I gained 3 pounds recently, due to my judging duties during the Taste of Charlotte, so I told myself that I couldn't have a cheat day until I got back down to my comfort zone again. When I mentioned the slight gain to friends and family they all responded by saying, "but it's just 3 pounds!". To someone who used to weigh 215 pounds in High School, gaining 3 pounds is a much bigger deal than you'd think.
I started getting healthy and fit after graduating college when I was working for a radio station in New Hampshire and began endorsing Nutrisystem. At the time, the program included nutritional counseling and group therapy- which is how I learned about my binge eating disorder. I learned about triggers and how to avoid them and, with the help of Nutrisystem, I finally had the tools I needed to lose weight and keep it off for 20 years (and counting). It hasn't been easy and I've had my ups and downs (thanks to numerous surgeries and early menopause) but by following a few simple rules anyone can lose weight and keep it off.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a nutritional counselor I'm a weight loss "survivor" and I want to share my methods for maintaining my weight in hopes of helping someone else.
1. Understand that maintaining a healthy weight takes some effort, and that the method you used to getting to your goal weight- whether diet pills, diet shakes, a nutritional program, workouts, or surgery- are simply that; methods to achieving results. You are on your own keeping them.
2. Once you lose all the weight you need to lose you MUST continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet at least 5 or 6 days a week, allowing yourself 1 or 2 cheat days- and you need to get active. If you hate working out you can go for a walk 5 days a week. Even cleaning the house or working in the yard can count as activity. Just get your body moving, and keep it moving.
3. One of the best things you can do is keep a food diary. You may need to continue to keep the diary for several months or even years after achieving your goal. It all depends on how much weight you lost, how many years you spent being overweight, and how severe your eating disorder was. I kept my food diary for 15 years. I was a binge eater because I'd suffered a childhood trauma and losing 85 pounds did not make my problems disappear. So I kept the diary until I felt stable enough emotionally to go without it. ****Remember to log your daily activity in the food diary as well. Calories in, calories out.***
4. DO NOT weigh yourself. Once you're at a set weight, keep track of how you're doing by how your clothes feel. If they start to feel a little snug in the thighs, or a little too fitted in the waist, then get the scale out.
5. Know that it's normal for weight to fluctuate within a pound or two. If you step on the scale and you're 3 or more pounds over your set weight you need to take a moment to think about what you've been eating and how your workouts have been lately. Then choose a solution to your problem before it gets out of hand. For my 3 pound gain I am upping my cardio workout from low impact to high for the next two weeks, and I'm not allowing myself bread or desserts on the weekend until I lose what I gained.
6. Get control of the weight gain before it becomes 6 pounds or 10 pounds or you might get discouraged and give up on all the hard work you've put in.
Bottom line: Be totally and completely honest with yourself about how you're treating your body. An overweight friend of mine said "I don't get it. I eat salads all the time yet I'm still fat!". In reality, when we go out, she eats a salad with full fat dressing and a mini-loaf of bread on the side, three beers, and then orders a piece of cake for dessert. Then she goes home at night and writes "salad for dinner" in her food diary and leaves out all of the other stuff. Denial makes you fat.
Keep up the good work!