ate fatty steak sometime ago. It was really good but I couldn't bring myself to finish because I was full. I just couldn't. But then I mindlessly popped in french fry one after another though I couldn't take another bite of the steak! Had I eaten only the fries, the only way I would stop eating would be when my stomach was unbearably stretched).

Over time low carb naturally drifts me towards intermittent fasting (and conversely broken when I consume higher carb) because:
1. my hunger level is virtually stable all day long
2. even if I am hungry....it's not ravenous unbearable hunger. I could postpone eating for a day or two (yes...a day or two) without feeling like I would die from weakness and hunger.
posted by 7life at 10:54 AM on December 3, 2018

Response by poster: Just to clarify- my diet is already pretty healthy - I don’t drink alcohol or soft drink hardly at all and I mostly eat nutritious foods. I’m going to need to do something fairly drastic to drop the weight. I was wondering if anyone has tried skipping lunch or dinner and which one is easier/healthier/more effective
Thanks for the answers this far though!
posted by EatMyHat at 2:39 PM on December 3, 2018

To answer your specific question: I find skipping dinner much easier. I am also able to sleep when hungry. Not everybody I know can do this.
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:47 PM on December 3, 2018

My most recent strategy when I was losing weight close to my goal weight (harder the closer you get), and now to maintain, was not necessarily to skip meals, which I find very difficult to maintain, but to just eat a giant plate of mostly vegetables - usually with some protein - for lunch. I love breakfast so couldn't bring myself to skip it, and dinner's kind of a relaxation time for me and I've found it difficult to sleep on an empty stomach, so lunch is easiest. I've slowly identified a few options for this around my job (as opposed to making lunch, which I basically never do anymore, as I don't seem to be in a cooking period). Go to the Thai place and ask for Veggie delight with no rice and extra veggies instead; go to the greek place and get the hummus plate with no pita and extra veggies; meander to Whole foods and pile a plate high with kale, beets, carrots or whatever other veggies strike my fancy plus a protein option... Have developed other strategies as well but it keeps the calorie count down while filling me up, and balances out the fact that I tend to eat a lot of carbs for breakfast and often dinner as well.

I also exercise a lot and enjoy it. I found that during my most recent weight loss endeavor I also basically had to ban snacks and I chew a bunch of gum instead. Easier as well to just have a policy of not eating whatever free food is around the office, which can really add up quickly.
posted by knownfossils at 10:31 PM on December 3, 2018

Just to clarify- my diet is already pretty healthy - I don’t drink alcohol or soft drink hardly at all and I mostly eat nutritious foods. I’m going to need to do something fairly drastic to drop the weight.

I was thin until I started a temporary medication in my early 30s. At that time I gained nearly 50 lbs in about six months, and it has, until recently, been a battle to take the weight off. Even under a medically supervised diet I lost almost no weight (to the point where my oh-so-unhelpful nutrition counselor accused me of falsifying my food journals).

What has finally worked for me is really working on figuring out which foods my body wants me to eat, and which it doesn't. A week of days of 1800 calories of low-fat foods (rice, apples, chicken, high glycemic index veggies like beets, carrots, and corn) will cause me to actually gain weight. A week of days of 1800 calories of low glycemic index foods (and no grains at all) will be a week where I lose a pound or two, even if I'm higher in fats that most people recommend.

In summary: caloric deficit may not be the whole story.

For sure, being more active will help. But also, pay close attention to the scale, and don't be afraid to experiment with different styles of diet to see what food causes your specific body to react react by gaining or losing weight.

For me, I've lost 30 lbs after about eight months of eating as follows: no grains at all (including avoiding gluten free grains like rice); high protein; enough healthy fats to keep my digestive track moving smoothly; lots of leafy green and otherwise low glycemic index veggies - BUT! perversely potatoes don't seem to affect my body the way the glycemic index would suggest they do, so (for me) I can eat them in moderation without weight gain. I also do intermittent fasting (fast for sixteen, eat all meals for the day within an eight hour window), but that happened more or less by accident.

Keep a food journal. Pay attention not only to calories but also to the categories of food, and their carbs and fats and other info. What works for other people may not work for you.
posted by anastasiav at 7:51 AM on December 4, 2018

I think you've gotten lots of great advice above, and I nth that the most important thing is to do what works for you. So, I would try a few weeks of intermittent fasting in various ways. Try skipping lunch for a week, then write down how that felt. Then try skipping dinner for a week, and write down how THAT felt.

I've managed to lose about 15% of my weight and keep it off; here are some other things that worked FOR ME:
  • I counted calories pretty carefully for about a month. This had two big benefits: it gave me a sense of how many calories I was eating, and more importantly, it gave me a better understanding of which foods had a lot of calories, and how much of a difference portions make. I still weigh a lot of the foods I eat, even though I'm not counting calories anymore, because I realized I'm terrible at eyeballing quantities. For example, I really like peanut butter sandwiches, and I think they're healthy and definitely filling, but it's really helpful to me to know that a serving of peanut butter is 32 g and it's easy to go over that if you're eyeballing it.
  • I tried eating the same things, but less. Like the peanut butter sandwiches - turns out a half a sandwich is plenty for me (especially open-faced, where it feels like it's a whole sandwich but actually has half the bread). One fairly easy way to cut calories is to literally eat smaller portions than you usually do. If you set aside 1/10 or 1/5 of your usual serving and eat those leftovers for lunch another day, you've just reduced your calories without even skipping a meal.
  • Counting calories also made me realize that - FOR ME - sugar is fine and fat is fine, but they both have a LOT of calories, so just go easy on them. Now I KNOW how many calories are in a pat of butter or a tablespoon of olive oil, so I'm happy to use those things but I just know how fast they add up if I overdo it.
  • I focused hard on getting lots of the things I wanted to eat lots of, and paid less attention to cutting anything out. If you're focused on eating gigantic quantities of leafy green vegetables and lower-calorie fruits, you don't feel so deprived. (Or at least I didn't.)
  • I made sure to get enough protein. My first big mistake was trying to limit myself to basically vegetables only, which made me feel shaky and terrible. Fortunately, I figured that out within about two days and started eating more protein.
  • Watch your weight over weeks, not days. I still go up and down by a few pounds depending on whether I've had a big salty meal. Doesn't matter. I weigh myself every day (because I love data) but I only pay attention to the week and month and quarter and annual trends. You WILL get daily fluctuations due to salt intake, hormones, and who knows what else. Do your best to ignore those.
Finally, do your best to be very kind to yourself.
posted by kristi at 10:14 AM on December 5, 2018

Lots of really good thoughts already - wanted to echo a few points people have already made above:

1. There are many ways to lose weight, and research studies have demonstrated that there is no approach that works for everyone (e.g. low-carb v. low-fat v. intermittent fasting v. keto all perform roughly the same). So what matters is finding the set of strategies and approaches that work for you, that you feel can be long-term sustainable.

2. Weigh yourself to track your progress, but don't pay attention to daily fluctuations. Your body weight is 50% water, and salt intake, water intake, and hormone changes can shift your body weight up or down by a few pounds.

3. The biggest challenge is going to be the "trial and error" that others have described, and not letting setbacks get to you. It's not about perfection, but resilience - observing what works, and what doesn't, and having the wherewithal to celebrate your wins and stay mindful of the choices you're making. Writing things down helps - both to keep a clear head about how things are going, and tracking your observations and lessons learned.

The first step is the hardest - you can do this!
posted by iridium at 4:26 PM on December 5, 2018

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