As always, January and February have been crazy on multiple dimensions, particularly work. This is coming on the heels of a slightly debauched December during which I picked up a few pounds. In response, I dutifully got out my tracker and got back to work. I have also been forcing myself to get my weigh-in’s so that I could avoid the all but inevitable bliss of denial. It’s amazing how well this simple formula works: do the program and get your weigh-in.
So here I am, finishing my fourth year as a Lifetime member. Maintenance can be perilous for many, and there is certainly no shame in a back slide. It happens to the best of us. I live in fear of my own major back-slide (unless it’s at a water park). My biggest saving graces in keeping it away and staying strong in maintenance have been:
- Trying to stick to my normal food routines for most of my meals. I have generally found this easy to do as I don’t need a lot of food drama and romance that comes from choosing from 100′s of different potential meals for breakfast and lunch. Don’t judge my mid-day food boringness.
- Having the support of a family/wife in which our house is not a total food disaster and most of my dinners are very healthy, yet curiously tasty (unless my DSW is secretly sabotaging my meals with hidden lard injections).
- Exercise just about every day. I cannot stress how crucial this has been for me in staying where I am weight and health-wise. There have been times over the past few years where I have exercised more intensely, and I suspect that I have throttled back slightly from the lunatic fringe. However, I still make it a point to get in a meaningful workout of some form every day unless logistics literally disallow it (i.e., a 7 AM flight).
In 2013, I have also been trying to ratchet back eating out. I’ve done so both to return to a basic level of frugality, but also because there seems to be something too close to a Sid & Nancy (seek IMDB if I’ve lost you) illicit food spree when I eat too many meals out. It’s just too easy to go for the cheap fix. I’m trying to recast my view of eating out as a special occasion to be savored not as a daily over-indulgence. When restaurant food no longer blows your hair back, it’s a good sign you’ve been eating out too much. That was me toward the end of 2012. By the way, this is also a good reason to kick the heroin habit — the high just isn’t as good any more.
Those are my big maintenance tactics, but they are hardly cutting edge or top secret. Most of us on maintenance already know what we need to do. Our biggest challenge is to stay motivated and in the game. Losing weight and keeping it off takes work and effort. I wish it were easier, but even after all of this time, I still wish I could eat a hoagie every day rather than something healthier. It’s easier to indulge. It’s nature’s disturbed sense of humor and pathos.
Given that maintenance takes effort, the key for me has been to make it worth it. To elaborate, I try to ask myself the questions:
- Does it matter that I keep the weight off? Why does it matter? The answer to these questions are 1) yes and 2) because I want to be healthy and look good. The look good part matters to me because I’m superficial. I just am.
- How would I feel if I regained the weight? Why would regaining be a bummer? I know that if I regained the weight that I would beat myself without mercy and would most likely be hospitalized as a result. I am way to harsh of a critic of myself to run the risk. My reaction would be completely wrong and over-the-top, and I’d rather not have to confront the pain of gaining it back.
So for me, it’s more than worth it. The next big question is what to do to help myself to stay focused. My answer to this is very simple: have short term goals. I need something that is four to six weeks out where I will be “tested”. My next test is a physical scheduled for mid-March. I am a big fan of using my physical for this purpose. I want to imagine myself getting weighed in my doctor’s office and standing there with a big grin on my face (paper gown and all) when I am at goal weight. I can see this future doctor’s visit chock full of gold stars and compliments — this makes it worth it.
I also have the benefit of having my 25th college reunion on the April horizon so I have an extra incentive to keep on program even after my March physical. The idea of looking pretty at my college reunion (at least in the funhouse mirror of my mind) matters to me. A lot.
This brings me to the next part of sharing things I probably shouldn’t share. I’m scheduled for my second-ever colonoscopy in a few weeks. Is it wrong that I am looking forward to it as a weight loss contributor? I’m starting to feel like Emily Blunt in the Devil Wears Prada (yes, I liked that movie an awful lot, but I like football too) saying she’s only one stomach flu away from her goal weight. That said, I might otherwise procrastinate getting my colonoscopy, so even here I have found a way to make it worth it.
I never said I wasn’t crazy.