Maintenance 101 series

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.

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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  *

Maintenance 101: Self-Love

Maintenance 101: Self- Love

“Self-love seems so often unrequited.” – Anthony Powell

I’m resuming the series of posts entitled “Maintenance 101.” In this series, I’ll be addressing some of the issues I’ve found in my four+ years of weight loss maintenance. My goal for this series is to be uplifting, supportive and honest. Maintenance isn’t always easy as many of you guys know from experience, but maintenance is a crucial part of the weight loss journey. Our work doesn’t stop when we step on the scale and see our “magic number.”

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This edition is honestly the hardest part for me. While the physical stuff of weight loss is a little be easier to deal with, the emotional and mental aspects are a little harder. It’s difficult change your mindset from “I’m trying to lose weight” to “I’m living a healthy lifestyle.” You don’t want to slip into old habits, so it’s normal to be hyper-vigilant and strict, at least in the beginning. As the years go by, you might get a little more comfortable and not stress about it as much, maybe weight loss is not in the forefront of your thoughts at all times (good job!). But what about the underlying emotion things?

Are you still talking down to yourself? Are you looking into the mirror and saying “I feel so fat“? This kind of negative talk is detrimental because after awhile we start to believe of what we’re telling ourselves. I know I do. I get in that cycle of negative thinking and then something snaps me out of that funk and it’s like a breathe of fresh air! Oh yeah! I don’t have to focus on the negatives and what I DON’T have! I can focus on the positive things and how far I’ve come!

You have to learn to love your body as is—no more “when I lose 5 more pounds I’ll love myself” and actually LOVE who you are right now!

Stop obsessing about the numbers. I wrote a post “It’s a Numbers Game”  where I talked about the pros and cons of focusing entirely on numbers: the number on the scale, the number of miles run, etc etc. It sometimes does more harm than good. This is especially true in maintenance mode because the tiny fluctuations can totally make you crazy. Oh my god I gained a pound! Two weeks later…Oh my god I lost 1.5 pounds! YAY! This rollercoaster ride is ridiculous and stressful!

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My tip: have a number that you definitely don’t want to go over, and then have a number that is that “danger zone.” For example: my number I don’t want to go over is 150 pounds because that was my initial goal weight when I was trying to lose 100 pounds. My “danger zone” weight is 146-148. It’s just creeping a little too closely to 150 for my liking. I try not to obsess on the number on the scale unless it’s reaching the danger zone. Then that’s cause for me to tighten the reigns and make sure I’m doing what I need to do to keep the weight off.

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Comparisons are not constructive. There will always be someone faster, stronger, skinnier, richer, smarter than you and me. Always. Getting stuck in the comparison game doesn’t get us anywhere. Avoid it!

Make a list. Write down everything that you love about your body. I struggle with this. It’s hard to give yourself praise! But MAKE THAT LIST and post it somewhere you can see it, perhaps the bathroom mirror.

Have a mantra you repeat every day. “I love myself, I love my strong legs, I have beautiful arms, I have a nice smile” etc. Fake it til you make it!

How Am I Doing?

It’s easy to give advice, it’s harder to take it. I compare myself to others. I compare my body, my athletic abilities…everything. I’m trying to curb that by reminding myself what I am thankful for in my life. I am trying hard not to obsess about the number on the scale, but I don’t always succeed in that department.

Where I am definitely excelling is thinking positive thoughts about my body and abilities. The “positive self-talk” has never been my strength. But when I have a particularly good workout or successful event, or I catch my reflection in the mirror and think “Wow, my legs look really great today!” and then I feel pretty good about myself! I need to harness that so I feel it every day!

QUESTION: How do you change your mind-frame to thinking positively about yourself and your body?

Five Truths of Maintenance  *  Maintenance 101: How to Eat  *  Maintenance 101: Challenges  *