Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Question from a friend....

One of my friends who is currently dieting (very successfully!) asked me this:
I have a question for you about maintenance. You've been so successful and really seem to have embraced making this a life-long change, but do you ever feel hungry or deprived anymore? I know in your earliest blogs you complained about your hunger, and your disbelief that you'd be able to subsist happily on 21 or 20 WW points. Do you still feel that way? Or now that you're on maintenance have you upped your intake a bit? I think you said you eat your exercise if you feel like it.

You just sound really on top of this and not vulnerable. That is great, but I just was interested in whether you still feel like it is a struggle. And I don't even mean real palpable hunger, but the emotional/social - I'm at a celebration and I want to put some real sour cream on my fajitas and enjoy a margarita without thinking about it. Just curious, as I suspect for me at least this will be a lifelong struggle to manage, lifestyle change or not.
The short answer is usually I'm fine, but sometimes I do feel deprived. And sometimes I feel I've gotten too restricted and need to loosen up a bit. But the most important thing I would say is that it took me a full 6 months to get to this place.

But the longer answer is that I did feel deprived on and off for a long time - maybe all the way to 6 months. I gradually felt less and less deprived over time as I found ways to manage my choices better.
  • I figured out to eat more when I'm getting my period, and that helped enormously.
  • I also eat more if I do a lot of exercise and that also helps.
  • I have a very boring social life, so I'm not usually tempted by fun events (um...maybe the social life is a problem).
  • I still stay very close to on track during the week so when I am at a special event I eat some extra stuff, but I don' t go crazy.
  • I'm also a good cook and cook really well for myself so I'm not overly enticed by restaurants or other people's food. Of course some restaurants are fabulous, but so many aren't.
  • I'm trying hard to do a lot of exercise so my food choices are not as consequential.
  • I love my Saturdays off, for the exact reason you said - not so much the food but just eating what I want without thinking. To me that is WAY more of a release than the actual food usually. I am kind of a slacker on Sundays too - it's more like I take off half of each day.
  • I was never an emotional eater. A bored eater, which is kind of emotional as it's still filling a void, but a much smaller void than say massive stress or some emotional trauma.
  • I probably eat about 22-25 points each day, more like 23 most days, but I am not strictly counting any more.
  • While I am not counting I do still visually measure portion sizes and try very hard to stick to eating at a structured time more or less. I'm using the same structure as before with a little loosening about the breakfast/morning snack ratio.
I don't really think of myself as being successful at maintenance yet as it's only been about one month of it. I think I need to be successful for 1 year. But I'm not really worried about that. But the most important thing to take away from what I've learned is that it's a long process to change - not a few weeks or even a few months but half a year, at least for me.

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