Still #Stronger than the cookie: Maintenance on vacation, holidays and every day life

I have spent much of my life, youth and adulthood, overweight. I have lost large amounts of weight in the last forty years, but this is the longest I have ever gone maintaining that loss. I take nothing for granted in this journey, but count it all gratitude and joy. Six months from achieving my goal weight of 145 pounds (down from 200) my average weight has been 143, up and down by ounces of course.

I entered this period of maintenance carefully, almost gingerly. What that means for me is continuing to get on the scale most mornings, and continue to weigh and measure my food count, and log calories. I started increasing my calories slowly, sticking pretty close to 1300 calories for a number of weeks. I realize that all of these things might seem extreme for some folks, getting on the scale, weighing and measuring food and counting calories every day might seem too much like work. But for me, they are the best ways to protect my investment and my health.

I write these posts to share my personal experience in the hopes that there is something helpful here, that might be a source of encouragement to others. But I am not a weight loss expert or guru. The thing I have been an expert in, is regaining the lost weight, something I am trying very hard to not do again.

Picture of a food scale with a pear on it.
Photo by JJ Jordan from Pexels

Changes I have made:

One change is setting a 1500 calorie daily goal. I try to not go beyond that, and on days that I do, try not to worry, but I also try to not do that very often. In the past I have comforted myself with the knowledge that 2,000 calories a day is considered average need for normal metabolism, but I have recently learned that if I get too close to 2,000 calories, I am going to gain, so for me, 1500 calories daily is a good workable number. Most days I feel comfortably full, but there are other days that I feel inexplicably hungry. Maintenance is a journey and a process.

New foods I have incorporated

Cooked oatmeal! I used to think I could only eat oatmeal if it was instant and sweet. Just adding sugar to cooked oatmeal was not enough. But I tried it again on maintenance and have come up with a combination that I find satisfying. Cooked oatmeal with a tablespoon of raisins, tablespoon of walnuts or pecans, and two teaspoons of honey. A full cup of oatmeal with those ingredients will be enough to keep me happy in the evening. However, I have figured out that a full cup is too much (darn) for an evening snack, so next time I will go for a half cup. It is still filling and great for cold Pennsylvania nights.

I have also added occasional lentils and barley. I have no interest in going 100% plant based. For one thing I like meat too much for that. For another, it seems that many plant based foods, in the freezer section anyway, are highly processed, which seems to me to be the opposite of healthy. I have not eliminated foods that are highly processed, but certainly have limited them. I still need to incorporate more fish into my diet, and barley and lentils, but am not there yet.

Picture of foods in baskets, on shelves. fruits and vegetables. Scale on the top shelf and a figurine.
Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels

One thing that I have not changed from my routine is that I get on the scale every morning, and weigh and or measure all food. That might seem tedious or rigid, but it does not take long. And I have done it the other way. I successfully maintained my weight at 200 pounds for years, by just eating what I wanted, when I wanted, grazing and not counting. I prefer maintaining my weight as close to 143 as possible.

Eating on Vacation

I had a wonderful opportunity to spend a week in my Massachusetts hometown in October. That meant several opportunities to enjoy seafood, and I did. Fried seafood, and pizza. Fried clams, fish and chips, fried scallops and shrimp, and pizza. Although people and places were the most important ingredient in my time at home, food ran a close third. Because of that choice, I did not log much of my food, it was hard to count calories without weighing and measuring, which is difficult to do in a restaurant. But I still got on the scale every morning, ate minimal French fries and skipped deserts entirely. I gained two pounds that week, that I quickly lost. Eating on maintenance, even eating while losing weight has to have some flexibility and not rigidity. That being said, I have no plans for Christmas cookies or frosted cakes in my holiday plans. I will tell you why.

Thanksgiving and other food dilemmas.

Picture of a cranberry tart.
Nantucket Cranberry Tart “Yummy”

I love turkey, and generally make my mother’s sausage oyster stuffing for Thanksgiving and Christmas when we choose turkey for both meals. For me then, I generally limit other traditional foods. Cranberry sauce is a must have, I can skip the mashed potatoes and other things. We received Thanksgiving meals from a local group that included a slice of pumpkin pie for each of us. I would have made the pie if my husband had wanted it, but I was grateful when he decided that one piece was more than enough. It is better to enjoy some special foods occasionally than to feel deprived (depraved?), and stuck in rigidity, so I have striven for balance. I had a half cup of stuffing (sans oysters, they went bad) every night for several nights. I have had a few other treats in recent weeks, a large piece of yummy cranberry tart, and two slices of homemade cinnamon raisin bread not in the same day.

My current frustration:

Other than what I have detailed above, my daily intake is normal, no cookies, cakes, etc. But a bagel and cube of cheese are almost daily must haves. I continue to monitor, log and weigh in. But something is different. From May 9th until mid-November my weight has hovered at 143. In recent weeks I have gained weight, this morning at 148! Ugh! Not happy. I have had a recent medication change that eliminated one of my blood pressure meds because I am doing so good. Not sure if that is the culprit, or if there is something cumulative going on here.

I share this because, I have tried to be transparent in these posts. It could be that this is the stage where some folks start gaining, and as we know, Christmas is around the corner. Or Christmas cookies are around the corner, but they are not worth the possible weight gain, especially when I seem to be doing that on my own. In the spirit of full transparency, there is this:

Picture of two loaves of bread on a cooling rack.
Raisin Bread on the left, white sandhiwhc bread on the right.

However, like everything else I eat, I weigh it. When I make bread I let it cool, then I slice it put it in the freezer and limit the amount I eat. Every slice is weighed and logged. But, I would be lying if I did not admit to preferring bread to fruit, even cookies!

The Plan

Although my bottom line weight goal was 145, because I have been able to maintain close to 143 for most of the last several months, when the scale hits 145, I want to be extra careful. I will be talking with my doctor soon. At 148 I think I will reduce my calories back to 1200-1300. If I see another increase, I am going back on my program for a few weeks. While none of this may seem problematic for some, I think in terms of what I have done, this is the danger zone. I have been on the “gain – lose- gain” roller coaster before and do not want to be on that ride again. I got my ticket punched for “maintenance” and I plan to stay the course.

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Copyright 2020-2024 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

9 thoughts on “Still #Stronger than the cookie: Maintenance on vacation, holidays and every day life

    1. Thank you very much. Trying to keep it real. I have gotten rid of all my baggy clothes, got to get this under control before I outgrow my church dress clothes! lol, sigh. I know that my food likes and dislikes are personal as they are for all, but still hoping that there is something relateable here. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re doing great, Michele! You are on top of it. I wonder if the few extra pounds have to do with it being colder and maybe our bodies try to store extra fat to handle the colder weather? It’s nice to see that you still have splurges like cheese and bread. I rarely eat sugar and treats, yet that’s not enough to lose weight for me. I think I have to eat smaller portions and ignore the rumbling stomach. Have a nice weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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