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My Plan for Year Two of Maintenance

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moderation has never been my strong suit and I've often operated at one end of the spectrum or the other. I've frequently joked that I'm both an extreme Type A and an extreme Type B wrapped up into one person. Part of my process of successful weight management has been learning to moderate both of those tendencies to finally arrive at a happy medium that, until the past few years, had always eluded me. I've been successful to a large degree, but am also cognizant of where my weaknesses lie and aim to continually improve them. With my second year on maintenance underway, I've decided that this is the area where I'd like to focus my efforts in the coming year.

The biggest area where I feel like I can improve is with my daily food balance. As I was losing weight and throughout my first year of maintenance, I "banked" calories throughout the week so that I could enjoy a truly indulgent meal once a week. Although this strategy has generally worked well for me in the sense that I've been successfully maintaining for over a year, I'm beginning to feel dissatisfied with just how low in calories I have to stay the rest of the week to compensate for my free-for-all Saturdays. What's more, there have been more than a few occasions where my indulgent meals have been so indulgent that I've literally felt sick from them. In my mind, this totally defeats their purpose. I've always felt that treats are something to be looked forward to and enjoyed without guilt. But it's hard to fully enjoy and not feel guilty about a treat when you've taken it to an extreme and are actually in physical pain from it.

This is a fairly long-standing habit of mine and I know that it will take some time to modify. To achieve a greater balance, I plan to begin by cutting out one thing from my weekly treat meal and upping my daily calorie minimum by 50 calories. Since it's usually dessert that seems to put me over the edge, that seems like the logical thing to cut for now. My goal is that by this time next year is that I will have been able to add 200-300 calories to my daily budget by appropriately scaling back my treat meal. I think this will go a long way in making me feel more balanced and will allow me to get much more enjoyment not only out of my daily meals, but also out of my treats.

Wish me luck!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • 1954MARG
    You are so right. Nothing is a treat if it is a punishment. Treats are to be enjoyed!
    1855 days ago
    Ithink that's a great plan, especially if your indulgence doesn't leave you feeling good.
    1876 days ago
    That's a sound target for this year!

    I had also a mixed experience with saving calories for treat-meals. Somehow, they were like a "bung" on my system. On the long term, I discovered that having a more regular and balanced eating pattern works better for me on all 7 days, vs. 6 days low, 1 day treat. Also, I increased my exercise level to have more room for treats.

    What is your time plan to implement the changes?
    1876 days ago
    That's a great plan! As much as I'd like to know how many calories I can eat in a day, I cannot seem to make myself measure and count them all. I feel like a surgeon wearing a blindfold, hoping to be able to do the right thing.

    Congrats on your first year of maintenance! I'm rooting for you!

    1878 days ago
    Wishing you luck you wished for : )
    Just thinking after reading your blog about the calories and food bank. I'm the type that reads everthing and anything. I'm like a sponge!! I've noticed lately they're getting the message out there that we need more of a low calorie,fat etc selection in the "quick fix" food department.
    One company I've come across is Tofutti. They make a good selection of non-dairy and I'm finding it a good "go between" during the day. The calorie count isn't bad.
    Check it out! Other than that though I really try and stick to what I call "REAL" food. Have a great Easter and thanks for all the help and encouragement throughout the year!! emoticon
    1881 days ago

    I generally eat in moderation seven days a week and will have an occasional splurge meal... however yesterday for some reason I binged like there was no tomorrow. I woke up in the middle of the night and felt sick. What an ugly feeling. Today I felt like I had a black cloud over my head from guilt and shame. I think that if I splurged once a week I would find myself eating much more than I intended and that would be a slippery slope. You are wise to try and find more balance.
    1886 days ago
  • MARTY728
    1889 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1889 days ago
    Hi Tina, I don't know why/how I missed your blog this week, but this is a great plan. I like how you are gradually upping/reducing your calories...the gradualism will make it seem effortless, I bet! Perfect plan!! I know you can do it!!
    1889 days ago
    Great blog! I also just don't enjoy being stuffed like I used to. When I wake up in the morning if my stomach feels good I know I ate moderately the day before. If I wake up with a dry nasty taste and feel in my mouth, and a funky feeling in my stomach, I know I overdid it. Funny, but my response to the bad taste and feeling is to want more sugar, fat and salt. That makes no sense, but that is the way I've experienced it. I read a blog recently in overeating was called a trigger for more overeating. That was surprising to me, but now that I think about it -- yeah.

    Best wishes for your second year of maintenance with even better nutrition and more moderation!! -Marsha
    1892 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Good Luck! Keep us posted on how it is working out. emoticon

    1892 days ago
    You have a great plan set up! I also agree that it may be best to pick one meal on Saturday to indulge in, opposed to the entire day of indulgence. I have two siblings who have done diets in which they had a "free day," but ended up having to scale it back to half the day or 1 meal on that day.

    Wishing you the best of luck for your second year of maintenance. emoticon emoticon
    1892 days ago
    All the discussion of moderation made me think of this Pearls Before Swine comic strip.
    by Stephan Pastis

    I do hope your plan works. Cutting back on the weekly treat meal sounds very resaonable.
    1892 days ago
    Sounds like a good plan.

    I tried allowing myself a treat meal, doing the same thing you do, banking calories for several days. It didn't work for me. I found that I looked forward to those treats too much and tended to go way overboard, reasoning that it's just once a week and I can compensate the next day.

    1892 days ago
    Good luck! The plan sounds totally reasonable and since you're doing it over a period of time, you're more likely to succeed. You got this! Congrats on moving into year 2 of maintenance!
    1892 days ago
  • GABY1948
    I believe that the balance is the hardest for all maintainers...at least from what I read...I'm not there but that is what always scared me when I got to that point! Hope you are successful!
    1892 days ago
    I think finding balance in maintenance is what the majority of successfully maintainers do well. Everyone needs to find out what works for them. The real key is knowing yourself. Good Luck in finding what works best for you.
    1892 days ago
    Hm, that 80/20 approach sounds good to me...

    I've realized that the "treat meal" concept doesn't work for me any more because my body reacts to the overeating much more than it used to. It's really unpleasant. I've let myself have more daily treats...but I've begun to gain again, bit by bit, as a result. Gotta get some traction on this slippery slope.

    Sounds like you have a good plan for 2013! emoticon
    1892 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I think that is a great plan for year two. I also struggle with with being extreme and not being moderate, I am trying to learn to be the not perfect maintainer. It is Ok to indulge now and then, and while it is not comfortable, it is ok to be up a few pounds and then work them down. The all or nothing attitude did not keep me maintaining in past years.

    I think your idea of fine tuning your eating so you can add more daily calories, and cut down on the treat day is a good one.

    1892 days ago
    Great plan, great blog that nails something a lot of us struggle with.

    It's amazing how miserable I now feel when I overindulge . . . . whether that be excess calories, excess fats, or excess volume.

    Nothing worse than the "food hangover" . . .

    And yet, amazing how many times I have to experience it before I reliably remember that before I overindulge!!
    1892 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    I see this blog as the first step in a major victory.

    That is, understanding the new problem and planning to conquer that.

    I'm not in maintenance, yet, and I think I figured out this week end that I need to lower my target weight for health reasons. At the same time, I'm also thinking that I need to "balance", to use your phrase, my menu selections to a broader range of foods, so I can better cope with days where I have less control of what I can eat, yet I can be able to make the right selections against calorie budget and other nutritional concerns -- salt, cholesterol, etc.

    Keep pushing. emoticon

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    1893 days ago
    I really hope you manage to find a way to balance everything out. No matter how good losers or maintainers we have been, there's always room for learning and improvement.
    Good luck!
    1893 days ago
    Seems like many of us have the same issues, me included. I have tried NOT to set aside a particular day as they seem to find me on their own. i.e. an impromptu family get together, dinner out, a wedding, a meeting meal, a business lunch, etc. I still try to bank a few calories (100-200) when I am 'in control' which is usually my during my basic routine. I think I will always have to do it that way to some degree. The battle in me is in my mind and I am learning how to handle trigger situations better -- but still struggling with going back for that second piece of pizza or ? ? ? when it is put before me. One thing I have been trying to do is avert a major food foray with good 'first' alternative (salad, soup, fruit w/yogurt or lite whip cream or a sugar/fat free latte', before the 'beast' in me takes over. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.

    I saw Oprah interview a lady once who was promoting a plan about how French women keep in shape and one thing was they indulge a little everyday, have a small indulgence such as piece of chocolate (or ?--whatever you want within caloric limits) every day. They eat slowly and savor the food and the experience making it almost a ritual. --this takes practice for us 'big' volume eaters. I've been trying this and the 'averting a binge' method does help and I am still mastering the 'savor the indulgence' method. Even on those days I have cut loose a little too much, I still count the calories and weigh-in to remain aware of just how much I have taken in.

    . . . just a few methods that are helping me develop a more normal, balanced approach to eating. (btw, I am only on month 4 of maintenance and still learning.)
    1893 days ago
    TJ, as always, I love your insight. I look forward to entering year two in a couple of months, and I have also noticed a feeling of dissatisfaction with my current plan. I'm coming to realize that my weight-loss plan, while successful, is not the rest-of-my-life plan, and I need to give much thought to how to morph my current practice into something more comfortable for the future.
    1893 days ago
  • DALID414
    Good luck!
    1893 days ago
    I'm totally there with you. When I was restrictive is was so easy. Now that I've let myself feel a little "more free" I find moderation to be very difficult. Good luck learning to manage all things of moderation. I will be right there with you in this adventure.
    1893 days ago
    I'm kind of extreme too, and one time in grad school my friends got a good laugh when I came to a conclusion that I should try splitting the difference.

    Apparently the way I expressed it was a fervent fist shake and a loud pronouncement, "From now on it is going to be MODERATION AT ALL COSTS!"

    (And until it was explained to me, I actually had no clue what was so funny about that....)

    1893 days ago
  • MKELLY72
    That does sound like a great plan. I have always had a hard time with only eating a small volume of food--which is why I bulk my meals up so much with fruits and non-starchy veggies, but I really have wanted to someday master moderation. I have my one day a week that I indulge in treating myself with food too.
    1893 days ago
    You've made a plan and now stick to it!! You have known success so keep at it.. emoticon
    1893 days ago
    I do wish you luck! You'll fine tune your meals and week so that you can have a treat without having a blow-out. I think you'll like the more balanced approach. That's what I'm going to be striving for soon.
    1893 days ago
  • -AMANDA79-
    If I only got to indulge one day a week, I might make myself sick as well. I abide by an 80/20 rule. 80% healthy and 20% not so healthy. I'm not gonna lie. I mostly love it because I don't have to track :)

    Good luck! If you are dissatisfied with your current method, then toy with it until you find something that you love.

    1893 days ago
    Good luck! I think that's a great plan, especially if your treat meals are making you sick and you're not enjoying them. :)
    1893 days ago
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