Just over 2 years ago I reached my goal on my health and fitness journey. I had lost 100 pounds! About a year ago, I posted that maintaining that weight loss was fairly easy, I just needed to keep doing what I had been doing to lose the weight. I didn’t have to log my food anymore! I was one of the 5% that could keep the weight off! That was true at the time. Now, however…
Maybe you get busy, and those little bad habits start creeping in. Like snacking between meals when you aren’t really hungry, just bored. Who knew that all those wonderful whole foods (fruits, nuts, veggies with hummus) that are good for you still have calories? (Oh right, I did know that.) Like eating that wonderful whole wheat sourdough bread, even though you know it is one of your trigger foods. (And putting butter on it, since all the news reports now say it is healthy!)
Or maybe you are forced to slow down on the exercise. Perhaps (you know, just an example) your rotator cuff starts hurting every time you do any exercise that uses your shoulder very much–Zumba, kickboxing, circuit training, push-ups; pretty much every exercise you were doing except walking/jogging.
Maybe you go on a couple of vacations and end up eating lots of foods you don’t normally eat…and it all tastes so good, and hits all your feel good triggers, that you perhaps eat more than you should. Perhaps there are a bunch of fun family functions while you are vacationing, with lots of really yummy things to eat that are just too hard to resist.
So yeah, all that happened to me. And this could be where I explain that I put all the weight back on (plus 10 pounds), and I can’t believe it happened so fast.
Thankfully, I was still weighing myself regularly. When my shoulder first started hurting and I backed off from exercise, I gained about 6 pounds. I caught it and started logging again, and dropped most of those pounds. Then I got very busy, and stressed out with end-of-school-year stuff, and I stopped logging my food, and I found myself–after a trip to see family on the East Coast, and a vacation in Disneyland shortly after that–up 10 pounds. I can see clearly how weight regain happens to the majority of people who manage to lose the weight. Those 10 pounds went on in the span of about 3 months, with a big weight gain during each vacation. To me, since I wasn’t really paying attention, it felt much faster than that.
So, I’m back to logging my food, but also trying to figure out how to continue maintaining without having to yo-yo up and down for the rest of my life. My suspicion is that I should keep logging my food most of the time for the rest of my life. That’s what I thought while I was losing, but then I thought that I didn’t need to when I maintained for so long without it. However, if I look back now (and I think I mentioned this before) my weight was very slowly creeping up during that time, at a rate of maybe a pound or 2 a year. Maybe eventually I only need to log every other week, or one week a month, but if I don’t occasionally track my intake, it seems to creep up without my noticing. I justify that it is just another piece of fruit. But that piece of fruit has almost 100 calories, and if those are calories my body doesn’t need, I’m still going to gain. I thought that I could just listen to my body’s signals so that I didn’t overeat. But there’s some research out there that once a person has been obese and loses the weight, the body’s signals get messed up and are constantly trying to return to homeostasis–or a return to obesity. As the research suggests, it is possible that the hormones that control hunger and satiety (ghrelin and leptin) are out of whack with me.
I’ve been logging for a couple of weeks now, and thankfully the weight is coming back off pretty quickly. I’m seeing a physical therapist for my shoulder, and still can’t go to the gym. However, I’m jogging with my big pooch a few times a week, and trying to get my (at least) 10,000 steps every day. The thought of logging forever isn’t filling me with dread (most of the time), instead I’m just letting my control-freak nature fly and embracing it.
I think I’ve said it before, health and fitness is a life-long journey. I’m just happy I’m not starting the journey over again with the very first step.