the other day, i was thinking about weight maintenance. i've lost 40 pounds on weight watchers, and kept it off for about a year and a half, maybe two years. i'm sure people (friends, family, readers?) think i'm pretty good at maintaining my weight because i usually can stay within a five-pound range. however, i don't think i've mastered the maintenance secret yet because i continue to gain and lose the same five (or six or seven) pounds over and over again. i've read that gaining and losing the same amount of weight (even ten little pounds) can be very bad for your overall long term health. so what's my point?
to me, weight maintenance has always been this far off ideal. to be able to eat whatever you want (but sensibly), and not have to worry about gaining weight because you have control over eating. you eat to live, not to eat. my problem is, i still live to eat. every time i go through the grocery store checkout line and see those stacks of chocolate bars, my mind thinks, "gimme gimme gimme." i don't give in, but i don't consider depriving myself the same as having control.
another problem i have is the idea of "normal eating" vs "diet eating." i still think that if i am where i want to be weight-wise, then i can eat whatever i want, as long as it's a sensible portion. this is not true. why? i don't know. maybe it's true for you and not for me. i think to myself, wouldn't it be great to have a morning snack of tea and two cookies? le sigh. le cookies. don't normal women who have control of their eating eat this way? maybe, maybe not. i'll never know because everyone is different. everyone has different metabolisms, different tastes, different body and food issues. when i'm not trying to lose weight, i gain weight. up and down, up and down. it's annoying but maybe i'm just programmed that way.
i've finished reading gone with the wind (tragic), and started a new book, thin is the new happy by valerie frankel. i'm only about a quarter into it, and what she is writing about really hits home for me. i started gaining weight when i hit puberty, and my mother did a lot of things to "help" me lose weight. i remember eating dry toast and clementines at lunch when everyone else had delicious looking french fries from the school cafeteria. yes, i did lose weight. yes, i instantly felt better about myself. but why? acceptance obviously. not only did my mother praise me, but friends did, teachers, even women who worked in clothing stores would compliment my mother on the shape of my legs. and hearing this i felt like a bazillion dollars. i don't blame my mother, because we are all just part of this womanly cycle of self-loathing. we can try to step out of the mold, but it's going to be very difficult. i can tell myself that i'm never going to mention anything to do with weight/food issues to my children, but if they see me dieting or complaining about my looks, it won't matter. monkey see monkey do. valerie frankel talks about how she has been on a diet for thirty years, since she was 11 years old. me too... me too...
the only thing i can say is that i've learned A LOT about weight maintenance over the last couple of years. for example, having an exercise routine that is part of your lifestyle makes all the difference. changing the staples of your diet does too. things i used to indulge in all time are a once-in-a-while occurrence, and i'm fine with that. one of my favourite techniques is telling myself that tomorrow is a new day. i want the pastry at starbucks, but it will be there tomorrow if i want it that badly and can't get it out of my mind. i'm not really depriving myself because i probably didn't want it anyway. the same can be said about those supermarket chocolate bars! has anyone noticed they aren't really as good as you remember them being? i guess i'm fine with losing and gaining the same five pounds over and over again as well, if it means i can enjoy myself when it really matters (holidays, celebrations, random fun times).
what do you think? are you on a forever diet too?