Thoughts on Maintaining Weight Loss

When I saw this picture taken in Colorado, I went, "Whoa! I really do look skinny!"
When I saw this picture taken in Colorado, I went, “Whoa! I really do look skinny!”

It’s been about three months since I officially kicked into “maintenance” mode instead of “weight loss” mode. Frankly, I find this stage tougher than the weight loss stage. When you’re losing, there’s the motivation of seeing the number falling to keep you in check at the table. Once you’re “there,” you have to get comfortable with a certain amount of up and down.

Plus, it’s a tricky balance to find the right number of calories. bumped me up from around 1600 a day to over 1800 a day overnight. I knew better than to use them all, so I adjusted my budget by 100, but I started gaining again. Not until I removed virtually all the extra calories did I settle in.

I’ve watched the progression of weight loss and subsequent weight gain among those close to me too many times. Having invested in a new wardrobe now, that has to be my motivation–my own miserliness. That and simply being healthy, of course. My conviction about holistic living–integrating faith and respect for the way we’re created into every daily choice, from family planning to purchasing choices–presupposes good eating choices.

I started this process last fall in the knowledge that I’m just over a year away from age 40, at which point weight is likely to get a lot harder to manage. There have been many times in the past nine months when I have huffed and puffed my way through diaper changes and forcing unwilling children up the stairs, leaning them back to wash their hair, running up and down the stairs to get the baby up from nap…it seems like I’m constantly running around. Why on earth didn’t that translate into more calorie burn? I wondered.

But on the flip side, there were those days when I overdid it and still lost weight.

I realized, eventually, that my body is indeed burning more calories than it’s given credit for; my metabolism is more active than someone without four young kids would be. Otherwise I would have had to work a lot harder at losing weight. Because honestly, it really wasn’t that hard. My age and caring for multiple young kids in a three-level house worked in my favor. Every day now I think about my metabolism when I’m wrestling munchkins and running up and down stairs. (It helps my attitude, let me tell you!)

But I’m also very aware of the coming days. As my metabolism starts to slow from that around-age-forty transition, I’m also going to be doing less running after kids, because they’ll be getting older, more self-sufficient. I’m going to lose that crutch just when it would be most useful.

Fortunately, everything happens incrementally. I guess it’ll be good for me in another way: I’ll be forced to continue adjusting my habits and expectations all the way into my twilight years. Mental and spiritual flexibility is a good thing.