Thursday, May 08, 2008

Maintenance - yippee! ....or not

Weight loss is based on more or less simple principles: Train hard, eat well (but a little less than your body needs) till you hit your weight goal. Then comes maintenance. Once you get to your goal, you just have to stay there. To someone who’s never done it before, that doesn’t sound too hard. If however, you’ve previously lost weight, only to find yourself regaining it, then *sigh* losing it again, then oops, it’s back again, you’ll know that it isn’t actually easy.

I’m a lot better at it than I was, say 5 years ago….back then I was overweight and it seemed I was forever “going on a diet”, struggling to ditch those pesky kilos that kept creeping back on. I’d inevitably get disheartened at some point, figure I might as well give up, and sit around feeling miserable as I watched a lot more weight attach itself to my butt. Then I’d reach the “Gah! That’s IT!” point once more and off I’d go on the diet merry-go-round.

The problem always was that I saw reaching my goal as an end point. There. I’m finished. Phew! And I’d begin to eat ‘normally’ again, and slack off on the minimal exercise I might have been doing. Trouble was, eating ‘normally’ usually meant going overboard on sweet treats, creamy and cheesy dishes and having second helpings of everything. And alcohol. Oh boy, those bottles of wine….I hope nobody ever looked in our recycle bin back then.

I’ve come a long way since then. I have totally changed my attitude to food – I don’t feel that it’s (cue whiney voice) unfair that I can’t eat a block of chocolate every day, drink whatever I like, or shovel food into my gob until I’m fit to burst. I’ve retrained myself to enjoy my healthy meals, and to savour SMALL indulgences. Any binge-eater will tell you that they never actually taste the food they shovel in during a binge. The opposite of that is to make an effort to really, REALLY taste your food. Savour the flavour and you’ll need less to be satisfied, psychologically. As for physically, I had to learn that FULL was waaaay past the point of satisfaction. These days I usually know when I’ve had enough, and it’s a long way before OMG, I’M GOING TO EXPLODE. There is nothing pleasurable about that particular feeling, and my aim is to avoid it at all costs.

So. Now that I’ve reached my maintenance point in terms of weight, I have to stay there. That means keeping my training at lung-bursting, muscle-exploding levels, and adding more food – and who doesn’t love getting to eat more? :o) I’ve only been doing this for a few days, and the funny thing is, I’m finding that adding 100-200 calories a day isn’t as simple as it sounds. I’ve got myself into a nice little nutritional groove over the past 6 months or so, and I have a repertoire of meals and snacks that I know fit my needs well. Now I have to mess with that. I’m surprised to find that I’m having some minor niggles of discomfort about it…. I guess change always does that. I’m not freaked out or anything, and I’m definitely not tempted to binge my way through a packet of Tim Tams. It’s more about being a sad, SAD control freak – I’m used to doing things this way, and now I have to find a new way.

I plan to just experiment a bit and see what works best for me. Upsize some of my meals, or add an extra snack? A bit of both? Swap and change, depending on what I feel like? Hmmm…. Time to suck it and see.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

Thanks Kek, this post came at a really great time... I often think to myself what happens when I ever get to my goal...and it's exactly like you say it is about changing my lifestyle...I definitly agree that this is a slow process, but as long as I keep working towards it I guess (no I know) I will get there... I feel like i have come so far already...Now just to move those kilos :P

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