Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Confession: Maintenance can be frustrating!

I knew from the start, in 2009, that that particular stint at weight loss was different. I knew that was a lifestyle change, not a diet. From the beginning, I told myself I needed to make choices that were maintainable for life. I educated myself on the concept of micro-choices and signed up for a contract with Stickk. It took me 6 months to lose my last 32 pounds and...it was easy. Each week, I saw a smaller number for the effort I was putting in.  Each week my knowledge about food and exercise grew. It became easier to make healthier choices because I was truly paying attention to what went into my food to keep the scale trending down.

Image: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Then in December of that year, I ventured into the unfamiliar territory of maintenance. I eased into it, slowly increasing my calorie target by 50 calories each week and eating back 50% of my exercise calories until I reached a target that resulted in a relatively consistent weight over the weeks. It took a good bit of tweaking, some stumbling, and wondering whether or not I should stop logging my food. Obviously, I decided to continue logging my food, but I had to think about it differently. I've always hated calling it "counting calories" because it's more than that to me. It's managing my food intake. Diabetics have to manage their blood sugar and formerly fat Sarah has to manage her food intake.

That doesn't stop me from being so frustrated with the entire situation at times. I spend a lot of time planning for my food, and mentally preparing myself each day and there are times when that is just a bit overwhelming. I usually don't post about it either. Most of the time I'd rather not waste the energy thinking about it and just get over it.

I've often been asked if it gets easier in maintenance. I don't think it does. I think it's just a different kind of difficult. However, it's a kind of difficult that I wouldn't give up for the world. No matter how much I struggle, maintaining my health is something that's worth all the frustration in the world.

If you're currently in weight loss mode, do you wonder what maintenance will be like? I can only speak to my own experience, but if you have questions or comments lemme know in a comment down below!