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My Maintenance Breakthrough: Practicing True Moderation

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Most of my weight loss history and my first year of maintenance were characterized by extremes. I'd either be extremely disciplined or extremely undisciplined and my weight reflected that pattern, yo-yoing from a high of 260 and a low of about 140 in my adult life. I could knock off large amounts of weight in a relatively short period of time by being a model dieter, but would then inevitably get fed up with the process and start a downward spiral of regain.

When I reached goal last year, I had been able to moderate my habits to the extent that I was able to stabilize my weight, but I was basically still being very disciplined most of the time and extremely undisciplined a small part of the time. On the outside, I seemed like a model maintainer because my weight was more or less staying the same. The reality wasn't so pretty--I was typically gorging myself one day a week (and usually just at one meal), easily eating more than 4,000 calories, then spending the rest of the week trying to make up for that. Although I was on maintenance. I was typically only eating between 1,300 and 1,400 calories six days a week. I was getting really tired of that pattern and feeling so deprived most of the time (which I think contributed to my weekly overeating sessions), so I made it my year two maintenance goal to work on that.

For the past few months, I had been trying to slowly increase my daily calories and cut back on my Saturday indulgences, but with only limited success. I had only increased my daily calories by about 100 most days and was still having trouble reigning things in on Saturdays. I also found it psychologically hard to take the step of increasing my calories too much because I always felt like I was in damage control mode from Sunday to Friday.

Then I hurt my knee, which happened on a Saturday. Because I wound up going to the hospital that evening, I didn't have my usual overeating marathon that day so I started off the new week on an even keel for once. Since I couldn't really exercise, I had to pay more attention to my eating and used it as an opportunity to try to increase my calories even more. Strangely enough, as I started adding more calories, my weight started dropping (which wasn't a goal of mine) even though I wasn't really exercising much. I managed to get up into the 1,700s most days and actually found that I was satisfied with much less once Saturdays rolled around. Now that I'm exercising again, I've been eating in the 1,800s and even 1,900s and my weight is still dropping. If this pattern keeps up, I'm going to continue adding calories until I level off.

I really thought I was doomed to a pattern of having to basically eat at my weight-loss levels most of the time to maintain my weight, so this revelation has been really exciting for me. It's still a work in progress because I haven't even been at it for a month, but this is really the moderation I've been striving for--eating at a level that is reasonable and satisfying most of the time with a few extra indulgences from time to time. More like a "normal" person! I had noticed during my weekly chow fests that I would eat waaay more than everyone else around me and realized that that wasn't normal. They were probably eating more than they usually did as well, but didn't feel compelled to stuff their faces the way I did. I feel so much better not eating until I feel "Thanksgiving full" like I basically had been every Saturday and I'm really shocked that I've been able to work my calories up so much in a relatively short period of time. It's all good stuff and gives me great hope for my prospects of really being a successful long-term maintainer.
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    1832 days ago
    Love this Tina, great to know your efforts are paying off.
    1833 days ago
    1839 days ago
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    1839 days ago
    1840 days ago
    Great job Tina emoticon I have a great deal of difficulty getting in my calories for the day and making them the right kind of calories ( uUsually because I am a big meal skipper ). I do know they say you need to eat all of those calories and that is the first thing many people ask when someone is not progressing as they hoped to be. None the less, it is a demon to be reckoned with - finding the right balance without fear ! YOU DID IT ! ! !
    1841 days ago
    Wow, good for you. Sometimes what we need is that invisible 'thing' to make us look at our surroundings in a different way!
    Way to go!!


    1841 days ago
    Unreal to me the idea of eating like a normal person.
    Maybe one day!
    1843 days ago
    Thank you. I have been on maintenance for six years - thought I had achieved a balance, but this year has been tougher for me. I think I've fallen back into that trap of being too strict on most days, feeling deprived, then overeating on one day. Thanks for a much needed reminder!

    1843 days ago
    You are doing great!!! Thank you for sharing!
    1844 days ago
  • GEORGE815
    Keep working at it!
    1844 days ago
  • KONRAD695
    Thank You!!! emoticon

    I'm at month 6 of my ending weight loss endeavor. I still call it weight loss because I have to "diet" 25% of the time to keep me in check. What you a achieving is what I'm looking for. Thank you for letting me know it's out there.

    BTW emoticon emoticon
    1845 days ago
    That is a milestone. I also noticed when I learn to something with moderation, it can become a practice that I can do easily, for long. Extremes are still good, to get back to squre zero quickly, extreme-to-extreme is just too much energy to me. Although, it's more interesting, for sure. :-) Hope your knee gets better soon.
    1846 days ago
    I loved reading this blog on maintenance and how even though you've been fairly stabalized in your weightloss you still have to work at maintaining and figuring out what's best for you. Im still in the weightloss phase and I'm terrified of maintenance. I am a classic yo-yo dieter too but it's encouraging for me to read your posts. Thank you for being honest.
    1846 days ago
  • KANOE10
    This is a great breakthrough for you! You have discovered how to increase your daily calories and cut back on the once a week indulgence. I also have to watch eating something that tastes good to the point of being too full. You are doing a wonderful job of maintaining and finding your way heading to year two. You are doing it!

    1846 days ago
    How nice to see you blazing my trails before me again. Your news is encouraging, knowing that some day I might be able to stop eating like I'm losing weight.

    That "mowing down" on treat day is addiction rearing it's ugly head. I recognize it in myself and sometimes I can hear it scream at me to eat! Addiction is quite the beast to tame and YOU are on your way! Something good came out of a bad situtation (hurting your knee) and now by sharing what you learned, you're helped all of us.

    Thanks again!
    1846 days ago
    Your blog proves that there's always room for improvement to our plans, even in maintenance!
    I'm glad you keep discovering new things about your body and your metabolism which will help you be an even more successful and happier maintainer!
    Keep on sharing your discoveries with us.
    1847 days ago
    That is great! Funny how in a way the injury was sort of a blessing in disguise by breaking up your normal routine. 1800-ish calories sounds like a very reasonable maintenance level that will still allow you a few treats here and there while feeling satisfied day to day.
    1847 days ago
    Wow! Huge breakthrough! I am older and maybe have a different metabolism: track carefully, rarely eat over 1800 calories even on a big eating day, and usually around 1400 which seems to be necessary for maintenance. I am OK with it, but admire that you have evolved something that permits a more generous daily allowance without the stuffed-full Saturdays!
    1847 days ago
  • LEWILL1982
    Congratulations! I still can't figure out maintenance. I know how to lose and I know how to gain but remain constant? Haven't figured that out. I welcome all the advice and tips you have to offer!
    1847 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog!!! You are doing Great. Keep Moving Forward. Hope your Knee has a full Recovery very soon. God Blessings to Everyone. Have a Fantastic Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1847 days ago
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    1847 days ago
    emoticon You got this!!
    1847 days ago
  • _JODI404
    This really is a wonderful breakthrough!!

    I think this will be very helpful in your continued long term successful maintenance going forward!
    It's wonderful that you are feeling more normal, and comfortable with this consistency.

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    1847 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/29/2013 9:59:48 PM
    I like how your experience argues against having a "cheat day" during the week.
    1847 days ago
    Good for you. As they say in show business, break a leg! Which really means, go give it all you've got and best wishes with your performance! So with dieting, the goal is to lose. With maintenance, the goal is to maintain and to transitions is a whole new game. It's not giving up the "DIET" and returning to your "POST DIET" days. It's transitioning to your new lifestyle where you are eating healthy while maintaining fitness, weight and health! So it's not surprising to hear that you are going through a learning curve. What is really great is that you didn't just let go and allowed your self to fall back to a place where you didn't want to be! So good for you and keep it up.
    Be Blessed and Know you are on the right path!

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    1847 days ago
    OH yah! Definitely better to eat a bit more 7 days, than to skimp on 6 days and overdo it on one!
    1847 days ago
    Wow! I am trying to get this figured out--and not doing too well, I thought. Now I see that I am NOT alone and, with help, I will get it figured emoticon out!
    1847 days ago
    Great blog and I'm so happy for you Tina! I'm happy about the fact that you can eat more and still either lose or maintain, but more importantly, I'm so happy that you feel so sated all week that you no longer get "thanksgiving full" every Saturday. That is the life! And further, it's the life I want to lead too!!! :)
    1847 days ago
    Thanks for this. There's a lot for me to think about here.
    1847 days ago
  • GABY1948
    Sweetheart, you are so much younger than I am and I can only pray that I will reach the same level of normal eating that you have! You have done so marvelously! Thank you for being such a great inspiration to so many of us! emoticon
    1847 days ago
  • THOMS1
    You are doing a good job of it. I wish you continued success. emoticon
    1847 days ago
    You're doing so great! And I think most of us can relate to the seemingly never ending yo-yo. Lord knows I can. Lol.
    1847 days ago
    This blog resonates with me. Previously I have eaten at weight loss levels until dinner, and then tried to get in enough calories before bedtime that I didn't continue to lose. That was hard for my shrunken stomach! A more level amount of food throughout the day works better for me... the stomach doesn't feel so deprived at one time, yet too full at another, and the needed calories are consumed.

    Congratulations on the progress you're achieving in your maintenance. I think what you're doing now is healthier for you and more sustainable. You express it very clearly. Thanks for sharing!
    1847 days ago
    I discovered this myself and talked about it here.


    While I didn't expound much in the thread about my theories, I think there are two major contributors. One, the thermic effect of food and two increased metabolism. Unfortunately, I don't think the increased metabolic rate is static. The body adapts. When you diet down, the rate of loss can slow because of the adaptation and likewise when you increase calories (the rate increases, but can drop off). So once again, it really just amounts to paying attention, but noting these changes and adjusting is the key to continued success. Enjoy it.
    1847 days ago
    You Go Girl! Good for you. I hope your knee heals up for you soon. emoticon
    1847 days ago
    Dietary consistency is great. Sure I kind of would like to eat more on the weekends, but it's easier to reign in 2 days a week than 5. The only thing I'd caution is with the injury you might be dropping muscle, so keep an eye on that.
    1847 days ago
    1847 days ago
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