Maintaining and Weight Loss

Well that covers it all doesn’t it? I can hardly believe that its been eight years since I started this last journey of weight loss. And it doesn’t seem like its coming to an end anytime soon.

When I am in Haiti or Nairobi, it seems absolutely ludicrous that I or anyone else would spend a minute of time thinking about food. What’s the best food to eat, and at which time? Should certain foods be eliminated and which ones should you eat for the fastest weight loss? I’m telling you, it seems ludicrous. And yet, here I am, home for a week, and this topic looms large in my mind. I can’t help it.

So. I wanted to be sure to share a brilliant quote by my friend Lori. I swear, some of the best stuff is found in the comments on blogs, and I am always afraid it will not be seen by enough people. On Lynn’s blog entry about “The Mental Price of Skinny,” Lori commented,

“real maintenance is not clutching to weight with white knuckles, but learning to live with the ups and downs that come with it.”

And that seems to be what I am doing right now. I have done the clutching and the white knuckle thing. I have been embarrassed that as a “successful maintainer” I have been not so successful at maintaining the 100 pounds I lost. I have tried to lose some of that weight, and only succeeded in gaining a little bit more. I have eliminated certain food groups, and I have eaten mindfully. I have refined and changed my diet over the years so that now I eat mostly unprocessed food (that’s a good change!) And all that time I observed myself, and made note of what worked for me and what didn’t, sometimes IN SPITE of what the ‘experts’ said.

This Me Diet thing seems to be working. If it stops working, I will try not to panic and white knuckle it, but will try to roll with the ups and downs, maybe tweaking this or that, and continuing on this never-ending journey that we call maintenance.

Lori also posted a link to a very interesting podcast. A couple of experts were talking about recent findings in weight loss. Of course I found it very interesting, because their findings seemed to validate my self-observations.

Paraphrasing, they said:

  • Calorie for calorie, fat does not relieve hunger that well.
  • Protein is the best calorie buy for hunger relief.
  • For the satiation factor, a low fat/higher volume of food works well.

I am definitely paraphrasing here, so check out the podcast for yourself. But these were points that I had observed in myself and so tried to incorporate them into this new diet plan.

I originally lost weight on Weight Watchers. Whether that was their goal or not, what I learned was that I could eat a bigger volume if I would eat a very low fat, high fiber diet. After I left W.W., I was encouraged to try adding in some healthy fats. There is no doubt about it, fat just makes food taste good! But I tend to get carried away with fat.  (Some of you might recall my love affair with walnuts.)

I knew the information about protein, but I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. Adding the two mid-day meals with 20 grams of protein in 170 calories has made it easy to NOT think about food so much during the day. Its important to me that these are foods that I truly enjoy.

And finally, when I thought about my breakfast choices, I made some changes. I LOVE breakfast. I had quite a variety of nutritious breakfasts that I enjoyed, and most of them came in around 300-350 calories. Nothing wrong with that. Except that I noticed I was often over-full after eating them. So I started cutting some of them back, and developing a new breakfast menu that was lower in fat, but still high in volume. Most of them come in at less than 200 calories. And this seems to be working perfectly for me.

So I guess what I started out to say is that sometimes weight loss is PART of maintaining. That’s just life.

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15 thoughts on “Maintaining and Weight Loss

  1. You make me sound so smart, Debby LOL! That’s kind of nice, actually. I don’t feel like a very good maintainer most times. Never getting to goal will do that to you, I suppose.

    I agree about the protein. I can get overfull on fat because I tend to eat more of it (hello nuts and chocolate), but if I have enough protein with a bit of fat and some carbs, it will last me a while.

  2. Weight loss is a part of maintaining for those “normal” people, too – I think we formerly overweight ones tend to get down on ourselves when our clothes get tight or the scale goes up, but that happens to everyone…and they have to diet at times as well. I’m so pleased for you that you’ve figured out what works – and that it IS working! Great job figuring this out. :)

  3. What you write about fat is true. Same with carbs (for insulin resistant, belly fat people, which is most people, there are just a few who can look at total calories and not look at the make up). Protein holds us, need to keep healthy fat in line/proportional, need to keep carbs in line/proportional. Not talking about LOW carbs. Am talking about keeping ratios of all three (carbs, fat, protein) in line with each other within total calories. And you are right about the fiber, because subtract the fiber out of the carbs when calculating. And you are very right about the whole foods.

  4. Great thoughts, Debby. I do best when I eat a balanced diet. I don’t do well when one or the other good group gets left out or minimized for more than a day or two.

    I’m glad your way is working for you!

  5. I often wonder what constitutes a “successful maintainer”? There are a lot of factors, for sure, but one theme that seems prevalent is introspection and self-correction, exactly what you’ve been doing to find the “thing” that works for you. I’ve been sadly negligent of my protein intake, so I’ll be stalking you for suggestions :)

    Happy 8-year anniversary, my friend!!

  6. I have found that thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Low energy levels could also induce hunger- taking a Vitamin B complex around midday eliminate all- afternoon snacking. I believe in smaller meals with healthy fats. Slow eating is my motto for 2013. I have banned sugar and cool drinks a year ago to eliminate the insulin- high/low that follows it and the feeling of hunger that follow it.

  7. Have you looked into Unjury, a high quality protein powder? I’ve used it with success, but it gets a little tiresome to use every day. They do provide lots of suggestions for use to change it up a bit. I have 100 pounds to lose and am looking into low-carb/high-protein/high-fiber. I love reading about others’ successes.

  8. I am so happy to have found this “via the Quilt Show” I have been struggling for some time with a weight that keeps moving up… I would like to pass on a thought I was recently told by a DR that a Calorie is not Calorie in the American diet anymore…. A Calorie is many Calories because of the food modifications even in fresh vegetables.
    It’s difficult today to find healthy and nutritious in the items labeled as healthy.

    • Welcome! Start slowly, and change a bit at a time. Its a lot easier to get ‘good calories’ if you eat a mostly whole foods diet. And there are lots of good ways to make your own healthy meals and even baked goods, if you’re adventurous and open minded.

      • Thanks… it is easier to start slowly….

        I have not looked at all of your post yet so you might already know about this…. My husband and I found a great movie about eating healthy. It’s called “Forks Over Knives”. We have been making small diet changes based on the suggested lifestyle changes in this movie. We have not lost weight, but we do feel healthier when following the program and have more energy.

        The holidays were a struggle and we are working now to put ourselves back on track.

  9. Hi There,
    This topic has been the story of my life also! My company “Whole Foods” sent me to an health immersion in Austin, Texas 2 years ago this month, It was the Engine 2 Immersion, all of the Doctors in the movie “Forks Over Knives” were there. After a full 7 days of lectures, cooking demonstrations and exerise I am now 70 lbs lighter and off of all weight related medications, I now eat only a plant based diet, I never have to worry about how much I am eating and have maintained, with ease, for two years. Amazing how easy life can be when one finds out what works for their life style, I feel wonderful!

    • I would love to attend the programs one day, but for now my husband and I take it one day at a time….. You do notice a big difference in how you feel when you are eating right…..That was really the deal breaker for us to take the program more serious.

  10. Debby, big congratulations on eight years of maintenance! I will hit my five-year anniversary in a week, so I know what a big deal this is! What I’m just starting to understand is that there is no such thing as “Maintenance.” There is what works this year and then next year it seems I have to start all over again. I never get it handled, rather I am always working to handle it. That was my big revelation this last year. Anyway, keep up the good work!

  11. I would love to hear what you eat for breakfast for 200 calories? My partner & I are both wheat & gluten intolerant & I have major allergies to many fruit & vegetables (my favourite foods!! :( )
    I am always looking for more ideas beyond muffins & toast.
    Cheers
    Lush

    • My newest post has a few of my breakfast treats. Most of my breakfasts are heavy on grains, but you could make most of them gluten free.

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