Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:47 pm Post subject: One guy finally getting it after years of failure
Since discovering the No S Diet in the fall of 2010, I'm sure I've racked up at least the dozen failed attempts necessary before I could get it right. This time feels different, for reasons I'll explain below.
So far, I've met only the most insignificant of the three criteria for posting here: I'm still a long way from 10 months or 10 percent, but in the last three weeks (habit established!), I've lost 10 pounds--from 243 to 233. This isn't necessarily noteworthy when you're as flabby as I am, but I wanted to get some thoughts down here near the starting point of what I know will need to be a lifelong habit.
Some background: I'm a 30-year-old man, about 5'11", and since elementary school I've almost always been too fat. By the end of eighth grade, I was creeping over 220. High school sports got me fit, and my equilibrium weight settled around 200. I'd bulk up to about 215 during the summer, gradually shrink back to 200 during the course of football season, then slim down to about 185 for wrestling. I felt like I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted and never go much over 200 pounds.
Sadly, this proved not to be the case. I went off to college in 2003 and ballooned up thanks to an all-you-can-eat dining hall and no sports. The next summer I peaked at 227 and knew I had to do something. Following the Weight Watchers plan with comical over-strictness, I dropped 40 pounds in 80 days (20 of those in the first four weeks). But even as I was calculating points and loving the results, I knew I could never maintain that diet for the rest of my life.
Throughout college, I yo-yoed a bit, but managed to keep a decent amount of the weight off much of the time. But after graduating in 2007, I got fatter again. During the summer before my wedding in 2008, I dropped from about 218 to 193 and was feeling good. Then, through laziness and gluttony, my weight took off to hitherto unimaginable heights, peaking at about 265 in February 2011.
In the past decade, I cycled through a lot of half-baked lose-weight-quick schemes: Weight Watchers, calorie counting, sheer willpower and sweat. I always had a goal weight and marked it on a calendar. Some of the plans were quite effective--for a while. But they never lasted. Eventually I'd get lax or burn out and rebel against my self-imposed restrictions.
Over the last four years, I kept coming back to No S, because it's so simple, wise, and humane. Each time, I'd get excited and print out a yearly calendar and pre-color-in all the yellow S days. But I never stuck with it for long, because I never quite got it. I was following the literal rules of No S without internalizing the philosophy of moderation behind them. Instead of accepting what No S actually is ("a shortcut to caloric restriction"), I treated it like magic and got discouraged when it didn't work. Permasnacking and gorging every weekend? Totally allowed! This enormous takeout container of teriyaki chicken and noodles? Yeah, that could conceivably fit on one plate--guess I've found my default lunch! Now, how come I'm not losing any weight?
Sometimes I did eat better on No S, and I did lose weight. But then one failure, one red day, was enough to throw me off the whole program. Winning streak over, calendar ruined! What's the point?
This time feels different. I recommitted myself to No S on February 18, the first day of Lent, which felt appropriate. Right away, I was eating much better than during past attempts. My wife had just given birth and friends were dropping off meals for us, so I could fend off the temptation to snack with the promise of an especially delicious and nutritious meal just around the corner. (Snacking has always been my major downfall. I can easily down a day's worth of calories in a few minutes.) I started out filling my 10.5-inch plates generously, but not with junk--now there's always vegetables and/or fruit, where there often hadn't been before. (I've just started paring back my megameals a bit, since it seems my body is starting to trust that it won't starve without snacks.) My S days so far have been near ideal: three single-plate meals (sometimes a bit more indulgent than on N days) with little or no snacking and a special dessert after dinner. If I do have a snack on an S day, I make a thing of it and put it on a small plate. That keeps things under control, so I don't have to worry about absentmindedly eating half a bag of tortilla chips at the kitchen counter.
Following No S has been surprisingly easy so far, and I feel great, like why wouldn't I want to do this for the rest of my life? I've always known that when I eat too much, it makes me feel bad--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But that knowledge has never been enough to overcome the allure of sweet, sweet snacks--until now. I've never felt better about food and eating. Instead of constantly feeling ashamed and guilty, I feel liberated. A weight has been lifted from my chest, both literally and figuratively.
I don't imagine that sticking to the plan will always be painless, or that I'll continue to lose weight swiftly. But if I can keep going at the supposedly sustainable rate of half a pound a week, I'll be back down to my fighting weight by the end of next year. And even if I can't, the No S lifestyle is so far preferable to the way I used to eat that I'll still be happy.
Thank you so much, Reinhard. Your websites, podcasts, forums, and book have changed my life for the better. Next step: building the Shovelglove/14 Minutes of ANYTHING habit.
Actually, I do consider your successes significant. They may not be the dramatic ones you see on advertisements, but that is exactly the point.
Congratulations. And congrats on your family. I hope everyone is happy and healthy, and that you continue your moderate habits in a way that will model sanity for everyone.
(FWIW, once you start exercising, you're likely going to lose faster than a half a pound a week. You're a big, athletic young man. ) _________________ ------
My blog http://noelfigart.com/blog/ I talk about being a freelance writer, working out and cooking mostly. The language is not always drawing room fashion. Just sayin'.
Joined: 22 May 2010 Posts: 1248 Location: Horn of Africa
Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:52 pm Post subject:
Hi 1984man, and welcome!
Congratulations on the 10# weight loss and finding the 3 plate a day habit clicking into place. It's great that you've taken advantage of the delicious and nutritious meals being dropped off at your home, and that you're including fruits and veggies with your meals. Sure NoS won't always be painless, but it sounds like you are embracing the essence of moderation in a way that fits with your lifestyle. I wish you the best! _________________ -Sonya
No Sweets, No Snacks and No Seconds, Except (Sometimes) on days that start with "S".
Joined: 19 Jul 2008 Posts: 497 Location: Montenegro
Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:30 am Post subject:
Loved hearing your success story! Sounds like you are on the right road, heading the right direction. If you just keep going, despite roadblocks and other life events, NoS will take you just where you need to be.
And Congratulations on the new baby! I'm flying off next week to help a new mom with her first, so babies are on the brain. _________________ Vicki in MNE
7! Yrs. with Vanilla NoS, down 55+lb, happily maintaining and still loving it!
Just think if you stick with it and get to your " fighting weight " next year THAT will be right in line with your new baby really getting around! Good luck sir! _________________ Kindness is the only way.
Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:34 pm Post subject: Re: One guy finally getting it after years of failure
But I never stuck with it for long, because I never quite got it. I was following the literal rules of No S without internalizing the philosophy of moderation behind them. Instead of accepting what No S actually is ("a shortcut to caloric restriction"), I treated it like magic and got discouraged when it didn't work. Permasnacking and gorging every weekend? Totally allowed! This enormous takeout container of teriyaki chicken and noodles? Yeah, that could conceivably fit on one plate--guess I've found my default lunch! Now, how come I'm not losing any weight?
Oh---I can so identify with this. I swear, I think part of it is the mentality of "It's not me; it's the diet!" when it doesn't work. Like you, the most recent attempt at NoS feels different. It's as if I've had an "Ah ha!" moment and realized, oh yeah, I need to use common sense!
Joined: 06 Oct 2008 Posts: 9437 Location: San Diego, CA USA
Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 3:16 am Post subject:
Just browsing. Great story. Hope you're still going strong. Previous failures can actually be a boon, when they help us see mistakes more rationally, and especially when there is a reasonable- not magic- fix.
I'm looking forward to the 10% testimonial and further "durings." _________________ Count plates, not calories. Three a day. 9 years & counting
Mar/13-24.9 Stayed at +/- 8-lb. for three years Sept/17 22.8 (but more fluctuation)
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