maintaining weight loss

Another Year Gone By

5yr

When I used to think about August 10th, I thought “I made it another year” and felt like I could exhale for a moment. I’d successfully maintained my 100 pound weight loss for another 365 days! Those first few years were definitely challenging. I had some ups and downs with my weight and at the worst, gained about 15 pounds that took forever to lose again. But for the most part I always stayed around the same weight.

Check out previous year’s anniversary posts here:

My 100 Pound Anniversary

100 Pound Anniversary – 3 Years

100 Pound Anniversary – 4 Years

This year is my 5 year anniversary of that magical date that I stepped on the scale at GOAL WEIGHT. If you’ve ever made goal weight, you know what that feeling is like. It’s a sense of pride, of wonder, of accomplishment, of sadness, of happiness…all sorts of emotions wrapped into one number on that scale. The feeling that is missing from that parade of emotions? RELIEF.

I’ve never really felt a sense of relief with that number on the scale (or at least, it wasn’t a lasting feeling) because I always have to work hard for it. It’s not like I reached goal weight 5 years ago and then gave up exercising, or started eating foods that were bad for me. No, I kept the weight off through doing the things that WORKED to lose the weight in the first place. Those things are simple:

1. AWARENESS and ACCOUNTABILITY. I track my calories. Every day. I do take a break once in awhile; I tend to splurge a little more on vacations; I am always aware, though, what I am eating and if I’m going over board.

2. EXERCISE and PLANNING. I find ways to fit in exercise every day. On my rest days I might go for a walk during my lunch break at work. I plan my week’s worth of fitness ahead of time. I schedule my workouts on my Google calender and I stick to them. I can be flexible and move things around if something comes up but it’s very rare that I ever blow off a workout.

Those things are key to losing weight and keeping it off. It sounds simple and easy, but it takes dedication and hard work. It takes commitment to YOURSELF and to your health to stay on the plan. I know that sounds overwhelming at first, but doing the changes in little stepping stones makes it more palatable. Now I am at a point that I crave healthy foods and feel like crap if I go too long eating “bad” foods and not fresh fruits and veggies. I also crave exercise. It’s my stress reliever. It’s my “me” time and I always feel better after a workout!

LisaEireneBeforeAndAfter

What was most astounding with my journey was the fact that I changed as a person. I became very active and grew to love activities like hiking, snowshoeing, running and biking. In fact, when injury sidelined me from those activities, I fell into a depression because I missed doing them. I never would have guessed 10 years ago, that that would be me.

After 5 years of keeping off 100 pounds, I’m at a place now where I feel like that old me is dead and gone. It doesn’t feel real. It feels so alien and so far away. Now, most people who know me or meet me, never guess that I used to be 250 pounds. They are usually shocked if they find out. THIS is me. This present person.

I started this blog 3 1/2 years ago because I had a story to tell. I knew I could inspire some other people who were obese and depressed like I was and just looking for a little push, a little inspiration, to get started. My hope is that demonstrating a healthy lifestyle of moderation and fun fitness has made it seem attainable to you guys. YOU CAN DO THIS. I did it, you can too.

Sometimes I feel like this blog has run it’s course. I sometimes feel like I don’t have much else to say about weight loss and maintenance. I’ve said it all. Then I start thinking maybe it’s time to quit the blog and that’s when I get a very sweet, personal email from a reader telling me how much I inspired them to lose weight and get healthy! That always makes me happy and makes me think “This is why I do the blog.”

So on this 5 year anniversary, I say thank you to all my readers!

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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  *