So the new year has rolled in and there are a lot of us who have new Year resolutions. They mostly are the perennials I am sure. Lose weight, be healthy, save for a rainy day (which is only happening if you have a paycheck, am aware.) In some cases, it may be getting training a field you always wanted to do. Writing books is also a perennial for some people. Keep the house more ordered could be for some, me for example. I admit it. I am a slob. I have been looking for ways to do this for decades, but hey, I am distracted most of the time…and no, it is not an excuse, but it does make it harder. Plus I can find things that I need, so there is that.
I would like to concentrate on something that I know works, at least for me. This is maintaining my weight. Losing weight was not the tricky part. I can hear the howling of every dieter out there. Trust me, I understand, because every other time I tried I failed. But it still not the hard part. It is keeping it off. That is what is difficult. And to do that, you need to keep at it. In other words, whatever you do to lose the weight, you need to be able to maintain it over a lifetime.
So I am going to address keeping your weight off, once you lose it. It is a very worthy resolution. So let’s jump in. How do you keep that weight off?
- Commit to doing this for a lifetime.
- Continue to weigh yourself. I do it daily, but once weekly at the same time works too.
- If you gain a few pounds, go back to a calorie deficit. If you do not, a few pounds will lead to you gaining your weight back and then some. The body tends to do that
- Listen to your body. If you are full, stop eating.
- Exercise. Those who maintain the weight off do this regularly. A popular form of exercise is walking. These days I mostly spin at home, and do resistance training, five times a week.
- I follow mostly a Mediterranean diet. This is easy to do and has multiple health benefits. Follow whatever works for you. I also am gluten free because I am intolerant to gluten, not because I follow a fad. Avoid fads.
- Yes, treats are allowed from time to time. It is fine to eat a grilled cheese sandwich from time to time or a nice dessert. I do, but like we did the other day, we ate our grilled cheese for lunch, with soup, we ate a light dinner.
- I still log what I eat every day. It is second nature by now.
I like to stay away from processed foods, but that is a choice. There are a few reasons for that. They tend to be higher in sugar, salt, and calories than homemade food. In my view, long term success means you should learn how to cook if you have no idea how. Those kits with all included might be a good idea, as long as you start to experiment. I would suggest youtube, the food channel, and a solid recipe book though. These days I rarely use standard recipes, but I learned how to use the basics, so I have developed my own recipes, The soup I made the other day was a cream of spinach. I had never done that, and it worked.
Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat by Samin Nosrat is a good book for your kitchen since it explains how all these work in your food and allows you to understand why a recipe works. The book is good, but a great introduction is the Netflix series as well. Here is a preview on Youtube.
Now a note about exercise. I know most Americans loath it. Why? Well, we have become pretty sedentary over the last few decades, one reason why we face an obesity epidemic. We used to walk a lot more, in the days before personal transportation. You can see it in photos from the 1960s and 70s, where most of the people were fairly thin, and mostly in their weight. Kids used to play ball outside and used to go exploring around their homes. This was at a time when playing outside was more dangerous than it is these days. In our age of stranger danger, kids mostly play indoors, in organized play, or video games. Even in the age of pandemic going out for long walks is not the norm.
You need to commit to exercising because it is good for your health and will help you keep that weight down. But like diet, this needs to be sustainable. So you need to find something that you enjoy. If you like walking, stick to walking. If you like biking, do so. But find something you like to do. At the moment, going to the gym is a high-risk activity. So we bought an under the desk bike and a portable gym. They are both small, have a small footprint and allow me to continue to get my workouts. On nice days I go for a walk.
The yearly resolutions are what they are, and they tend to go the way of the dodo fairly fast. So this requires you to create habits, where these things become second nature. This is why exercise has become such a part of my life that not doing it for a week due to a cold, was such a break from normalcy. I still track what I eat, again, it is a habit.
Now if I can do the same for getting my house into some sort of real order…