Maintenance is its own every day journey. After working at losing 35 pounds it is easy to drift into making too many food choices that lead to weight gain. It is not that one time party I went to but the small choices I make every day that lead me to over eating foods that add numbers to the scale.
I read through some of the food choice problems other people write about and I think that I am glad not to have problems with things like soda or potato chips. I feel pleased with myself that I have some self-control with those foods but it is a false sense of self satisfaction. I don't acknowledge my own monster cravings or binge demons, I cannot resist brownies ever. So you may look at my list of maintenance drift problems below and tell yourself that you don't have these food choice issues but what about your food choice difficulties?
The other difficulty with maintenance is that life is not a constant. Almost any situation where I feel out of control or anxious is a prompt for me to want to start out of control eating. Some days I know I have been eating well and the scale number goes up anyway. Life events bring in stress or take up time so that good choices are not available and the scale number goes up. The exercise routine goes out the window because I am sick, or someone close to me is sick. The demands on my time to solve problems, commitments to work or to support others balloon and steal a lot of my time. Going out to eat with others can make it difficult to stick to healthy choices. Celebrations, family or social gatherings cluster together with too many food temptations and the scale number goes up.
So what I have done to help combat the dark forces that threaten my resolve to maintain?
First I acknowledge that sometimes I am going to make the less healthy choice. I chose a high calorie special pasta dish at a restaurant recently. But I did not eat it all and did NOT take the leftovers home. Leaving food is hard but better than having it in the house. (My husband has serious food issues and there are choices we cannot share)
Second, I post in SP every day. Sometimes just a line to say hello. Most days I post in the Maintenance team about how my food choices and exercise are going for the day. I may not have time to read and respond to the other posts but this is to help me focus on my choices for the day or review the day before.
Third, I try to evaluate my schedule for the next day and commit to my exercise minutes and plan for any food challenges. I do this very frequently but it does not happen every night.
Fourth, personally I need to weigh myself every day to make sure I am staying in a range. I try to post at least 2 meals each day in the nutrition tracker to make sure I keep my in calorie range most days and I post my exercise minutes almost every time.
Finally, I look in the mirror every day and tell myself that maintaining keeps me healthy and drifting is not an option. And that food will not solve any problems that I am facing that day.
I have celebrated every month during the past 5 months that I have maintained. I cheer everyone who reaches milestones. I understand anyone who has slipped, support them in their choice to return and try to understand the issues that caused them to drift. Because it could be me.
My maintenance drift food challenges are:
Pick up a pastry, cookie or sugary snack with occasional coffee purchase
Buy full fat cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, sour cream or heavy cream instead of non-fat or buy butter
Eat many pieces of pizza
Stop at fast food instead of planning for snacks or meals
Eat more than one piece of bread from breadbasket and use a lot of butter
Have a whole dessert instead of sharing
Pick up lemon bar or large piece of cake at grocery store fresh bakery section and eat it in one sitting by myself
Use food for a treat, go out for Chinese food for lunch instead of a salad at home
Make and have seconds of pasta, mashed potatoes or rice
Buy crackers or bread that are high in calories and carbs
Eat too much cheese regularly for snacks
Don't measure out the olive oil for cooking, and use spread for cooking instead of non-stick spray
Add cheese to dishes without measuring
Stop measuring everything
Make cookies and/or brownies and keep them in easy reach
Don't measure nut butters and eat them for snacks often
Eat trigger foods at restaurant and take home leftovers to eat next day.
Eat trigger foods at restaurant and clean my plate
Have more than 5 oz. of wine several days in a row
Eat chips and salsa at a party or restaurant and don't monitor how much
Eat fewer servings of fruit
Don't monitor how many servings of nuts I eat in a day
Don't measure salad dressing
Eat out more than twice a week
Throw out all control when on vacation
My maintenance journey continues.
Another good blog by LESLIELENORE talks about her very inspirational maintenance journey.