I take an overall approach to my food...I figure that everything will balance out in the grand scheme of things, so I don't stress over making sure I eat exactly what is recommended by the FDA guidelines each day. I'm partly an intuitive eater, and partly (OK, mostly) a lazy eater. Because I eat a lot of my meals alone, I can't be bothered with assembling or cooking anything very elaborate; every meal does not need to be a gourmet thing for me. I eat what I like, sure; I don't force myself to eat something just because it's good for me, and I go with what I'm wanting for the day (hence, not a lot of veggies on this particular day). The overall balance comes in the way of cravings - you might think it strange, but I will crave a big salad in the way I used to crave Taco Bell. Sometimes I'll eat a veggie-laden salad for a few days in a row; then I'll switch to Greek yogurt/fruit/granola for both breakfast and dinner, with half a cheese sandwich for lunch. I'm hungry, I eat, and I'm done.
I don't make food a big deal anymore, and I try not to center my life around it. Again, this is what works for ME. I spent too many years being overweight, and to continue focusing on food as the be-all and end-all is detrimental to my ability in keeping the weight off. Most of my socialization does not revolve around food...even the Saturday morning breakfasts after our long runs aren't completely food-centric, despite the silly pictures I post of bagels and cinnamon twists. We eat because we're hungry (I'm usually up by 4:30 am on Saturdays, so by the time we're having breakfast anywhere from 8:30 to 9:00 am, after having run many miles, it's definitely time for food), but we linger long after the food is gone.
Here's what I ate one day last week - and it will quickly become apparent that I am not a food blogger, nor am I talented at styling food for pictures. But this will give you a good idea of what a typical day is like for me and my maintenance:
First of several cups of black coffee...
I was hungry for something salty for breakfast - I'd run 2.6 miles that morning, so I guess my sweating was a factor in that craving? Homemade egg mcmuffin, yum.
Lunch - Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries (quite a few, as they were on their last day before getting too old to eat), granola. One of my standbys that I can pretty much eat for any meal!
Snack 1 - cherries. I love them, and eat them pretty often while they're in season!
Snack 2 - homemade nonfat iced latte and a chocolate mint Dove Promise.
Dinner - I actually cooked! Jeff was home, so that helped. Herbed chicken tortellini, mixed with fresh tomatoes, homegrown basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Served with a slice of Parmesan cheese bread.
Dessert - watermelon. This plate was shared with Paco - he loves it almost as much as I do!
Full disclosure: I almost always have two Dove Promises after dinner, but I think I got busy (probably was knitting) and forgot that day. And I don't count calories, but I pretty much know what how many are in my standard meals. I still check nutrition facts on new foods, and especially treat foods, just to be aware of what I'm putting in my body.
The other part of my maintenance is exercise. Yes, as you have seen by my Wednesday Workout Update posts, I do exercise regularly - anywhere from 4 to 6 days a week, depending on what I'm doing and who I'm hanging with. It's become an integral part of my life (not something I would have predicted five years ago, that's for sure), and I like it. Anyone remember when the Fonz tried to say "I was wrong" but couldn't? That's kind of how I feel when I say that I like to exercise. Or maybe it's more along the lines of when my future second husband was reading the teleprompter and said "I'm Ron Burgandy?" It's the right thing for me to do; it feels good (when I'm done, bwahahahaha)(that joke never gets old), and it reminds me of how much I like having a body that is capable of lasting through a run or workout.
So, that's how I'm managing to maintain my weight loss. If you're thinking that it doesn't sound all that complicated, you're correct. It's pretty simple, and it works for me.
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address!