Maintenance 101: Beware of Food Creep

Maintenance 101: Tips from Lori


Hi there! I am Lori from Finding Radiance. I am very honored that Lisa asked me to write a post about my tips for maintenance. I have lost over 100 pounds and kept most of it off for several years now. It has been an up and down journey to keep it off (literally and figuratively). These are some of the things that have helped me.


1. Maintenance is not really all that different than losing, you just loosen up and relax a little.

You do have to have some parameters for yourself , however. Give yourself either a weight range or pants size to be in. Use this as the tipping point to go back into losing mode (I just currently went back into this mode). It helps to periodically journal your food to make sure you aren’t going overboard on something. When the gain is happening, it is easy to say “Oh it is just a pound or 2” – but those pounds add up fast if you say that a few times. You want to nip it in the bud before it goes too far.

2. Realize that there is ‘real life’ outside of dieting.

Often times, you see people cocoon themselves in their diet, avoiding eating out, avoiding social occasions or the like because of the fear of how you will eat. You can’t hide forever. That doesn’t mean going back to your old ways, though. If chips and salsa are your downfall, maybe you need to choose a different restaurant that doesn’t offer those. If you tend to eat a lot when you go to a bar because of the drinks, try to stick to seltzer water or alternate every other drink with water to help slow down the drinking and hopefully less eating. If get togethers are an issue – bring foods that you are comfortable with over indulging. And if you do go overboard sometimes – it is not the end of the world. Just practice your good habits the next day without sliding into an overeating cycle.

3. Beware of “food creep”.

This is a term my husband and I like to use. Where you measure out a portion of nuts or a snack, but then reach in the bag and eat some more, but don’t count it. Or measuring out your peanut butter and then licking the spoon of the extra, but still only counting the serving (I know I am not the only one who does this, right?). A scoop of ice cream that is really a scoop and a half, but you tell yourself it is only 1. Walking by the candy dish in the office and snagging a piece or two. On the surface, this really doesn’t seem like a lot of calories, but they add up whether you acknowledge them or not. Sometimes it is just eating out a couple more times a week and not always going for the better choice. This is where the periodic journaling really helps with accountability.

4. Keep activity a strong part of your life.

I don’t think exercise is nearly as important when you are losing as it is to keep the weight off once you have lost it. You can take care of the weight by simple calorie restriction, but maintaining your loss and being fit and healthy requires activity. Find whatever it is you love. Walking, biking, Pilates, Zumba, karate or just extra play time with your family. If you love it, you will do it. Create new traditions with family and friends that involve physical activity. How about taking a walk after Thanksgiving dinner before settling in for football or pie?

I feel the most important thing about maintenance is to not beat yourself up if you gain some weight. It happens to everyone at some point and it certainly does not mean you are a bad person or have no will power. Some people gain a little, some people gain a lot. Life isn’t perfect and neither is maintenance. Just go back to the tools you used to lose weight before, put yourself first and don’t give up.

Lisa’s Note: Thank you so much Lori for sharing your wisdom. There are only a few “maintenance” blogs that I’ve found and Lori’s is one of my favorites. I love how balanced she is with food and fitness. 

QUESTION: Have you experienced “food creep”? How do you avoid it? 

Maintenance 101: How to Eat  *  Maintenance 101: Challenges  *  Five Truths of Maintenance  *  Maintenance 101:  Self- Love  *

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

15 thoughts on “Maintenance 101: Beware of Food Creep”

  1. They’re some great tips! Food creep is new to me, but I’ve never actually measured my portions anyway, so maybe that’s why.

    When it comes to going into the outside world, associations can massively affect what you do. If they all have fish and chips, what will you most likely go for? I find that a good way around this is to pre-order food, then you’re stuck, you’ve made the right decision when you are under no pressure! It might even help set a healthier tone for the table 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Nick Goodall recently posted..The Over-Motivated Underachiever Syndrome

    1. The term is new to me, but the concept is definitely not!

      I agree about the associations. It’s harder to resist things when everyone around you is having it — like potlucks and such. When I first started losing my weight I stopped going to happy hours with friends because it was really hard to stay on track!

  2. I love your point about food creep. Though I measure food creep not in the amount of food I consume, but moreso the types of food.

    If I’m doing low carb then maybe just one cracker won’t hurt. And if one cracker’s ok then two’s probably not so bad either. And a bottle of beer with those crackers shouldn’t hurt that much. Might as well have some cookies for dessert too. And another beer.

    I’m the master of food creep. I’m a freakin’ food creep champ! I can creep any food into any meal no matter what diet I’m on.

    That’s why I keep my pantry so empty.

    Trevor recently posted..Slim Down AND Get Strong with this One Ridiculously Effective Exercise.

    1. Ha!! I could totally relate to your comment. In fact, I had an internal debate with myself about going dairy free. I said, “well butter is ok. I’ll eat that but nothing else.” Then I said “well if butter is ok, cream in my coffee is ok.” Um, no!

  3. This topic is spot on for maintenance. It is sooooo easy to let habits, portion sizes, and exercise start to shift. When it happens day by day- it’s not at as noticeable.

    I used these tools my first year- and I’ll need to use them the rest of my life, too.

    – daily weighing and graphing my weight. I pick a weight where I go into weight loss mode again
    – return to measuring my food
    -eliminate any food that still might be triggering me ( nuts!)
    – wear a pedometer and head back out for walk if I have fewer than 8,000 steps a day.

    Great suggestions, Lori.
    Karen P recently posted..I finished my first Whole30! Whoot!

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