Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maintenance is not as easy as it seems

Well, it's official. I jinxed myself.

Just as I was getting good and cocky about my ability to eat whatever I liked, the tides turned. After countless nights of endless glasses of wine, ice cream, chocolate chip pancakes, too large servings of delicious, buttery foods, I saw what I had been dreading for some time: a gain on the scale.

You know, you'd think that the girl who struggled with weight for the past 2o or so years wouldn't be surprised when, lo and behold, overeating leads to weight gain. But I have to admit, the first time I stepped on the scale and saw 152.5, I thought the scale must be broken. I wracked my brain for an explanation--PMS, salty food, not enough water. I figured there had to be some other reason than the obvious.

At first, I stayed calm. But then I weighed myself the next day and saw an even higher number. And the next day after that. And after a while, I became a teary mess of pre-menstrual nerves...crying about my weight gain three times a day. Crying about my lost cat Leo (we found him, thank goodness), crying about god knows what. Mostly, I cried because all of a sudden my confidence was shaken: I had proven myself incapable of doing what so many others do seemingly with ease: maintain their weight.

As soon as I believed that I had failed, I felt this overwhelming loss of confidence in myself. Every outfit I tried on felt like second best. In my mind, I'd figure, this would look better if I were smaller/ tighter [insert body part here]. And I know that my reaction wasn't completely rational. No one can see a weight gain of five pounds. No one noticed. Except for me. And I took things more personally, became more self conscious about people, and increasingly thought of myself as a "fat girl," even though I know that I'm not.

So, the moral of the story is that I need help getting back on track. I'm not sure what getting back on track means for me. Does it mean counting points? Exercising more regularly? Becoming a lifetime member? I missed my last weigh in because I knew I was up and I didn't feel like starving myself the days before to get to my goal weight. I didn't want to reach this milestone in a fake way.

So, here are my goals.

1. Tomorrow morning I'm going to weigh in (and post the result here) and I'm going to have weekly Wednesday weigh-ins. I don't need to be weighing myself three times a day. It's not good for me, and I think even Nathan, the most patient boyfriend in the world, is getting a little tired of my thrice-daily crying fits.

2. I'm going to resume my daily lunch jogs at work. I'll pack my jogging clothes and ipod with me to work and I'll start jogging for 15-20 minutes every day. If nothing else, I know that the exercise will make me feel better and more confident in myself.

3. As for food, I'm going to stop eating 'til the point when I'm stuffed. I'm going to try to eat a well-balanced diet, without having to count points, because there is no way that I'm going to count points for the rest of my life. Now, I know that some people enjoy the structure of point counting, but that's just not a sustainable plan for me. I'm not going back on what I said in my previous post--I am finished with dieting. Since I am at a close to healthy weight now, I'm focusing instead on living naturally and eating intuitively. If my "natural weight" is 160 by eating pretty much what I like, well then so be it. I don't want to have to stress about weight and counting points for the rest of my life. For right now, I'm going to focus on drinking more water, cutting down on cigarettes (I'm up to a pack a day now, yuck!) and not eating past the point of contentment.

Well, these are my goals. Oddly enough, I actually feel better writing all of this down. I will be back tomorrow to post my current weight (cue scary music here) and I'll let you know how the lunch jog goes.

It's possible, just possible, that I may have underestimated the difficulty of maintenance.


  1. Trust me I can relate! When I first hit my goal weight, it was SO EASY to maintain. I was sure I "got it" and poo-pooed everyone who told me maintenance was hard. Yeah right!

    NOW, here I am 5 months after hitting goal and still struggling daily to find balance, eat intuitively, and maintain my weight! The battle is never over, sadly enough.

  2. "Since I am at a close to healthy weight now, I'm focusing instead on living naturally and eating intuitively. If my "natural weight" is 160 by eating pretty much what I like, well then so be it."

    RED FLAG. Please don't take this the wrong way--I think you're awesome--but, if I may give you some tough love... this just reads to me as an excuse to duck out on learning maintenance.

    Being new to maintenance is not the time to stop counting points immediately. It's not the time to stop doing what works. By all means, ease your way out of it, but it sounds like you're looking for excuses to gain weight.

    160 is NOT where your body "wants to be." What'll happen when you get there? Will you decide your body wants to be 170?

    I think the truth is that maintenance is hard, and, psychologically, something is driving you to be either in weight loss or weight gain mode. This is common. Most people find gaining/losing easier than maintaining. That's why it's important to LEARN MAINTENANCE, and to learn it in precisely the way you learned weight loss; that is, go at it gradually, with a plan in mind, rather than rebounding from a 'diet.'

    It's also a red flag that you don't want to track, that you don't consider it a sustainable part of life. Really? You can't jot down numbers on a slip of paper? Why not? Do you prefer denial? Most people pay some attention to what they eat every day; every fit person I know can reel off their daily diet without too much thought--but, by the same token, without agonizing over it.

    You can enjoy life and relax a bit about tracking without giving it up immediately and gaining weight; and, trust me, it's a slippery slope. Sounds like you've already moved from not tracking to not really listening to your body to looking for excuses to eat as much as possible. I've been there. I wound up gaining back everything I'd lost, and more.

    Anyway, I think your jogging plan is good, as is your 'eat to contentment' plan. Perhaps also consider estimating points before you go cold turkey on counting. Just a thought.

  3. I'm kind of going through the same thing. Got to my goal weight, stopped counting points and gained 5 lbs.

    So, now I'm back on WW eTools, but I'm relating to the point counting in a different way. I'm on the 'Simply Filling' plan. I can eat to fullness of the allowed healthy foods and just have to watch the amount of treats I eat each week.

    I will never be able to 'eat whatever I want'. that's how I became overweight in the first place. I have to teach myself to recognize how much I can eat of healthy foods and how many treats I can handle in a week without gaining weight.

    I do intend to stop counting points once this becomes second nature. That's my goal.

    Wishing you the Best Success!

  4. This sounds very familiar! Maintaining is the ONLY thing that I have NEVER been able to do successfully, so why oh why did I think that it would in any way be "EASY"??

    It's tough. Losing the last few has been really slow-going for me, after I gained back 9 from my goal weight. I love your attitude about counting.

    I don't want to count forever, either, but I've accepted that I have to for now and for the forseeable future (maybe after I've maintained for a year, I will try healthy intuitive eating again).

    I'm so proud of you, katie! You go, girl.

  5. Hey Katie! I started reading your blog from the WW 20's board and I am amazed at your story! I completely relate to those panicky feelings about seeing a gain on the scale. However, I think your journey shows that you clearly KNOW what to do to get back down to your maintenance weight, because you know how to eat/exercise/lose. I am sending positive thoughts your way!

  6. Hi Katie! love you so much ^-^

    pre-baby, i would focus on maintaining and i would often times become stressed out about it. but then i came to find that if i allowed myself a 5 lbs fluctuation then it suddenly became a lot easier to manage. like you said, no one really notices when you gain (or like wise lose) 5 lbs.

    so if you see the numbers increasing, then just start to make some adjustments :) and don't try to lose the 5 lbs by the end of the week. give yourself more time, like a month. the trick with maintaining is to do everything gradually. if you try to lose the 5 lbs in two weeks (even though you could totally do it) it's just like yo-yo dieting (but with your habits, emotions, stress levels, etc.) and then you'll just become fed up with it.

    for example: you've been eating 5 cookies a day and drive to work. you've gained 4 lbs. so for the next month you should eat 3 cookies a day and park your car farther away from the entrance. by week 4, if you're still not where you should be, then only eat 2 cookies, park farther away, and use the stairs.

    of course that was overly simplified and there's plenty of other stuff to take into consideration. but the moral of the story is to keep doing what will make you happy (eating the cookies and driving) but gradually shifting towards a "healthier" more balanced lifestyle. Had you stopped eating the cookies and rode your bike to work, then you’ll lose the 5 lbs right away. But then within 2 weeks, you’ll be back to eating cookies and gaining weight. If you do it gradually, yes it’ll take longer but soon you'll be able to determine that the balance between your guilty pleasures and healthy habits is 3 cookies, parking three rows back, and going up a flight of stairs.

    Keep up the good work and try to not stress out so much, it’s not good for you babe.
    PS: shame on you for smoking so much!