Thursday, May 31, 2012
Achieving goals keeps me going.
Right now I am under a thousand points from achieving the next Spark Level.
I trained for and ran in the Portland Marathon last year. This year I am back at it, trying to train again (so far I've completed one half marathon this season and next week I have another... then I'll decide whether I want to go for the Portland Marathon again or not). It's a pretty big goal and a big time commitment so it forces me to postpone other fitness goals I have (like really getting a road bike and taking that up seriously).
Once I hit my goal weight over a year ago it was hard to keep at the goal of maintaining my weight. Why is that? Probably because I didn't set milestones or any goals for maintaining my weight (other than not gaining it back). Marking off days w/o weight gain seems like a real bore. But not exactly tracking what I eat wasn't the right strategy either. But do I need to track everything I eat for the rest of my life? Or?
So now I am sitting at 14 pounds over my goal weight. With a goal of getting back down there...but then what will my goals be? I need to find new goals beyond the goal of losing weight.
I've just realized that was one big problem I had (and have had every time I've achieved a weight loss goal--I've reached my weight loss goal at least a half dozen times in my life). Once I hit a weight loss goal, it is really hard for me to define weight maintenance goals that are interesting, challenging (and not tedious). I've got to shift that around a bit this next time.
But for now, I'm just getting back to tracking my food intake. And starting ever so slowly to wrap my head around eating is something I'll have to be extremely conscious about for the next forever. I can't slack off food eating awareness and keep my weight off.
But I don't want to be joylessly hypervigilent forever, either. That doesn't sound like fun. I've got to find and establish some goals for maintaining my weight loss that are challenging and fun and work for me.
I have no problem finding challenging exercise goals. Right now I am enjoying running, getting myself in good enough condition to run longer and faster. And at the moment, I'm seeing progress. Nothing hurts. And running is fun again. Life is sweet.
I wonder how those who have successfully maintained their weight have defined their eating-in-moderation goals. It is quite different to eat to lose weight than it is to eat to maintain weight. There's a razor thin line between being obsessively vigilent and learning what you can and cannot eat/how to control your intake so you don't regain weight. I'm still working on this. Maybe that's my challenge.
But I need to find some more creative and challenging ways for me to figure out how much I can eat to maintain my weight, once I reach my goal weight again.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
In the meantime, I'm not worrying about maintaining just yet. I am challenged to begin losing those extra 14 pounds without feeling deprived. This, to me, is a fun challenge for the moment. It's good to put new energy into rethinking things and experimenting: I'm mixing up what I'm eating a bit. I'm tracking my food. I'm trying out new foods. I'm observing how hungry I feel throughout the day. And my energy levels. I'm experimenting with ways to control my urges to eat. This is not annoying, but fun at the moment. It takes a certain amount of mental energy and commitment, but I am up for it.
But I don't know if I just have to keep this up in order to maintain (now that sounds daunting), or if there are other ways I can keep my relationship with food on sound footing to maintain my weight loss.
That, indeed, will be my next challenge.