In the About.com Weight Loss forum, (my favorite weight loss forum) the discussion went:
“I can determine the cause of any potential weight gain. 2-3 lbs gained steadily over a month, where I have been “behaving” – PANIC TIME ! That might mean my body fat is truly increasing and I’d better reverse the trend!”
That’s exactly what I do — notice the trend, and reverse it if I’m getting a bit too comfortable at a higher weight (body fat) than what I really want. Granted, the difference is pretty subtle. Most people aren’t going to notice, but my clothes fit better, my disposition is better, I feel like I’m in control, etc.
Last winter I put on the normal four or five “holiday” pounds and then come late January I noticed they were still there. Normally they’d just come right back off as I got back into my usual eating habits. I scratched my head and went about my life, eating about the same, exercising about the same, and then in March I was, “Hey, what’s up with this?” because I still was up on the scale (144 vs. 137), about seven pounds, and I could not for the life of me figure out why.
I started to consider everything I could think: menopause? eating more than I realize? exercising inconsistently? I’d grown more muscle? bad karma? something I’d done in a previous life? what could it be?
Come summer 2004 I was unhappy to find I looked like crap-ola in a bathing suit (my opinion anyway), but so friggin what? I’m pushing 50 here, give me a break, so I just went about my business but I also found that I could eat half a sandwich and be satisfied, and I could eat half a baked potato (when before I’d always eat a whole large) and I WAS drinking a lot of calories, and I wasn’t doing a lot of weight lifting. Small things, but they add up.
So ultimately, I made some changes. I stopped the alcohol calories cold turkey, started to eat a bit less by portion control (having half a sandwich or baked potato instead of always having the whole even if I’m already satisfied). I also got more aggressive with my weight lifting and switched from my one body part a day to a four-day split which basically added about two hours a week to my exercise.
I had always been pretty consistent with my bike, getting about 3 1/2 hours a week on it.
And now I find I’m back at 136, looking good, feeling good. The changes are slight but it made all the difference and it turned out not to be anything except that I’d gotten too lax. I’m not talking strict here either. My habit of late is chocolate cake and ice cream nearly every night during the week. I buy a single slice of sheet cake (they sell them at Safeway), split it into thirds and have one-third plus one-quarter of a pint of Haagen Daz. It’s satisfying to me (I’m already more or less full from my dinner), but before I would have eaten the entire slice all at once!
So, little changes, big results. Now, coming into the holiday season that won’t happen this year because I’m aware. I’ll eat what I want and really enjoy the season, and maybe put on a few pounds, but come January I’ll get right back to the habits I’m using now and they’ll come right back off, just like they have nearly every year before. It’s not so difficult to maintain, but it can be difficult to stay aware. 😉