Week before last, I went on a writing retreat/friends get-together. It was at a friend's house and I wasn't sure what we would have to eat and how often we'd eat out. I'm lucky because my friends are very flexible and very accepting of different eating habits. I watched my portion sizes, made sure to include many veggies and fruits but did enjoy some great restaurants and yummy desserts. I also walked 2+ miles every morning and made sure I got in my average 10K steps. I had weighed the morning I left for the visit and weighed the morning after I returned. The scales said I had gained 5 pounds.
Did I freak? NO! Let me explain my reasoning.
First, the numbers. We all know by now in order to lose a pound of fat you must take in 3500 calories less than you burn. So to gain a pound, you have to eat 3500 calories more than you burn. For that extra weight to be gained fat, I would have eaten 17,500 more calories than I burned that week which averages out to 2500 calories extra a day. Since my SP calorie range for maintenance is 1910-2260 calories I'd have to have been eating more than twice as many calories each and every day. Is that possible? Of course it is. But, and it is a very important but, I knew I had not eaten that much extra.
So I decided to do an experiment. Yes, another one, LOL. I gave myself a week. I went back to eating my maintenance calories--not back to weight loss mode, maintenance. I actually burned fewer calories in exercise because I was really tired (lots of late nights talking and laughing) and allowed myself a couple of days when I did 10-15 minutes of walking but not more.
Result--This morning I weighed exactly what I had the day I left on vacation. Those 5 pounds disappeared as quickly as they had appeared. Without dieting. Without going on an exercise binge. Just back to my normal, sensible, healthy maintenance food intake.
Since I started this journey almost a year ago, I have gone on 3 week long vacations. One week in New Orleans, one in Memphis and one in NC with friends. I enjoyed myself on each and every one. I tried local specialties, indulged in a some desserts, had a few more glasses of wine over the course of an evening or two. But none led to weight gain. And there are several reasons for this.
1. I walked, jogged, swam at the same level (or more because of sightseeing) that I do at home.
2. I made careful selections making sure I balanced treats and higher calorie meals with lighter breakfasts and lunches--not restrictive, just lower in fat and sugar.
3. I never, never said to myself I was cheating or being bad. I was allowing myself a treat.
In the past, I would have been "going off" a restrictive diet. I would have sent myself into that spiral of overeating, beating myself up, overeating and promising I'd "diet" again but then would not get back on track for weeks or months by which time I would have regained more fat pounds than I'd originally lost.
I feel such joy knowing I don't ever have to live that way again. Knowing I can enjoy an occasional high calorie treat and maintain the 80 lbs I've lost over this last year.
When I first started on this journey, I told myself every day
I didn't believe it in the beginning, but I said it anyway. Imagine my joy to find out that not only I can, but I did, I am and I will continue to live a fit and healthy life. And I'm loving it.