When all was said and done, I lost 85 pounds and dropped 10 pants sizes in less than 6 months. I felt great ! By this time, I felt great physically, had tremendous self control, felt happier, and actually looked at food differently. But I knew that losing the weight was only half the battle. Now I had to maintain my weight. This is the step that many people forget. That’s why we always hear the term “yo-yo” diet. People lose the weight but they either don’t know how, or they have no plan to maintain it. They reach their target weight but then they go back to their old habits and the pounds pile back on. So I knew I had to actively maintain my new weight.
To do this, I set myself up with some rules. I could loosen up a bit and eat more types foods but many of the changes from my diet regimen stayed with me. No mayonnaise, only fat free milk, no sugar, and very small amounts of fried foods. Actually, after my diet, I noticed my taste changed a lot. I never wanted fried foods anymore, never craved sweets, and now I liked spicy food for the first time in my life. I heard a quote once that resonated with me “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Essentially, this means taper off your meals throughout the day. Eat a big breakfast, medium sized lunch, and a small, light dinner. I still use that method whenever possible today. Some other rules of thumb that I still use today are that I never add salt to anything. Trust me, it probably has enough salt anyway. I never add butter to anything, and I never drink calories. Remember when I said food was something that made me happy? Well now I looked at food very differently. I looked at food like this now: eat to live, not live to eat. Food is fuel and that’s it. I was surprised by how little food I actually needed in order to fuel my body. Our bodies are more efficient than we think.
Be consciously aware of what you’re eating. Everything you eat, try to gauge how many calories it is. Be aware of what a proper portion size is. Back when I was 85 pounds heavier, I would eat until I was 100% full at every meal. I never do this anymore. Now I eat until I’m only 70-75% full. That’s all you really need. Your next meal is coming in a few hours anyway. I also found that it’s never good to eat directly out of bags or package containers. It’s too easy to lose sight of your portion size. Always use a dish or pre packed packaged that lists the calories for the package, so you know the exact calorie amount. If you snack during the day, a snack should be less than 400 calories. Anything more than that is a meal.
During my diet regimen, there were a lot of nights where I went to bed with my stomach growling but one thing I always had in my mind: I can’t gain what I don’t put in my mouth. Physically, I exercise sometimes but I am not by any means fanatical about it and I still never go to the gym (if you read my blog about losing weight, you know I am not a gym person). More importantly, I try to live an active lifestyle. Hiking, doing outdoor activities, and making small choices that burn those extra calories here and there like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the store instead of driving. I have now kept the weight off for almost 10 years.