Weight Loss Support - What's your long term strategy?

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11-05-2010, 09:28 AM
I normally think in terms of maintenance as something I will come to later, when the weight loss is finished. This time I want to be sure about what my long-term strategy is, because there are so many ways to go. Do you rely on clothing fit? Have a regular weigh-in? Weekly? Monthly?

What about food, OK so there has to be a long-term change to have results, but there are ways and means. For example, when you are on maintenance you can decide to 'budget' for treats within your calorie allowances or plan so that if you are going for a special event you can have a big platter of food and work it in. Alternatively you can decide that you aren't going to have these things at all and that if you are invited to a big event you will decline, organise a special menu, leave half, etc.

Have you chosen your long-term strategies? What will you do about weighing in? What will you do about snacks, treats, meals out, your favourite vice? Perhaps you are at your maintenance weight and you've tried one of your old favourites and it's disgusting now! And where did you add back the maintenance calories? Bigger portions? More food groups? Bigger snacks?

The only strategy I have so far is to be sure to include a lot of variety in my dieting to make sure I've got a variety of meals for when I reach maintenance, I've usually had a very small 'safe list' of meals that I repeated and repeated till the weight came off, rather than have enough variety to realistically keep me going. If I don't take this time to mentally adjust to not going back then I will go back.

11-05-2010, 09:51 AM
I've only been maintaining for 4 months, so I'm learning every day. But here are my strategies:

1. Calorie counting for the long term. I have sworn to do it for at least a year, but if I ever do go off, I will be vigilant with daily weigh-ins, and if my weight creeps up, back to the counting I will go. But realistically, I plan on calorie counting for the rest of my life. My experience is that intuitive eating is not for me, and counting is well worth this lovely feeling of being at my current weight.
2. Regular exercise, 5x/week. Cardio + strength training. Yoga when possible.
3. Daily weighing. Fluctuations don't bother me, so I'm happy to weigh every day.

As far as allowing for "big eating days" (because I do not consider them cheating, they are part of life for me), I do a combination of things:
1. Lower my calories the days leading up and the days after. A couple weeks ago I went away for my 20 year reunion. For the week leading up, I ate maybe 100 fewer calories per day, and I ran a little more than usual. For the week after, I again kept my calories a bit lower. Did it completely offset the meals out/ wine/ extra caffeine necessary for the drive home? Probably not. Did it help? Sure.
2. Think hard: do I really want it? For example, many people consider weddings a time to eat big. For me, not so much. Most wedding or banquet food, to me, is mediocre (there are exceptions of course. Depends where the event is being held). At most large-event-meals, the food is not so outstanding that I need to eat volumes of it. So at many events, I fall into the "eat half" category.
3. I have promised myself that I will not skip social occasions -- be it coffee with friends, lunches out, parties -- because of food. I am a social person and I think that would be disordered behavior for me. I can find something to eat or not eat at all, but I will not skip an event I would otherwise enjoy.

I have found that some of my "old favorites" are not as enjoyable as they used to be. Pumpkin lattes are the first that come to mind. They have a ton of calories and the one or two I've had this Fall just were not that good. When I think of it as "calories to spend," there are other things I'd rather buy.

I've added calories back with either more snacks (the afternoon is my major snack time) or more caloric dinners -- family favorites that I didn't make so much while losing. Also, a little more wine, though still much less than I used to drink.

Last thing -- I started reading the maintainers' forum well before I got to maintenance. It helped me get the right mindset and get my strategies in place.

11-05-2010, 10:44 AM
I am extremely confident that I will be successful in maintenance because:

1. I weigh every day. There is no way I can bury my head in the sand if I face the scale every day. This will not change in maintenance.

2. I have a baseline must-do very solid exercise routine of spinning M/W/F, lifting T/Th. I never miss. Never. This will not change in maintenance.

3. I eat whole foods, almost exclusively. I have eliminated HFCS almost entirely from our diet. I eat lean meats and lots of vegetables. I have learned what it means to eat treats in moderation. This will not change in maintenance.

4. I manipulate the scale through calorie counting and/or increasing the intensity of my workouts. This will not change in maintenance.

5. I'm taking this one year at a time. I made a year long commitment to weight loss and it worked. I will make a one year commitment to the next phase which will be operation final 20 and maintenance. At the end of that year...I'll renew my commitment yet again.

And that right there is my weight loss/maintenance program.

11-05-2010, 11:07 AM
Maintenance looks nearly exactly like weight loss. I eat the same foods, I just allow myself 200 more healthy calories a day and a once a week treat meal in a restaurant. I still don't eat fast food, drink sugary soda, eat packaged baked goods. I do eat treats, like yesterday I had 1/5 of a delicious bar of Dark Chocolate with Panko and Sea Salt. I bought the bar 2 weeks ago and I'm still eating it in small, 100 calorie portions.

I do mostly eat the same meals, snacks...but that works for me.

5.5 years!

11-05-2010, 11:18 AM
While I'm not yet finished losing... I have given this a lot of thought also! The last thing I want is to feel like I'm "done" losing weight so I can relax. After being around here long enough, I know that's not how it works. I plan to *still* 1. WI every morning. 2. Pay attention to how my clothes are fitting straight out of the wash. 3. Counting calories. 4. Keeping my activity up.
Like one of the lovely maintainers around here says - plan, plan, plan. So I have not only planned how I will continue to lose, I've also planned how I will maintain. ;)

11-05-2010, 11:23 AM
I still have a long way to go before I am in maintenance (if all goes well I will be there by mid summer 2011) but I already have a plan!

I will eat a couple hundred more calories a day.

I will still weigh in weekly.

I will still exercise 5-6 days a week.

I will pay close attention to how my clothes fit. If they start to get tight, it's time to tighten up the calories and exercise more for a couple weeks.

Once I am in maintenance and I reward myself with a whole new wardrobe, I will refuse to let myself gain the weight back and have to buy all new clothes again.

11-05-2010, 12:08 PM
For 6 years, I ate my proper calories 7x a week. End of. If I wanted a "treat meal", it was once per week and it was still within my calories. No restaurant that didn't have calorie information available. No burger/fries - if everyone had burger and wings, I had a plain chicken burger with mustard and side salad. If I wanted salt + vinegar chips, I had kale chips with salt + vinegar. If I wanted mac n cheese, I made it at home with my calorie portion of whole wheat noodles, skim cheese, etc/.


Well, I was slimmer and fitter than ever before. Can't argue with that. It certainly wasn't boring. Healthy food is only boring if you don't know how to cook. Learn to cook, and you'll never be bored again.

The only reason I am not in maintenance right now is because I just gave birth. I fully intend to go back to my 100% proven plan for maintenance - which was the same as weight loss :)