Have You Lost (And Kept Off) a Significant Amount of Weight?

Updated on July 17, 2013
X.O. asks from Naperville, IL
20 answers

I've packed on pounds over the past 10 years (after losing 30 lbs on Atkins in my early 20s) with 4 pregnancies and not nearly enough activity (compared with my teen years when I was very athletic, but still overweight).

After my next baby is born I want to/need to lose about 115 lbs to get to my ideal weight

I have had moderate success on Weight Watchers, but I can't seem to stick with it long enough to lose enough, and it all just feels so overwhelming.

So, if you have lost a ton of weight (at least 50 lbs) and have kept it off, what have you done?

My husband suggests a combination of a weight loss food/medication program, but I am not sure about doing it. I know that weight loss is 90% diet, and 10% exercise, and maintenance is 90% exercise, 10% diet (or something like that).

I already eat very healthy/clean foods, but I eat too much when I am stressed out (which is frequently).

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I used phentermine in the past, and lost some initially. I didn't experience any of the negative side effects with it, although we know the risks. If I wasn't living with a doc, I'd be more scared of it, but I feel confident that he will help me monitor for any possible side effects. Actually, on the phentermine I had a ton of energy, which comes in handy when you have lots of little ones, yet it didn't interfere with my sleep.
@Everly - Yes, the Medifast plan, TSL is exactly what my husband wants me to do. That, or Optifast.

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answers from Albuquerque on

I've lost 30 pounds (which isn't 50, but for me it was a ton!) doing Take Shape for Life -- a version of Medifast with health coaching. I absolutely recommend it. The coaching was the part that really got me interested and kept me going. My health coach has a Facebook page where all of her people can post, and tons of the women on there have lost 50, 80 and even 100 pounds.

For me this works because I don't have to think about it... it's pre packaged "meals" (all shelf stable) and then one healthy meal a day with protein and veggies. And the weight comes off fast. Most of the people I saw who have 100+ pounds to go lose 8 - 10 pounds their first week, then 3 - 5 a week for the next couple of months. Mine was a bit slower, but I still lost 5 the first week and 2 every week thereafter. If you want to get more info - I can send you my health coach's info (and just so this response doesn't get pulled: I don't sell TSFL! I don't get any compensation for passing you on).

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answers from Chicago on

My brothers girlfriend has went from a size 18 to a size 8 in the last two years with weight watchers.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I can't vouch for a significant amount of weight being lost (I am still working on it, but it's going well)... However, in several of the OA groups I attend, there are LOTS and LOTS of people who have lost over 100lbs and or less and have kept it off. Try OA.. it's free... there are many groups at all hours of the day (even online or call in) .... if you go to their website, they have a list of questions they ask.. by answering the questions, you'll be able to ascertain if you might be a compulsive over-eaters..
It's been a great program for me.. At first I went into it thinking it was ALL about weight loss. I have come to discover that although that is a benefit, what's been more gratifying is learning and coming to terms with why I overeat.. Turns out, that I wasn't just a compulsive eater, I was also a compulsive spender (mostly on others) I was a compulsive over-giver... The list goes on.. The 12 step programs are so much more than learning to tackle the substance we turn to.. They are about getting down to the bottom of things..
Gotta say, it's actually not an easy program in the sense that you have to look at your own behavior and take your own inventory.. IF a person is really honest about doing this, it can at times be painful.. but you work through it..
I really don't think turning to meds or dieting (something we don't do in OA) is a good idea.. Try OA first.. you NEVER have to commit.. there isn't any pressure..
Some people think it's a GOD program.. it's not, in fact, many Atheist work the program as well. It can be about your higher power (As you know it) but that' s about it...
What do you have to lose.. try out a meeting, see if you like it..

my best to you

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answers from New York on

85 lbs. 40 years ago! Four kids later, menopause too and am 15 lbs heavier. Did the old original weight watcher diet. It is ingrained in my brain but works so,well. It taught me the proper way to eat. A WW cookbook and a bit of creativity and you are good to go. Good luck.

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answers from Chicago on

For myself, I would get on the scale and if the loss wasn't there or not significant, I was disappointed. My loving husband would kindly remind me that I didn't put the weight on overnight so I can't expect it to come off overnight.
I've lost 52 lbs so far and am still working on it. (I ended up with two close pregnancies which happily delayed my weight loss) What I went by was water, walk, and fiber.

I have a 24oz water bottle and keep it filled. I don't care for plain water, so Mio liquid flavorings help and there's a variety of flavors to choose from. I increased my fiber intake by eating higher fiber foods and using things like Benefiber to mix into food and drinks through the day. I also walked to and from work which at the time was 2 miles one way. I put my things in a backpack (including extra deodorant), started my playlist of upbeat music and took off. I wasn't used to it at first and it took me longer, but as my body got used to it, my time decreased significantly. I like watching shows like Biggest Loser and found that a two hour episode of it had 38 minutes of commercials which let me do brief exercises like crunches, sit ups, leg lifts, etc.

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answers from Norfolk on

I started last Dec 1st by seeing my Dr.
My BMI was 47.9
He put me on Adipex, told me to use a food diary (MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople are free), drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water per day (more if I'm out for over an hour in 80+ weather) and do not eat more than 1200 calories per day.
I can have anything I want just as long as I do not exceed 1200 calories per day (although I find that salty foods make losing the weight a bit harder).
So far I've lost 60 lbs and my current BMI is 38.3
I still have a ways to go and I'm losing weight more slowly but I'm still making progress.
I still have 80 lbs to go in order to get to a BMI of 25 but I'm almost half way there and I already feel so much better than I felt 60 lbs ago.

Exercise is good for you in so many ways but not so much for weight loss (or maintaining it).
It will increase your appetite and it's way too easy to 'reward' yourself with a 800 calorie muffin when walking a mile only burnt off 300 calories.
You have to watch that daily caloric intake and the food diary really helps you track that and stick with it.
I also watch the sugar/carbohydrate highs because once the insulin has processed that blood sugar and it dips, you really REALLY feel hungry.
Complex carbohydrates (steel cut oatmeal for one) helps keep the blood sugar levels more steady and when I do feel hungry I'll have a glass of water first (with just a splash of lemon juice) then have a protein for a snack (a Greek yogurt or a 100 calorie pack of nuts).
I see my Dr once per month which works better for me than weekly weigh ins.
It's important not to go too far below 1200 calories per day because you can throw your metabolism into famine mode - which means it will burn calories more slowly and slow down the weight loss.

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answers from Tampa on

I have lost a total of 100 pounds since having my son 7 years ago. That was though sheer will power and exercise. I started off by just walking, then went to the gym a few days a week. To now I go to the gym 5 days and do 2 days of beach/pool time. The gym helps with everyday stress as well! I still treat myself to goodies, but its moderation. If its in your budget hire a personal trainer, at least a few sessions so they can help you get a good workout program going. My husband went to college for sport and fitness sciences so he helped me so much when it came time to say enough! Good Luck on your new Jouney in life😊

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answers from Chicago on

I Have Lost 92 Lbs Since Sept 2012. I Still Have More To Go. I Went With A Bariatric Doc.. However No Surgery. I Exercise And Dont Cheat Even On Holidays, Because I Have Learned I Am More Important And Nothing Tastes As Good As People Complimenting You Left And Right.At Celebrations It's The People Who Are Important, Not The Food Or Alcohol. Cadence Health Has The Program A Closer Hospital Could Give You Guidance As Well. Relying On A Trendy Diet And Doing It On Your Own May Work But Will Take From Efforts And Success For The Long Term.

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answers from Peoria on

I think it's exercise more than you eat in most cases...at least for me it is. I lost 65 lbs on my own & kept it off for 12.5 yrs! It was easy for me & really was not hard at all keeping it off either like some people may think. I just quit eating so much & quit eating the wrong foods & did a LOT of walking. The weight literally just fell off me. I went from a sz 16 to a sz 10 (197 down to 135 then settled at 140). I'm taller so that was the perfect size for me and the 5 lbs difference really wasn't all that different for me.

IMO, a lot of times, people over-eat b/c the food is there & we just eat it b/c it's staring at us so we start craving it in our minds. We sometimes eat out of boredom or b/c we're trying to avoid leftovers or just b/c the food is just so dern yummy you can't help yourself but to eat more b/c it tastes SO GOOOOOOD.

The trick is to just STOP! Eat til you're satisfied, wait a little bit & see if you're still hungry. It's a lot easier than you think. You just have to occupy yourself w/other things than food. What I've been doing is taking what I need, putting on the plate, putting the remaining portions in the fridge for later. That way, I won't be tempted to eat more before the next meal then I occupy myself with other things. You have kids so spend your time doing things w/them. Maybe go outside & play or go to a museum, etc.

Also there are other tricks like using smaller plates, putting the fork/spoon down w/each bite, switching one 'good' food for one 'not so healthy' food, etc. I also found that the LA Weightloss plan works REALLY well too. Just get more exercise, eat less, cut out sodas & other 'junk' that you really don't need & eat better. You don't have to avoid yummy stuff, just fix it differently. For instance, if you like pork chops, bake or broil instead of fry. If you like chicken...bake, broil, or boil it. If you love fried chicken as we do, you can make baked fried chicken that is totally yummy! You don't HAVE to eat salads & veggies all the time, we don't. Don't deprive yourself of stuff you like, just eat in moderation...like, for me, I try to eat one slice of pie ala mode instead of two at a time (or cake, cookies, etc but for cookies, I at least have to have two! lol) but honestly, we RARELY eat sweets, we're really not sweets or junk eaters but when we do it's for the holiday dinners & we don't eat a lot of breads or chips, etc, just an occasional sandwich and MAYBE a small bag of chips on occasion. I prefer nuts over chips and we eat whole wheat or grain crackers if we have chili or whatever needs crackers and we don't eat a lot of those either...things like this ARE doable, you just have to stop & think about it first, think of what you're willing to give up that you don't need. You just have to make up your mind & do it. Needs over Wants. If you exercise, start out w/5-10 mins at a time. I HATE exercising but there are things you can do that's exercising w/o the 'workout' blahs. Physical play w/the kids like 'catch' or frisbee, hide & go seek, tag or just go for a walk, take the stairs, park far from the door at the market, plant a garden, clean the house, if you have a dog, walking the dog or taking it to the park is exercise...exercise can be fun w/o being 'blah'.

Hope this helps, good luck!!!

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answers from Boston on

You might think about which method make you feel good while you're losing weight. For my sister, it was weight watchers. For me, it's Atkins (without any of the Atkins pre-made food). We liked what we were able to eat, and lost tons. Of course our conversations were hysterical, because we were eating and eliminating opposite foods! But the important part for each of us was that we enjoyed what we were doing. Otherwise, it's all will-power, and deprivation is not my style! Best of luck!

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answers from Wausau on

It sounds like the most important thing is to address the cause of your stress and learn coping techniques. Otherwise, no diet plan will work in the long run because your emotional state will sabotage you.

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answers from Washington DC on

I had weight loss surgery in October and am down 133 pounds from my highest weight, and exactly 120 from my surgery date. Sometimes even that sounds discouraging to me because I feel like it should be more. I'm still plus size and just want to get to where I am in normal size clothing.

However, PROTEIN shakes will be your best friend. I know a girl who went from 270 to 180 in less than a year doing WW and a lot of protein. WW teaches you HOW to eat, WHAT to eat, and how MUCH to eat. So while it can be frustrating to learn, it really becomes a lifestyle. I plan to start back up with that in October when I hit my year, though I hope and plan to lose another 25-30 by then.

Find something you LIKE to do, so it doesn't seem like exercise. I LOVE Zumba and am interested in starting to run...so find something that sounds like fun to you and do it. I always think of the commercial that says "a body at rest tends to stay at rest while a body in motion tends to stay in motion" and that normally gets me up and moving. Even at the pool with the kids I'll just walk laps around the pool if I'm not in the mood to get in. But I do the diving board and slide with them and those force swimming and climbing...I'll get in and play football with my little ones, or toss them (which they love). So just get moving in any way you can, up your proteins and decrease carbs (SO hard to do), and change your lifestyle...that's really the only way. Aside from surgery which forces these changes.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi, I have never lost as much weight as you are looking to lose, but I was able to go from a size 10 to a size 4 in about 3 months using Body for Life. This was before I had kids and I am unfortunately back up to between a 6 and 8 now, so I am thinking about doing it again. I have even convinced my husband to do it with me and am looking to by an elipticle to get started since I can't make it to a gym.

The book guides you through the plan, so I won't go into details, but basically you eat 6 meals a day that are portioned for you and you work out 6 days a week and follow the diet 6 days a week. Then you get a day off! This is what sold it for me. I loved having one day off a week, especially from the diet. I could eat McDonald's once a week and still be on a diet. I did see the portions I was able to eat shrink. For example, I was down to having a hamburger happy meal as my McDonald's meal at the end because I had lost so much weight that that was enough for me.

The workouts can also fit into a lunch hour, which also was great for me. I worked out during lunch when I did it the first time and this time I plan on working out after I put the kids to bed, so a long workout just doesn't fit for me. The workouts go from 20 to 45 minutes if you follow the plan precisely. I won't get into details, but for the 45 minute workout, you are doing weights and they tell you to rest a minute between each set. This may be ideal, and may be necessary early on, but I only had a lunch hour when I was doing these workouts so I didn't rest as long and I was usually done in 30 minutes so that I had time to shower, etc.

I would highly recommend it. I started it one spring, before I was in 3 weddings. One was my best friend's wedding and she did it with me at the time. My parents ended up doing it as well after they saw my results, and they both looked great at my sister's wedding!

Good Luck.

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answers from New York on

I have managed to lose 45 lbs over the last 5 years, the last 20 in the last 9 months.

Fad diets and diets that cut out X or why allow for short term major losses but you will most likely gain it back.

I too am a stress eater, cakes, chocolate, both...

What i do is have 5 or so smaller meals. If I am stressed one of those meals / snack is some treat for me. Drink a lot of water - before and during meals. Do not drink juice! Have fruit instead. Eat a great breakfast, lots of protien, some carbs etc. My favorite to kick off my morning is vanilla greek yogurt topped with some granola cereal and a tbl or two of choclate syrup.

Portion control helps. Put your food on your plate, do NOT having serving dishes with more food on the table. You are less likely to go for the extra serving if you have to get up to have it. And drink more water!

Last for stress eating change what you eat if you can - make it something healthier, filling and time consuming. Edamame in the pods tastes great fills the salty craving and is healthy. Best yet shelling them as you eat takes time and effort and focusing on it makes a great distraction. Slowly peeling and orange or grapefruit and separating all the sections before eating.... slice and apple, then covering each slice with a bit a peanut butter...

Exercise is what it is.... if you exercise in the morning you have more energy during the day. I walk a lot and swim when I can.

Good luck

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answers from Houston on

Well I am so in your shoes, totally relating! I need to lose 100lbs after three babies in 5 yrs, the third was a surprise so I really had no time between 2 and 3, and I packed on the pounds. I thank God everyday that I am tall and that Kohl's has cute plus size clothes!! I too started WW, I have maintained a 20lb weight loss, but I am struggling bc the task is so daunting. The most I have ever had to lose in the past was about 30 lbs, which I lost and kept off for about 5 yrs till I got pregnant. ANYWAY, here is what I am trying now, hoping it will give me a good kick start. I am doing a slimfast in the morning with a banana, a protein power snack like Greek yogurt, a protein shake for lunch with some veggies, then a regular dinner, and lots of water all day. I am still on WW and logging in my points, but so far it is helping me stay on points and not use all my bonus points. I am not going to worry right now if I don't eat all my daily points bc I have to get the weight loss moving. I decided to try this bc I don't want surgery. I was reading when people get lap band etc, they will often be put on liquid diet a few weeks before to see if they can handle he liquid diet they have to do right after. So I figured I could try a modified approach myself. I am planning to use this method till I get to 200lbs, then contine to use WW to transition back to a totally food diet bc then I will only have about 40 lbs or so to lose. Time on partial liquid diet will be maybe about 4 to 5 months. At this point the best thing I can do for myself is get this weight off, I talked it over with my husband bc sometimes if I eat lunch out or something, I might have a shake at night, he was fine with the plan. I will say that after I use the slimfast I got I am going to use protein shakes only bc the slimfast just doesn't have the protein I need, but I got it, so I'll use it up. Anyway, I am hoping this works, I have a Pilates type workout I do, so I am getting back t that tomorrow. Today is my 37th birthday, so this year my gift to myself is to get healthy! Good luck girl, I truly wish you success bc I understand how hard it is!

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answers from Boston on

I am in the beginning of a program by Jonny Bowden. If you look him up you can find the program and a lot of information. I bought the program (e-books and access to the web) for $39. The first week, you don't change your diet. You read the e-books, complete a workbook called the Craving Crusher Action Guide, choose recipes for the next few week, plan your meals and shop. Then you follow a pretty strict low-carb, higher fat and protein diet for 2 weeks. The goal is to cut through insulin resistance that is created by carbs so that your body can work the way it's supposed to, which is to burn fat for fuel. During weeks a 4 & 5, you start re-introducing some dairy and carbs and see how your body handles them. During week 6 and beyond, you learn to maintain. Many people stay in the restrictive phases to lose a lot of weight.

I have been trying lots of things over the years and get very little by way of results for a ridiculous amount of effort. Yes if I eat 1200-1500 calories a day and work out for at least 5 hours a week I can lose weight, but it's like 2-5 lbs over a month. Who can sustain that? Not me. I just did a 2-day, 150 mile charity bike ride for which I trained 5 months, biking as many as 10 hours a week. How much weight did I lose? 5 lbs total and that was all in the first month. I actually gained weight during the last month of training, when I stopped going to kickboxing and jogging because I couldn't fit in those with biking 100 miles a week.

So anyway...calories in/calories out doesn't work for me. And it's not that I eat too few calories - if I go over 1500 calories for more than a day or two, I gain. Something is broken with how my body processes food. My thyroid is allegedly fine, as are my BP, cholesterol, glucose and triglyceride levels. I would guess that my adrenals are stressed and that my cortisol is out of whack, but my insurance won't cover those tests. So I'm going to try this rather strict protocol and see how it goes. Hopefully this will be what I need to kick start my body back into a healthy weight!

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answers from Chicago on

We all KNOW what to do, it's just DOING it. Right? I mean I know, drink all that water and no other liquid calories (which did help me lose 20 lbs this year by the way, then I started drinking stuff again... ugh). I should portion control, eat more fruits/veggies and less carbs and high calorie foods. I should cut out my candy consumption completely. (yeah, tried that, I feel like I need to go to a rehab place to stop that addiction) We should exercise daily, we should ....
Doing it's the hard part.

The last time I lost all weight it wasn't this bad. Medicines made me gain 40 lbs in a year though so it seems harder to get the weight gone. What I did that time is food journal and not allow myself over a certain amount of calories. Like someone else said, I didn't care WHAT the calories were but stopped at a certain amount. I started with 2000 calories, which was low for me. After I could do that without feeling hungry I went to 1800, then to 1500 after that was ok. When I did it gradual it wasn't that hard. I really have to get back to doing THIS. I also jumped rope each morning. I started trying to do 2 minutes. That was next to impossible, but I kept doing it every morning until I could do 3 minutes straight. Then 5 minutes and finally 7 minutes each day was my daily goal. I also did some stuff at nap time - I had hand and ankle weights, not really heavy ones, and I just did every kind of stretch I could think of with those. I did that for about 15 minutes. So I worked out very little but it worked in with my schedule.

Then I got pregnant again, and well, here I am back at 200. Too bad I can't blame it on baby weight, she's almost 11. LOL.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I have seen some great results from shakeology and the beach body on my fb. I purchased the shakeology and it does taste good. I have not had weight loss from it. Also, i did get the runs from drinking it (so i should have lost weight).

I lost weight after baby #1, yet was still 20 pound more than preprgnancy and now I have really let myself go. I am getting my thyroid tested because after first child it was hypo and for some reason it went back to normal. I do over eat, yet i find it hard to believe I over eat to be 60 pounds over my regular weight pre kids.

I would be scared to take medication (most of it is speed of some sort and that makes me think it is 1. unnatural and 2. once you stop taking the drug the weight will go back. Your husband is a doctor. Does he have opinions on the weight loss drugs and the negative effect?

I have also noticed honest women have told me they had the surgery and I can not recall the name of each surgery. So this is annoying to think 'oh, she did it, so can I." only to find out it was surgery. They still need to eat right and workout to have results long term, but talk about a major jump start.

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answers from Chicago on

There's a website & app called MyFitnessPal - this is a very good tool. You track everything you eat and your exercise, fill out your profile (weight, height, age, etc) and how many pounds you want to lose per week. The good thing is that it works and it's free!! You have to be very diligent about logging everything (but the logging is simple and you can even scam barcodes from your smart phone). Personally, I feel exercising and diet go hand in hand and the easiest way to lose weight is to manage your portions and exercise regularly. After my second baby, I lost 30 pounds in a manner of 4 months. I ad a few days here and there where I exceeded my calories but I got back on track the next day. Try it out!

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answers from Chicago on

Hear are some tricks that I have learned over the years. I was never overweight until I had children where I have gained 50 lbs with two pregencies: 1. Never finish your child's plate...(I gave it to the dogs)
2. Always eat when you are hungry not when your bored.
3. When you eat, use a lunchen plate not a dinner plate.
4. Don't have seconds until you wait a few minutes sometimes your stomach doesn't realize it full until you wait.
5. Snacks are ok but eat fruit or veggies. No chips!
6. Don't drink pop, diet is worse substitute with water.
7. During the holidays don't over eat and take small portions.

I have dropped 10 pounds by just doing the first 7 rules.
To decrease more 8. Exercise. If you are 30 pounds overweight, start of walking first. I either walked the dogs, walked the babies with a jogging stroller or wagons when they got older. After losing 20 pounds, start jogging and do some light weights to bulid muscle...I used ankle weight and hand weights never went to the gym.

When you get to the ideal weight...don't over treat yourself watch what you eat and weigh yourself at least once a week. I do weigh myself everyday so if I gain 5 pounds, I try to exercise a little more.

PS...I never used any type of medications to lose weight ...I don't believe in it and I think if you set your mind to do it ...you can.

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