Maintenance

Life After Weight Loss: Month One

It has been almost a month since I reached my goal weight of 180 pounds.  At that point I adjusted my lifestyle to maintain that weight rather than continue to lose.  I raised my daily caloric intake from 1500 to 2000 calories a day.  I continued to count calories for 1 week and then I stopped.  I continue to work out with the same frequency and intensity as I was previously.  Today I weigh exactly 180.0 pounds, without counting calories and without much effort at all. I’m eating the same things I ate to lose weight, but I’m being a little more relaxed about it.  I am enjoying an evening glass of wine more often.

I find that the diet industry completely neglects the maintenance phase of weight loss.  The focus is put on the initial loss and there is little guidance for keeping it off.  This is one of the reasons people gain back the weight they lose so often.  If there is no plan in place, slipping back into old habits is almost inevitable.  I thought, the easiest way to plan for maintenance is to live like I’m maintaining.  There’s really not much difference between the weight loss diet and now.  500 calories.  To put that in perspective, 500 calories is 1/2 pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

the whole container is about 1000 calories.

This is why, when changing your lifestyle to lose excess weight, I recommend only making changes you can live with.  Don’t give up your favorite foods completely.  It is really the idea of unrestricted quantities that must be left behind.   Otherwise, nothing is off limits.  So many diet plans are very rigid or cut out too many foods to be realistically adhered to for life.  If it makes it impossible for you to eat in a social situation, it is probably too restrictive to be permanent.

Exercise is a permanent addition to my life.  I will be running my first 5K 10.10.10.  By the way, for a 180 pound woman, running a 5K burns less than 400 calories, less than that 1/2 pint of ice cream mentioned above.

I am running the Susan G Komen race for the cure.  If you would like to donate, I am taking donations here:

Race For the Cure Donations

I hope to continually challenge myself and improve my fitness level and my body.  Many new opportunities are open to me now that I am in shape.  I know I’ve got the stamina and strength to participate in any sport or activity.  In Arizona, the nice season is quickly approaching and I am excited to get hiking in some of our beautiful scenery.

It has always said at the top of this blog “This is Not a Diet, it’s my life.”  And that’s the truth.  I know I will not gain the weight back because I know it is up to me to keep it off.  I know how important it is to live consciously and make choices based on their consequences, not just immediate gratification.

So far, maintenance is good.

2 thoughts on “Life After Weight Loss: Month One

  1. It’s interesting that you mention the amount that a 5K burns. I was talking with a friend the other day about watching what I eat and my training for races and she thought that I should be able to eat anything I want because I run so much. At my weight I burn probably around 300 calories for a 5K run which really isn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things. A lot of people seem to have skewed perceptions of different exercises. Running definitely helps me keep my net calories lower, but it would be meaningless if I didn’t watch what I ate as well.

    I’ll be running a race on 10.10.10 as well. Solidarity in running my friend! I hope your first 5K is an awesome one 🙂

  2. I completely agree that diet programs neglect to adequately address maintenance. I’m not sure that’s entirely accidental. I lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers from March 2009 – Feb 2010 and have been on maintenance since February – I dropped out of Weight Watchers and started counting calories using FatSecret (which is how I found your blog) because I didn’t understand how I could possibly pay monthly just to use the daily point tracker on the WW web site. Meanwhile, I keep getting stuff in the mail from WW telling me to rejoin – I guess they expect I’ll just gain the weight back.

    Like you, I’m eating at about 2000 calories/day and I go to the gym 4-5 days/week. It’s tough to not beat myself up that I’m not still losing, even though I’m at goal! I wish there was a more long-term support group.

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