For the past couple of years, Iíve had the belief that I didnít want to Ďtemporarily give upí anything that I wasnít willing to give up for the long run. And by that same token, Iím not willing to add any routines to my life that arenít sustainable over a period of time. Its made my weight management more complicated and less steady, but I think its re-shaping my mindset.
In the bad old days, when I went on whatever diet of the moment Iíd come across, Iíd abandon my binge foods and stick strictly to the plan I was following. Inevitably, whether it was the no-fat diet, the no-carb diet, or whatever, I would end up feeling so deprived and so angry, that Iíd fall into an avalanche of overeating. And Iíd always pick that sugary, sweet food that had taunted me all the way through the diet.
Similarly, I would sometimes ramp up my cardio workouts so much that I was spending an hour every day in a sort of frantic Ďburn off those calories NOWí effort. There were times when Iíd even work out before and after work AND at lunch time.
So its easy to look at those extreme examples and tell oneself that youíll never do that again. Severe restrictions and severe exercising are just plain unhealthy.
Whatís harder is to figure out the more nuanced questions. How many times a week am I willing to go to restaurants? Under what circumstances will I choose to exceed my daily caloric target and yet not feel guilty? Which trigger foods can I learn to enjoy in moderation? How will I react when I go through periods where I donít get to make my own food choices? What will I do when Iím prevented from exercising?
Its those complex pieces of the puzzle which take so much time to figure out. Now that Iím back to my healthy goal weight, and seeing the results I wanted, its even more important to look at the road ahead and have some kind of a plan. Experience has shown me what circumstances tend to throw me off track, but I also know that I canít control the future and I wonít always be able to avoid repeats.
Clearly this is why weight maintenance is such a challenge. Intellectually, I know that I want my weight to stay the same, but seeing the same number on the scale week after week simply isnít all that exciting. Fortunately, I havenít resorted to any extremes over the past few months, so I know that I can still eat out, travel, have the occasional dessert, cook dinner, and have non-activity days. At the same time, Iíll be looking for ways to stay motivated. For now its that picture on the refrigerator of Devin and me at the beach a few summers ago. But Iíll be hunting around for more. Thereís no giving up!