food creep

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  *

Get Off the Phone!

Thanks for so many great comments and observations on Monday’s post. I wanted to share a few of the highlights and great suggestions.

Lori mentioned something she’s termed “food creep” –the snacking, nibbling, gradual act of eating more and more and not noticing until it’s too late (i.e. weight gain). 

Beth said she’s also experiencing something similar and is getting “back to basics” (good plan). 

Alex had a GREAT tip for holiday parties: use a small plate. It’s a fantastic suggestion that slipped my mind. My advice would also be in tandem of the small-plate-at-parties-plan and that’s not to stand next to the buffet/snack table during the party. It’s really easy to just mindlessly munch while you’re talking to people and not even notice OR enjoy the food!

You might want to check out this post that is similar to mine in it’s message, Dry December. It’s a great post, timely and I agree with it. The writer is limiting her alcohol intake to once or twice a week instead of every day. I’ve been doing something similar since the day after Thanksgiving. Since then I’ve had 1 beer and that’s it. I didn’t miss it, either.

I’m hoping the plan I’ve been doing for a few weeks now will show some results on the scale. That damn skirt is too tight, yet ironically the jeans I have that are a size 2 (Target vanity sizing, so probably a 4 or 6 in reality) are literally falling off my body. So how is the skirt tight and the jeans are loose?

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Last night I was at the gym doing my physical therapy exercises, elliptical and the weight machines (I try to mix it up with the free weights, machines and kettlebells) and I noticed something:

Almost everyone I walked by in the weight room was simply sitting on the machines, not working out, playing with their phones.


I wanted to say, “Don’t you know you’re just wasting your time in the gym when you could be working out?” and “You aren’t really burning calories sitting there!”

Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes do that too–changing the music on Pandora, answer a text here and there, get lost on Twitter while I’m on the elliptical…but I try my hardest not to make that a habit. When I’m in the gym, I want to spend as little time as possible to burn the calorie count I’m looking for. Meaning, I know I can burn between 550-700 calories in 1 hour doing cardio and kettlebell exercises.  So why would I spend 90 minutes doing the same thing but taking lots of breaks to play with my phone?

I don’t mean this to be preachy or judgmental, just a friendly reminder. KEEP YOUR HEART RATE UP!


In related news, I did squats on the bosu ball per my physical therapist. If you’ve never tried it, give it a try the next time you’re at the gym. It’s surprisingly harder than it looks.

My gym session was pretty good. I liked the calorie number and went home famished. Michael made his amazing homemade meatballs and a puttanesca sauce over Barilla shells pasta. Unfortunately, my camera is on the fritz and I had to send it in to be fixed (I’m going through withdrawals not having my Canon DSLR around) but thankfully it’s still under warranty. Anyway, I used my old camera to take photos of the beautiful, picture-perfect dinner and of COURSE the photos didn’t turn out. 🙁

The sauce was fantastic and spicy as hell. He used a jar of Trader Joe’s vodka red sauce as a base and added chopped Kalamata olives and lots of red pepper flakes. It’s an easy sauce to make and tastes so good. It would definitely impress a dinner guest.

I miss my camera. 🙁

QUESTION: How do you feel about the “playing on the phone” topic?