I posted in my status today that I am amused. What sparked that was today's program from Spark Coach:
"If you dream of the day when you'll no longer have to measure portions and count calories, then today's challenge will be a breath of fresh air!"
I had to laugh at that. Once upon a time, I did dream of no longer having to measure portions and count calories. I thought I would get to my goal weight and life would be just grand, I would magically be able to eat without having to think about it and have whatever I wanted. Goal weight = nirvana, right?
I'm now at 55 weeks+ into maintenance and have been staying pretty much firmly planted in my goal range throughout that time. It has not been nirvana, magical, or anything like that, however.
Here's the thing: my lifestyle in maintenance looks pretty much like my lifestyle in losing weight. Yep, I still measure and track what I eat; I still run and workout; I still try to make better choices about food, drink, and activity; I still weigh daily and measure myself monthly. I've lost weight before and always gained it back, and now I know it is because I let myself believe the myth that the weight would somehow not find me again once I lost it. NOT TRUE!
If I get sloppy or too casual with my eating or lazy with my activity, the scale and measurements reflect it. The reality is that in spite of losing well over 100 pounds and even keeping it off for over a year now, I can easily slide back into old, couch potato, fast food eating habits. I know me; I know my weaknesses. I've caught myself reaching into the bag of (healthy) dried fruit and nuts when I wasn't really hungry. Pretzels are risky to have out where they are too visible. Chocolate and ice cream and cake send out their siren songs to me even when they are out of sight. Shoot, I hear them calling my name when they're nowhere in the house! I can have those, but in modest quantities and occasionally, not daily.
It's still a little strange for me to think that people who meet me now have no idea what I used to look like or be like. I don't volunteer the information or whip out an old photo, but occasionally the subject of weight loss or learning to run will come up with someone new, and if I tell them where I started, they usually stare at me in disbelief. Quite a change from this:
In order to keep the pounds off, I know what I need to do: make sure I'm keeping a good balance of food and activity. Too much food and/or too little activity is a recipe for weight gain; been there, done that, don't want to do it again.
Funny, that's an awful lot like it was losing weight. Good thing I started this process with the idea that I was changing my lifestyle, not going on a diet. It made it easier to transition to maintenance, mainly just adjusting how much I eat so there is not a big surplus each week.
Maintenance is not nirvana, but it is so worth the effort to get there and stay there!