My Photo

The Out Campaign

Atheist Blogroll

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2005

« Friday Cat Blogging: Lydia and Belly Rubs | Main | Atheist Meme of the Day: Your Personal Spiritual Experience Is No More Accurate Than Anyone's »



This is fun to read, because it's where I was about a decade ago.

Just some advanced warning for you. Losing weight is easy. The hard part is keeping it off.


It sounds like you're doing a great job integrating the changes you've made into your life without letting them take over your life. That's important, because to keep the weight off, you're going to have to keep doing exactly what you've been doing. You probably already know this. So many people lose weight successfully only to gain it back when they let their old diet/habits take over again after they've reached their goal.

Keep enjoying the benefits of good health, and thanks for keeping us updated!

Richard H.

Very interesting to read, and I'm happy to hear that you're accomplishing the things you wanted to accomplish.

Through the post, you sound nearly apologetic about your success and goals.

This is very different than the way you write about other parts of your life.


Congrats on your improved health and increased happiness about your appearance!


Thanks for sharing this. And congrats on your improved quality of life.

Could you post more about what methods are working for you? I'm very curious about that.


Ugh, I can't tell you how much you have let me down today. As I read this I am on my 2nd hour of working out because working out for one hour every day and controlling calories for the last 2 months has resulted in no weight loss whatsoever, so I am doubling my efforts. Every time I hear a doctor advise me to eat well and exercise more I want to punch her or him in the nose for lying to me. Please don't you start too.

I know I am reacting emotionally here but I have found I have to be deeply emotionally invested to keep up this amount of effort in the face of constant failure. Please qualify the word "easy" to mean easy for you. I AM trying to be happy for you and I am glad your efforts are working for you.

Well, I've got 45 minutes left in this workout, so I guess I'll move along. I know a few fat-positive blogs that always make me feel better after a setback.

Greta Christina
Just some advanced warning for you. Losing weight is easy. The hard part is keeping it off.

Tommy: I'm aware of that. I write about that in the pieces that are coming up. But thanks -- forewarned is forearmed. (Any tips you have on maintenance would be greatly appreciated.)

Please qualify the word "easy" to mean easy for you.

Sarah: I already did. "What I'm writing here -- it's all just what's true for me."

I'm sorry this is being hard for you. I realize that what works for me doesn't work for everybody. But the reason I'm writing this is that I've found it helpful to read about what did and didn't work for other people. Some of which helped me; some of which didn't. I hope you can do that with this series. Take what you need; leave the rest.

You might get some use out of a couple of resources. The National Weight Control Registry studies people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off, and examines what they have in common. (I write about them more later in this series.) You might find it useful to check out their research. (Don't just read the summary -- also look at the abstracts of the studies. I found them very enlightening.) And WebMD has some good, evidence- based suggestions on successful weight loss and maintenance that Ingrid and I have found very useful. Best of luck doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy.

Greta Christina
Through the post, you sound nearly apologetic about your success and goals.

Richard H.: Didn't mean to. I'm not apologetic. Just somewhat conflicted. No, not conflicted exactly -- it's just that this is complicated and difficult, practically and emotionally, and I hate weight-loss writers who are smug about it.

Could you post more about what methods are working for you? I'm very curious about that.

Mojo: You betcha. That's Part 3.


Greta: If I had maintenance figured out, I wouldn't be losing this weight for the 4th time. :)


Talk to me in 5 years! It's easy to lose weight. Good luck keeping it off. I've never figured out how. I went through the torment you went through, lost 70 lbs and have regained more than half. I still exercise 2 hours a day. I don't drink. And I'm a healthy eating vegetarian. My body seems to have adjusted to healthy living...I'm not sure now what to think about it all. I'm healthier now than I was. I eat better and I exercise more. I have to think that's good even though I am no longer thin.

Cath the Canberra Cook

Oh yes. I did that too. And then when I stopped monitoring super-carefully, and tried for maintenance with sensible habits, it came back. And stabilised at EXACTLY my previous weight. To within 1/2 a pound. Even though I was eating way less sugar and exercising more and drinking much less than when I was previously at that weight.

I think you are right that weight loss can really help you feel healthier. Even more than just the fitness improvements. And I wish that I could achieve it. I aim for "overweight", which is the healthiest BMI category to be in.

But my challenge to the skeptics is to find me ONE proper peer-reviewed study of any program at all, that has a greater than 5% success rate after 5 years. Just one. The usual response? *crickets*


Greta, I'm loving reading these posts. It's a bit like picking up a book only to find that it contains a story you've kicked around for ages only written by a far superior writer. I'm thrilled to see so much of my experience explained so clearly.


I wouldn't argue that the studies on the long-term efficacy of diets show anything other than a small success rate. Although I find the five year mark a bit arbitrary unless we can isolate some mechanism that would make a difference as to why someone would gain weight back after five years rather than two years. However, what research can do is start to narrow down the reasons for why diets generally fail to provide results. This review is a good first step in answering those questions.


Congratulations Greta! That is an amazing achievement. Like some many people here, I have done the whole weight loss thing and they are all right, keeping it off is hard, but the positives of being healthy and having a better self-image makes it worth it.

Jack Rawlinson

Go you, Greta. The benefits of getting excess weight off really are worth the effort required.

Greta Christina

Cath: (and Sam, and Tommy): Sorry it took me so long to get back to you; my Internet access was a little dicey yesterday.

This is the website of the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks and does research on people who have lost more than 30 pounds and have kept it off for at least a year, and does research on what their eating/ exercise/ etc. patterns are, and what they have in common. Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years. And the research they're supporting talks a lot about these very issues: not just what people do who are successful at losing weight, but what people do who are successful at keeping it off.

I'll be talking a lot more about this research in Part 3. But one of the big keys seems to be not significantly changing your eating habits from "weight loss" to "weight maintenance." Whatever we do to lose weight, we basically have to keep doing, in a modified form, for the rest of our lives. If there's a secret, that seems to be it.


Thanks, Greta, I am going to take your advice and read what you suggested. I really, really, really want this to be possible, despite the observed facts...I'm slipping into weight-loss atheism...


Thanks for this! The parts about having to be firm with people about what "eating light" means - I struggle with that too, since I'm already vegetarian and that feels like imposition aplenty. Eating right means planning more.

Susie Bright

I am so proud of you and in awe of your writing about this and your practice of mindfulness (so corny, but so true).

I think you should make a PDF/ebook/xerox book of these columns and sell it! And I actually want more. Please don't let this be the end. A lot of us are hanging on your every word on this topic.

I have more subjects I'd like to hear from you from:

"Your First Sports Injury After Losing Weight and Finding Yourself Stuck at Home NOT Exercising and Fearing You Will NEver be able to "DO IT" again"

"Exercise and being fit means getting sick less... the fabulous immune system... but then when you do get sick? What then? Hard to come back from"

"the Unfair Part about how as you get older you are fighting an uphill battle"

"Burning out on your support group but not really having an alternative"

"I wasn't going to let those mean critics/trolls get under my skin but they did anyway"

as you can see, I have plenty to POUT over in my wobbly maintenance era, and I need your expert skeptical guidance!

Daisy Deadhead

I am currently experiencing many of the same changes you are, and I feel similarly also... not surprisingly, your blog was just linked as "recommended" on mine... and I loved reading this!!!! And all of your links, too. You are certainly a breath of fresh air in a sea of negativity that I have been dealing with (see my Lenten-break post, in which I was roasted and eaten, pardon food imagery)...

Glad to make you a regular stop. Keep on keeping on.

Ms Anonymus

Congratulations on your weight loss!

This interesting post could been 40% shorter by cutting out all of the disclaimers and platitudes to the various groups you were afraid of offending simply by describing your experiences :).

No offense meant. I'm serious. No offense. Again, I really mean no offense.

Ms Anonymus

Hi Greta;

I noticed the naysayers among the comments in this post.

I used to believe all of their stuff.

Then 2 years ago I used the "Hackers Diet" ( counting calories ) to lose 50 lbs and I've kept it off, despite having a "slow metabolism".

Ignore the naysayers, join some supportive forums for weight loss maintainers to keep you juiced up.

Good luck!


I started getting concerned remarks about how I shouldn't get *too* thin. I still get those last anytime I happen to mention I'm on a diet.

biphedadrene ingredients

I've been reading over the stuff I wrote when I was starting out with this.

Allen Carlos

The analysis they're assisting speaks a lot about these very issues: not just what individuals do who are effective at reducing bodyweight, but what individuals do who are effective at maintaining it off.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Subscribe/ Donate to This Blog!

Books of mine

Greta on SSA Speakers Bureau

  • Greta Christina is on the Speakers Bureau of the Secular Students Alliance. Invite her to speak to your group!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Powered by Rollyo

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Atheism

Some Favorite Posts and Conversations: Sex

Some Favorite Posts: Art, Politics, Other Stuff