Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Will I Be One Of The 5%, Will You? And How Would You Define Weight Loss Success? Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR! May your name be inscribed!

I have realized more and more since this summer that I already consider myself AT THIS POINT a success. I feel good. Sugar is normal. Off the blood pressure meds. Joints don't hurt as much with less weight on them. I can walk a mile in the Miami heat and not fear I'll pass out within 3 blocks.

Being in the 180s is way better than the 290s, I can tell you. And so, I feel content. Not perfect. I will never be perfect, just as I never was. I will never be sleek, just as I never was, not since age 6 anyway. But I realize I'm at a happy weight.

Saggy, crinkly skin and all. I'm at a happy weight. :) I thought my happy weight would be in the 170s, 172 to 175 to be precise. But it's here. I'm happy. I could stay here, happily.

But I fight on. I want to hit goal weight and reassess then. I will only be a weight I can maintain with some decent food intake, ie, at least 1500-1600 calories. If I can't maintain it at that range, then I'll be fatter. Plain and simple.  I will not live in 1200 to 1400. Sorry. Ain't gonna happen.

I think all of you out there on a diet, in a challenge, should always keep the sobering facts in mind. Most dieters fail. Most losers regain. Most...most...most...

To win this fight, you have to be seriously serious. I have to be deadly serious. Because the very few studies that look at how many lose and keep it off offer a mighty grim figure: Maybe 5% keep it off. If you wanna be optimistic, maybe 10%. If you wanna be grimmer, maybe 3%. No one knows for sure, but let's say it's VERY FEW.

I want to be in that minority.

I will never be a size 2, unless I get some wasting disease. Even younger, fitter, teen me wasn't anywhere near that. Ain't gonna happen and I don't even plan to go there, never have. I dreamed of being 123 lbs when I was 20 or so, but the reality was, body wasn't gonna go there without out and out starvation.

And let's be honest, a 1200 caloric regimen used to be considered starvation dieting. Read old diets books. :) It really is still kinda starvation level dieting. It's not what humans would normally eat if totally unregulated. But bring in food deficits in the wild and in the village, and you'll be eating 900, 1000 calories.  I read a story years ago of the caloric intake of some African region in famine. It was just under 1000 calories daily. Yep. They were STARVING.

It is starvation eating being on a diet of 900 to 1200 calories (and certainly if you're under 900, you're in serious deficit, which is why those WLS peops eating 500 to 700 cals a day drop astoundingly huge numbers in short order). It just is. But it's often necessary to gain control of our portions, triggers, etc. It's necessary because we wanna burn fat week after week after month after month...and lose that crapload of weight. We do it nutritionally soundly within those limitations (I hope), with good food, with vitamins to fill holes as needed (I always take my TwinLab One Daily and Vit D and Magnesium, if nothing else), with lots of fluids to flush the crap out and keep us hydrated, with rest, with destressing. Starving is stressful. Anytime we wanna burn fat, we essentially have to go into starving mode (ie, make the body see a deficit and burn fat consisitently, week in and week out).

One day, that will end. You get to a weight you want or can live with, and you go into maintenance. No longer "starving". No longer in the consistent burn fat stores mode. Now, we hold on best we can. :)

That's gonna be tough. We know from studies, for those once obese, holding off that regain is beyond hard. It's a lifelong project.

You  need to know what's ahead. The work never stops.

But a minority does it. Just like a minority of folks get PhDs, a minority climb mountains, a minority publish novels, a minority run a marathon, a minority become millionaires.

It's not impossible. But it's hard hard hard.

Accept it now. Decide we're gonna be in that minority. Get the warrior brain in gear. Stop playing games. Me and you, we're not playing games. We're out to conquer Everest. It takes gut, grit, determination, and perseverance.

And the moment you quit, it's likely over.

Read the Big Fat Facts, and do not lose heart. Use the facts to be sober about reality. The odds are against us.

Decide if you're ready for the climb to the mountain. If not, get the equipment and companions you need. Get the mindset. I'm going for the top. I'm gonna be fierce. Even if I can't hold on to 160 when I get there, I want to remember how happy I am at 181. And I want to hold on to THIS.

One way or another, I must remember how good this feels and how awful 250, 270, 300 felt. That felt HORRIBLE. I don't give a rat's butt what society thought about me at 300. I felt AWFUL. My quality of life was AWFUL. I hated how I felt nearly dead in my own skin.

I want to be alive in my skin, even if society thinks I'm too fat. I like me here. Fat, but alive.

Will I succeed at maintaning? God knows. But only I can make it happen.  I have to have the resolve or the journey's over and I will be obese again. I must become steel, or the mountain wins and I wallow at the bottom, full of regret.

Five percent. Maybe less. Maybe more. But roughly. FIVE PERCENT.

If one hundred of you are weight loss blogging and  you made it to goal, 95 of you are probably gonna be obese again.


The very few.

I intend to become one.

May God help us make that minority, whatever the actual percentage is these days.

Look around. How many of your blogging friends who lost weight had it easy keeping it off? How many even kept it off? How many are regaining?

Where do you wanna be?

The 95%
The 5%

Decide. Then do what it takes to be in the group you feel is best for you. One or the other.

You may want to be in the 95%. It's your decision.

I'm going for the 5.

It's a New Year--greetings and good wishes to my Jewish readers, l'shanah tovah!-- so if you messed up after January 1st, get a new start in with sundown. Another day, another chance to begin anew with a firm resolve. Don't wait until Jan 1, 2012. Get going NOW! Go for the FIVE!

Never quit. Be well.


"KT" said...

I have a problem with being "too confident". I've always wanted to underestimate myself instead of overestimate myself. It is easier to say I might fail but I'll keep going than I will NOT fail and keep going, I really don't know why. I'm losing weight and blogging about it but I wouldn't call myself a "weight loss blogger" and I'm not sure when I'll feel I've "earned" that. I do know that I feel like I am effecting real change in my life and my mind (not turning to food as solace, being active, etc.). I used to think, "When I lose weight, I can go back to my old habits but exercise more." Now I think, "There is no going back. I don't want to go back. I will not go back." So we'll see. :)

prairieprincess said...

Awesome! It is so true that we have to take it seriously. That is what I realize this time but sometimes still forget. It is a HUGE undertaking to lose weight and to maintain is still HUGE. We can never completely let ourselves go in a total carefree way, eating whatever we want every day. Those days were probably only a reality when we were maybe 12 years old.

This is great stuff: a sober reminder. Thanks!

Angela Pea said...

5%. I will be the 5%.

Rachellabelle - My Hips Don't Lie said...

I think a huge part to staying successful is picking a reasonable "goal" weight for yourself. You are definitely doing that. I am in the process of re-assessing my optimal weight. I don't think I can do 140lbs again. I'm even not hating where I'm at now, but I know BMI scale says it's still bad. We'll see. :)

Betty said...

That is scary. I still doubt myself and don´t know if I will manage to be in those 5%. I WANT to, but will I have the discipline to do it?
I agree that we have to pick a reasonable goal weight. It will not be what the "books" say I should be. I will find the weight where I´m comfortable, like you. And then I will strive to maintain. But for now, I want to LOSE!

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I intend to stay right where I am. I have to keep an eye on the scale and on my calorie intake. It is a never-ending struggle. I feel successful but it is yet to be seen if it will be a long-term success. When I am 5 years out of surgery, if I haven't had a regain, I will consider that I have maintained well.

Michele said...

Yep, I plan to be in that minority, too. Great post.

Bluezy said...

I always had to be the girl that knew the answer in school. When some other girl knew one more answer, I would work hard to be the top girl. Boys got in the way of that...but if they say that 5 percent can hack it and the rest can't..The can watch my smaller little butt turn in their direction walking away as I say "See ya *&%$#)&^"! I plan on being a part of that.

Jane Cartelli said...

The last time I was 385 was January of 2003. The last time I was 285 was 2006. I will hit what I call my five year marker this November 25th. You know when I will know if I am in the 5% - not until I am dead. Until then we all have the ability to gain it back. That is why I know I must keep doing what works today and tomorrow.


Anne H said...

Love every word.
Couldn't agree more.
Happy New Year to you - on this - my fave Holiday!

Laryssa said...

Who knows what the actual percentage really is? But like you said, regardless of that, do we want to be in the group that regains or the group that keeps the weight off? Um, let me think. hahaha Of course I want to be in the LOSERS group that keeps it off!

spunkysuzi said...

I will definitely be in the 5%!!

Maggie said...

Thank you for "telling it like it is". It's scary. I've lost weight in the past and regained. I know now hopefully what I need to work on to be in the 5%. I really enjoy your blog!

Smile Bunches Today!!!

MB said...

I want to be a minority. I'm going for the five. I've done the 95 too many times. This time is different. I'll meet you at the submit. Happy New Year!

Beth said...

Yes, I am unfortunate proof of that narrow percentage - even in spite of maintaining a 70 pound weight loss for 5 years a few years back. When I relapsed and started gaining, I gained 100 pounds to reach my highest weight. It's true, the fight never stops. I really wish that I felt happy at 180 but I don't. I think 150 suits me better. But darn, I would like those extra calories every day!