Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Brain on Maintenance

Sometimes I think my brain hasn't quite caught up with reality. It feels as though it's slowly progressing towards seeing me the way I truly am now, but often it experiences setbacks.  What exactly do I mean by this?


Despite the hard evidence (my measurements), I often feel larger than I am and I have read that this is not uncommon in those who have lost a great deal of weight in a relatively short period of time.

I've made this analogy before; losing weight is like waging a war with your body. Perhaps it's not the best analogy, but it fits for me. Admittedly, I expected the war to end once I achieved goal weight and went into maintenance. Victory flags, cheering, fireworks, you know the whole shebang.

I was wrong, but the war is different now. It's subtle and vexing.

When I was losing weight, my focus was on quality and quantity of the food I ate. I had a very small number of calories to eat each day and I was determined to pack the best quality into them.  Clearly I was very successful, I never encountered a single plateau in the 30 lbs I lost. That fact is quite unusual, particularly for people close to goal weight.   The rules of war in this phase were easy: eat well and burn calories.

But then I took a step off the precipice into the strange world of maintenance, where the rule seemed simple:

Eat no more than you burn in a day.

It sounds simple but it's not really.  In maintenance, the war with your body is no longer physical, it's mental.  Your brain can try to trick you, by telling you that you deserve that serving of ice cream because you burned so many calories running. It can try to trick you into not working out as hard as you should.

Lately I've just been feeling off and experiencing a period of low motivation.   I'm not overly interested in working out, or baking or being in the kitchen.  I know that it will pass and I will return with renewed vigor soon, but I think I'm going to have to start analyzing my current fitness and food choices to see what I can do to spice it up.  Obviously what I'm doing now is not keeping me highly enthused so I must reevaluate.