Day 17, 249 to go - Losing it isn't the hard part
I gave myself a little panic attack last night when I let my mind wander to after I've finished the losing weight part of the program and move into maintenance. And then this terrifying thought hit me: what if I go through all of this (again) and then gain it all back (again)? This is not my first time losing a massive amount of weight - 80 pounds lost and regained in college, 120 pounds lost and regained in 1996/97, 60 pounds lost and regained in 2002, 40 pounds lost and regained in 2003, and 60 pounds in 2004/5 (see my archives for details of the last two journeys) - so I know all too well that losing the weight is only the tip of the iceberg.
So what will different this time? The easy answer is that I don't know and I've got 249 days to figure it out. Here's what I know for sure:
1. I will not eat perfectly on plan for the rest of my life, so I have to figure out how to go off and come back on program seamlessly. This will probably mean that once I've been on program a little longer I will consciously go off for a meal in order to strengthen that area in my brain. (This will be a few months off, I think.)
2. Making regular, daily exercise a part of my life is absolutely critical. As long as I keep moving my body in some way most days, it's pretty forgiving of an occasional meal off plan. Each time I've gone off plan it's been regular exercise that disappeared first, so this absolutely has to be a priority
3. Continue weekly weigh ins. Continue keeping track of what I eat and how many calories I've burned each day. Basically, continue the habits that made me successful in losing weight for the rest of my life.
The rest of my life which will hopefully mean many, many years more. *deep sigh* I'll admit that I'm a little sad thinking that I won't be able to binge eat ever again. Never be able to go back to indulging my hatred of moving my body by being completely inactive. So that's the downside. The upside is that I should be able to live without lower back pain for a long while longer, perhaps forever, by keeping my weight down and moving my body. (Movement actually lubricates your joints...who knew?) I should have more energy for running after my grandchildren (Alcott's daughter, for example).
I don't know what it all means and it's incredibly premature to be worrying about maintaining when I'm only 8.4 pounds down, but I think that's the point. Must run to get ready for work...let me know what your maintenance strategy is.