Losing and working on maintaining a significant weight loss remains an interesting work in progress. One reason I keep thinking about it and returning back to thinking about weight loss in the past three years is that over the past 30-some years, I’ve had a significant history of 30-60 pound weight swings. Not a healthy thing to do to one’s body, not to speak of what it does to the clothing budget!
Generally, the cycle is as follows–reach the OhMyGodI’mTooFreakingFat moment and start working on diet and exercise. Lose weight over the course of a year. Spend about six months at a plateau weight, then work my way back up to the OMGITFF moment over the course of several more years. Repeat process.
The whole process is usually good for about a seven-to-ten year cycle.
This last time I swore I would lose the damn weight and keep it off–for good. Several factors came into play.
1.) Menopause and aging. I’m in my fifties. Guess what, this is that drop-dead moment. It gets harder to lose weight and sustain the wild weight swings in a healthy manner from here on out.
2.) More aging stuff. Less weight means more flexibility and less strain on my joints. I already have arthritic moments. More weight doesn’t help.
3.) A desire to remain more active even in the face of pain. See menopause, see aging, see arthritis. What’s happened in the past is that I’ve let fatigue–mental and physical–draw me down into lassitude, and as I get less active, I start hurting more. Which then leads to more eating. Which then leads to a greater cycle.
I have to move to stay relatively pain-free. Sometimes that means I’m going to hurt myself, so I have to be smarter about managing my pain so as to stay active. It’s a delicate dance.
4.) I finally like the habits it takes to stay skinny. It’s not just about the exercise, it’s watching my food. Every time I started gaining weight it was about splurging and eating too many good things. One habit I’ve started up (with support from DH) is that of taking my own containers to restaurants and planning to make one or two more meals out of the restaurant portions.
5.) I’m not necessarily practicing diet restriction, I’m practicing portion control. A lot of my colleagues are loving Weight Watchers and its point system. That might have worked for me…but what is working better for me these days is the portion size awareness I developed after six months of aggressively using my iTouch’s LoseIt! app. I don’t know why I couldn’t develop the awareness before the iTouch, but there it is. Maybe it was the simplicity of recording everything I ate. I was able to internalize portion sizes more easily.
And now? Well, I’ve managed to pretty much stay at this same weight for about a year. Maybe longer, I’m not entirely certain.
What is interesting, however, is the degree to which I get negative feedback about my weight. Really. I never really had anyone except fellow folks I was working with on weight loss tell me I was fat.
I have, however, had numerous critiques about being too skinny. Or cautionary comments about “don’t lose any more weight.”
I find that to be a very interesting comment, not just about me, but about our society.
I leave it to you, dear reader, to extrapolate from there.