It’s been almost a year since we started this site and one of the major topics we thought would be difficult to tackle was weight loss maintenance. Below is a graph of my weight since I started keeping track of it in about October 2010 up to recently.
I have been pretty happy with how things have been going, but how to maintain weight loss going forward remains an interesting challenge. On the one hand, I think that some habits are relatively easy to break (at least after you’ve been on track for a little while). For example, I haven’t had a soda, even a diet one, since around October. I can’t remember the last time we ordered a pizza, much less ate the whole thing together for dinner. I don’t think we miss it very much.
At the same time, you can see a slight drift up over the last year or so on the graph from a low of somewhere in the 216 neighborhood to a current weight around 225. It’s difficult to decide whether that’s a bad thing and I need to be careful or not. I’ve added more strength training, so I’d like to think it represents gain of muscle mass. But on the slow path from 220 to 280 to 320 lbs I never really thought I looked very different along the way.
We were discussing recently the issue of checking your weight. It is probably not good to do it too often, but never checking is also dangerous. (Maybe showing everyone a graph of your weight can help!) Probably the best idea is to slowly institute new habits – you often hear the term “lifestyle change,” which can sound like a cliche, but I think is the best way to describe it. At the same time, placing too much emphasis on weight as a number is perhaps not good either. Do you have tips for weight loss maintenance? Hope you are achieving all of your goals!
The more I read about them, the more it sounds like it is a bad idea to use artificial sweeteners. Are you trying to cut back on using them?
For a long time, diet soda was my go-to drink. Since they usually have 0 calories, I thoughtit was pretty much harmless. Maybe it is harmless; it seems that we still know so little about these sweeteners. But, even if suspicions of carcinogenic properties or other negative health effects are unfounded, some studies still report that people who use more artificial sweeteners such as aspartame gain weight compared to those who don’t. I’ve heard this phenomenon explained a few different ways, never so clearly that I can claim to totally understand it; however, my working explanation is that artificial sweeteners are usually sweeter than real sugar and reset your sweetness “threshold” to expect more from other foods in general (even when you are eating other things).
This is a short article about sweeteners. I’m glad that honey made the list of “good guys.” Real sugar is listed as one of the “bad guys,” but I guess it depends on your point of view – I would argue that using a small amount of real sugar is better than loading up on artificial sweeteners. The point in the article is that we get plenty of sugar from various sources, which is also true. A fried of mine recommended using 1 packet of “Sugar in the raw” with coffee, which sounds like a good medium to me.
I’ve basically quit diet soda altogether for several months, and it has been surprisingly easy. One contribution was that carrying all those bottles back from the grocery was a pain in terms of their weight and number of shopping bags. For a while, I tried instant powder drinks, like Crystal Light tea, but eventually I started to appreciate that they also had an artificial taste and switched entirely to water. Lately I have been drinking more coffee, usually black. Perhaps too much caffeine is also not good, but at least they say that coffee has a lot of antioxidants and reduces your risk of some cancers. What do you think about artificial sweeteners?
One of the ideas we had when starting this site was to emphasize other measures of health than weight. BMI (body mass index) I suppose is not terrible, although I am not sure it is a great index. At my current 220 lbs and 6’5″, I am categorized as overweight and not sure if I will likely get any lower.
But some measurements that we thought were more productive and indicative of overall health are heart rate and blood pressure. In the past, I would check my BP at the automatic grocery store machines. Partly due to denial I can’t tell you a “worst” figure, but I bet I broke into the 130/80′s neighborhood or at least a range the machine would classify as “prehypertension”. I would say, “My arm is not the right size for the cuff,” or “I just had a Coke with caffeine,” and chalk it up to that.
More recently, we’ve both been getting much better numbers at the grocery store. Sometimes we “compete” although Eyegirl has always had great BP.
Here is one of mine:
Usually I only have a shot at winning the pulse category, but you never know maybe an upset is on the horizon!