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Thoughts on my maintenance journey

Monday, March 24, 2014

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You Rock!! Keep fighting the urge. Success is yours.

    1366 days ago
    Many of your 'drift' issues are mine too. It's still hard but it's still worth it too. I love the look and feel of having those 30 lbs gone. I'll just keep plugging along. And I'm always glad when you check in on the maintenance forum.

    And I wish I were on a sunny beach - right now! LOL
    1376 days ago
    You have all the right ideas on how to stay on track with everything.
    1393 days ago
    I think you have all it takes to stay the course of maintenance. Just be true to yourself as much as you can ...
    1395 days ago
    I am not at maintenance now but a number of years ago I lost 30 pounds and kept it off for 3 years. I think maintenance is much more difficult than losing! Hang in there! You can do this! Congrats on maintenance!
    1398 days ago
    The work certainly isn't done just because one hits maintenance. I look forward to the challenges of it some day though.
    1398 days ago
    Hi Sunny - great blog ! Hit home , maintenance is a tricky journey and yes I agree with what you have written - I too have similar issues - failure to measure , oil and cheese - just because its named salad does not make it low cal. . You mean well but , then its becomes second hand nature to eye ball food and think its ok.

    And then too for me - I have been (prior , to all that's going on ) as you know , training for that triathlon - its regimented training and once that comes to halt or cut back like you said due to life's regular everyday issues that require our attention and I am not speaking of work - like you said - ill family member and so forth our entire plan changes as is difficult to plan as these circumstances arise .

    I need to plan differently , reality I am not going to train for tri my entire life so - I need to prepare a plan that works for life time use like yourself - I do juice but I incorporate solid foods in my meals as well - Yes Ravioli was a down fall this past few weeks - Italian wedding , Great Nona Edna was in from Italy - they believe that if your too skinny your not happy in your marriage - lol - Your to skinny ! What ?
    I do not have the answers but I guess its a full time work in progress mission - Hugs , Karen - thanks for all of your support :)
    1398 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/25/2014 3:51:49 PM
    I have maintained for a long time, and the biggest mental hurdle for me is the thought that I SHOULD be able to have________now, what was the point of giving something up if I couldn't have it now? So I just put it off until tomorrow, which becomes tomorrow, which adds up to years. The mental anguish if not eating something at a restaurant pales in comparison with the anguish of weight gain.
    1398 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    Loved this blog as I too am in maintenance and it is just as hard or maybe even harder to maintain. It is definitely a work in progress. I have gone up a few pounds this winter with too much socializing. Time to get back on track.
    1398 days ago
    Thank you for sharing!! I am not at maintenance yet, but my biggest trigger is late night snacking. I can measure out a snack any other time of day, but for some reason late at night, i just want to mindlessly eat. Am slowly setting back the latest I will allow myself to eat at night, until I plan to not eat at all after dinner.
    1398 days ago
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