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AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
8/6/14 5:41 P

For me, it is a health issue. I have 5 different metabolic diseases. If I want to be thin, I must be incredibly strict, and tracking helps with that. I was able to lose 55 pounds without changing my diet much at all, but when I reached a plateau, tracking food was the next necessary step. I have ALWAYS consumed real food--no fast food, very little restaurant food and very little that is processed.

If you have a normal metabolism and don't need to track...well, good for you. That just is not the reality for many of us.

ATHENA1966 Posts: 3,974
8/6/14 5:35 P

JERF maybe you should write a book. Seriously, you have obviously found an approach that works for you. You might be able to help someone else. Unfortunately, you are the exception, not the norm.

I do believe that many of us are unable to regulate our weight unconsciously (myself included) for a multitude of reasons. I don't believe its a simple answer. Sights like Spark, give those of us who struggle daily, an opportunity to improve our health and fitness. This process is certainly complicated with disease and injury (often the result of a unhealthy lifestyle). Cherish your good health.

FLORADITA SparkPoints: (64,222)
Fitness Minutes: (41,213)
Posts: 541
8/6/14 4:12 P

I eat clean, a mostly vegetarian diet but I am also an emotional eater and when under stress I crave junk food, chips, cookies, chocolate etc. I have no thyroid function and even though I take 2 thyroid medications I must stay within the lower range of my calorie intake or I will gain weight. I can easily put on 5 pounds in a week just by eating out a few times a week. For me tracking my food and weighing myself weekly helps put controls in place that have allowed me to lose and maintain weight over the past 2-3 years. I workout 4 or more times a week and eat a very healthy diet but it does not take much for the weight to creep back on. I would love to be able to live my life and not have to think about whether or not I am eating too much or exercising enough but that is not my reality. I lived that way for a number of years and ended up with a top weight of 220 pounds. At 159 pounds with a goal of reaching 140 pounds, the process has become even harder. Every single pound lost is weeks of hard, hard work and diligence. I am happy for those who can maintain without the need for diligence but it will never be my reality.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,527
8/6/14 2:22 P

I don't know, but I would love to get to the point where I don't religiously track my food and exercise.

For me food is emotional and that is why I must track. And also I am not as good at eyeballing serving sizes as I thought I was. I am not so diligent about tracking vegetables. What harm can come from eating more than a serving of broccoli or spinach? Other things like meat and grains. I must measure and track those. I have a bad habit of thinking something is a serving when it is really two or three.

I am blessed that in a five mile radius. I have many grocery stores with large produce sections. Another grocery store is going to open in the Fall. Just thirty minutes from me there are places that only have convenience stores and the like. And many in this area don't have cars and rely on the train and busses.

I wish I was lucky enough to have it all figured out.

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 8/6/2014 (16:09)
LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (83,977)
Fitness Minutes: (65,929)
Posts: 5,025
8/5/14 9:25 P

And many...for legitimate medical reasons beyond their "control"...will have the deck stacked against them. Genetic factors lead to so many more effects than just "hormones".... And once a disease process starts, the negative cycle of medications which truly do help resolve one issue, almost invariably lead to other issues. Additionally, many disease processes preclude consistently healthy daily exercise---let alone any "athletic-type" exercise.

Eating healthy foods CERTAINLY helps...but I don't believe this puzzle is that simple!!

Cherish your good fortune!! emoticon

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
8/5/14 8:49 P

"How and why are some people able to unconsciously regulate their weight while others have to be extremely diligent..."

Wellll isn't that the Billion Dollar Question.... if it could be answered, I do believe we'd see the end of the "obesity epidemic."

I would suggest that "eating off the grid" (i.e. going back to whole ingredients, unprocessed foods, home-cooked meals in a culture of Industrial Uber Processed Fast Food) is one thing that can help... it's much harder to overeat-to-obesity on fresh fruits, veggies, and lean meats than it is on froot loops, doritos and slim jims - you can go about your daily food-life without having to measure everything down to the gram when it's low-calorie-density foods, as "whole ingredients" tend to be in relation to processed foods and snack items. We would all do well to "clean up our menus" but it can be very very challenging for many of us in this culture of excess and instant-gratification, orchestrated by an entire science of "food appeal" that processers and marketers employ to turn our instincts against our best interests.

Edited by: BUNNYKICKS at: 8/5/2014 (20:51)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
8/5/14 8:05 P

@JERF: I overstated that a little; what I actually meant is as you described it. Paying no real attention to calories, just eating in a way that feels more or less normal, with little effort or attention required.

I do that, myself, by virtue of a combination of very little junk food, few eating-related "issues" in my history, and a bit of attention from time to time that I'm not fooling myself as regards the few issues that I do still have. That's about it. I know I'm lucky, but I feel normal.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,274
8/5/14 6:31 P

most of us are born with that kind of ability. the people who legitimately don't have this capability are studied by science. but then life happens. and instead of this pristine feedback loop where you are hungry and then you eat til you're full your parents make you clean your plate. and over time this basically trains you to ignore that "this is about enough" cue that you were using in that loop beforehand and instead eat til the plate is clean. so your cue is no longer a sensation inside you, it's the vessel in front of you not having food on it. at which point in time plates and bowls started getting larger, which in turn made your portions larger. your stomach is also getting used to holding larger portions of food and what used to be uncomfortable is now what you think of as normal. so even were you to get a proper sized portion, it would not feel like enough based on what you usually get and you'd be more likely to eat until you got to that overfull feeling that you think of as regular full now. then you have the people that get sucked in to emotional eating, which adds another layer of distortion to that feedback loop.
next there is perception. people tend to overestimate the good things that they eat and underestimate the bad things [same likely goes for activity]. so even though you ate a snickers today, you had a big salad too. when your feedback loop is already screwed up it's hard to see that your side salad wasn't enough to balance out the king sized snickers or that your salad was half croutons and cheese and swimming in dressing and maybe that might defeat it being a salad. marketers also play on this so that you think that their junky product is better for you than it is [see nutella]. so that bring even more distortion to the party.
we also live in a society where we expect what we want now five minutes ago. cake is better moderated when you have to bake the thing. most people aren't willing to bake themselves a cake a day because of time and effort involved. grabbing one from the grocery store requires no effort, time or calories to make and so it's easy to grab one or two or three. and a lot of times it's not that it's the one little exceptional overage that's the issue. the issue is that the 100-200 cal little exceptional overage is happening two, three, four, five time a day and isn't really a little exceptional overage. it's not being able to see the forest for the trees. if you started in atlanta and wanted to head east to dc, it doesn't matter as much if you turn left or right to get there if your first step was driving west. once you're a little off, it's easier to inch off even farther from where you want to be.
and not everyone has every one of these things [or did i get anywhere near listing all of the reasons that this happens], but the more you have and the more layered they are in your history the harder it is to get back to what something should be. basically it's like having a broken gas gauge in your car. you probably set the trip odometer and know how far you can go based on your average mileage. if you can't rely on whatever comes from the factory, you figure out whatever you need to to get the job done. that doesn't mean either way is better if both get the job done. it's also a little easier to maintain your weight than to lose weight since losing weight means eating out of balance with what you burn.

8/5/14 5:41 P

RENATARUNS - It's not really that I pay no attention whatsoever to diet, because I do consciously try and eat healthy. It's that I have been able maintain for 3 years while not having to consciously regulate my calories in/calories out. There must be others out there that are able to do this as well.

JENG829 - I am a Jonathan Bailor fan so I have heard of his book (although I haven't read it) and I listen to his podcasts. Very interesting stuff for sure.

My mom, dad and sister are all overweight. My mom eats a very low calorie diet and she is unable to lose weight. When I was visiting her we figured out how many points I'd be allowed on Weight Watchers for fun and I had eaten nearly my whole days allotment (28 points) just for breakfast that day. If calories in/calories out is the deciding factor in whether we lose or gain weight then why can't my mom lose any weight?

So the types of foods eaten, hormones, lifestyle, stress, lack of sleep, emotional eating and social eating can all mess with our bodies natural ability to regulate weight.

That's a great list, thank you to those who replied. I guess I am able to control a lot of those things with some degree of success.

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 8/5/2014 (17:42)
JENG829 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (14,729)
Posts: 791
8/5/14 12:26 P

I think your username says it all. Eating real food supplies you with nutrients your body needs, minimizing cravings and overeating.

There's an interesting book called The Calorie Myth that discusses set points for body weight and how our bodies can adjust to a little more or a little less food, provided you are eating food your body can use properly. It is somewhat controversial, and I suspect most here would disagree. But it really is interesting stuff. It also discusses hormonal and metabolic effects of different foods (i.e. a calorie is a calorie is too simple, as is calories in/calories out)

Definitely hormones, lifestyle, and any emotional issues can also play a factor.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
8/5/14 11:47 A

There's probably dozens of reasons. If I had to guess I'd say that lack of emotional issues with food is the biggest reason why some can do this and some can't. Personal history with portion size and snacking (and current "internalized" controls on those things) must be another one. Types of food chosen, frequency of social eating (or anything else outside the house). Finally, personal metabolic quirks: some people are just going to be operating closer to the weight-gain edge than others, so to speak, and might need to be more careful.

And keep in mind that weight changes for many if not most happen very slowly. Ability to pay no attention whatsoever to diet and maintain weight over two weeks is not the same thing as ability to pay no attention whatsoever to diet and maintain weight over two years. I have no intention of ever giving up the scale, only to find that I've gained five pounds in six months and have to face reconsidering my lifestyle all over again.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
8/5/14 11:34 A

The OP has been maintaining for years.
They found what works for them and they are doing it.

The majority of the people here are just starting out and/or tweaking things so that THEY can also find out what works for THEM.

It is a long process.

ROMEOTHECAT SparkPoints: (1,310)
Fitness Minutes: (827)
Posts: 47
8/5/14 11:27 A

Some people are able to, so to speak, make better choices. They pick better food items. They exercise regularly as part of a routine. They stop eating when they're sated, not stuffed. And a part of it is probably good genes and a healthy culture around them as well.

Others of us, myself included, have a history of being slugs who eat to the point of being stuffed, have issues with problem or compulsive eating, and are so exhausted from life that we can't imagine squeezing in fitness and good diet until we force ourselves to. High stress, a culture that glorifies overeating, and a family history of weight problems are things that don't help the cause of people like me.

8/5/14 9:33 A

I don't track my food. I don't track my exercise. So I don't pay attention to my calories in vs. calories out. I eat healthy foods when I'm hungry and stop eating when I get full. I enjoy some dark chocolate everyday and other treats a few times a week. I just weighed myself which I haven't done in a few weeks and my weight is exactly the same as I was the last time I weighed myself.

My question is,

How and why are some people able to unconsciously regulate their weight while others have to be extremely diligent in their tracking in order to lose and maintain their weight?

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