It has been an incredibly long time since I last blogged....almost 6 months to be exact!
I've been meaning to blog about my continually evolving experience with maintenance for quite some time now, but have just never gotten around to it. But things have taken an interesting turn of late, and it feels like the right time to put it down for posterity.
Technically (i.e. on the scale), I have been in 'maintenance mode' for - oh - a couple of years now. I got down to goal weight within 6 months of putting a serious effort behind it, losing about 15 vanity lbs in the process. But I bounced back up during the summer of our family's big cross-continental move in 2010....and promptly dropped the gain that same autumn, and was back to my svelt old/new self by the end of that year.
Even though my body weight was in maintenance, my brain and my behavior were not in synch with the scale....and I was still trying to find that tweak that would shave off 'just two more pounds'. And this is how I - rather unpleasantly, in hindsight - spent most of 2011....driving myself crazy unnecessarily, not knowing how to 'un-Spark' and live like a 'normal' person where food and exercise are concerned.
My weight stayed pretty much the same during that time, stubbornly refusing to budge any further despite me fiddling with almost every reasonable trick in the book.
FINALLY, I decided to throw in the towel and my New Year's resolution for 2012 was simple - lighten the frick up already, Mimi! I backed way off on exercise, totally dropped ST (based on a bunch of research and my own body knowledge), stopped tracking nutrition and basically started having a life.
(If you're still with this blog, here is where I get on topic with the title)
You see, I had spent so long on a particular food routine that had all kinds of rules about what, how much and when. I followed it to the point where I lost touch with the healthy pleasures of food. I am a creature of habit and can do almost anything I set my mind to for long periods of time if I tell myself that's what I need to do. This is a really useful skill for many things (such as training for hundreds of hours in all kinds of ungodly weather, which is where I think I fine-tuned this ability), but when it comes to food and eating...well, basically, it ended up sucking the joy and spontaneity out of preparing and eating food. It might just as well have been cardboard on my plate - I cared that little, and enjoyed it that much. What a drag.
The epiphany came just a few days ago....as I sat down to my plate of bland, unseasoned quinoa, steamed broccoli and roasted chicken....a meal that I cared zero about, took no pleasure from eating, was completely soul-dead when I chose and prepared it and basically swallowed for fuel, I realized that, while I would not classify my eating habits as 'disordered', they had definitely become dysfunctional.
I would get to every mealtime and have so many "no's" about what I could eat that sometimes I'd just put off the eating...and end up eating something that was not balanced....and never satisfying.
That very same day I decided to *GASP* eat what I felt like eating when I felt like eating it. Plug your ears Tosca Reno, but I can no longer eat oatmeal with berries and protein powder or egg whites every flippin' day whether I want to or not! I'm tired of weighing the pros and cons of having a slice of cheese if I feel like it without doing the mental dance about whether the sodium will make me retain water....or not having a salad with olive oil cuz I'm not sure if I've had too much fat that day.
I used to love to cook, create, enjoy food....and I want it back!
The few days since that epiphany have been FUN in the grocery store and in the kitchen. The 'old' skill of asking myself what flavors, colors textures etc I feel like enjoying has come right back....the days of opening the fridge, seeing what's there and playing one of my favorite creative games...'hmmmm...what could I do with that?' here again.
Yesterday's lunch was a quickly pulled-together asian deal...and I actually used a sauce!!!! It has been ages since I've used a sauce!!!! Dinner last night was a big dish of strawberries topped with a dollop of greek yogurt and some honey-nut cheerios on top....oh, and a dash of vanilla with a spoon or two of blue agave syrup. YUM!!! Today's lunch was a huge salad with an amazing vinagrette, jalapeno-sauteed chicken, avocados, tomatoes etc etc etc. I haven't had dinner yet - it's 9:30 and I'm not sure I will - and I love feeling free to have it or not!!!!
Looking at it here, it seems pretty tame....my choices are still really healthy...I've always loved veggies and will probably always stick with a fairly clean diet - that's been a big lifelong preference too. But the interior shift is really really big...it's more than just the food...it's stepping back into a place where I can lose myself in creating something, get excited about what I'm doing, think about new possibilities and take pleasure in the result.
Will this shift impact my weight? I doubt it...but even if it does, it won't be a big impact...likely one that I can absorb easily and comfortably and that would be worth it to get this glorious part of living back in my life.
It is all good.