A bit over two years ago, as a newbie maintainer, I wrote a blog about maintenance not being steady state:
This week, it's time to re-read that blog and check what's changed in the past two years.
One week ago, I weighed in at a relatively high weight in a narrow range. I went out that noon and ran 4.6 miles at tempo, with the unexpected result of aggravating an old foot injury that held up just fine running a half marathon two weeks earlier.
When I realized I couldn't run for a few days, I cut my calorie range down to taper level. That wasn't far enough. A couple pounds came on quickly, and I cut the calorie range again. That seemed like enough till I found my walking limit the hard way on Monday, and set the foot back again.
Then I had a social eating event Tuesday evening. I dealt with it pretty well, with my estimate coming in within range for the day, but still logged a 2-year high weight Wednesday morning. So the calorie range got cut again, back to the level it had been in PT. This morning I was rewarded with a weight back down about Tuesday's level, above my tight range but really not too bad. However, I've been on an extended stretch of not getting 10K steps a day, let along running.
This is Day 7 of no running. That's disappointing and frustrating, but I need to deal with it.
So I do what I can. Roll out the exercises the PT had me do last year, or as close to them as I can at home without the PT's equipment. Gentle calf raises, now two-legged with no weight as opposed to one-legged with 20 lbs. before injury. Do some dumbbell squats to keep the quads from atrophying. Keep up with my routine push ups and pull ups. Remember to work the hip abductors and hip adductors, so they're strong enough when the foot lets me run again. Get out on a bike when I can, which requires more time and better weather than just going out to run.
All that still leaves me with much less exercise than I used to have. So the other side of the equation has to adjust to what I can do. I've been this road before, and I can do it. But it's not automatic. I have to pay attention.
Adjusting how much I eat is always hard. It's hard to eat more when I'm in a routine of eating a set amount, even when the scale is telling me I need to eat more to maintain. It's even harder to adjust downward after becoming accustomed to a training level diet. In what I've come to think of as normal circumstances, I adjust the range by 100 calories at a time, no more frequently than once a week.
Right now, circumstances aren't normal. I've adjusted the range downward three times this week, by a total of 500 calories per day. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough. The answer may depend on how much the foot lets me do.
This morning, the bad foot was better than yesterday, but not as good as Monday morning. However, I did not aggravate it today. The lawn needs mowing. Walking through Walmart to buy bananas convinced me I'm not up to mowing the lawn today. It will just have to grow and wait for the next dry day. Hopefully by then, the foot will be well enough to let me push a mower around and be frustrated by an awful spring mowing session.
I think I can see why so many people who lose the weight gain it back. Life Happens. When Life Happens, the routine that maintained the weight sometimes doesn't work any more. I have to figure out a new routine that will work for my current reality. Like many people, I'm not terribly fond of having to re-learn how to do something I already know how to do.
But this is important. I want to maintain that weight, so that I don't have to shop for new, fatter clothes. I want to maintain that weight, so that I have the best chance of avoiding the atherosclerosis and stroke that run in my family. I want to maintain that weight, so that when the foot lets me run again I can train for a marathon . . . even if it turns out not to be the marathon I've been pointing at for a few weeks.
Yes, injury is discouraging. At times I want to just quit, curl up in bed with a book and not worry about anything. But there are other things I want to do, and they require me to be healthy and recover from the injury. Along the way, maintaining the weight will be important to support my health and recovery. So I make adjustments, because it's worth it.
Maintenance is not steady state. It requires adjustments from time to time. And once in a while, when Life Happens, the adjustments are more severe and more sudden than they have been in a while. Well, that's life. I need to deal with it, make what adjustments I know I need, and monitor the results to see if I need to make further adjustments.
And I don't want to let a 3 pound blip up become a 10 pound trend up. That is not acceptable for my health, my self-esteem, or my ability to do what I want to do. So I make the maintenance adjustments, and may even write another blog or two about the food side. Because blogs are for motivation, rumination, and working on things that aren't easy enough to be routine. Right now, the maintenance adjustments to nutrition are blog fodder.
This can be done. I can do it. Writing about it helps.