You have heard the old saying, “Time flies when you are having fun!” But the truth is, as I have found, sometimes it also flies when you are not having fun.
Of course, sometimes time just flies, whether you are having fun or not. That is the way October was for me. In other words, it seems I thought little about my weight loss efforts and did even less. Still, I never lost my awareness of my eating habits and there were a few important observations which I can share briefly.
Concentrate, No Matter What
Even though for me it took many months to lose all the weight I needed to shed, I did not find it impossible to keep my mind focused on my goal. It was sometimes hard to resist overeating or sneaking a treat here or there, but I never lost awareness or my “hunger” for a trimmer shape!
But once your weight loss goal is achieved it seems commitment is a little harder to maintain. It is easy to think that you can ignore this meal or another and just splurge a little. After all, even if I gain a pound or two I know I am under my target weight a few pounds, right.
Obviously, one meal will not ruin your life. But one can easily lead to another and then another. Then, your concern and awareness will begin to drift away. The danger is not in occasionally eating a meal with more than the usual number of calories but one of being unconscious of overeating and allowing eating habits to get out of control. And if you do, very quickly a lot of months will fly by and a lot of weight can be picked up along the way!
I know I cannot avoid eating at social events as easily as I could when it was easy to explain that I was focused on my weight loss project. I have no plan to do so. But I do I plan to eat some great pecan pie on Thanksgiving!
Even on my own there are certain treats I might want to indulge in on occasion. But I do recognize that I must stay aware of my weight and eating patterns permanently if I do not want to unconsciously increase my calorie intake enough to start gaining excess weight.
Make No Diet Changes Without Thought
Even though I have been exploring some new foods that I can look at as long time eating choices, it is increasingly clear that leaving my diet plan for a maintenance plan cannot be done as quickly as I would like. It sounds a lot easier than it is.
I have already described a few of the ways I have modified some of my diet meals to make them a little more hearty than before. That approach is serving me well, as you can see by my weight maintenance chart, but I am only slowly making progress on developing meals that do not look or feel like my old “diet” meals.
Until I do, I have decided to consciously choose to just eat one of the diet focused meals (I still keep a few frozen Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines in the freezer) when I do not have a lot of time to prepare a new meal rather than allow myself to go back to any bad eating habits from my previous life—things like grabbing a quick meal from Burger King!
Gardening for Better Food Choices
One reason I have found it difficult to migrate to long term food choices is due to the unfortunate fact that most of the food in the supermarket is so polluted with salt, sugar and grease that they are not nearly so appealing to me any more. I no longer have a taste for them and have no desire to relearn those habits.
You can buy fresh food from the store of course, but so much of it is problematic. I cannot tell you how much lettuce and how many other “fresh” foods I have had to toss out. By the time most fresh fruits and vegetables are shipped and put out for sale, they have little freshness left.
For that reason, I began to do a little more gardening this year and and am looking forward to a lot more next year. A frittata loaded with kale straight from the garden makes a great breakfast.
One thing I did do in October that ties into that area was to take advantage of the warmer than usual late fall weather to work on improving my garden structure. I built some new compost bins and raised beds. This allows me to plan for some blueberries (they require acid soil and ours is quite alkaline but with raised beds I can control the acidity level easier).
I have plans for planting a number of new fruits in the spring since I have developed a real taste for them over the past two years. Most people here assume our cold winters preclude growing fruit for the most part, but if varieties are carefully chosen there are actually quite a few that can do well.
Looking Forward to the Holidays
No doubt I will need to be careful over the holidays, especially knowing all the candy and other treats that often appear around this time of year. But it is not the unusual that I am most concerned with. I will avoid eating too many of those easily.
The real danger is that eating differently will lead to losing track of calorie intake and with that a consciousness of ongoing eating patterns. Being aware of the danger is the good part of this scenario. Because I am thinking of it now, I think I will avoid trouble later.