Monday, August 17, 2015

In This For the Long Haul

You know, I had an inkling when I started my diet back in 2008 that I needed to make permanent changes, and commit to eating differently, forever.  But forever is a long time.  Let's face it, it's easy to proclaim that after losing weight, you feel so fantastic that you'll never eat another French fry in your life.  You don't need them.  Nope.  French fries are out of your life for good.  But guess what?  French fries are pretty damn tasty.  And so, eventually, they creep back into your way of eating.  And that's OK, provided they aren't consumed on a daily basis.  There's room for practically everything, in moderation.

Moderation.  Sounds reasonable, except that if you are or have been overweight, you well know how challenging moderation can be.  So it becomes tricky, this practicing of moderation, especially with foods that you previously didn't have the best track record with.  Honestly, sometimes it's easier to just not eat some foods, rather than try to moderate them, because how much is too much?  I mean, I know I can count calories, but once a basket of French fries is placed in front of me and I take a single fry, moderation takes a back seat to the salty deliciousness that is on my plate.  So in lieu of attempting to limit the amount of fries I eat, instead I limit the amount of times I can order fries.  Currently I'm at once a week, which is working well for me.  And, believe it or not, often I'll leave some fries on my plate when I'm done eating.  I know, it shocks me, too, because when I first see those fries, I'm convinced that I'm going to EAT ALL THE FRIES.  But somewhere between satiety and satisfaction, I can actually managed to empower the moderation part of my brain, and that's no small miracle, considering where I've come from.

French fries are just an example of a food challenge to me.  Dieting and/or maintaining your weight is hard.  I still believe it's got to be a lifestyle change, and not just a temporary way of eating to lose weight, in order to make this stick for the rest of my life.  I have some basic personal rules that I go by all the time, like no alcohol, and nothing breaded and deep-fried (my lack of gallbladder makes sure I stick to that one), and then I periodically set some other rules, depending on my current goals, or if something is becoming too easy to eat too much of.  I can eat French fries once a week right now.  But I'm in this for the long haul, and if they start appearing on my plate more often, well then, they will be put in time-out until I can regain control. 

What about you?  If you are currently dieting, do you look at it as a temporary situation?  Have you thought beyond the day when you reach your goal weight?  And if you are maintaining a weight loss, do you have some personal rules and boundaries set to help you stay the course?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

28 comments:

  1. The word "Diet" no longer exists in my vocabulary. Not that I have found it yet or do it yet but I think you have to find a lifestyle that works for you and that you can do for the rest of your life.

    I don't believe in short term things anymore, it never works in the end.

    I have gained weight in the past months but that's not of what I ate but I had more wine because of the vacation and Summer and I haven't exercised enough lately. Once I am back on track, the weight will take care of itself.

    As for you: you know you are always an example to me. You have been able to do this ever since you started in 2008 and you make smart choices and know what works for you.

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    1. Yeah, that short term stuff almost always has such a rebound effect that it's not worth doing, even with the initial loss.

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  2. Good plan. I've told people many times that unless there's a medical necessity to cut out a favorite food, chances are you'll probably go back to it. It's just not reasonable to try to stop eating pasta forever if you love it! I so totally get your french fry thing as I have a couple foods myself where it seems I can eat them in reasonable portions, no problem, for a long time, then there's that one time where you eat the whole bag, box, etc. That's when they are removed for a while. Because the the whole _____ of anything is not a sign of hunger, it's a sign that something else needs to be dealt with.

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    1. It's funny how certain foods can turn on you, right?! And yes, removing them is what needs to happen (remember my "no baked goods" edict many years back? direct result of not being able to control myself around those goodies)...and it's funny because when I finally allow something back, I usually don't get so crazed about it.

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  3. As you may remember I am maintaining a 40 pound loss since 1999 plus since the fall last year I lost another 13 pounds w/o really trying do to cutting out convenience foods. I had to go gluten free back in 2013 for medical reasons but I replaced those things with g-free things and my waist started really going up not my scale weight but my waist so I cut all those things out of my life last October so I am coming up on a year and wondering can I safely have some gfree pizza? I really miss that the breads and pastas not so much any more but pizza? Yes. Portion control with pizza can be problem with me too. I'll let you know what I decide. I still have 6 weeks or so before the year is up. So to answer your question YES I still have boundaries around certain food and I guess I always will if I want to stay at a healthy weight for me.

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    1. I'd be sad to never have pizza again - but it's interesting how much the gluten-free foods affected your waist. Do you think you were subconsciously eating more, because they were gluten-free? Kind of along the "it's fat-free so I can eat more" way of dieting from years ago?

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    2. When I was losing the bulk of my weight (the first time) i had one meal a week that was 'my' meal. I would leave my weight watcher meeting and pick up a large pizza to split with my then husband and I would eat every crumb from my half! I still consistently lost weight. The trick? It was that ONE cheat meal....after the meal was over, it was back to the healthier choices (and sometimes it wasn't pizza but other foods that were put on the limited list)

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    3. Keeping it to one cheat meal is awesome, MaryFran - that shows a lot of willpower!

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  4. I try eating in moderation. Some foods lead me to binge eat and so for right now, I avoid them as much as possible. I know that there will be a day that I can eat them and not have it lead to a slip, so that keeps me away from it for the most part right now. I've tried elimination, and for me, it just leads me to over eat that and everything else :)

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    1. It's weird, but I can do elimination on certain things without feeling the need to overeat...sometimes it's more of a mind reset than anything else.

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  5. I'm a "long haul" person too, but instead of being the smart kind who practices consistency, I tend to bounce between "good" and "bad" cycles. I try not to get too out of control, but greed and sloth eventually start piling up and then I need to go on a Thing, which looks remarkably like a diet, even though I hate the word.

    Right now, I'm in Thing mode, feeling all virtuous and on track... just wish I could settle into a truly sustainable, consistent, lifestyle. But at least this works in its own weird way. :)

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  6. I try not to ban whole food groups or make certain foods taboo because it plays with my head and makes me crave it (I'm a psycho) but there are a couple exceptions. Soda is my achilles heel. It's best to eliminate it completely than even try to moderate it. I allow alcohol only on the weekends as the glass or two of wine at night was proving to be too much.

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    1. I hear you on trying to moderate certain things...sometimes, it's easier to just not eat/drink them then to battle with moderation.

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  7. Great post! And some interesting comments too. I like the idea of limiting the number of times you can eat something. I guess I do that too, but I don't have the thought formalized in my mind. Elimination would never work for me. I like too many foods, so I'd always find something to overeat.

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    1. I'm with you on always finding SOMETHING - let's face it, if my brain is going there, it's gonna GO THERE.

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  8. This is definitely a lifestyle. It is retraining my mind to learn to eat with health as the forerunner of my decisions.

    Great post with some great reminders to not jump on the crazy diet bandwagon but to focus on small changes and remind ourselves that we can manage to still have our favorite foods, we just need to learn how to manage!!!

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    1. Thanks - and yes, even when someone else is having success with the latest diet craze, it's usually better to do what you can stick with long term.

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  9. Ha, I love that you'll give the fries a time out! Lately if I eat out I tell myself that I can only eat 75% of what is in front of me. Usually once I stop and wait 10 or 15 minutes, I am not even tempted to finish what's left because my mind has caught up to my stomach and tells me I am full. But since I started carb cycling, it's a whole new ball game. I am never hungry and I am never full since I eat every 3 hours - and I get a cheat day to boot!

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    1. Glad to hear you're finding success with this! :)

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  10. I can't really banish anything forever, but like you - I have to limit stuff. Reeses PB cups are one of those things that I rarely have in the home because I struggle with eating them in moderation. So, I know that it's not something I will have in the house very often - but I can still eat them if I see them at other places (like my sister's house).

    I have done things in the past to challenge myself for short periods of times, like lower carb or no grains, but I go into that knowing that it is not going to be permanent because that just isn't realistic for me. It's just something different to do and I often learn a lot about myself doing that.

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    1. I like that you make your sister's house the candy palace. ;)

      We sell all kinds of candy at the hospital gift shop, and I won't allow myself to even get started with it...there's too much that if I made it available in my head, it would turn into a bad situation too quickly.

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  11. I know you were just using this as an example, but I actually have a french fries story. Several years ago I was at a race weekend in Atlantic City and we were actually at one of the nicer restaurants and I ordered fries. They were awful! They tasted like the a the left over grease in a deep fryer. They were so bad I swore of fries! Now I love fries and they have always been my weak spot but I gave it a goal of one year! No fries for a year. I actually went 17 months without them. Now I Hardly ever crave them. I do splurge once in a while on Wendy's fries! See, you just have to have a bad experience with something and then it will make it easier for you not to crave it...lol

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    1. I'm actually impressed that you ever started eating French fries again after that experience! Hmmm...now you've got me thinking - the aversion diet could be the easiest one to stick with, after a disgusting food experience. ;)

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  12. I don't allow myself to go to a fast food restaurant alone. It was too easy when I was tired or on the way home from somewhere to wheel on through. I'm just not one to pick a healthy item when I am there. But no more diets. It is just how I eat now and how I will always try to eat with modifications being part of that process. Great thought-provoking post and comments too. Thanks!

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  13. I love french fries. But I just don't have them that often. I also love chocolate. It's hard to limit yourself. So like you I try to do everything in moderation.

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  14. I love coming here and getting maintenance tips. Moderation is certainly key, but healthy living is a lifelong "battle". Thanks for this thought provoking post Shelley.

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  15. I love the idea of keeping french fries to a once-a-week indulgence rather than saying you'll just have one. Who can just have one french fry? Your approach is a lot more realistic. :)

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