As with most journeys in life, the path of my maintenance journey is not always linear and not “bump-free.” It would be nice to report that the planning and focus that I apply toward maintaining my weight guarantees success every day – but it does not. There are moments (and days) when my past food behaviors surface and divert me from my efforts. So what happens … and what to do when it happens??
During the first ten weeks of maintenance, I have experienced two particularly “bumpy” days. On both days things were relatively routine until the evening hours. Then what started as a seemingly safe snack became a snack binge (eaten in private). One carb led to another, to another, and so on. Intellectually, I knew what I was doing was not healthy (and not part of my plan!); emotionally, I chose not to stop. Of course, once the off-path decision was made, the question was how to move forward from that point.
I like to think that some of the lessons learned while on Ideal Protein guided the steps I took following these bumps in the road.
- Food Diary: I made a point of entering all of the snacks in my food diary – even though it was difficult to do. The act of recording all of the food was my way of owning the choices I had made.
- Weigh-In: Although I would have liked to skip the next morning’s weigh-in, I did not.
- No Guilt: I let go of the guilt. In the past, the guilt would have led to more emotional eating. I knew that I had to move forward and not focus on the negative.
- Back-on-track: I got back on my maintenance plan the day following the “bump in the road” – three healthy meals, good food choices. I didn’t try to deprive myself of food the next day.
Since I know that my maintenance efforts are a lifetime commitment, I will try to learn from these lapses and acknowledge that these types of struggles can be a good thing for the long term. So what did I learn?
- There are certain foods that I have to avoid – high carb foods by themselves are an eating trigger. I need to think before choosing them and eat with purpose, rather than mindlessly.
- There are certain times of the day that I need to be particularly vigilant in my food choices – late at night (especially when others are already asleep) is not a good time for me to snack.
- I need to pause when a craving hits – and perhaps take other actions (e.g. drink more water; brush my teeth; or, just go to bed!)
I came across an interesting comment that I thought spoke to my challenge and lessons learned:
“You must CLEARLY know which foods you have to completely avoid in order to prevent relapse. You must also know exactly how much and what types of foods will preserve your current weight … Does this sound like “defensive eating?” It is!”
For more of that article, click here.
The author of that article, Dr. Barbara Berkeley, also provides some tips for letting go – successful maintenance based on a balance of discipline and gentle “letting go.” In the article Are You a White Knuckle Maintainer? Tips for Letting Go, she provides 6 specific tips. Three of them spoke directly to me:
- Accept the fact that learning how to succeed in maintenance takes time. Be patient with yourself.
- Become an expert in you! Learn from others, but most importantly learn what works for you.
- Stop over-thinking about weight and dieting and think more about new and growing food choices. Recognize you will NOT be perfect – focus less on mess ups and more on growing expertise and success.
Have you experienced “bumps in the road” or “falling-of-the-wagon” in your maintenance or diet efforts? What did you learn? How did you move forward?