Since losing the majority of my unwanted pounds, I’ve maintained my weight fairly well. I have noticed that every holiday/winter season I tend to gain about five pounds, which is fine. We should all be aiming to maintain within a range anyway. Well recently, after having gained the holiday weight as well as another five pounds from summer vacations, I decided that I was getting to the top of the range I wanted to be in. So, I didn’t just want to count calories (my go to strategy) but I wanted to try counting my macros, focusing mainly on protein. It was fun at first, trying to get in the amount of protein allotted for the day. It was good for me to focus more on WHAT I was eating and not just HOW MUCH. I gained some more knowledge in ways to up my protein intake for meals and snacks like adding collagen powder to my morning coffee or Greek yogurt. Protein smoothies, cottage cheese and the occasional protein bar helped me reach my protein goals more easily. I did this for at least a few weeks and it was good for me but it was also challenging to eat more protein and not just eat more calories in general. It was also challenging not to eat more fat and protein too sometimes. While it was good for a time, tracking every single thing I eat for the rest of my life is not sustainable for me forever. I think it can be beneficial for a certain amount of time to take off some pounds that are creeping on or whatnot. However, some celebrities like Carrie Underwood, who has lost weight and maintained it, say they track everything everyday and to me its just not worth it to live obsessing over calories my whole life, but I understand that it’s also a big part of her job to look a certain way.
I have also been trying to get in more “steps” or general activity throughout the day as well. My goal is typically around 7,000 steps. I’ve been doing my normal strength focused workouts five days a week as well as doing step/walking workouts many days. Throughout all of the tracking and increased cardio my weight hasn’t budged and while I would like to say I’m just putting on muscle, my pants have been feeling a bit tighter. It can be frustrating focusing on the scale, so I’m trying not to, but I also have to acknowledge that maybe I need to change something so ten pounds doesn’t become more. I’m starting to just roughly track calories again, after having just been sick for a few days. Sometimes I just track breakfast and lunch so I have a general idea of how much I have left for dinner. My biggest struggle is just eating three good meals and not snacking here and there or raiding the pantry for sweets. Some people would say don’t have that stuff around the house but that’s just not possible for all people. If I don’t buy sweet things my husband will and two, I want to be a person that CAN have that around me and not feel controlled by it. I actually have gotten much much better about this, but of course we all have our moments.
I think what’s important on this maintenance journey is just figuring out how I want to live for the rest of my life, so I’ve really been working on habits. One habit I’m still trying to master is just not having more than one sweet item per day, or like I said earlier not snacking so much between meals or mindlessly grabbing my kids leftovers. Habits that have been going on for years or decades though take time to replace with better habits so I’m giving myself grace as I continue to try to become more consistent in my nutrition. I was listening to Megan Dahlman’s podcast today and she was talking about “elastic eating”, comparing it to a rubber band. When we establish the good eating habits we want, that are just natural to us, it’s OK to stretch out of those every once in a while, but when we stretch them too often we might just become stretched out and that becomes our new normal if that makes sense. I loved that analogy because that’s exactly what happened to me this summer. I had gotten down to my lowest weight since college and then I got sick with covid, and then went on vacation to Hawaii. When I got back from Hawaii, I had the hardest time getting out of “vacation mode” and my “rubber band” just got more and more stretched out until I was back into some of my not so helpful eating habits.
Anyway, I think it’s important to always just be trying new strategies to help establish good habits. I might not continue doing them for life but I usually gain something helpful and take that with me and leave what’s not working for me. For example, I’m not going to count my macros for life, but now I know practical ways to up my protein intake and what that might look like to get in enough protein for the day. I’ve also tried 10,000 steps a day and realized that’s unsustainable for me and it’s more realistic for me to challenge myself to 7,000. I’ve also worked out six days a week in the past and realized that the most I want to work out most weeks is more around 4-5. So, here’s to trying new things and never throwing in the towel! Comment below on what strategies you employ when you’ve found yourself resorting back to old habits.