How to make this time (losing weight) work?
April 3, 2006 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Ever since college I have been working to lose a fairly significant amount of weight (> 75 lbs). I'm looking for suggestions as to how I can make *this* time be the *last* time I ever have to try.

It's been four years since graduation, and the most I have lost was 25 lbs, which I slowly regained over the course of a year. After spending a few months wallowing in self-loathing and feeling like I couldn't bring myself to try again, I have given myself a personal pep-talk and created a plan to do it and reach my weight loss and health goals. But, it's not like I've never done this before.

I usually stick to my plans for 2 weeks to about a month and a half before I get frustrated or bored or tired of it, and just throw in the towel. But I do not want to spend the rest of my 20's and my life overweight & unhappy with myself.

My current plan:

Food: I joined Weight Watchers (this is how I originally lost 25 lbs) - I love the support system, I love that there are no lists of "good foods" and "bad foods", and I love that it is essentially simplified calorie counting. I'm also learning to cook more, especially incorporating more vegetables and legumes into my diet. I'm not a vegetarian per se, but I just bought a couple of vegetarian cookbooks so that I can break out of my usual chicken rut. I'm also trying to work on cooking fast, convenient meals since I come home late most evenings.

Exercise: I also joined a gym and have set up a program for the next two months that involves working out three times a week (30-45 min cardio + weight training + stretching) and yoga and walking at home at least twice a week. Once I have built up some fitness, I'd like to increase the amount of exercise I do and try new and fun types of exercise.

Mind: I'm trying to work on my self esteem & to convince myself that I don't have to be 100% perfect all the time, but that I have to stick with it. I'm also trying to relax & focus on other things I enjoy like reading, writing, etc.

So...I know there are many of you out there who have built healthy habits and stuck with it. What can I do to make sure that I succeed this time around? Thanks in advance for any & all advice!
posted by catfood to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I lost a good chunk of my college chunk by walking everywhere I could, whenever I could. I decided that if I could get to Point X on foot un under an hour, I'd walk it and skip public transport, taxis, or hitching a ride.

While you may burn more calories at the gym, I found that walking, especially during poor weather, had a great psychological effect on me. Skinnier people will ask "How did you get here?" and you'll say "I walked." and they'll say "From ______??!?" while ogling you in shock and you inner self will pump its fist and say "Boo-yah!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:13 AM on April 3, 2006

Best answer: There's really 2 key points here:

1) To lose weight, no diet changes the fact that you must burn more calories than you take in.

2) You must stick to it.

There are ways to address these 2 key points. Le'ts start with #1:

- If you plan to do aerobic exercise, such as running or using an elliptical, see if you can use equipment at the gym that gives you a rough idea of how many calories you're burning from the workout. Set your goals around burning X number of calories.

- Because you need to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight, understand that unplanned snacking is a no-no.

- Also because you need to burn more calories than you take in - understand that you will feel hungry and uncomfortable for a while at the beginning. Your body is not used to tapping its reserves (fat) - so you will not feel like you do every day. It's not going to be torturous, but it will not be pleasant. Be prepared for this and do not alleviate this by eating!

To address #2:

- Sticking to a plan is hard. You will get a cold at some point and have to take a break. You will get better, and it will be hard to get back to working out. Promise yourself you won't let that stop you.

- Motivation is easier if you have 2 things: 1) A routine. If it's scheduled at 7pm every day, and not "20 minutes of exercise when I can get it in", you will be much better off. 2) A partner. It's much easier to say "ehhh, it's drizzling out I don't feel like running today" when you're all by yourself. If you've got a running partner, you might feel a little more obligated to get out there and not let your partner down.

In the interest of full disclosure: I have never had to try and lose weight because I have a ridiculous metabolism. However, that metabolism is catching up to me, and I'm starting to become a "skinny guy with a gut", so I'm sort of in your boat now. All of my advice above comes from friends' experiences, and not my own, but I believe it to be very valid/true or I wouldn't have offered it up.
posted by twiggy at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

You want to institute permanent changes in diet and exercise. I think the easiest way is to pick a diet that is nutritious, low calorie and doesn't leave you feeling hungry all the time. Any diet that leaves you feeling hungry will be broken eventually. Typically that means you should eat lots of vegetables and high fiber foods and watch your glycemic index. Exercise really helps keep weight off but you have to pick something that is enjoyable. A sport like tennis that keeps you interested while you are running around works better for a lot of people than gyms, running etc.
posted by caddis at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2006

I'm a little over 2 years into a program that has caused me to loose around 60 pounds. Here is a report after the first year on worked for me (self-link). In short, I found that toughest part of exercise was the first 3 weeks or so and trying to get into a routine. Once its routine, its routine...I guess that is the beauty of routine. For me, what helped the most in the early days was to keep an exercise journal and by exercising with friends which made it a social activity as well as not allowing me to casually opt out of exercise.

Other things that really helped was making a public commitment to friends, family and co-workers. I was never a dieter before so everyone took my claims seriously. I didn't want to let those people down.

Lastly, its much easier to eat decent food if you never buy the "bad food". What is difficult here is if you live with a spouse/roommate/etc. who buys the "bad food". Its so much easier if the temptations aren't there.

Good luck and feel free to e-mail any followup questions.
posted by mmascolino at 11:24 AM on April 3, 2006

I've lost nearly 70 lbs in about 7 months. I did it by counting calories (writing down everything I eat) and running for exercise.

I'd tried to loose weight before and been unsuccessful. what really helped me this time around was understanding the basic formula: burn 3500 calories - loose 1 lb. It's certainly not an exact formula, but it really helped me understand what I wanted to do.

I'm very very close to my target weight now - the weight loss has tapered off, but I predict that in the next couple of months I'll be where I want to be weight/looks wise.

I feel like I'll be able to keep this weight off because I've taken a very analytical approach and I've discovered, on my own, that eating healthier and exercising really do make sense. My diet has naturally shifted towards healthier foods and smaller servings.

I think what I'm saying is, I found it really helpful to learn as much as I could about how weight loss happens. I also found it really reassuring, that, after sticking with it for a month or two, I'd lost a bunch of weight and I could see that weight-loss faries really weren't involved in the process. Also, seeing my weight loss slow down has actually been helpful - I've got a much better sense now of how much food my body needs on a day-to-day basis. Because I have this knowledge now, I feel like I'll really be able to keep the weight off.

I hope this info helps you figure out what'll work for you.
posted by soplerfo at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2006

Unfortunately, the statistics for maintaining weight loss suck. Someone did track down a bunch of successful people and write a book about it, though: Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success from People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off
posted by callmejay at 11:38 AM on April 3, 2006

Best answer: Some things that are helping me... (just reached 50 pounds off at today's weigh-in! Yay!)

Honestly assess your current situation. If you're currently eating 2 meals a day at McDonald's and dinner out every night, it's unlikely you'll be able to adjust to preparing every meal for yourself. Take it in steps, and incorporate healthy choices into your current routine.

Set lots of goals at different levels - it's much easier to stay motivated to lose 5 lbs than to lose 75. Set up a reward system for achieving your goals.

Be mindful of NSV's (non-scale victories). You may go a month and not see the scale move, but your pants are looser.

Avoid getting into a rut. Make it a goal to try a new recipe at least once a week.

Stock your home with healthy foods, and healthier alternatives to 'treats.' (There are a variety of pre-packaged snacks in 100-calorie baggies. Also, a fudgecicle is 1 point. A pudding pop is 2. Either one has thwarted my cravings for ice cream.)

Make a list of the reasons you want to lose weight. Refer to it (and add to it!) frequently.

Be accountable to someone other than yourself - a friend, your WW leader - anyone who will be honest with you. Check out the message boards at the Weight Watchers website. Lots of snark all around, but there's a hidden gem in the 200+ pounds to lose board - and we don't care if you don't have 200+ pounds to lose.

Write down everything you eat. EVERYTHING. It makes you conscious of what you're doing, and can illuminate self-defeating patterns.

Be flexible and know that you need to put in time and effort to learn your body. For example, if I don't eat a little extra when I exercise, I actually gain. Go figure.

Don't forget to live your life. There will always be birthday parties and nights out with friends and so on. If you decide that you don't mind a small gain so that you can enjoy a meal without counting, that's OK. If you decide it's OK with you to maintain one week for whatever reason, that's OK. Life happens, and for the rest of your life, you have to deal with food. Thin people indulge sometimes too - they just change their habits for the next week or so to undo the damage. You can do that during the loss process too.

If you do fall off the wagon for a month, a year, whatever, that doesn't mean all your effort was for nothing. You're learning something. If it takes you 5 years to lose 75 pounds, you'll still be 75 pounds thinner in 5 years.

Know that it's going to be work. No, it's not fair that some people are naturally thin and have super-fast metabolisms. But that's the way it is. It doesn't mean you can't be fit, it just means you have to work harder than they do.

OK - I think I'm done now! Best wishes to you.
posted by ferociouskitty at 11:50 AM on April 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The National Weight Control Registry (a registry people who have maintained at least a 30-pound loss for at least one year -- the mean loss was 30 kg/66 lbs) might help with some strategies to maintain your loss.

"We found four types of behavior common to the National Weight Control Registry participants: 1) eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet; 2) eating breakfast almost every day; 3) frequent self-monitoring of weight; and 4) participation in a high level of physical activity."
posted by redheadeb at 11:59 AM on April 3, 2006

My problem has always been that I eat when I get the taste for something. It's not because I'm hungry, but because I want something tasty in my mouth.

So this time around, I've just been repeating one simple idea to myself over and over: I will listen to my stomach, not my taste buds. Whenever I get that urge to eat something I just tell myself to ask my stomach what it thinks: "Am I hungry?"

Almost always, the answer is no, and so I don't eat. When I eat meals I've been forcing myself to only get as much as I know will satisfy my hunger, and no more. This has been smaller portions than I would naturally choose, and I'm making sure I'm very conscious of portion size. My natural instinct is to get larger portions than I need.

"Understand that you will feel hungry and uncomfortable for a while at the beginning."

That's pretty much the thing. I feel uncomfortable when I don't eat the things I want to eat; hence I'm trying to teach myself to be happy when I feel uncomfortable, because that means I'm eating the right amount!

I like to think I have control over all my actions. Thinking this way makes it very real--if I eat the right amount then I prove I have control over my taste buds. If I eat too much then I know I've lost control, and that makes me feel guilty as hell.
posted by Khalad at 12:09 PM on April 3, 2006

so i lost about 50 pounds in 6 months.

i happened to have been eating lots and lots of bread and butter, so just stopping that had a huge effect on my daily calorie intake. i also stopped snacking at work. so that's thing #1, reduce intake and be aware of what you are eating.

#2 was i used a program called EatWatch for my palm-os device that backcalculates calorie intake/burn from daily weight data. that helped me see that what i was doing was working/not working, and gave a bit of an incentive.

#3 may have been doing this over the winter. i have no idea if there is science behind the idea or not, but i read an article recently saying that during the winter, owing to the lower light levels, your body shifts to a more "fat-burning" mode.

recently i hit a brick wall and my weight loss stopped, but i think what happened is that i lost discipline and started snacking, eating bread, etc. to counter this i started exercising, but i think this has caused me to gain muscle mass. of course then your BMI goes down but your weight may even increase, so the scale can get depressing, at least for a while.
posted by joeblough at 12:10 PM on April 3, 2006

I once read that the most successful diets are followed approximately 80% of the time. That is to say, if you really want to get on a long-term diet, it's OK to cheat every once in a while! I've been going at it for a few weeks now. My wife is doing her best to wean me off of constant fast food and 2-3 Dr. Peppers a day. You might not have an "addiction" problem like I do, but if I had to face the thought of never having another sugar-laden Dr. Pepper in my life I'd DIE. So right now I'm on 2 per week, and hopefully tapering from there...
posted by cebailey at 12:33 PM on April 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I agree 100% with cebailey - allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love, just don't over do it (too often).
posted by soplerfo at 12:53 PM on April 3, 2006

Check out Nutridiary (or any other online nutrition diary) if you can get to a point where you don't need the systematic support system of Weight Watchers. You may that the additional information re: actual calorie, protein, and vitamin consumption can be a wonderful motivator to keep yourself eating healthy.

One very important thing to keep in mind is that when you have a lot of weight to lose, it is an easy temptation to restrict calorie consumption too much. Unfortunately, if you force your body into too steep of a deficit, your metabolism will slow down because your body will think that it is starving.

What you want to do is set a realistic (and healthy) goal of losing one pound a week. This means that you are shooting for a 500 calorie-deficit/day. Once you establish what your daily calorie goal should be (basal metabolic plus some amount for general activity), subtract 500 calories. This will be your everyday allowance. On days that you exercise you can (and should) eat more, on days that you don't exercise stick to your limit. By sticking to your limits and exercising regularly, you should start building muscles and losing the fat.

Also, I find snacking really helps. It keeps my metabolism on a slow burn all day.
posted by ilikecookies at 1:05 PM on April 3, 2006

[U]nderstand that you will feel hungry and uncomfortable for a while at the beginning.

I disagree completely -- and that's why Weight Watchers has worked for me. There is always a zero-Point food you can have. Many vegetables and even some kinds of fruit have no Points; pick your favorites from those and there's no need to feel hungry, ever.
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:13 PM on April 3, 2006

I've lost ~25lb since the first of the year using Just having the information in front of me as to how many calories I've eaten and how many I've burned has been enormously helpful. Hell, I budget enough calories so that I can have a bacon cheeseburger once a week and it's been fine.
posted by sugarfish at 1:34 PM on April 3, 2006

I lost 25 pounds over the past year. How'd I do it?

(1) Only eating when I'm truly hungry.

(2) Eating maybe half of what I used to eat daily—and realizing that I've had cheesecake/chocolate bars/candy before and don't need to have them again so I can see what they taste like. I pretty much never eat dessert, either—it helps that I mostly like salty things, rather than sweet things.

(3) Drinking only water, flavored water, vitamin-fortified water and caffeine-free diet soda. Caffeine and corn syrup are killers, and even fruit juice can have a ridiculous amount of sugar in it. I find that I get sore throats when I drink things with too much sugar, anyway, and a clogged nose/throat when I drink milk—so this works well for me.

(4) Reserving a couple days a week to eat normally—this helps your metabolism reset itself, so your body doesn't think you're starving.

(5) Weighing myself at least every other day, if not daily.

(6) Keeping myself so busy that I hardly have time to get out of the office and eat, much less sit around and eat because I'm bored and unhappy. Added bonus: the kind of achievements that stem from pushing myself at work also keep my confidence level high, meaning I don't sit around and mope and eat.

(7) I still allow myself to eat things like pizza and hamburgers—I just don't eat nearly as much overall on days that I eat those things, because I know those items contain a huge amount of calories. And if I eat more than usual one day, I just eat less the next and don't worry about it too much.

And this weight loss came without regular exercise of any sort—so if you included a regular exercise plan with some of the above practices, I think you'd find it easy to lose a significant amount of weight.
posted by limeonaire at 1:55 PM on April 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

Second vote for - it's great for tracking what you eat, if a little time-consuming.
posted by ajp at 1:57 PM on April 3, 2006

Read "The Hacker's Diet" .

It's a free book online, and everyone I know who read through lost the weight they wanted to lose.

It provides many ideas about weight-lost that don't exists anywhere else. His idea of the "eating watching" will take the guilt away.
posted by gmarceau at 2:22 PM on April 3, 2006

Best answer: Physically, the suggestions above are pretty good. Basically, just keep your daily caloric intake a little lower than your daily needs, every day, without exception, and you'll be fine. The degree of loss doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that you're moving in a positive direction, I think.

The key thing you've got to bear in mind is that, for you to be successful, you can't go on a diet. When you lose weight, you life must change, forever. You can never go back to eating the way that you used to eat. Why? Because your body has a set point - that's the weight that it naturally "wants" to be. It takes three years of maintaining your weight loss to reset your set point downwards. If you don't maintain for three years, you're almost certain to jump back up and stay there.

To get the kind of motivation you need, you've got to be willing to make a permanent change. It's got to be the number one priority in your life, no exceptions. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time (and harming your health - deliberate starvation may not be as harmful as long-term obesity, but let's not kid ourselves, it's not exactly healthy either. You really don't want to yo-yo - you're better off being overweight).

To get that kind of leverage on yourself, to get that kind of motivation, I suggest a Tony Robbins seminar, if you are so inclined.
posted by gd779 at 2:25 PM on April 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, and one more piece of advice: go very, very slow. You need to accept the fact that losing 75 pounds will take you, at best, if you never cheat, 75 weeks. If you try to do it faster than that, your motivation will ramp up, but then the sustained effort and willpower will wear you out, you'll get tired, and then you'll stop. You have to be in it for the long-haul, and that means taking your time and not pushing yourself.
posted by gd779 at 2:29 PM on April 3, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you guys for your thoughtful and informative answers. It's definitely given me a lot to think about.
posted by catfood at 2:31 PM on April 3, 2006

- Because you need to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight, understand that unplanned snacking is a no-no.

- Also because you need to burn more calories than you take in - understand that you will feel hungry and uncomfortable for a while at the beginning.

I've lost a lot of weight in my life (and admittedly, gained some back), and have been on a lot of diets and exercise programs. While some of twiggy's other advice is ok, the two items above are nonsense. The goal is not to count calories at the expense of your comfort. The goal is to create a lifestyle for yourself in which you are eating well but also not feeling deprived. One of the most important elements of that journey is learning not to go on a blood-sugar rollercoaster whenever you're hungry. And the best way to do that is to eat (high-fiber) snacks all the time, and learning to understand what your body actually wants when it's hungry, and what it thinks it wants.

Depriving yourself when you're hungry is just going to frustrate and depress you. What you want is a normal life. When normal people are hungry, they eat. The trick is figuring out *what* to eat...not to stay under a certain number of calories, but to stay sane enough to not eat crap, and to not eat when you're not truly hungry.
posted by bingo at 2:44 PM on April 3, 2006

I want to add...gd779's advice to go slow is good, but it's also overkill. If you are 75 lbs overweight, and you begin a decent diet and exercise program, then you are going to lose a lot more than one pound in the first two weeks. When that happens, don't feel guilty about it.
posted by bingo at 2:46 PM on April 3, 2006

Are you a goal-oriented person?

My initial attempts to lose my post-college weight were failures -- I'd think "I'm going to use the elliptical machine 30 minutes a day three days a week!" and I'd keep it up for two or three. I'd get bored and quit. Without a definite goal other than "weigh 125 again," I wasn't able to make any progress.

In the last year, I've lost about 55 pounds -- the first 25 came through a change of medication and a move to a new office building, where I had to use the stairs a lot. The recent 30 came from Weight Watchers Online and a new, goal-based exercise program -- running.

Nothing fancy, just running.

Running gives me goals: there's a 5k next weekend! I love the training programs -- I ran two miles today! I can check it off the calendar! They really keep me motivated. Even if I didn't lose weight on a given week, knowing that I can cross off a week on my training program makes me feel like I really accomplished something.

If you're interested in starting, check out CoolRunning's Couch to 5k program.
posted by liet at 3:19 PM on April 3, 2006

I've yo-yo'd for years. Throughout my 20s, my weight was a lifestyle thing, something I'd "get to" sooner or later. Wham - next thing you know you're 30-something and fatter than ever. I watch shows like The Biggest Loser and say "Man, I wish I had a personal dietitian. I wish I had a personal trainer. I wish I had a doctor telling me what to do." One day, a little voice said "You're a grossly overpaid public servant. Just go do it."

So, I went to my doctor and got my blood work done - turns out I'm insulin resistant, have a slightly fatty liver, though my cholesterol is OK. She gave me a referral to a gastric band surgeon to chat, and a renowned dietician.

The surgeon was lovely, friendly, supportive - and he scared the fuckin' bejeebus out of me with stats. You're 100% likely to develop type 2 diabetes, you're a bajillion times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke, and so on. He also offered some very sobering weight loss stats: 98% of people who lose weight put it back on, and most of them add weight. Just 2% of people show sustained weight loss after 5 years. He was pretty ambivalent about my situation - I might be able to lose 50kg, I might not, but he was there when I needed him. I now have a big motivator - I do not want that lap band.

Dietitian appointment is today. However, since the visit with the surgeon I've been following his diet advice:

- It's all about calories. Don't obsess about getting your mincro and macronutrient mix just so - that's a wood for the trees approach that has you fixating about percentages of carbs and micrograms of vitamin A while you're dying of obesity.

- You have no idea what a portion is. You have no idea what hunger is. Weigh everything that passes your lips and write it down. Everything, without exception. Track the actual calories - not WW points. Calories are precise. WW points are a guesstimate. 100 calories a day is enough to result in several kilos of weight gain a year. Be accurate.

- Exercise? Much easier not to eat the calories in the first place. I think he said it was something like 3 hours of walking to burn off a Tim Tam biscuit. Sure, when you've lost a bit, exercise to improve fitness. But it's better to reduce calories and move around a little more than to think you're going going to get a huge coloric benefit from taking an hour's brisk walk every day. Just don't put the calories in your mouth, and you'll be fine. I might join the gym, but I'll probably just geocache, ride my bike and go for walks more often.

So, I've been writing everything down (picked up a nice 1 page per day Moleskin diary for half price). I'm horrified at some of the choices I make (especially the amount of energy in bread, rice and pasta), and thrilled at some of the choices I would never had made had I not been counting calories. On Saturday night, I had a huge salad, 300g of KFC boneless chicken fillets and a choc hazelnut dessert. For the first time, I didn't feel guilt or panic, because I knew how many calories it was, and I knew it was a once-per-week treat, and I knew I'd been under my calories all week and would still be. I feel in control. It's a seriously good feeling - as is dropping a couple of belt notches and being able to wear a tie without choking myself ;).

So, my advice is to get expert advice. Treat it like a medical problem, not a lifestyle issue. You wouldn't get advice on how to treat diabetes or depression from a women's mag or friends. Nothing motivates you like a fear of death.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:44 PM on April 3, 2006

obiwanwasabi writes: The surgeon was lovely, friendly, supportive - and he scared the fuckin' bejeebus out of me with stats. You're 100% likely to develop type 2 diabetes, you're a bajillion times more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke, and so on. He also offered some very sobering weight loss stats: 98% of people who lose weight put it back on, and most of them add weight. Just 2% of people show sustained weight loss after 5 years. He was pretty ambivalent about my situation - I might be able to lose 50kg, I might not, but he was there when I needed him. I now have a big motivator - I do not want that lap band.

Can I correct the above? The surgeon was telling this patient what would happen without the lap band, .
70% of people with gastric banding lose 70% of their expected weightloss and keep it off. I have lost 100lbs three times in my adult life through willpower, diet and excercise. Each time I had to do that it got more and more difficult. I would love to have had the willpower to eat and excercise properly every day, even 80% of the time. But I don't. Most adults in their 30's and 40's lead stressful lives, that's a fact and most of us with obesity problems use food like others use drugs. A person can eat healthily but if you are just 100 calories a day above the levels your body needs, over the course of a year that adds a significant amount of added weight.
With a bilateral family history of obesity I bit the bullet last year and got banded.
The amount of people who choose to see that as some kind of cop-out is about as many who see fat people as dumb and lazy, so no big changes there. I've just exchanged one group of bigots for another.
All I know is I now have a life, and there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I have a management strategy that owes a little to will-power, a little to excercise and can be "tweaked" when I need to.
I enjoy all foods in quite small portions, once I get to target weight I will have the band unfilled until I see what level I need to maintain my weight and then that's what I will do.
Best of luck in finding a strategy that works for you, life is sweet on the other side of weight loss.
posted by Wilder at 4:39 AM on April 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I must unlurk to second gmarceau's suggestion of "The Hacker's Diet" above. It is the single best thing about weight loss that I've ever read; the author does a great job of convincing you that if you adhere to your specificed number of calories per day, then not only is it inevitable that you will lose weight, but that you will lose it at a predictable and linear rate. He gives you a spreadsheet into which you plot each day's weight; it smooths the daily weight fluctuations of water and waste into a single straight downward moving-average slope.

I can't emphasize enough how important that feeling of inevitability is in motivating you to stick with it. The worst part of dieting are those days when you've done nothing "wrong" but are still up two pounds; they lead to depressed little indulgences because hey, it doesn't matter anyway. But when you see that moving average headed inexorably down two or three tenths of a pound per day, every day -- regardless of how your daily weights are bouncing around -- it keeps you focused on your goal.

I was in your boat at exactly this time last year; I've been heavy most of my adult life, and tried seriously half a dozen times or more to lose. It just always seemed to be out of my control somehow -- "I really hope this time I can lose 20 pounds and keeep it off," etc. I was to the point where I felt like I would give it a shot just one more time; if unsuccessful, I'd just give up and be fat. Somehow I ended up with The Hacker's Diet, and the author's no-nonsense manner about it made me realize that there's no "trying" about it -- you just have to decide to do it, and if you stick with it, you will lose. Within four months I'd lost 40 pounds.

I cannot recommend it highly enough.
posted by Vercingetorix at 7:53 AM on April 4, 2006

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