Losing and maintaining

Posted on by Denise Taylor

I regularly read that losing the weight is the easy bit, it’s keeping the weight off that is difficult.

What happens is we get positive reinforcement for losing weight, and once we have reached our goal, we get less of that. But even more so, having deprived ourselves for possibly months we feel that we owe ourselves a treat.

Gradually we eat a little bit more, stop saying no to pudding and take a glass or two of wine.

The weight doesn’t go on right away, but after a few weeks we have gained a few pounds. That’s when we should do something about it, but we like our treats and extras, tell ourselves we deserve it, our clothes aren’t tight so we carry on.

A few more weeks go by and our clothes begin to feel a bit tight … and we know we should do something about it, but that cake does look great and we’ve had a bad day so we deserve a glass of wine, or we don’t want to keep saying no when we are out with friends.

My story

Back in November 2011 I’d lost 10 and a half stone and got to just under 12 stone. But a few weeks later I went on an all inclusive holiday to Jamaica and although I did lots of exercise (Gym for an hour, swim for an hour, tennis, walking and jogging) I also drank cocktails and ate what I wanted. I came back 12 pounds heavier and never lost this weight. And it gradually went up.

Within 6 months I’d gained a stone, and whilst I’d lose a few pounds the pattern was upwards.

Fast forward to May 2013 and after a weeks’ holiday in Turkey I got home weighing 14 stone 03. This was not good. I had a glimpse into the future, and I’d be 15 stone and then …

So I did something about it and on August 25th I weighed 12 stone 2 pound and I planned on maintaining around the 12 stone mark. Ideally I will get to 11 stone 10, with the aim of staying under the 12 stone.

Since then I’ve celebrated my birthday with a mini break to Amsterdam, had meals out with my mum who came to stay for a few days, meals out when friends came to stay and a weekend at a festival where I needed to eat as I was so cold, but there was also the champagne bar, my favourite!

I could easily be back to 12 ½ stone.

But I’m not.

I got on the scales this morning and I’m 12 stone.

So what have I done differently this time?

  1. New-meI’ve planned for meal outs and events. I’ve been strict at other times to allow me scope to eat more.
  2. I’m not counting calories but I do know the calories for my most common meals – 2 hard boiled eggs, chicken breast with salad, steak or plaice and green beans, plus some meal replacement meals and I’m keeping down to 1000 to 1200 a day. This is strict but I’m allowing for a good Sunday dinner with wine and also to go out for a meal once a week mid week.
  3. I continue to exercise, but I’m doing more walking than trips to the gym, and my target is 15,000 steps a day unless I go to the gym. I still do weights at the gym a couple of times a week but I do lighter weights than before. When I was doing heavy weights I’d be so hungry that I probably ate an extra meal, so all the calories I used up through exercising I then ate!
  4. I continue to drink lots of water – probably 6 pints a day – we should be drinking a litre for every 50 pounds of weight, and water not only takes the edge off our appetite but it helps our bodies to work more efficiently, both helping weight loss.
  5. When I’m hungry I stave off eating by having a pint of water or a cup of black coffee – did I tell you that I’ve also given up milk in my tea and coffee? And then I’ll make a hot drink with Marigold bouillon drink (I use the low salt version). It’s a bit like drinking a stock cube but the savoury taste takes the edge off my appetite.
  6. I’m eating at home off a smaller plate and I’m also eating much slower. My meals were the same size as my husband’s before. They are now smaller – I’m not eating potatoes, but I still finish after him.

It seems to be working

A month isn’t a year, but I’ve remained stable for a month and this strategy seems to work, and I’m going to continue to track how I’m doing.

What about you?

You may still have several stones to lose and find it hard to motivate yourself. How I lost the bulk of my weight is covered in my book, FAT to Fantastic and if you haven’t read it you should find it helpful.

I know in the book I say that I don’t count calories, and that not all calories are the same. So of course if you kept to 1200 or 1500 a day this could include ready meals, chocolate and ‘low fat’ diet meals, non are as great for you as chicken or fish and veggies, and porridge or a protein rich breakfast, but this time calorie counting has proved helpful. Especially as I’ve been doing this along with eating REAL FOOD – food that hasn’t been made into a microwavable meal.

But I have included some meal replacement packs and I’ve ordered these from ExanteI don’t want to be on just these (although you could follow a Very Low Calorie Diet if you wanted to and 3 packs provides all the nutrients you need), but a few times a week I’m on a couple of packs alongside 2 meals (e.g. chicken and salad or 2 hard boiled eggs) , and this keeps my calories at 1000. Do this for 3 days a week and it minimises the ‘damage’ of eating out.

So this is working for me … but I’ve got a holiday coming up in a few weeks and that is my next challenge, to be on the scales 3 days after returning home and to be at the weight I am when we go away.

I’d love to hear how you are getting on and how I can help you.

All the best

Denise x

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