Delicate Balance — Weight Loss & Weight Gain
The Question is, How do You Maintain Your Desired Weight?
In past articles, I have discussed how to get to your desired weight. In my last article on weight maintenance, I discussed the needed mindset for maintaining your new physique. Now that you have decided to Stay Healthy, the next thing to choose, when there is too much and not enough weight.
Where exactly is the balance for you and your specific situation?
Where are you comfortable?
At what point are you again uncomfortable with your weight, or where is it that your body starts to give you warning signs that your weight is too high?
These signs typically are elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, or blood sugar levels that are not under control. If you have these conditions, it could mean that your medications are no longer controlling these factors because your bodily processes are too stressed with excess weight or sugar consumption.
Whatever those factors are for you, you must pay attention to your body’s warning signs.
Once I had lost 90 pounds over 15 years ago, I needed to set up a range of pounds that I thought were appropriate. I experimented with some highs and lows. I continued with the weight-reduction plan until I lost enough weight that I was at the bottom of the BMI range for what is considered healthy for someone my height.
At this point, my friends started to express concern for “how thin” I had become. Now I know where “too thin” is for me.
Next, I added 200–500 calories into my daily diet until I bumped up my weight a bit until I was comfortable, and I no longer had people asking me if I was going through chemo (because I was so thin). I marked that number on the scale in my mind as my “ideal low.”
Next, continuing with the extra 200–500 calories per day, I allowed myself to slowly creep up until I was not happy with what I saw in the mirror, how my clothes did not fit well, and how I looked in pictures. I noted this number on the scale as “too much weight.”
I cut the extra 200–500 calories per day and slowly lost weight until I was again happy with what I saw in the mirror, the size of my clothes, and how I looked in pictures. How I look in photos is a motivating driver for me to stay in weight maintenance. It may not motivate others, but it is good for me.
I would recommend you find these types of “triggers” for yourself. It is great to have these types of motivators. Maintenance is a challenging road. You will want all the helpful aids you can find. This is the number I marked as my upper limit for my weight. Please note that both numbers are within the “normal BMI range” for me. Sometimes it can be hard to make these decisions independently, and it is good to have an external guide.
**Disclaimer — a normal BMI is not going to be everyone’s goal, nor should it be. Some body types do not work within those parameters. I am short and small-boned by genetics, so it worked out for me. I am certainly not suggesting that everyone make this their goal.
These two numbers gave me my parameters for weight. If I am outside of those parameters one way or another, I need to do something. For me, this also corresponded with two different dress sizes. I have had those exact two sizes in my closet since then. I refuse to buy bigger sizes. If my clothes don’t fit, I need to adjust my weight. Simple as that.
It is crucial to act quickly when you are outside of the parameters; it is so much easier to make minor adjustments for a short period than to do what you just did and lose a lot of weight.
You have done all the work needed to lose the excess weight you have been carrying. You have determined your weight parameters. It is time to discuss staying where you are on the scale.
For some time now, you have been in diet mode and making adjustments when you have events, parties, and get-togethers. I am guessing you had some ups and downs along the way. We all have had those experiences. These will help you in your journey to Stay Healthy.
As you determined your weight parameters, you added some calories into your daily allotment. You can use a calorie deficit calculator to determine how many calories it should take to keep you constant. These calculators can be a beneficial directional point — the only way to know what suits you is by experiencing it.
The calculator is a good starting point, but you will want to stay diligent. They can be off by a bit, and you will either continue to lose weight or, worse, start gaining. Other factors will affect your weight, which we will discuss in future articles.
You need to watch your food intake and step on the scale while flexing up and down your daily calorie count or food intake. It took me over a year to get accustomed to doing this. Don’t rush it. If you lose too much, add a few more calories. If you are gaining weight, go back to diet mode or decrease a few calories.
You can do this; maintenance is only slightly different from what you have been doing in weight loss mode. The key is not slipping back into previous habits that put you in weight gain mode. You must stay on track from weight loss mode and only make slight adjustments.
In future editions, we will discuss how to enjoy yourself, manage happy hours, dine out, and manage the holiday season!