Thursday, October 22, 2009

Operation Weight Maintenance

Well, it has been 3 weeks since I reached my weight loss goal and entered into the maintenance phase of the Weight Watcher's plan. Because I'm still within 2 pounds of my goal weight (and today I was exactly 1 pound BELOW my goal weight-woohoo!), I'm officially half way to becoming a life time member!
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The reason I haven't been blogging about weight loss lately is because I feel like I don't have all that much to report. Because Weight Watcher's is more focused on healthy eating and living rather than implementing a rigid, restricted diet plan, I don't feel like I've changed much of what I've been doing since beginning the maintenance phase. Granted, there is a little more freedom in food choice because the maintenance plan allows for about 200 extra calories per day, but the new habits I have incorporated into my lifestyle over the past nine and a half months regarding exercise, portion control, and healthy food choices have remained constant.
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To be completely honest, I have definitely had my share of indulgences over the past three weeks. I have come to terms with the fact that I will always love food (sugar and carbs in particular) and to absolutely cut those foods out of my life forever is just not feasible for me. So, instead of eating anything sugary whenever I please, I have learned a lot about self-control and spreading out my indulgences. So, for instance, when I go to a friend's house and she has made some delicious pumpkin muffins (one of my favorites!), I can eat one without feeling guilty because I know I have been exercising regularly, making healthy food choices, and I can choose to forego anything else of that nature for the remainder of the day.
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It really does come down to self control and setting your sight on what you want for the long term as opposed to what you want right here and now. I'm always asking myself a slew of questions when I have a craving: "Am I hungry? Is this the best choice? If I eat this, can I stop at just 1? or 2? If I eat 10 of these will that help me to be my healthiest? Is it more important to gratify this craving now or can I forego it in an effort to maintain my healthy lifestyle? Am I bored? Am I tired? Is there something else I could be doing besides eating?"
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And, because I am not perfect, there are plenty of times I go through all of those above questions and yet I STILL give in. But, the important thing I always have to remind myself is that one bad choice, or one bad meal, or one bad day isn't going to result in my returning to being 63 pounds overweight. However, if one bad day turns into one bad week, which then turns into one bad month, and then one bad year, we may very well have a problem. So, it becomes a matter of not allowing myself to be discouraged by my weaker moments, refusing to throw in the towel, and waking up each morning with a renewed desire to make the healthiest possible choices that I can.
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I know this sounds a little over the top. Believe me, if I would have read this on someone else's blog a year ago I would have laughed and declared that I would never EVER give that much thought or planning toward eating or exercising...what a waste of time. But, therein lies the exact problem that I needed a remedy for.
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It is becoming aware of my choices, and in turn caring about those choices in an effort to make better ones, that has really resulted in my weight loss success. The apathy I felt over planning my diet and exercise has been replaced by a concern to do whatever necessary to live the healthiest life possible. The desire for instant gratification is slowly being traded in for a desire to see past the here and now and setting my sights instead on my long term health.
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I know a lot of people have commented to me that this (the maintenance phase) is the most difficult part. I've heard a thousand times, "It's easy to lose the weight, but good luck keeping it off!" However, knowing what I know now after working so hard to achieve my goal, I don't see how I could ever go back or why I would want to. To those skeptics out there, I say, "Although I love food, I will always love being healthy more."

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