I recommitted to my diet and exercise program recently. On December 30th, actually. It was part of my realization that something was extremely not right in my world. I stepped on the scale and the number read 208.5. This is the highest number I have seen on my scale since I started maintaining my loss. Essentially, this number jolted me into the realization that I was no longer maintaining.
My normal range I like to maintain is 195-205. Obviously I’m happier when I’m on the lower end of the range. When I’m on the higher end of the scale I start to practice more heavily some of my weight management behaviors (journaling/tracking, more exercise, environmental control, etc). But this time, over several months of a defeatist “screw it!” mentality, I’d gotten to that number through sheer neglect. I hadn’t been weighing myself regularly (umm..at all). I’d regularly eaten whatever looked good without any thought to my higher goals of weight maintenance. Exercise was slipshod – any excuse for skipping it would work.
This is completely out of character for me, and as I mentioned in my last post, I did eventually figure out why, but that didn’t erase the damage done. That left me with one option – rededicate myself to my diet and exercise program. Right at the beginning of the New Year. I know – how cliche!
Normally I eschew New Years Resolutions because they have such a legendary reputation for failure. But, what was I going to do – NOT do what needed to be done just because of a personal aversion to New Years resolutions and a coincidence of the calendar? Now is the time I need to be doing this, regardless of any feelings I may have about the resolution tradition. I can choose not to call it a resolution, though. Or a diet.
So for the last three weeks I’ve been rededicated to my program. It’s not any particular program, it’s MY program which I’ve put together based on 10 years now of maintaining my weight loss. It looks like this:
1. Every day I carry a little book around in my purse and record every thing I eat along with approximate calories for each, as well as any calories burned through exercise.
2. I try to exercise hard at least 4 days out of the week, and lightly (a walk) the other days, and aim for 3000 calories burned through exercise total for the week. (It’s a goal, I don’t always hit it but getting close is good)
3. I eat almost exclusively whole foods – fruits, vegetables, meats, etc which would be recognized as food by my ancestors. Because of this inclination I eat very little pasta, bread, sugar, desserts, cake, ice cream, etc. Not because I’m doing paleo or gluten free or any other current popular program, but because to get the most nutritional value out of the calories I’m consuming there’s no room for those things in my diet.
Here’s how this has been breaking down for me. A typical work day in my journal:
- hot cereal: 250
- berries: 50
- portion-controlled lunch entree (Amy’s Light and Lean are my current favorites): 250
- grapes: 75
- banana: 150
- pear: 75
- coffee with splenda: 0
- steak: 400
- lots of cauliflower: 100
- Exercise: HIIT for 25 minutes then strength training for 30 minutes. I approximate 400 calories burned.
- Net: 950
On lighter exercise days, obviously, my net will be higher. On days when I run my net is lower as I burn more running than doing HIIT and strength training. I’ve been averaging a net of around 950 calories/day per week. I get this number by adding up my daily calorie totals for the week, then I add up the exercise calories burned for the week and subtract those, and divide the result by 7. It’s not necessary but I enjoy the process.
I’m down 7.5 pounds in the first two weeks. I expect things to level out fairly soon though because if there’s one thing my numbers have shown me over the last few years it’s that I seem to have a hard limit to how much I can lose anymore. I started out wanting to get back into my normal range, and I already am. Regardless of whether I continue to lose or not, I appreciate the mental calm that comes with knowing I’m following my program and not straying.