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Learning to maintain while losing.

Hi,

I've been thinking lately about how to start training myself to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, and to keep off the (relatively) small amount of body fat I want to lose (8 or 10 pounds). Like many other people, I tend toward all-or-nothing thinking, where either I'm "on a diet" and watching the scale go down, or I'm sick to death of the whole idea and would prefer to ignore my weight, my now-n-then addiction to sugar and high-fat food, my tendency to get lazy regarding exercise... So, here's what I'm starting to address: while I lose these last pounds in the next month or two or three, how do I learn to do what I'm faced with for the long term -- focus on eating the right amount of calories and the right types of foods to stay healthy. That is, when I'm no longer "dieting" to lose weight, am I still "dieting" to maintain my health? Any practical suggestions for retraining one's thinking as the end of the weight loss battle draws near?


Thu. Aug 17, 8:51pm

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There is no end, but it's not dieting, it's a new lifestyle. You choose your new habits. It's not about deprivation, it's about doing things that support your health on a daily basis, in perpetuity. That means exercise, drinking lots of water, enjoying fresh unprocessed foods and stopping when you're full. When that's second nature, normal, you've got it!

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 9:42 PM

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OP here.

Right, I understand what you are saying. But the question is: how do you "normalize" that attitude while still losing? (Maybe you can't, and have to develope that attitude once you're done your weight loss?) What changes specifically once you are no longer losing but instead maintaining? You just add a few hundred more calories but continue to watch as careful? Keep weighing yourself everyday? Avoid fats as stringently? I think, as a 5'2 woman without a lot of wiggle room, I will always need to watch my fat intake quite closely. Should I expect that as part of "normal"? That's OK, if that's the case... I just am redefining what to expect as normal, I think. Thanks for your input!

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 9:58 PM

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I'd suggest that you do not lose weight by doing anything that is not sustainable forever. Your weight will come off more slowly than a more extreme "extra" exercise plan or severe reduced calorie plan, but it will stay off if you figure out lifestyle changes that you can live with forever.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:06 PM

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This is the 9:42 poster again. Once you get to your goal, then you can ease up slightly on the exercise. For example: cut your cardio duration by 10 min a workout, or do 4 days a week instead of 6. From experience, I wouldn't adjust down weight training though. It's tougher to maintain at that point.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:29 PM

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i equate the life-style change to a long hike. it is suggested that you begin your hike with a pace you can maintain throughout the entire length of the hike. you may be uncomfortable in the very beginning (too cold, wanting to move along faster, etc., but be patient). therefore, adjust your eating & excersing habits accordingly. maybe for the next few months, you could lower your average daily fat intake to 10 grams less than you are used to, for example. that's how i approach many things, now-successfully, too!

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:36 PM

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For me right now, I have such a safe and healthy lifestyle, that I just plan on continuing it for the rest of my life. If after I reach my "goal" my body continues to lose weight, that's fine and I know it'll stop when I reach my ideal weight. (My goal is actually a little above the standard for my height.) And if I gain 5-10 pounds continuing my healthy lifestyle, that'll be fine too (not ideal, but fine). I figure if I keep track over a yearlong period, it'll probably average my goal, but on any given day or month, I could be up or down. I know I'm going to be healthy, losing the weight is just a positive byproduct of the healthy lifestyle.

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:41 PM

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Interesting, veddy interesting!

OP here --

Alright, I'm starting to get the idea here (on a more concious level). For me, it looks like maintaining will mean continuing to count calories, but probably more importantly, grams of fat, and will mean conciously exercising 4x/week.

I need to sit down and ask myself this: If I'm eating 1200 cals/day now and will need to be eating 1900 cals/day to maintain a healthy weight, in what way will I want to add those extra 700 cals. At what point in the process? Maybe I want to go up to 1500 cals/day for the last 5 lbs I want to lose... hmmm... what a strange concept, that I can actually control this process! A little scary, actually, for some reason. :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006, 10:57 PM

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If counting calories works for you, that's great! Personally, I was losing weight eating 1300 calories a day, and with the same amount of exercise, I am maintaining with an average of 1800 calories per day. I found that going up even to 2300 was too much - I gained weight back within six weeks of this. Also, keep in mind your body will begin to adjust itself to accomodate the amount of calories you eat.

Friday, August 18, 2006, 9:32 AM

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