By Tina Haupert
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my shorts seemed tighter than usual. And then a few days ago, the same thing happened with my jeans. I'm generally not a fan of the scale, but I weighed myself because there were so many questions running through my head. Had I gained weight? Why did my clothes not fit the way the used to? Did my clothes shrink in the dryer? It turns out that I did gain a few pounds. No big deal, but where the heck did those pounds come from?
At first, I thought the weight was due to marathon training, but when I started to think about my diet over the past few months, I noticed that my eating habits were a lot more "laid-back" on the weekends. During the week, my eating habits were pretty healthy. I ate lots of fresh produce, whole grains, and low-fat protein, but I let loose on the weekends. All I could think about is the fancy multi-course meals, happy hours, barbecues, wedding celebrations...let's just say, I had a really fun summer. I guess I embraced "eat, drink, and be merry" to its fullest!
When I was losing weight, I noticed that the scale would plateau every few weeks. I wouldn't lose any weight, and special events were likely to blame for those plateaus. Even when I was losing weight, I never deprived myself. I'd enjoy a beer at happy hour or a piece of cake at a wedding. Those splurges were worth it to me, so I just accepted that those special times would stall my weight loss a little bit, but I wouldn't have done it any other way. Eventually, the weight came off–and stayed off.
Looking back on my weight loss and maintenance over the past several years, I know that I have the most success when I eat consistently. Not necessarily consistently healthy, but consistently balanced with mostly nutritious foods mixed with some fun ones.
Next page: How I stay consistent
Here's how I stay consistent with maintaining my weight loss.
At least in the beginning. I didn’t realize just how many calories I was consuming when I gained weight, so writing down what I ate helped keep me aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I don’t count calories anymore, but I track what I eat (and when I exercise) on my blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake, which keeps me accountable.
Work out in the morning
Exercising first thing in the morning guarantees that I get my workout in before excuses pop up. When I’m lying in bed debating whether to exercise or not, I count to three in my head and just get up. At first, I commit to doing just 15 minutes of exercise. Once I’m out the door, however, I get into my groove and almost always end up finishing my whole workout.
Make an appointment to exercise
Every Sunday I jot down my weekly workouts on my Google calendar. Sometimes last-minute plans get in the way, but I generally stick to my appointment once I’ve scheduled it in.
Plan meals in advance
Every Sunday I sit down and plan a week’s worth of meals. I make most of my meals, which means I have more control over how many calories are in each of them.
I eat breakfast within an hour of waking up to jump-start my energy level for the day. Plus, starting my day with a nutritious breakfast motivates me to make healthy choices all day long.
Load up on fresh produce
When I was losing weight, I realized just how drastically fresh veggies curbed my large appetite, so I started to eat more of them. High-volume foods like fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, so they require more chewing and keep me full for hours. I also like to eat, so I usually want to eat a big portion of food, but, of course, I don't want all of the calories. Loading up on fresh produce is the perfect way to satisfy my hunger and provide my body with lots of nutrients.
Schedule snack times
I used to try to go all morning without eating until lunch, but it always ended up being a disaster when noon rolled around. I'd either make a bad choice (greasy pizza) or overdo it with my portions (large ham and cheese sub). Now, I plan in a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to keep my energy (and metabolism!) up all day long.
Maintaining my Feel Great Weight is all about balance. If I overindulge at a weekend barbecue or mindlessly munch throughout the afternoon, I don’t throw in the towel. I make sure my next meal is healthy and move on.