A suggested article popped while I was browsing Pubmed called "Weight maintenance as a tight rope walk - a Grounded Theory study"
It's from Sweden and was an analysis of attitudes, behavior and strategies of middle aged maintainers and slight gainers. You definitely want to look at figure 3, which shows 4 different models of the tightrope. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pub
The shortest, widest (and easiest) tightrope was heritage. I didn't get this one since the heritage I identify with is obesity. Though I guess my dad didn't struggle with his weight. It notes habitual and unstructured eating. I could say I'm a habitual eater. I know how many calories each meal should kind of have, and I have some habitual groupings, but I don't have an issue with not knowing what I'm going to eat before I open the fridge. Numbers speak to me and when I look at a food I can place it on a kind of spectrum of calorie, nutrient and satisfaction quality. I guess the second two are old for me, adding the calorie and sodium quantities has been new in the last year.
The second easiest tightrope is joy, and this one I could totally relate to. The second figure breaks down a response that was categorized as joy driven. The bible says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. But in my experience, it's the spirit or the mind that is making a lot of my bad food choices. If my body were choosing, everything would be functional and down to earth. This comes back to the food quality spectrum. The last two boxes made me laugh, because it sounds like a Mormon Sunday school lesson. "My body is a temple; men are that they might have joy." In the full article, I match the holistic eater concept pretty well.
I could also relate to the third tightrope, which featured routine. I identify with "weekend celebrator" and "daily exerciser." I guess I wouldn't be a weekend celebrator if I weren't being a "family pleaser." I asked my husband if he needed a haircut and he said he'd just got one, and I said "but you didn't get the donuts" (there's this deluxe donut shop by his barber) and he said "well, I thought about it but I didn't want to tempt you."
I don't talk about it a lot, but now and then you might get a glimpse that I'm also on that fourth tightrope, characterized by control. Sparkpeople doesn't recommend it, but I actually do track my daily calorie deficit. I don't do it everyday like I used to, though. Sparkpeople doesn't recommend approaching eating as an addiction either, but that don't make it any less the case. I think too many numbers are scary for some people. To me, it's how my body lets me know what's working.
Well, the conclusion of the abstract lays out that the benefit of this study was to reveal that people's approaches to nutrition and fitness are different, and taking that into account could influence what advice is given and how it is received. I wish I'd read this before I had that talk with my husband yesterday, not the donut one, a different one about how to help him lose weight (he was asking for help). My daughter thought the donut thing was cute, and it kind of was, but it reflects that dieting mentality of naughty and nice foods.
4A-HEALTHY-BMI hooked me up with the full text. She's my Obi wan. If I can just avoid turning to the dark side... :P