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Weight Loss Maintenance Tip - Staying Aware
Stop Weight From Creeping Up By Staying Aware
Everyone has small weight gains and losses but if those gains aren't noticed, and if the trend toward weight gain continues, then those extra pounds can become permanent. You'll know it because your clothes start to be too tight. If they get tight and stay tight, then you've got a decision to make. For me, when this happens, I notice the trend, and then work to reverse it if I'm getting a bit too comfortable at a higher weight (body fat) than what I really want.
For me a small weight gain is difficult to notice because I tend to gain it evenly all over. I can lose 10 pounds and no one will notice but me, but my clothes fit better, my disposition is better and I feel so much better. They do notice the spring in my step and the smile on my face.
Winter Weight Gain
Last winter (early 2004) I put on the normal four or five "holiday" pounds and then come late January I noticed they were still there. Normally they'd just come right back off as I got back into my usual eating habits. I scratched my head and went about my life, eating about the same, exercising about the same, and then in March I thought, "Hey, what's up with this?" because I still was carrying around that so called "winter weight." I'd gained about seven pounds and could not for the life of me figure out why.
I started to consider everything I could think of that could be causing it: Was it early menopause? Was I eating more than I realize? Was I exercising inconsistently? Had I developed more muscle? Was it bad karma or something I'd done in a previous life? What on earth could it possibly be?
Come summer 2004 I was unhappy to find I wasn't happy with how I looked in shorts or a bathing suit, but too bad. I'm not putting off life because my legs aren't great. Hey, I'm pushing 50 years old, so give me a break. I just went about my business but I started to pay more attention. I discovered those Mike's Hard Lemonades I'm so fond of in the summer pack quite a calorie wallop. I also found I could eat half a sandwich and be satisfied. Slowly I started to cut back my quantities and pay better attention to the quality of what I was eating. Now I could eat half a baked potato (when before I'd always eat a whole large potato) and I WAS drinking a lot of calories. I also wasn't very consistent with my exercise. All these small things added up to a few pounds.
So ultimately, I made some changes. I stopped the alcohol calories cold turkey, started to eat a bit less by portion control (having half a sandwich or baked potato instead of always having the whole even if I'm already satisfied). I also got more aggressive with my weight lifting and switched from my one body part a day to a four-day split which basically added about two hours a week to my exercise. I had always been pretty consistent with my exercise bike, riding on average about 3.5 hours a week all together.
Here it is December and I find those seven pounds long gone. I'm looking good and feeling better and coming into 2005 without that extra weight monkey on my back. The changes I made were slight but it made all the difference. As it turned out, none of my earlier attempts at excuses were correct. I'd just simply gotten more relaxed with my eating and exercise and it was starting to show.
I'm not ultra strict with these things either so don't get me wrong. You do not have to be an exercise fanatic, nor do you have to restrict your eating. My new habit is chocolate cake and ice cream nearly every night during the week but now I buy a single slice of cake (I used to eat the whole piece at one sitting), and I cut off a third. Tomorrow I'll cut the remainder in half, and the next night I eat the rest. Three servings instead of one. I add a quarter pint of Haagen Daz to my bowl and it's a totally satisfying treat to end my dinner. I do tend to eat my dessert even if I'm full from dinner, but hey, one thing at a time. If I want to sometime tackle breaking this habit, I will.
For now, I'm happy with my size and my health
So, little changes, big results. Now, coming into the holiday season that seasonal weight gain probably won't happen at all this year because I'm much more aware. I'll eat what I want and really enjoy the season, and maybe put on a few pounds, but come January I'll get right back to the habits I'm using now and they'll come right back off, just like they have nearly every year before. It's not so difficult to maintain, but it can be difficult to stay aware. ;-)
~~ Kathryn Martyn, Master NLP Practitioner, EFT counselor, author of the free e-book: Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss, and owner of OneMoreBite-Weightloss.com
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