About a year ago, maybe longer, I was feeling pretty good about my weight. It wasn't as low as it was when I had lost 120 pounds running and dieting, but I was getting there. Then something switched in my brain. I don't even know what triggered it, but I started eating unhealthy foods again. I probably snuck a pint of Ben and Jerry's or something, and it all went downhill from there. You can live in denial for only so long, but your pants don't lie. By early December, there were three shirts and one pair of dress pants in my closet that still fit. I realized that I could either start buying bigger clothes, or I could make some changes so that I could fit into my smaller pants again.
For me, the most painful part of any new weight loss endeavor is dusting off the bathroom scale and weighing myself. Oddly enough, once I've recorded that first weigh-in, I immediately feel better. I don't feel good about the number, but the mystery and suspense are gone. Once I step on the scale, I have a clear goal, and I can proceed.
Fortunately, I don't have to drop 120 pounds this time, but I still have a lot of weight to shed. Once I set my mind to it, I'm really good at losing weight – I've done it so often! I've been losing the pounds pretty steadily.
How am I dropping weight? There's no magic involved. It's simply a matter of diet and exercise. Even when I'm heavy, I enjoy exercising. I wouldn't say I love my stationary bike as much as I loved running, but it's pleasant enough to break a sweat while watching Netflix or reading a book.
With my exercise routine already in place, I just needed to tighten up my diet. I'm not on an overly strict diet. All I'm doing is keeping track what I eat. I write down each meal and snack in a pocket sized notebook. That's really about it. I don't count calories. I'm not on any particular diet plan. I just write down what I eat, I eat smaller portions, and I make better food choices in general. For example, instead of a sandwich, I'll order a wrap. Instead of taking home a pint of Ben and Jerry's, I'll buy a box of fruit juice popsicles.
In the past, I've become lax when I've reached my goal weight. I figure that I'm skinny and exercising a lot, so I can eat what I want. Wrong! This was wrong in my 20s, and it's certainly wrong as I begin to approach 50 and my metabolism slows.
The reason I had problems maintaining weight in the past was that I didn't have an end game. This time is different. I already know what I'm going to do. When I get to that point, here's the plan for maintaining:
- Continue to exercise
- Continue recording my meals and snacks
- Continue weighing in every 2-3 days
- Gradually begin adding more calories to my diet until I find an equilibrium
If I can follow those simple steps, I think I'll finally be able to quit the Roller Coaster Club.