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Okay experienced dieters out there--and that's pretty much all of us, right? Has anyone had the experience of wondering why their weight seems to stay within a set range of about 5-7 pounds without much effort (which for me is too heavy), but really requires extremely focused discipline and attention to get below this and stay there?

Do you think setpoint can be reset? For me this stickiness of setpoint contributes to a not very helpful mindset: I'm either doing the diet in a focused way, or I'm just not paying attention much at all.

Thu. May 1, 12:41pm

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I've hit a few different "setpoints", which I'm interpreting to mean a weight when you tend to plateau.

I think it comes down to a few things, the biggies being:

- your body needing time to adjust to the new weight (why! why, dammit!)
- the diet doldrums, where you are unintentionally less vigilant about measuring or getting enough of the important food groups (this is why it's good to go back into old logs from when you were losing, to see what you've been slacking at)
- overestimation of your activity levels, which becomes more important as you get closer to a normal weight
- your are subconsciously not ready to deal with whatever issues are behind the weight gain to begin with, which puts you at risk of regaining (this generally only applies to people who started out with more than 30 lbs to lose)
- something about your lifestyle has changed (e.g. going out more, less low-level activity incorporated in your day) and you're not adjusting the input/output accordingly

Anyway, that's been my experience over the 2+ years I've been bashing away at this whole regaining-my-body-and-my-life thing.

Thursday, May 01, 2008, 12:55 PM

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For me it is just at the higher end of healthy. No matter how much I try to get to a size 4 or 6 my body seems to be stuck at a size 8 (I was size 10-12 when I am not eating right/being active).

Thursday, May 01, 2008, 1:44 PM

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I think it's more like a "habitpoint." For a long time I could maintain at 150 with no effort at all -- eating everything I wanted, with a fairly high activity level. Now I have been maintaining within 3 pounds of 120 for over a year. I actually get less exercise than I used to, because of my job. However, my eating habits have totally changed. And because they are good habits, not "dieting," it seems just as effortless to maintain at 120.

Thursday, May 01, 2008, 5:37 PM

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I'd love to know what you did to change your diet so drastically? Thanks for the comments. Insightful, all.

Thursday, May 01, 2008, 7:18 PM

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5:37 is right on the money.

We naturally want to eat more than we should and we naturally regress to eating at least just a little too much so we get stuck, plus at a lower weight you require less food. Constant vigilance is the key - maintaining completely different eating habits as 5:37 suggests.

I am a guy and I got up to 220 and since then I have made it down to 170, but it is pretty hard for me to go down even lower. I have TOTALLY changed the way I eat though, I used to eat 3 meals a day + snacks of whatever - now:

1. I eat mostly healthy foods
2. I eat way less carbs
3. I eat 150 calorie "meals" only at 8, 6, 10,12, 2, 4 and a 600-700 calorie
healthy dinner
4. The majority of my small meals are the same every day.
5. I emphasize protein due to my heavy workout regime
6. I really mentally attack my diet weaknesses (eating out, parties, weekends, etc...)
7. I have slowly gotten my wife's support for my new lifestyle.
8. I encorporate a cheat meal for sanity.

- this has revolutionized my physique to where I weight less than in high school, but can bench more than ever.

Bottom line, you are a prisoner to your habits, break them down and make new healthy ones for life - Good luck!

Thursday, May 01, 2008, 7:48 PM

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"habitpoint" here

I didn't change my diet drastically at all, actually. I changed it over a period of about 2 years. Some changes I made:
- paying attention to portion size. A half cup tastes as good as 2 cups.
- cooking lunch ahead, not buying lunch
- eating more "superfoods" (spinach, sweet potatos, blueberries, quinoa, etc.)
- I gradually came to not eat bread. It's not a rule I have or anything, I just don't.
- discovering egg white in 1-quart cartons. This is a miracle food.
- About going out? I get a to-go container WITH the meal at the beginning, and put half the meal into the to-go container before I start eating -- although tortilla chips remain a temptation!

hope this helps.

Thursday, May 01, 2008, 8:31 PM

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I've definitely hit several setpoints along the way, both up and down. I believe your body finds places where it's comfortable.

The good thing, though, is that though it's hard (for me) to break through a setpoint, once I reach a lower setpoint, it isn't that hard to maintain the new one.

Friday, May 02, 2008, 4:47 PM

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I hit more like rest pauses in my efforts...

like 200 to 185 back to 190 for awhile,
then redouble my efforts and then
190 to 175 to 180
180 to 165 to 170

but over time I am losing and finding new and better plateaus.

Friday, May 02, 2008, 5:44 PM

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