Monday, January 14, 2013

Maintenance: Year Three

Wow, it's been three years!

The milestone sneaked up on me this year; I didn't realize I'd forgotten to buy a charm until after it had passed. This year I know that I spent far less time thinking and feeling like someone who just lost a bunch of weight and more like someone who is mostly comfortable with their body. I actually think that it's a slightly dangerous mindset for me. It's far easier to slip back into old habits that I may not necessarily have outgrown yet, e.g. allowing myself to have a "treat" because I'm stressed out about work or saying I deserve it because I had a tough workout or am going to have a tough workout.

I noticed a shift in my thought patterns throughout the year. I no longer think of myself as a fat person who got healthy and could relapse at any moment. Which isn't to say that I don't still have those thoughts, particularly where chocolate and peanut butter are involved, but simply that their frequency has lessened.

While trying to come up with what to put in this post, I spoke to a friend at Zumba last week and she wanted to know what sort of tricks I've learned over the last few years. Here are a few of them, in my favorite bulleted list format:

  • Eating too little is just as bad as eating too much and it's definitely hard to figure out how much you can actually eat.
  • If I'm going to have a treat, I want a real treat not some cruddy lightened up version. They just don't taste the same and aren't as satisfying. One of my favorite ways to have those treats and not go overboard is to shrink them. Take cupcakes, for example, I realized that if I halved the recipes and made them into mini-cupcakes I could be satisfied by eating one or two mini-cupcakes which contain far less calories but still taste great.
  • My food scale is my most used kitchen gadget. I use it every single day.
  • There are times when I want to just go to Wendy's or Burger King, order a hamburger, fries and a Frosty then sit down and eat every last bit. Plenty of times, but the thought of how sickly I would feel after stops me. It just isn't worth eating if I'm going to feel terrible after.
What keeps me focused?
The summer before my sophomore year of high school I put on a lot of weight very quickly.  I would sit and play video games for hours upon hours. I would eat entire bags of tortilla chips with a full fat sour cream and salsa dip. We'd eat KFC for dinner. I never took a walk, I didn't ride my bike. I just sat there eating and playing. I was miserable, probably even mildly depressed. Upon returning to school that year, it sunk in how much weight I'd actually gained. None of my clothes from the previous school year fit and I ended up having to get Size 18W ones to replace them. I was rude and mean to everyone who was even remotely nice to me at school, thinking they were just trying to find a new way to make fun of me. Several years later, out of college and overweight, I was still as emotionally unstable as ever. Still that same unhappy, mean girl even with friends.

The memories of myself at those stages in my life are what keep me focused. I never want to be that girl again. The relationship between my current mental and emotional state and taking care of my physical health is too strong to disregard.

Any questions? Comments? Let me know!