Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A year later: Maintenance

Dec 8th will mark a year since having lost 100 pounds.  I have been excited waiting for that day, to do a blog post with a pic of me in my workout outfit, looking all fit and Sh#t.  I wanted to write a post filled with words of wisdom on losing weight and maintaining it.  


I am tired of weight loss, and weight, and the scale, and numbers.  I am tired of every week thinking about what I will eat and all that jazz.  The truth is I have found this year of maintenance (and I am proud to say I have maintained) very challenging.  The 1.5-2 years that it took me to lose that weight, had a purpose, a focus.  I was driven to lose the weight, and rewarded with the loses.  Switching to maintenance and being ok with not seeing a DROP on the scale each week or two was something that took getting used too.  Learning to let go of the reigns and to not be so restrictive in what I ate and allowing things like wine, choc, carbs back into my regular nutrition took getting used too.  I really struggled with finding the balance between not eating to lose weight, and yet not binging on my favourite foods (and I have had many a Food Party for One). Throw training for 3 Full Marathons in there and fuelling for those and yep its been a bit of an experiment.  

It takes a lot of focus and determination to lose that much weight, and its hard to just switch that "mentality" off?  Not that its an ON or OFF way of life, I really have tried to set up a LIFESTYLE vs a short term diet.  I am scared of the weight returning, of the "fat" Katie coming back.  Most of all I am afraid of that old lifestyle and the way I felt coming back. Its silly really, because that girl is long gone.  That lifestyle is long gone.  My family and I have changed.  But the fear is still there.  Its the fear that get's me to stand on the scale to make sure I haven't gained that weight back.  I wrote recently on my Fit Mom in Barrhaven blog about changing behaviour and letting go of the scale.  I am happy to say that I have been doing well and have only been weighing myself once a week.  I want to move to once every two weeks and wean myself off it.  Like I said in the post, I don't "need" the scale, if I were to gain 10 pounds I would feel it in my clothes.  There are other ways to make sure that I am doing well, that are less harmful to my sense of self.  

This year has had many ups and downs.  In the summer, I needed to ask for extra help because I felt my mind slipping back into very restrictive thoughts and patterns.  I saw a counsellor for a few sessions and it was just what I needed to set myself back on a healthy course.  One thing that stood out in our chats was that I have an "Extreme Personality" (shocking isn't lol).  Running 3 Marathons in a 9 month period, is hardly extreme? But what I have learned is that I need extreme, its the way I am, the way I tick.  I just need to find "healthy extremes."  Being a size 4 and bulimic when I was younger was an unhealthy extreme, and being a size 22 and binge eating was also an unhealthy extreme.  So I think this year I have been trying to find what a healthy athlete looks like.  I'm certainly not a professional athelte by any means, but I like to think of myself in terms of an athlete.  The more I seek to move away from the idea of "weight" the more I find myself thinking of myself in these terms.  I find I treat myself much better when I do.  I think about how to best fuel this body of my mine to do the physical feats I want to accomplish.  A diet of fast food and sugar is not going to fuel my body, nor is a low carb diet.  So I eat to feel good doing what I love, which is running far, and pushing hard. I listen to my body better, as an athlete.  I rest, I scale back, I let my body rest and recover so it can preform better (where as before I would have kept pushing for the burn).  The more I make this mental shift the less important the number on the scale becomes.  Will gaining 5 pounds matter if it makes me stronger? 

The other truth, is I LOVE FOOD, and I like to eat.  I love choc chips, I eat chocolate almost every day.  I really love my oatmeal, and other carbs too.  I don't want to prescribe to a life without these things.  For me staying very active has allowed me to indulge in the foods that I love (did I mention how much I love cheese?) and to maintain my weight.  What I do struggle with though is that bloody idea of extremes again.  I struggle when my milage is really high at the height of my marathon training and I find myself wanting to eat 2.5hrs worth of running's calories.  I fully admit that one of the things that gets me through those really long runs is the thought of indulging in some of my favorite foods guilt free! (its not the only reason I run though, I truly love it all on its own). I struggle with "refueling" and "treating" myself and listening to the YOUR FULL NOW signal.  I tend to over eat on those days...but I'm figuring it out.  I am trying very hard to listen to my body and mind and what it wants and needs. 

So here I am, almost a year later, still just over a 100 pounds lost, 2 Marathons, and 2 Half Marathons under my belt.  I'm loving my runner's legs, and my strong arms.  I'm ok with my long tube boobs and "hang-y" mom pouch of a belly.  I think I can honestly say that I don't want wash board abs, unless they come with a magic wand option.   I am going to do my best to think of myself as an athlete,  to keep training and running hard, and taking care of myself.  I am going to share my love of sweat with my friends and with my clients.  I am going to live my most HEALTHY Extreme :)