About three separate times from when I was 35 until just under 50, I tried exercise and not hogging out, in order to try to fix three slipped discs in my lower back (one every couple-three years in my 30s) and later, gout attacks.
The third attempt I was doing aerobics and core strengthening (finally found a very good routine for my back) and weight training as often as I could sanely manage. I felt fit and strong, but had lost less than 10 lbs.
Finally my PCP told me what had become the medical consensus: “You’ll never be able to exercise enough to really lose weight. You have to eat less.”
So, self-instructing, I decided I would do portion control, eat slowly and stop the moment I felt full, which would eventually shrink my stomach so I could eat even less. I was more than 45 lbs overweight.
At first, it worked marvelously. I went from 242 to 207 over the course of little more than a year. Victwa!, right?
Nope. I don’t know if I read this or stupidly just convinced myself, but I assumed that once the portion-control, stop-when-full mentality was firmly established (and I kept exercising — which I had to do to keep the pain in my back at bay), it would be automatic. I didn’t have to consciously watch anything. I had an idiotic thing about disliking the scales, so I dropped that, too.
Ho ho ho. About three years later I noticed I looked distinctly more tubby and found I had regained 15 lbs. I still had not rejected my habits of drinking lemonade and fruit juice and grazing while I worked in the home office. I still thought things like granola bars and trail mix were healthy snacks.
After I turned 61 I began to have real health issues related to weight (though mercifully decades of core strengthening had made it so my back only got a little sore every once in a great while). I was told I would have to straighten it out or start taking statins. Now, I think Drs. are rather over the top these days about high blood pressure and cholesterol, and no way was I gonna start doing more than taking eye drops every day for inherited glaucoma.
So this time I went pro and started appointments with an outstanding nutritionist and a dietician. Valuable as any information I learned in college. Recommended thing to do, all the way. Today I got on the scales like every Saturday and found I was down to 197 — 10 lbs less than the first time and within 2 lbs of my goal.
And I intend to seriously monitor what I eat the rest of my life.