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  *

Finding Radiance

I am happy that Lori from Finding Radiance agreed to be interviewed. Her blog is one of the original ones I followed from the beginning. I definitely felt like I could relate to her story because she was a “big loser” like me.

Lori Before

If you aren’t reading Lori’s stories, I urge you to do so. She lost over 100 pounds without surgery and now she bikes to cupcake shops!  I love how she balances out her love of things like cupcakes and bagels with exercise.  You can see her amazing weight loss here.  Someday I want to go on a bike ride with her! 🙂

1) How much were you at your heaviest and what motivated you to want to lose it? How long did it take to lose?

The most I weighed was 250 pounds on the dot.  I was a little heavy growing up and then into adulthood, I would lose some weight and then gain it back and more each time. When I hit 250, it seemed like such an enormous number.  I thought to myself “That is halfway to 500 pounds” and I could see myself keep going.  It was scary.  While I didn’t really do anything right then and there, I set steps in motion, one of which was reading “The Sugar Addicts Recovery Program”.  It spoke to me a lot.  I took me 4 years to lose 100 pounds.

2) What method worked best for you to lose and maintain the weight loss?

I had varying success with a lot of programs.  The great thing about needing to lose 100 pounds is that you have the opportunity of trial and error since you have a lot to lose LOL!  I started with just switching to whole grain foods like whole wheat bread and cereals (but still ate other processed foods). I also did Weight Watchers  for a while, and I did 6 months of Nutrisystem to help me get refocused after a long plateau.  But basically it all comes down to counting something, which is primarily calories or portion sizes.

3) What was the most challenging aspect of weight loss?

I had a hugely long plateau after losing 75 pounds.  Months long. It was tough to keep going when I was doing everything right and nothing worked.  Plus I had a ton of life stressors at the time. So I started to gain some weight back and thought “Here we go again.”  I ended up doing Nutrisystem after that for 6 months just so I could stop thinking about food for a while, and surprisingly, it ended up being a good tool for me.

4) Did you get any negative reactions/comments from people who weren’t supportive of your weight loss? How did you deal with that?

I have never had any negative experiences or people holding me back from losing weight.  It was mostly myself.  I was teased incessantly growing up by peers, which still stings  – even in my 40s.  My family has always been very supportive.

5) Describe a typical day of meals/calories before and after the weight loss?

We used to eat out a lot. Sometimes 3 meals a day when I was at my heaviest (and my husband was 40 pounds overweight as well).  For breakfast, we might have bagels and I would get a cinnamon sugar bagel with sweetened cream cheese – with sweetened coffee.  If we didn’t eat lunch out, it was something like a Lean Cuisine or some frozen entree I kept in the freezer at our business. We *always* had Starbucks in the afternoon.  I would have a caramel Machiatto and some sort of bakery item with it.  Dinner out would be something like Chili’s or something like that.  And not anything off the light menu.  If we ate at home, it was something like pasta or a frozen entree type of thing that was easy to fix.  We had a lot of freezer-to-table meals, if you know what I mean.  Oftentimes, we went out for coffee again at night.

Lori After

After losing weight, a typical day is oatmeal or protein waffles and fruit.  If I have a bagel, I get light cream cheese and I don’t sweeten my  coffee any more.  Lunch is usually some sort of protein with fruit and a veggies.  Dinner is the same.  Protein, fruit and veggies on my plate.  I still go out for coffee now – but I will get an unsweetened latte and maybe a treat, but not always – or I split it with John.  I eat a lot less sugar now than I used to, which makes all that other food taste so much better.  I still have things like cupcakes or chocolate, but I try to balance those out.  Not saying I don’t have those days where I just eat a lot of junk, but those days are much more seldom now.

6) If you could do it all over again, what do you wish you had done from the start of your weight loss journey?

I wish I had told myself years ago that you didn’t have to eat cardboard to lose weight.  Good nutritious food can taste yummy!  Also to be patient.  I would go on and off diets and just hate eating ‘diet foods.’  I would never give myself a chance to really learn how to eat properly or understand portion sizes.  Stuff that is old hat to me now was really hard to learn.  It wasn’t so much how much I was eating, but what I was eating.

7) After losing a significant amount of weight, do you have loose skin anywhere? And if so, how are you dealing with it? Have you considered surgery?

Yes. I have loose skin.  Since I never had children, my stomach is okay – not tight, but it’s all right.  Most of my loose skin is the rest of my lower body.  I would need to have a lower body lift to take care of it and I don’t know as I am interested in that for monetary reasons and also because I don’t know if it would feel like me when I was finished – if that makes any sense.  I could also lose 10 more pounds and it would probably help that out.

8 ) What kind of bike do you have? Do you wear special cycling clothes?

I have a Fuji Absolute Hybrid bike which I bought in 2010 after my old Schwinn was stolen.  I really like it.  The tires are a little thinner than I would like – more like road tires, but the bike handles really well.  I wear padded shorts and various wicking tops.  I actually don’t like the cycling jerseys too much as they make me really hot.  Isn’t that funny?  I like the look of those, though.  I feel badass riding in my Rosie jersey!  I also have clipless shoes and dual pedals so I can either wear cleats or not.  Best decision every for that.


9) You routinely bike a LOT of miles…what are some tips you have for someone just starting out to cycle?

Take it slow and be consistent.  The only way to get rid of saddle soreness is to ride, but build the miles slowly.  Too many people go out and ride hard at first and are too sore after that to want to get back on the bike.  If you ride every other day and go a little farther each time, you will be less and less sore and be able to ride farther.  I almost never get sore anymore  until I get over 80 miles LOL.

10) How has your personality changed since losing weight?

I speak my mind a little more, but basically I am pretty much the same person.  I dress differently now, though.  A lot of times I still feel like the fat girl, even after being at a much lower weight for several years.


QUESTION: Are you reading Lori’s blog? What brings you back to her blog every day?