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Apparently It’s That Time of Year Again

October 19, 2012

Happy Friday! It’s a very happy Friday for me because this time next week I will be off on my hols and I’m very excited. I have a few organisational things to do this weekend in preparation that will no doubt make me even more excitable. Just four more days at work to go …

I’m also over the worst of my cold thank goodness. For a while there I thought that the sofa was going to swallow me up. I worked out that I spent a solid 12 hours on Monday catching up on all my favourite TV programmes. Thank goodness it’s autumn, if I’d been relying on the summer TV schedules then I would have been in trouble. I know everyone gets colds multiple times a year, but it’s never pleasant when you have one.

I have a feeling that this post might end up a bit random, but it feels like time to once again address how problematic maintaining weight loss can be. First of all, being a glass half-full sort of person I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for managing to stay within a healthy weight range for three years now. I haven’t had to have a major wardrobe overhaul in that time, although jeans have over time become snugger, then looser, then snugger again. There have been some changes in my diet in the past three years, but overall I think I have got into the habit of eating a balanced diet that I think I can eat for the rest of my life.

Despite those positives, maintaining is still hard and can be incredibly frustrating. More or less this time last year I decided to jump on the scales. I wasn’t too shocked to discover that I was right at the top of the healthy BMI range (yes, BMI is flawed, but I won’t get into that now) and about ten pounds over my goal weight. I started tracked my calories and weighing in weekly, and by the time Christmas rolled around I was back to goal. Super.

I stopped tracking and weighing because life is too short and went back to my normal mostly healthy diet with the occasional indulgences. A few weeks ago it occurred to me that I hadn’t weighed myself for several months and curiosity got the better of me. I was just a little bit frustrated that I’m back where I was last October, just bordering on having an overweight BMI. I wasn’t too shocked, I have had a few indulgent weekends recently.

I decided to try to get back on track and weigh in weekly again. Within the first week I had gained three pounds – doh! That was the week of the wedding with the endless sweets and cake, so that probably explains it. The next week I stayed the same, so this week I’ve been tracking calories again. Things seem to be going better now. I’m still eating heartily, but tracking seems to help me to avoid the random snacking that really adds up.

Being the sort of person that over-analyses everything, all this got me thinking about maintenance. Maybe I’m just meant to be a slighter higher weight, seeing as that’s what I tend to bounce back to. On the other hand, it’s also the weight where my clothes start to feel uncomfortable and I decide to do something about it. If I didn’t get back on track would I continue to gain weight and end up obese again? That’s a real danger as it happened once before over a period of about three years after I lost weight as a teenager.

Also, should I be keeping a closer eye on my weight when I get to goal? Previously I’ve had the attitude that it’s a bit sad and controlling to weigh-in regularly, but it’s something that is advocated by a lot of people who successfully maintain. To some extent I think this is something that I have to experiment with to find what makes me happy and doesn’t make me insane.

The other issue is that weight is just one measure, although I think it’s an easy one to keep track of. As I’ve got older, and possibly as a result of running, my legs have got leaner, but the fat has redistributed to my tummy. This is annoying, but hopefully having a more rounded exercise routine might help with that.

So, if there are any conclusions to my twitterings, it’s that keeping a balance between eating well, maintaining a healthy weight and not letting the number on the scale dictate your life is tough. After three years I’m still fumbling my way through all this stuff and trying to find what works for me.

If you’re maintaining a weight loss what works for you?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2012 8:40 am

    ok, this relates to me sooooooooooooooo much, but I am the other end of the glass in that it’s half empty when it comes to my weight. I beat myself up for gaining the regular stone or so every winter rather than patting myself on the back for not gaining any more. but that’s my story.

    what I do think is this – that if we settle for the higher weight because we usually end up there with no real effort (ie, just living our lives and having the occasional indulgence) I think we run the real risk of becoming too complacent. That extra stone will then become the norm for the summer months and come the winter our weight will go up even further and we will battle with that for a year or two before becoming complacent….. and so the cycle evolves with the scales (and more importantly) our clothes sizes, going upwards.

    I’m probably not the best person to be offering maintaining kind of advice as I’m at the top end of healthy BMI right now (no, I don’t go by that either but for the sake of showing where I am on the scales it will do for now) however what I usually try to do is this:

    Accept that my weight will fluctuate by 4-6 pounds and so set myself a Happy Range rather than having a Goal Weight in mind. When the scales hit the top end of that Happy Range I cut back to weight loss calories until they come back down again.

    For me, tracking is the way I do it. When I’m filling in my food diary then I know exactly where I am. I attack it like a military campaign (Operation Dwindle – Doing What Is Necessary to Downsize the Lardarse for Ever). Only of course… it’s not for ever. It’s until the next time! Also weighing in weekly – if the scales are up 4 pounds on the previous week then two weeks of knuckling down will see them go back down again.

    maintaining a weight loss is hard. Harder I think than the actual weight loss itself. But if it’s something you want badly enough the you will find a way.

    x

    • October 22, 2012 9:20 am

      I agree – it’s so easy to ratchet up the weight, and that’s what’s happened to me in the past. I think I need to figure out a realistic happy range. I’ve got a fair idea of what it might be, but I think it’ll take a bit of experimentation and probably a few more mistakes on the way.

  2. October 20, 2012 8:44 am

    I think I am very similar to you really. I used to count all my calories and weigh in every week, but I stopped because I started to find it was affecting my emotions a bit which I didn’t like (if the weight was lower, I felt happier, and if I put on some, I felt a bit down). Plus although I was counting calories and theoretically should have been losing weight, I seemed to get to a limit and not go any lower. I know really what are lower calorie/ higher protein/ high carb meals/ snacks etc, so now I try not to weigh myself regularly, and just focus on being active and eating a healthy balance. I do weigh myself now and again (every few months) just to see, but then because weight can fluctuate so much over even a day it is not a great measure really. Like you I also keep an eye on how my clothes fit, but also things like fitness. Although I had a set back, I figure if I am getting faster/ stronger than I must be doing things right. But I agree it is very hard.

    • October 22, 2012 9:18 am

      When I’m losing weight I feel like the scale is my friend because it’s usually going down. I find my relationship with the scale more difficult when I’m maintaining – and that’s where I need to figure out how best to monitor myself.

  3. October 20, 2012 2:24 pm

    I can definitely relate to this one way or another. Maintenance is a tricky one. The only reason I think I got to the lower end of a healthy BMI is because I developed some seriously disordered patterns, but now that I’m of a much healthier mind, gaining weight and continuing to gain has been more of an issue. I lost weight without calorie counting but it has been really really helpful for me in maintenance – its helped me gain weight to where I needed to be without stressing over everything that went in my mouth – and now that I’m doing it again its helping me to keep things balanced. For me tracking actually makes me less stressed. What I’ve found is that I still either under eat or over eat and tracking helps me with that. As I’ve blogged about recently what has made things much easier for me is accepting that I’m meant to be a higher weight than I thought I should be. This is a weight I can actually maintain – at least I hope so! I guess what we need to remember is that we have maintained for 3 years and that is a huge achievement overall!

    • October 22, 2012 9:17 am

      Yes, tracking is interesting. Some days I definitely eat less, but I’m going for a balanced approach over the week, with the weekend inevitably being a little bit more indulgent.
      Three years is a big achievement 🙂

  4. October 20, 2012 10:26 pm

    First of all I’m glad your cold is starting to go! I actually feel like I’m developing one and I’m not happy with it!

    This post really speaks to me, especially with the changes I’m making. I completely understand how you feel about constantly tracking your weight and your calories, it’s something I really struggle with too. I think it’s important that you don’t forget quite how well you’ve done with losing weight to begin with and being healthy and fit – it’s a really a achievement to be proud of!

    Thank you for opening up and writing this, it’s really great to read about someone else’s journey with reaching a good place physically and mentally.

    • October 22, 2012 9:16 am

      Thanks! I wasn’t sure about writing it because it’s hard to admit that I struggle, especially with my weight. I hope I have a sensible approach, but I’m aware that it’s easy to get too obsessed.

  5. October 21, 2012 8:03 pm

    Glad you are feeling better!
    I’m not weighing myself at the moment as I am expecting, but when I’m maintaining I tend to weigh in once a fortnight. If the weight is 2lb or more above my goal, I track for a week or so to check my eating & exercise habits. I can then take more action if I need to – but often the tracking itself sorts me out. I’d love to give up the scales but I just don’t seem to be able to!

    • October 22, 2012 9:15 am

      I think once a fornight is good. The problem is that I’m a bit all or nothing – once I get to goal weight I don’t tend to monitor at all, which lead to the incidious weight gain.

  6. October 22, 2012 12:35 am

    I can TOTALLY relate to what you’re saying! Generally speaking I find stepping on the scale to be a very upsetting process. Like you I think of myself as a pretty positive person and basing how happy I will be during the day on what a number on the scale says seems silly. But freeing myself from daily weigh-ins has caused me to pack on 10 pounds from where I was this time last year. It’s frustrating because being in maintenance mode and not worrying so much is a very enjoyable place to be. But packing on pounds and then having to shed them again is less enjoyable. So I am very much in the same situation as you. I’m thinking what I’d like to do is lose about five pounds and then maybe start weighing myself once a week — or perhaps twice a week as Lexi suggested. As you said, you only live once. And I don’t want to sacrifice my quality of life simply out of fear that I’ll gain weight. But if you want to be maintenance buddies I’m on board!

    • October 22, 2012 6:36 am

      Thanks for your comment! It’s annoying to have to keep losing the same 10 pounds, but at least it is a relatively small amount of weight. I’m hoping I can get into a better routine of keeping an eye on my weight without getting obsessed

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