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Can the body reset to a lower weight

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Can the body reset to a lower weight

Old 05-05-21, 09:15 AM
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alo
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Can the body reset to a lower weight

I have mentioned previously, I have been losing weight by avoiding fats, and reducing calories, combined with cycling for exercise.

If a person loses a large proportion of their body fat, and keeps it off for a significant period of time, can the body reset, so a lower weight becomes the new normal for the body, even if they don't have a low calorie diet for the rest of their life?

I would be interested to know about anybody's personal experiences, as well as any research in this area.
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Old 05-05-21, 09:46 AM
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Lifestyle changes=long term changes.
(hit the wrong button) I've seen lots of guys come into the service overweight and always falling behind the group only to end up leading the pack before moving on and running into them years later still fit and leading. It's all about mindset.
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Old 05-05-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
I have mentioned previously, I have been losing weight by avoiding fats, and reducing calories, combined with cycling for exercise.

If a person loses a large proportion of their body fat, and keeps it off for a significant period of time, can the body reset, so a lower weight becomes the new normal for the body, even if they don't have a low calorie diet for the rest of their life?

I would be interested to know about anybody's personal experiences, as well as any research in this area.
You won't want to hear this, but my experience has been that I can keep the weight off, but only when keeping to a fairly strict diet, with regular vigourous exercise at least 4 times a week, at least an hour a day. As for cycling at a moderate pace, then I need to do even more, like maybe 6 or 8 hours a week.
The problem is, the body and metabolism are sneaky. I have lived this for over 30 years, getting fit, exercising, keeping the weight off, sometimes for 3 or 4 years at a stretch. Then life gets in the way, either because of work, school, injury, weather, and bad habits creep back in. Not all at once, but over the course of months or years. You only need to eat an extra 200 calories a day to gain 10 or 15 pounds a year. Or alternately, go from burning an extra 2500 to 3,000 calories a week with exercise to, say, 1,500 calories a week to have the same effect. Sort of like going from riding 6 or 8 hours a week in summer to riding a trainer 45 minutes 3 times a week in winter. You didn't drop down to nothing, but you did go from 2, 3 hour rides every weekend plus whatever exercise you did during the week down to maybe a few days a week on a trainer. Do that for 4 or 5 years in a row and you gain an extra 40 to 60 lbs.

You might say this is anecdotal, but I read something a few years ago where they studied people who had lost a lot of weight, and even years later, their metabolisms were still slower than they should be for their weight.

So if you want to keep the weight off, you need to be eternally vigilant.

Edit: my person opinion is, the body never forgets whatever highest weight it reached in the past, and that is your set point. Get lax in your diet or exercise and that is where you are headed. Throw caution to the wind, and you have the capacity to become morbidly obese. And it isn't a theoretical thing. Every day we all see people in our everyday lives who are pretty much there.

Last edited by MRT2; 05-05-21 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:30 AM
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Cancer will do it. Personal experience. Can't recommend it, though.
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Old 05-05-21, 01:49 PM
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Have you Googled? I think I remember reading that fat cells never go away, always are looking to replenish themselves and keeping weight off will always be a struggle. Certainly has been for me, regardless of my level of activity. Just making conversation, though. I'll be happy for someone to post a correction if this is wrong. If true, it makes the epidemic of fat kids even more sad. They are essentially saddled with a life long burden before they have the mental development to make their own choices. The parents should be held responsible, IMO.
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Old 05-05-21, 02:19 PM
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I've lost 40-60+ pounds several times

the only time I ever kept it off was when I started eating more fats, not less.

You can lose weight on any diet. In my experience you can't keep it off on any diet. Last year was the 1st time I ever kept weight off while hardly doing any exercise and kept my lean muscle mass to the point where the 1st bike ride in over a year was very nearly like the last ride the year before.

(Good) dietary fat is not a problem in and of itself. Omega 6 fats should be avoided as much as possible (good luck if you eat anything even slightly processed) and should be swapped out for Omega 3 when/wherever possible.

Fat and protein are not the problem with weight and the associated medical issues: heart disease, diabetes, alzheimers etc.

I hope you find what you need to do for you and that it works.

I'm tired of my journey and very glad it's over.
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Old 05-05-21, 02:21 PM
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There are several aspects at play here, which complicate things.

1. The First Law of Thermodynamics. There is no way around this. If you consume more Calories than you combust, you will gain weight. If you combust more than you consume, you will lose weight. The average person daily combusts approximately 2000 Calories ( = 2000 kcal = 2000000 cal) just to maintain basic existence. So if you consume more than that, and don't burn it all off with additional activity, you will gain weight.

2. Metabolic biochemical feedback. Briefly, if you lose weight by drastically cutting your caloric intake, your body will go into starvation mode in order to lower the basic maintenance threshold below the average 2000 Calories threshold. This can make it harder to lose more weight, and to keep what you have lost off. So the most effective way to prevent weight gain is to prevent going into starvation mode. There is a lot of controversy around this. Some weight-loss diets deliberately try to put you into starvation mode (ketosis).

3. Simple sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup) appear to trigger large amounts of weight gain, and accumulation of omentum fat, which is very hard to get rid of, and is regarded as the most dangerous type of fat. Stress also contributes to its accumulation. Once this causes diabetes, it is very hard, if not impossible, to reset the switch.

So, if you lose weight slowly and naturally (increase exercise, eating right), regulate your caloric intake, and your sugar intake, and you aren't diabetic, you should be able to reset the switch, but it isn't easy.
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Old 05-05-21, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
I've lost 40-60+ pounds several times

the only time I ever kept it off was when I started eating more fats, not less.

You can lose weight on any diet. In my experience you can't keep it off on any diet. Last year was the 1st time I ever kept weight off while hardly doing any exercise and kept my lean muscle mass to the point where the 1st bike ride in over a year was very nearly like the last ride the year before.

(Good) dietary fat is not a problem in and of itself. Omega 6 fats should be avoided as much as possible (good luck if you eat anything even slightly processed) and should be swapped out for Omega 3 when/wherever possible.

Fat and protein are not the problem with weight and the associated medical issues: heart disease, diabetes, alzheimers etc.

I hope you find what you need to do for you and that it works.

I'm tired of my journey and very glad it's over.
Congratulations on your weight loss. How many years have you kept the weight off?
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Old 05-05-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
There are several aspects at play here, which complicate things.

1. The First Law of Thermodynamics. There is no way around this. If you consume more Calories than you combust, you will gain weight. If you combust more than you consume, you will lose weight. The average person daily combusts approximately 2000 Calories ( = 2000 kcal = 2000000 cal) just to maintain basic existence. So if you consume more than that, and don't burn it all off with additional activity, you will gain weight.

2. Metabolic biochemical feedback. Briefly, if you lose weight by drastically cutting your caloric intake, your body will go into starvation mode in order to lower the basic maintenance threshold below the average 2000 Calories threshold. This can make it harder to lose more weight, and to keep what you have lost off. So the most effective way to prevent weight gain is to prevent going into starvation mode. There is a lot of controversy around this. Some weight-loss diets deliberately try to put you into starvation mode (ketosis).

3. Simple sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup) appear to trigger large amounts of weight gain, and accumulation of omentum fat, which is very hard to get rid of, and is regarded as the most dangerous type of fat. Stress also contributes to its accumulation. Once this causes diabetes, it is very hard, if not impossible, to reset the switch.

So, if you lose weight slowly and naturally (increase exercise, eating right), regulate your caloric intake, and your sugar intake, and you aren't diabetic, you should be able to reset the switch, but it isn't easy.
This is mostly true, but there is more to the story, including hormones. Namely Leptin and ghrelin. They are hormones that signal you to eat, or to stop eating because you are full.
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Old 05-05-21, 02:48 PM
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There are only three macro nutrients to choose from; protein, fat, or carbs. By avoiding fats, you invariably increase carbs and this leads to nothing good.

The Useless Concept of Calories, Dr. Jason Fung 11-13-17
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Old 05-05-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Have you Googled? I think I remember reading that fat cells never go away, always are looking to replenish themselves and keeping weight off will always be a struggle. Certainly has been for me, regardless of my level of activity. Just making conversation, though. I'll be happy for someone to post a correction if this is wrong. If true, it makes the epidemic of fat kids even more sad. They are essentially saddled with a life long burden before they have the mental development to make their own choices. The parents should be held responsible, IMO.
This is correct. Fat cells never go away. They shrink smaller and smaller. You can have them sucked out though. I'm waiting for Ron Popeil to make the Ronco pocket liposuction machine. I bought the pocket fisherman back in the day.

My question for you. Do you like to eat food? I mean really like to eat food? If you can only "take it for so long" and then have to eat something then it will be harder.
But, if you eat less than you burn you will take the weight off. If you eat more than you burn you will gain weight. You might try eating what you like and want but count the calories so you don't go over too much. Keep track of your calories for a week or two. Did you gain, stay the same, or drop. That will give you an idea of calorie intake.

Edit addition. For me, fat isn't the enemy. It's carbs. High glycemic carbs.
Man, all this talk is making me want to chug some corn syrup.

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Old 05-05-21, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Congratulations on your weight loss. How many years have you kept the weight off?
More than 2 years so far which is a very big improvement over any other weight loss previously.

I'm almost never hungry which is truly liberating. I don't bonk any more (more endurance than racing, for sure, but I used to bonk if I didn't eat enough even during a 100km ride. Now I do 100km fasted)
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Old 05-05-21, 07:28 PM
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The body doesn't necessarily reset, it's more the case that as it reduces in size, it needs less fuel. The vast majority of the calories that we burn daily are from simply keeping your body alive, a far smaller percentage ~30% (depending on where you look) is consumed in exercise and just moving about on a daily basis. So if you diet with a low-ish calorie deficit, then at some stage you will reach a point where that lower calorie intake equates to what your body needs and the weight loss will stagnate, especially if you become more active in that time. Then you need to establish a new deficit and keep on going. The biggest hurdle is mental and changing your mindset on food and what you think your body needs.

There's an absolute bucketload of misinformation re dieting out there on the net, and some of it is regurgitated in here. No disrespect to anyone as I've been caught inside various diet philosophy bubbles over time and changed my opinions on many thing over the years. There's a number of people across the web that cut through the misinformation, the most vocal would be Layne Norton and he's worth a follow. Love him or hate him, you can't really deny what the science actually says vs the anecdotes that many cling to.

Stan Efferding has a really good video on youtube where he talks about dieting. He has his own diet, but he talks about diets in general. EVERY diet works if you stick to it. What you need is a diet that fits in with you, your life, your food desires to make it last
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Old 05-05-21, 08:16 PM
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About seven years ago someone turned me on to the book Wheatbelly. I read it recognized some problems I was having, and completely stopped eating anything with wheat in it. Within a month or three I had dropped from 205 to 175, where I stayed until recently, very easily. Getting back into bike riding last summer after some years off, I started to pack down some of that 175 into a smaller package and started to consider trying to drop another 10 or 15 pounds (I am about 5'9"). I am currently yo-yo-ing in the 170-175 range, and it has become obvious that I'll have to change some habits to drop further. My worst problem is eating when I'm not hungry but just looking for some mouth stimulation, however if I can lick that, I anticipate another drop [of unknown magnitude]. Recently I've become that I have both a cheese addiction and a cheese allergy, so that's another avenue of change for me that I'm attempting to tap.

The short message: weight loss is not magical; it comes from changing habits.

The trick, I think, is to choose the bad habits that have the least to do with basic nutrition and sufficient calories and rather are about poor habits or foods that you don't get along with. Over the years I've learned that cravings for certain foods (in my case cheese, rye and wheat) are often indications of allergies (and bloating, which = weight), so dropping them gives a double bonus, lost weight and fewer allergic problems. So that's the direction, along with the unnecessary snacking, that I am tapping for losing more weight.

If I succeed in making those changes, I am counting on a new set point for my weight.

You might try thinking along that direction, to see if there are any obvious things you won't/shouldn't miss if they are gone.
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Old 05-06-21, 01:15 PM
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I don't know about your body resetting but I believe that I have recalibrated my appetite. Maybe this is just another way of saying that I've changed my eating habits for the better. However, I can honestly say that I don't crave food in the same quantities that I used to 20 years ago when I first admitted to myself that I was overweight/obese. I used to get the double burger super-sized fast food meals all the time but now I'm just not interested in eating that much food. I could choke down quite a bit of pizza in one sitting but now I'm full after 2-3 slices. It feels to me sort of like I've trained myself to not want food in the same quantities that I used to. 20-25 years ago there are several of those food challenges that you see on TV that I think I could have completed. If I tried any of those now, I don't think I could even get half way through without barfing. I'm just a sample size of one and so I don't know if this is true for other people but I do believe that my body and mind no longer crave food in the same way as in the past.
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Old 05-11-21, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gios View Post
There are only three macro nutrients to choose from; protein, fat, or carbs. By avoiding fats, you invariably increase carbs and this leads to nothing good.

The Useless Concept of Calories, Dr. Jason Fung 11-13-17
I feel dumber for having read any of that article.
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Old 05-14-21, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gios View Post
There are only three macro nutrients to choose from; protein, fat, or carbs. By avoiding fats, you invariably increase carbs and this leads to nothing good.

The Useless Concept of Calories, Dr. Jason Fung 11-13-17
Yep, very true. Hard to believe most people still think that 500 calories of chocolate cake and 500 calories of salmon have the same impact on your weight.
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Old 05-14-21, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by knobd View Post
Yep, very true. Hard to believe most people still think that 500 calories of chocolate cake and 500 calories of salmon have the same impact on your weight.
They definitely have a different impact on my psychy!
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Old 05-14-21, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I feel dumber for having read any of that article.
How do I "like" a post? Because I need to like this post.
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Old 05-14-21, 10:12 AM
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Look, I'm just a fat guy in the US, which is almost a bit redundant, I suppose. I'm a med student as well, and nutrition is starting to hit the medical culture in some useful ways. There's fantastic stuff looking at the relationship between the microbiome and health, especially as it relates to energy, satiation, and diet. There's a lot of information out there, though the research is still relatively new. Still, expect more of the formerly-esoteric concept of "diet" to become actual science in the next 5 to 20 years.

That said, here are a couple of basics - most of which have been mentioned throughout these replies, but bear repetition. First, as you lose weight, your caloric needs come down. Also, weight loss is ONLY about calories. Health is about quality of calories. So if you want to be both smaller and healthier, than you need fewer calories and you need them to come from healthier sources.

Unless you are an athlete or VERY physically active in some way, most of your daily calories are used just staying alive. Consider that an "average" man burns 900 to 1200 calories during 8 hours of healthy sleep, while running a mile only burns an extra 100 calories. So if you reward yourself with a PB&J sandwich after a good ride, you likely ate more calories than you burned. Food for thought, as they say.

Weight loss isn't about dieting. It's about changing lifestyles. Exercise more, eat less, eat healthy foods. Avoid processed foods. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Discover vegetables and grains you've never heard of before, and consume more of them. Avoid dairy. Move every hour, even if it's just a few laps around your yard/office building/obese neighbor. Drink water, stop drinking everything else. Drink more water. Have another glass of water.

As to the rest.. fads come and go. So does weight loss, if it's based on a fad diet.
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Old 05-14-21, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim_T View Post
Look, I'm just a fat guy in the US, which is almost a bit redundant, I suppose. I'm a med student as well, and nutrition is starting to hit the medical culture in some useful ways. There's fantastic stuff looking at the relationship between the microbiome and health, especially as it relates to energy, satiation, and diet. There's a lot of information out there, though the research is still relatively new. Still, expect more of the formerly-esoteric concept of "diet" to become actual science in the next 5 to 20 years.

That said, here are a couple of basics - most of which have been mentioned throughout these replies, but bear repetition. First, as you lose weight, your caloric needs come down. Also, weight loss is ONLY about calories. Health is about quality of calories. So if you want to be both smaller and healthier, than you need fewer calories and you need them to come from healthier sources.

Unless you are an athlete or VERY physically active in some way, most of your daily calories are used just staying alive. Consider that an "average" man burns 900 to 1200 calories during 8 hours of healthy sleep, while running a mile only burns an extra 100 calories. So if you reward yourself with a PB&J sandwich after a good ride, you likely ate more calories than you burned. Food for thought, as they say.

Weight loss isn't about dieting. It's about changing lifestyles. Exercise more, eat less, eat healthy foods. Avoid processed foods. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Discover vegetables and grains you've never heard of before, and consume more of them. Avoid dairy. Move every hour, even if it's just a few laps around your yard/office building/obese neighbor. Drink water, stop drinking everything else. Drink more water. Have another glass of water.

As to the rest.. fads come and go. So does weight loss, if it's based on a fad diet.
Tim, you sort of contradict yourself. I totally agree with your second definition of what weight loss is really about.

BTW, I'm over in Harleysville about 10 miles from you.
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Old 05-14-21, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim_T View Post
Avoid dairy.
I largely agree with a lot of what you said but not the above. Avoid dairy sugar. Ghee, aged hard cheeses, butter (well the good stuff) and to some degree heavy whipping cream are pretty low in sugars

Originally Posted by Tim_T View Post
PB&J sandwich
That could possibly be the worst "food" that anyone could eat on a regular basis. The only part that isn't pure sugar very likely has sugar added.

lol
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Old 05-16-21, 03:19 PM
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I found in my experience that after losing a lot of weight with methods that are *controversial* both in general and with cycling, I've only started to see my weight climb back up when I went back to eating a S.A.D. (Standard American Diet).

When I stick to the way of eating that has helped me lose weight as well as repair some other health problems, I find my weight doesn't want to move that much - in either direction really. Could be that I'm just not that consistent admittedly cause life sometimes throws a wrench in my plans.

I started getting back to my way of eating fully now after giving my body a good reset. I was ~360 lbs around this time last year. Weighed myself today at 257 lbs. Will check back in maybe in a month or two just for accountability.
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Old 05-16-21, 04:52 PM
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TLDR; Lost 30+ lbs over 10 yrs, but no significant oscillating. Weight has stayed off.

I feel like any "diet" is doomed to fail long term. I've been 180-ish for at least a few years now, down from 215 at peak. I've since been through a couple of laptops so don't have early data anymore, but I'm thinking I started the descent around 2009. Two major factors early on were gall bladder removal and 98% stopping alcohol consumption which had primarily been beer. The first few years were like 5-10 lbs lost per year as my stomach adapted to eating smaller quantities to avoid aggravating effects of gall bladder removal. Over time this has led to eating less more often during the day as a life habit. After the first few years I had losses more in the 1 - 3 lb range per year. For about ten yrs straight I never had a weight gain as a yearly average until I bottomed out around 179 lbs. Now I oscillate between 179- 182. I could ideally lose a few more but I've been happy with where I'm at now. Adding in some strength training helped as dropped below 190. I don't do any kind of calorie tracking, but until recently tracked my weight daily with concern for monthly and yearly average (helped to stay disciplined during cravings). I focused on trying to understand real hunger vs bored hunger and only eating when truly hungry. I try to focus on not eating until I'm gorged. As a rule I don't eat a lot of junk between meals, but I do splurge on occasion; weaknesses for ice cream and pie.

I've been a consistent recreational cyclist since early childhood.
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Old 05-20-21, 01:26 PM
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travbikeman
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OK, I'm a little late to this conversation. But I actually do believe with a life style change, the body does kind of resets. But it can quickly regain if you allow it, which in a sense is another reset.

7 years ago I used to be 537lbs(edit: 8 yrs ago). I was able to get that down to 300lbs through lifestyle changes. I was back and forth from 300 to 340lbs for past 3 years....well, actually until this past December.

Past December I got fed up and started making further lifestyle changes and am down to 280lbs and working hard on getting down to 220 by end of year.

Personally I believe it's an issue that is different to all of us. Each one of us has to figure out what kind of lifestyle we are willing to accept and willing to work for. Do we find it to be acceptable to be overweight? I do believe it is much more mind over body in many of our cases.

I myself am fed up and don't at all find it acceptable to weigh as much as I used to or currently do. Time for a permanent change.

Last edited by travbikeman; 05-20-21 at 01:38 PM.
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