In act 1 we found out how our protagonist (me!) had hit rock bottom. I was at my peak weight of 276 lbs and had effectively been turned into a zombie after my 30+ year relationship with my college sweetheart and the mother of my children finally imploded at the end of 2017. So here I was 50 years old, obese and determined to take care of my teenage children 50% of the time.
I could either wallow in my despair and eat myself into an early grave or get my shit together. So I chose the latter and after 24 months I have completed my journey to maintenance within the normal BMI range. Without further ado here’s my progress chart I will refer to the chart later in this post.
Like Columbus in “Zombieland”, I set out on a journey and adopted a few basic rules for the journey ahead.
Please note that every one of our journeys are deeply personal. Things that work for me may or may not work for you, but I hope that you can use my experience to help you find an approach that does work for you.
If I could do this at 50 years old as a mostly sedentary lump with over 30 years hovering around 250 lbs +/- 25 lbs, so can you. You just have to find your own routine that works for your genetics and your lifestyle.
Don’t let the journey change who you are at your core
Eat like the thinner version of you that you want to be
Go at your own pace, the destination will still be there no matter how fast you make progress towards it.
The destination may be far away, but you can measure your progress by looking for a much closer landmark
First Steps toward weight loss
I had found r/loseit. The first thing I did, and recommend to anyone starting out for the first time or even for the 100th time is to read the Quick Start Guide from beginning to end. Then do it again. One more time, but this time follow all of the “Further Reading” links. There is a veritable treasure trove of information there and even more in all the links.
Once I believed I had understood this I started to try and estimate the calories of what I was eating and drinking every day. I quickly realized that one of my major issues was the calories in what I was drinking every day. Unlike many others I had no problem with soda or fancy sweetened coffee drinks. I had stopped adding any sugar to my coffee decades ago and only very rarely drank soda.
The first problem I identified was that I was drinking large glasses of “milk”s (cow, soy, rice) and juices (apple, orange, etc…) and some lightly sweetened teas. It’s healthy, right? So why shouldn’t I be able to drink 2-4 16 oz/pint/500 ml glasses of that every day?
Well most of these drinks have ~120 kcal/cup and I was drinking 4-8 of those servings a day for easily 400-1,000 kcal/day. This led directly to rule #5.
#5 Liquid calories are insidious, so use a glass of the appropriate serving size for the drink you are planning to have.
It’s OK to have juice or milk once in a while, but only in a 4-8 fl oz. glass. Glasses larger than that should ideally only be used for calorie free drinks like water, seltzer and unsweetened coffee or tea.
While weight loss was my primary goal and that goes hand-in-hand with calories in, I also came away from my epiphany experiences (see part 1) wanting to improve my fitness and specifically my performance on the hiking trail.
As mentioned in part I, walking was a big part of how I lost weight as a teen, so I was eager to get started again.
So I applied rule #3 (go at your own pace) and set out to try and walk for a minimum of 30 minutes a day 3 times per week. Weather and work duties permitting, I would often take longer walks. Saturday and Sunday I might walk for 2-3 hours or if I had a conference call when I had to listen in and did not have to be at my desk I might take it outside on my cell while taking a 1 hour walk. The plan was to aim to walk on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and any other day was a bonus or making up for a missed regular day.
Many of my walks were “with purpose”. From my house at that time, it was approximately 1.5 miles to my town center or 1.5 miles to a Trader Joe’s supermarket. So I would take advantage of having to go to the bank, post office, pharmacy, supermarket, barber to take a walk and go there on foot. At a modest pace of 3 miles/hr the walk each way was 30 minutes, and if I was tired or pressed for time I could always catch a bus along the same street every ~30 minutes.
This contributed yet another rule for the rule book.
#6 Under commit but over perform
Make the plan easily achievable even in those weeks where you might be too busy to work out every single day. By setting my initial goal to every other day and going at a reasonable pace I gave myself room to go above and beyond my activity goal in most weeks while still allowing for some less active weeks in case of travel, sickness or something else getting in the way.
Committing to an achievable level of activity allows even “slower” weeks to be seen as a success rather than failure.
I planned for and aimed for a 1 lb/week loss through diet alone, but my average loss was closer to 1.2 lbs/week. I definitely didn’t lose 1.2 lbs every week, just the average trend from end-to-end. Some of this was definitely from not eating back all of my exercise calories and thus treating activity as a bonus loss.
Assemble your toolkit
As with any journey, you will need resources to support the journey. The Quick Start guide has recommendations, but here are mine:
My recommendations (in order of urgency):
Food Scale. US$10-20
Bodyweight scale (digital) syncs with MFP via smartphone/Bluetooth $25-$100
Fitness Tracker with HR monitor $100-$150 (optional, but plenty useful!)
I can’t stress enough how life-changing the food scale has been. I bought the cheapest one I found on Amazon, but it has been great. The only thing I dislike about the one I have is that it uses coin cell batteries. Things to look for: I would prefer AAA/AA batteries. It should be able to weigh a full plate of food. (Many cheap scales have the display placed where it will be hard to read with a dinner plate on it. Mine has the display in the corner which helps.) ~5kg capacity for getting the total weight of prepared foods to divide into meal prep portions.
I chose MFP and still pay for the premium features. I’ve saved more money in UA coupons than I’ve spent on it and believe in supporting things that support me. It’s not perfect, but it has worked for me.
I bought an Eufy (Anker) digital “smart” scale from Amazon. It’s not as well built as my SO’s FitBit Aria, but it works. These smart Bluetooth enabled scales make logging your weight painless. Open the app on your phone. Step on the scale and it logs into Apple Health, MFP, FitBit, what have you. Totally worth the extra $5-$10 over a “dumb” digital scale for me.
I initially chose a FitBit Charge 2 and have upgraded to a Charge 3. It does everything I want a fitness tracker to do. I wear it 24/7 and it tracks my activity, heart rate and sleep. That ends up in the FitBit app and also syncs between FitBit and MFP. MFP knows how active I have been and FitBit knows how much I have consumed. Unlike a smartwatch, I only need to charge it infrequently so I get really good coverage of my days. Things to look for: Long battery life, heart rate monitor, lightweight, easy syncing.
MFP is my “dashboard” for weight management. I consult it several times a day, but it rarely takes me more than 5-10 minutes to log my food for the day. After 2 years most of what I eat is in there at my fingertips.
Commit to the process and the routine
Focus on the routine and habits so that when you inevitably deviate from the plan you can get back to it quickly. Since my body weight is what I want to manage, I need to try to get an idea of where I am at any given time, so the most critical (but mostly passive) part of my routine and process is to weigh myself regularly.
I weigh myself daily after emptying my bladder in the morning. That’s the only way I can make it so routine that I get it done.
It syncs automatically with my phone (see the toolkit) and I move on. What matters are the 2-4 week trends, not the specific daily numbers. So you could weigh yourself more frequently and use Happy Scale/Libra to help you see the trends without going 4 weeks between weigh ins.
The problem is that you can have swings of 2-6 lbs during the day that are not actual weight gain but just “water weight.” If you take data so infrequently or at random times of the day you won’t be able to separate this naturally variations from the trends. So you could fool yourself that your process isn’t working if you just happen to catch a water weight gain at the next weigh in.
I paid attention to two principal things during weight loss
My average/trend weight for this past 7 days and the previous 7 days
My lowest weight in the past 7 days, sort of a leading indicator for next week’s weight.
I know that if my weight shoots up by 6 lbs from one day to the next that I’m looking at water weight because I know I didn’t eat 20k extra calories that one day. But if I only weigh in every week there is a slim possibility that I might have consistently had 3,000 kcal more each day. And that creates more stress for me.
In engineering fields that’s called “oversampling”: taking more data than you need to so that the average is more representative of reality than any one measurement. This should be obvious when looking at my progress chart.
I bring that same mindset to maintenance. I don’t ever expect my weight to be the same from day-to-day for years. I expect it to vary, probably within the middle 6 or 7 lbs of a 10 lb range. If I hit the top of the range it may be time to tighten ship a bit for a few weeks. If I drop some more I’ll probably redefine the upper limit.
So this becomes rule #7
#7 Weigh yourself routinely
For me that means daily, for you it might mean weekly, but it’s hard to control something you don’t measure.
Practice Mental Aikido – Redirect your negative emotions to support your goals
Aikido is a martial art that redirects your opponent’s momentum to achieve the goal you want to achieve. In most cases for weight loss our opponent is ourselves, and the momentum we need to harness is those negative emotions that can consume us.
I realize that this is one of the hardest parts of weight management, and mental health, but it is extremely important. We can get consumed by emotion and focus on things that are completely beyond our control. Anger about how we got to rock bottom, regret about past choices, anger at others for not giving you support when you needed it.
Redirect that anger to positive energy. You simply cannot control how others see you or treat you. Just focus on what you can control. How you see yourself and more importantly how you treat your body and mind.
If you read part 1 of this saga, suffice it to say that I had a lot of anger and sadness at the beginning of 2018. However, I turned that to resolve to get this done without becoming an asshole. (See rule #1). And I think I’ve been pretty successful at both losing the weight and staying a decent human being.
You can’t control or affect what other people will think or do, so just let it go. Redirect that energy to achieving your goals.
Don’t dwell in the past, focus on the road ahead and making it to your destination.
Many of us eat our emotions and that can become a negative feedback loop: You feel sad, eat more than you need to feel better, but end up heavier and sadder than when you started. Look for ways to break that loop.
Eat like the thinner version of you you want to be
This has already been mentioned as rule #2, but practical application of it translates to incorporating many of the foods I want to eat in maintenance as part of my regular diet during weight loss; just infrequently and possibly in smaller portions. Chocolate, ice cream, chips, beer, wine, spirits, etc… are all in regular rotation in my regular diet.
Not every day, but often enough that I don’t crave them and end up binging on them.
That thinner person inside me wants to be able to eat bread, cake, chocolate, wine, beer, etc… all in moderation and reasonable portions and so far I have managed to do just that during weight loss by reserving 10-15% of my calories for such “sometimes foods”.
If I am going to be able to eat these foods in maintenance and thus as part of my “regular diet”, I need to learn how to coexist with them during my long journey.
For me it was a conscious decision to stop having little bites. For me to be able to know how much I’m eating requires making deliberate food choices.
That means no distracted eating and no “grazing” little bites of food throughout the day.
If I’m going to eat, I eat. I try to plan out the appropriate 100 kcal+ portion of what I’m planning to eat and go for it.
I try not to eat standing up for this reason that’s how many “little bites” happen.
Eat deliberately and with focus and you gain a much better understanding of what you are putting in your body.
That doesn’t mean that you should avoid tasting food once in a while while cooking or things like that, just stop making it a habit of distracted eating. It should be the exception rather than the rule.
Give the food you claim to love the same level of respect that you would give a person you love.
Shoving fistfuls of chocolate or pizza in your face while on the run or watching TV or browsing the internet on your phone isn’t love.
Sit. Enjoy the food you love. Savor it. Spend time with it. Give it your undivided attention for even just a few minutes.
This becomes another rule
#8 Eat deliberately and with focus so you understand what you are eating
This is my version of “mindful eating”.
That extra attention paid to your food also helps you focus and “upgrade” your food. Simple example: eggs. I eat eggs every day for breakfast. I could eat them scrambled every day as a utilitarian view or I can try to cook them in different ways that makes them more enjoyable. My favorite right now is poached eggs. No extra fat required, and a beautiful runny yolk that you just can’t get from scrambled. Takes a bit more attention and you have to wait for it and be patient a bit more.
The “sometimes foods” ritual
An extension of the previous point is that dealing with “sometimes foods” has become ritualistic for me.
First, I bought some tiny 4 fl oz. bowls, but basically the idea is to use the smallest containers possible for these kinds of foods. I also buy pre-wrapped/pre-portioned chocolate like Lindor truffles and Ghirardelli squares and ice cream like mini cones or ice cream sandwiches. I look for things that are 50-200 kcal/pre-wrapped serving.
Eat with focus.
Don’t graze directly from the pantry, fridge, bag, box. Don’t eat standing up.
Plan what you are going to snack on
Log it ahead of time
Identify a no-calorie drink to go with it (water, seltzer, tea, coffee)
Prepare said drink (especially if it’s tea or coffee this requires a bit more patience).
Serve the snack using the smallest bowl or plate possible
Leave the food storage area.
Take the time to enjoy the snack and drink
If you feel that you absolutely need more of the snack after finishing the first round go for it, but use a new plate/bowl. This helps limit repeat offenses.
I may not feel like another glass of water either, but it’s part of the package. Can’t have another snack without it.
This has helped train me so that even when presented with a large chocolate bar or tub of ice cream or large package of cookies I can better recognize a portion and resist having more than one serving.
Stop thinking of “diet” as a temporary state of being
“Diet” is a word that describes what kinds of food and how much of them we eat. We are always “dieting”, just that sometimes we need to pay a bit more attention to what we eat than at other times.
“Losing” weight always sounds a bit like it’s a random event and you’re looking forward to “finding” it again. I don’t want to “return to normal eating.” I needed to change how much I ate to adapt to the smaller body I wanted.
I switched from generally talking about “weight loss” to “weight management” instead when I fully realized that CICO was the key to reducing/maintaining/increasing your weight. I also stopped talking about my process as “calorie counting”, what I did was really not what most people think of there. I tracked and logged my food. The calories were incidental, and I didn’t focus obsessively on staying under some “calorie cap”. It was a target and my goal was to be as close as I could to that goal as often as I could. After all, that’s what maintenance will look like for me.
The “don’t beat yourself up I’m going to lose the weight slowly plan” might take you several years to lose more than 20 lbs but you should be able to get there. Slowly. (See rules #3 and #4). Cut what you eat by 10% and start walking 30 minutes 3x/week you can hopefully start to turn this around. When you get the hang of eating less, cut another 10% and you will increase your weight loss rate. As long as you stay above the minimum recommended intakes to satisfy your micronutrient needs (1200 kcal – 1500 kcal depending on height — 5’6” is the usual dividing line between small and large) you should be OK.
Like the boiling frog fable you won’t notice as much if the changes are small and gradual.
Track your food intake passively
This is partially why the Quick Start Guide recommends passive tracking of what you are currently eating for several weeks before starting to restrict. If you currently maintain at 4200, dropping to 2000 (or even lower) probably isn’t the right first step.
Tracking passively helps you establish a baseline for your journey. Small incremental changes are often more sustainable than big huge jumps.
For a typical person with a 2000 kcal/day TDEE the difference between maintaining or gaining/losing 20 lbs a year is only 10% or 200 kcal per day. So if you make 10% tweaks to what you are eating you can change the direction of your weight trajectory.
Even if you are eating 3500 kcal too much a week and are gaining 1 lb a week, that’s only 3 10% adjustments form turning the ship around and losing 20 lbs a year.
This is the practical application of Rule #4.
I only set a goal once I proved that my process worked. After losing the initial 15 lbs I knew I should be able to keep this up in ~3 month/15 lb increments. I also knew that the entire journey of going from 273 to a normal BMI would take me close to two years.
At the end of each season I would give myself permission to stay at that weight. For a while or forever. Is this where I want to be? Do I like how I look? Do I like how I feel? Do I like how I would have to eat to maintain this weight?
You can see some of these in my progress chart where my rate of weight loss slows down for a week or two. Most of the time that was on purpose for one of these exit ramps.
My long range goal was to get to normal BMI, but any intermediate off ramp along the way was acceptable as long as it was comfortable and sustainable.
My intermediate goals were even closer than that, they tended to be in 10-20 lb increments (5-10 kg) and were often tied to unique milestones from my past or imperial/metric targets.
275 lbs (peak weight. Boo! Hiss!)
-> 260 lbs (15 lbs lost! I can do this!)
-> 250 (mean weight as an adult)
-> 235 (low weight as an adult)
-> 220 (100 kg! Not since High School! Metric Onederland)
-> 199 (Onederland, BMI “overweight”)
-> 185 (BMI 27.5 middle of “overweight”)
-> 170 (77 kg my low weight in High School – BMI 25 “normal”).
These mostly ~15 lb increments also happen to be just about what I was able to lose in 3 months so these correlated very well with “seasonal” goals.
Planned Social Meals are not “Cheats”
I also have “planned social meals” where I’m going to eat or drink calories whose purpose is social and not only sustenance. Work dinners, dates, drinks with friends.
I log it all and it isn’t a cheat, I just try to make it fit my daily/weekly calorie budget. I’ll have a couple of lighter meals around it, go for an increased cardio session or try to eat 100 kcal less for a few days to make up for it. Not a cheat. All part of the plan.
Log your lapses with brutal honesty. Own up to them and be accountable to yourself for them and just aim to do better the next time around. No one else is responsible for you consuming more calories than you need and no one else will stop you from doing it again. Think of Smokey Bear: “Only YOU can prevent
I could eat (and did) entire sleeves of Biscoff cookies. After the first time I did that and logged it I realized that couldn’t be part of the plan. So I promised that the next time I would stop at half a pack. And then aim for one serving (4 cookies) at a time.
Now I occasionally have them on planes in packs of two cookies and that satisfies me.
And thus we have another rule
#9 No food is outside the plan, but sometimes food serves other purposes than mere sustenance.
Basically I log as usual that day up until the event. When it comes to the food I eat out I keep track by taking pictures and try to log it all the next day so I can stay in the moment with my social event.
I’ll shave a few calories off the surrounding meals. So instead of my usual ~400 kcal each breakfast and lunch I might eat ~200-250 kcal meals before and after the event. That gives me an extra 600-800 kcal to play with.
When I was actively eating at a deficit I aimed for a ~500 kcal of daily deficit, so If I can keep the net surplus to 1,000 kcal I’ve only just set myself back a couple of days from where I would have been otherwise. No big deal on a journey that was going to take me a couple of years.
Even if by some craziness one of these social meals I was 3,500 kcal above maintenance I’ll just have gained a pound.
I know how to lose a pound, just get back to the grind for a week or two because of the extra water weight.
Again no big deal.
Fat avoidance doesn’t work for me
What framework you use to help you restrict calories and reduce your weight will depend on your personal preferences. Could be CICO, Keto, Paleo, Vegan or Vegetarian diets, etc…
Many people report that pushing protein or fiber/volume helps with their satiety. For me I realized early on that the key to MY satiety was fat. When I tried to restrict how much fat I was eating it would backfire and I would want to consume more total calories. The magic number seems to be around 20% of my diet needs to be fat. Below that I’m insatiable.
This totally explains why the low-fat at all cost diets of the 90s failed so miserably for me after the initial 20 lbs lost.
So now I seek out better quality fats, but of course limit quantities. But one low fat greek yogurt satisfies me in ways that two non-fat yogurts can’t. When I switch to a lower fat diet I want to eat the box the food came in, but if I eat egg yolks, cheese, butter, low fat yogurt, olive oil, avocado, nuts and nut butters I manage on fewer total calories.
Falling off the wagon
It’s easier to get back on the wagon if the wagon is moving slowly. This relates to many of the previously mentioned rules
If your diet during weight loss resembles how you expect to eat when the weight is off AND is also recognizable from what you are eating now your fall will be smaller. And that will help you hop back on the wagon faster.
Don’t over-reach. Set closer achievable goals. Plan for the minimum and exceed your plan rather than shoot for the moon and fall short.
My plan during weight-loss was typically to eat at a 500 kcal deficit from my sedentary TDEE at my current weight and have a minimum of 3 days with 30 active minutes as measured by my FitBit.
Most weeks I did better than that, exercising 6 days a week and longer and more intensely than just 3×30. But in bad weeks where work or life just doesn’t allow me to push harder I aim to lock down that baseline.
That gave me a sustained 1.2 lb/week average loss to lose over 100 lbs in close to two years.
I recognize what I eat today and expect to eat that way as I enter maintenance. The last few months of my weight loss were at a 300 kcal/day sedentary deficit and I have been bringing that up slowly over the course of the last few months. I’m still at a very small deficit as I figure out my actual maintenance TDEE at this weight.
After operating at a 500 kcal deficit for close to two years and losing many layers of fat as insulation I’m perpetually cold. I have to wear a mid layer when my teenage sons are in shorts. Yes, I understand the concept that shivering or warming up some ice water in your stomach will make you use more energy, but it’s so uncomfortable that I just won’t do it.
I prefer to dress in layers and drink warm drinks and eat soups and stews to try and stay warm.
Going from 275-165 in two years has meant that lots of clothes I owned quickly became too large for me to wear and look good in.
I soon found that I could wear shirts that were too big longer than I could wear pants that were too big. So, I bought a cheap pair of jeans (<$20) at each size from 42 to 32 (I started at size 46 and had a bunch of size 44 stuff) and one other “nicer/dressier” pair of pants. The ones from the previous size up could be used in a pinch with a belt.
I made use of the concept of a “target piece of clothing” to gauge my progress. My first target was a black XL Columbia Sports T-Shirt that I had picked up on clearance and was practically unwearable when I started. I could squeeze into it, but I looked like a sausage. I tried it on once every couple of weeks until it finally fit me well in late April, about 10 weeks after I had started my journey in earnest. In the months ahead I would often pick up a new pair of pants a month or so before I thought I would need it so I could use it as a reference for my progress. Try it on once a week until it finally fits OK. That way you already have everything you need when the time is right no need to run out to the store.
Undershirts and underpants were replaced as soon as the ones I was wearing were getting baggy. I’d introduce 4-5 pairs at the new size while keeping 4-5 of the old size around in case I didn’t get to wash laundry.
Now that I’m pretty solidly a men’s medium top, and size 32 pants I eliminated everything that was size 36 or XL or larger. (All except for my size 46 jeans and an XXL shirt from Columbia Sports and the aforementioned XL black T-Shirt. This outfit shall be henceforth known as my “potato sacks of shame”. I will put it on when I want to remember how much I have changed since late 2017 and that fateful hike.) The size 34 and L clothes are in a box in case I gain a little weight. If I can maintain this weight for 6 months I may get rid of some of them too.
Most everything I added follows the general concept of a “pocket/capsule wardrobe” pieces that roughly coordinate with each other so they can easily be combined together. Most everything I wear is black/white/grey with some blue (jeans and similar) and some red possible. I avoid green/khaki/brown because those would be harder to match with the rest of my clothes. If you focus on simple, timeless styles and colors so that you can more easily mix and match clothes and make many outfits with fewer clothes.
Depending on what your work wardrobe is like a minimalist wardrobe could be as little as 10 pieces. There are plenty of guides online find one that suits you and target that. Add 1-2 pieces a month, and store the larger clothes you aren’t wearing away from your closet.
Find a good local thrift shop and see what they have there. Or if you really want new clothes, think Old Navy or similar where you can get a pair of jeans for < $25. Many of my interim pieces were from Costco and $20 or less.
What CICO has given me
I previously had a huge tendency to binge.
CICO gave me several huge insights and tools to use to combat this.
Self-accountability: Logging through the binge even if it was hugely ugly is important to own it. Yes I just ate that whole sleeve of Biscoff cookies.
The ability to plan ahead: getting in the habit of logging before eating especially for calorie dense foods is really useful. Ooh! Biscoff, let me enter 6 of them in my log for today. Poop! That won’t leave me enough for dinner, so I’ll keep it to two or three.
The ability to put things in perspective: if I maintain a 500 kcal/day deficit every day of the week and eat a 500 kcal surplus one day, I haven’t failed. I have just erased two days of deficits. It’s just a detour that will delay me from getting to the destination by two days. Since I want to get to the destination, I should try to avoid such detours or minimize them. Try to measure and own each lapse and make the next one smaller.
The ability to lose weight while still eating “sometimes foods” regularly. I incorporate desserts, alcohol, chips and other foods in my regular diet to the tune of 150-200 kcal every day. Today I went a bit over and shared a single cannoli with my kids and had a beer with lunch. That’ll do it for the day. While tempting to have another beer with dinner seltzer will do tonight.
Perfect is the enemy of good enough. You don’t need to lose weight as fast as you possibly can, and you don’t need to eat at a deficit every day. Just most days. It’s the long term effect of eating at a deficit regularly that leads to weight reduction.
Stretch Marks and Loose Skin
Like all scars, stretch marks are echoes of past injuries. They are a reminder of what was, but everybody has been hurt and has scars somewhere. Physical or emotional. It’s part of what makes us human. Battles inside our heads are real battles. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and very often in terms of being overweight.
These physical scars are nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud, you overcame what gave you those scars and wear them proudly. Many of us fear to lose weight because of stretch marks or loose skin and we overestimate the importance of some loose skin and scars on attraction between romantic partners.
There’s someone out there for you if that’s what you want. Fat people, skinny people, tall people, short people, all colors and religions, amputees, paraplegics, and yes even the depressed can find relationships that are compatible with them. You are no different. If you choose to, you can find someone that makes your life just a little bit richer.
Transition to Maintenance
I will keep weighing myself daily, weighing and logging my food intake, exercising a minimum of 3x a week.
I will also still go out to dinner with my SO weekly and allow myself my cocktails, beer, wine, cider and chocolate and ice cream and similar since they are all already part of my regular weight management plan while I was reducing my weight.
The only difference is that I will increase my calorie budget by a few hundred kcal/day from where I was. Maybe ultimately I will go all the way up to the “standard” 2000 kcal/days but I will do this slowly this time instead of trying to go from 1650 to 2000 immediately as this caused my failure to maintain at 195 lbs.
I’m still eating at a slight deficit as I figure out the next stage in my maintenance journey and settle in at 160-170 lbs or wherever I decide to take it from here.
The Complete Rule Book
Don’t let the journey change who you are at your core
Eat like the thinner version of you that you want to be
Go at your own pace, the destination will still be there no matter how fast you make progress towards it.
The destination may be far away, but you can measure your progress by looking for a much closer landmark
Liquid calories are insidious, so use a glass of the appropriate serving size for the drink you are planning to have.
Under commit but over perform
Weigh yourself routinely
Eat deliberately and with focus so you understand what you are eating
No food is outside the plan, but sometimes food serves other purposes than mere sustenance.