A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Righting the ship on my weight loss maintenance

on April 3, 2014

*I apologize in advance if this looks crowded – WordPress is having a bad day apparently!

Last month, I talked about consciously taking a break from tracking while I was on vacation and accepting that I might gain a little weight as a result of that. I was pleasantly surprised when I came back from a week in Disney World weighing exactly the same as I did when I left – 163.1 lbs, well within my “happy range.” I maintained there for a week or so post-vacation, enough to believe I’d really managed to go on vacation without gaining weight, but over the last few weeks I’ve noticed the scale steadily creeping up. I kept making excuses and blaming it on Chinese food or hormones, but I really can’t ignore it anymore. This isn’t a little blip. Over the last month, my weight has increased enough that I’ve been hanging out at 168 pounds for the last two weekend weigh ins. That isn’t a huge change, but a) it’s brushing up against my upper limit of Weight Watcher’s Lifetime status – 169 pounds, b) it’s 5 pounds in 3 weeks – not a great trend! and c) the fact that it is still sticking around means it is time to take a good luck at what I’m eating and how I’m moving.

Once I got back home from vacation, I got back to tracking like I normally do and eating like I normally do. Thanks to all of that tracking, I was able to look back to see that yes, I have been eating within my points range for maintenance and yes, I’m eating the same as I was doing through the winter when I was maintaining between 162-164 without any trouble. I think the problem comes not from the “intake/calories eaten” side, which hasn’t changed, but the “output/calorie burn” side.

We’ve all heard the 3500 calories equals one pound thing before and while that isn’t technically true for most people in most situations, we’ll use it as a ball park estimate here. If I’ve really gained 5 pounds this month, that would be 15,000-18,000 calories extra, right? Looking back at my tracker, I can see that I definitely didn’t eat 15,000-18,000 calories more in March than I did in February. HOWEVER it is entirely possible that I burned 15,000-18,000 calories less in March than February. In February, I was running 15-20 miles a week. In March, I was running 5-7 miles the last week of the month and nowhere near that for the first part of the month. That’s a huge mileage difference. Add to that the steady drop in my number of steps per day that my FitBit was reporting through March and it becomes clear that the activity side of the equation was my problem.

I’ve never eaten the Activity Points I’ve earned on Weight Watchers for the calories I burn with exercise, technically. However, those Activity Points are what have allowed me to eat a ton of fruit every day. Between breakfast and lunch alone, I eat 6-8 cups of fruit and depending on how snacky I feel in the evening, may eat another 4+ cups before bed. While not a literal ton of fruit, it is a lot of fruit and a lot of calories. It’s important to remember that while fruit is “zero points” on Weight Watchers, it definitely isn’t zero calorie.
Grapes: My favorite zero point (but not zero calorie!) snack

Fruit is absolutely good for you and if I’m gaining weight from fruit, there are definitely worse things in the world. My issue with fruit really comes in the evening. I tend to eat a lot of fruit at night because I have the WANT to eat, not really true hunger and I just grab a bunch of grapes because they’re zero points, right? 3 cups of grapes, if you put them in the recipe builder, are 6 points. That can add up fast, especially since I’ve been known to eat a 3 lb box of grapes in one sitting during these night time munchy fests. I could get away with that when I was taking 10,000 steps a day and running 15-20 miles a week. I can’t get away with that from a calorie perspective now and more importantly, mindless eating is something I need to wary of. Regaining 5 pounds doesn’t mean I’m going to regain the whole 110 but if I don’t work on this mindless eating, I could get back there.

So what am I going to do to right the ship?
Move more: This week, my target is 8,000 steps a day. Not an average – but actually 8,000 steps a day so that means if I’ve fallen short, I end up walking in place while I watch Dr Who reruns like I did last night. While I’m getting back to a more regular running routine (April goals), I don’t want to rely on that to keep things in check. Movement throughout the day is crucial for overall health and definitely helps with the calorie burn each day. Like I talked about in my earlier post on getting started with my pedometer, I’ll plan on adding 500 steps to my goal each week until I get to 10,000 steps a day again.
Drink more water: While I can’t attribute all of this gain to water retention and Chinese food, I’ve definitely been drinking more soda/coffee and less water these days. I’m noticing more swelling in my legs at the end of the day too. My goal for this month is drink 4 big glasses of water each day. I feel so much better when I drink more water and thinking back to the year I spent actively losing the weight, I personally had more success on weeks I was drinking more water and less other stuff.
No more fruit after dinner: Those fruit calories are healthy, tasty calories, but for me this is more about the mindless eating. I can keep eating my massive amounts of daytime fruit, but after dinner the store is closed. I can still have my nighttime snack of Greek yogurt with PB2 but no more fruit. If I’m actually hungry, I can snack on veggies instead. While I love veggies, they don’t have the same snack/comfort attraction for me so I think that may help me break this cycle a bit. If I feel snacky, I need to practice figuring out if I’m actually hungry and dealing with the other things that are likely triggering that urge.

The challenges in maintenance for me, are multiple:
1) You have to resist the urge to think you can go back to eating the way you did before you lost weight. This thankfully rarely raises its head for me as I was careful to only make changes I could stick to every day.
2) You have to find motivation beyond the dropping pants sizes and scale numbers that keep you going during weight loss. Being mindful of non-scale victories and activity goals have been crucial for me from that respect.
3) Those few pounds you’re fighting all the time to stay within maintenance are the last few pounds you lost and for so many of us, those last few pounds are the hardest! Keeping this last point in mind, I’m not setting any kind of time goal to get these pounds back off. My goal at this point is to a) stop gaining and b) practice the steps I’ve outlined above because they are healthy habits that will help me in my overall mental and physical health, more than a change on the scale.

That’s my brain dump of a plan. I confess that I’ve been shying away from even recording my weight in my own trackers because I don’t want to admit to this gain. Small as it is, it feels a bit like failing maintenance. The truth is, there is no failing maintenance because I think it isn’t something we ever really win. It’s never really over. We just have to try our best each day to make the best choices we can. Thanks to all of you for helping me do that!

To end on happy note, check out my awesome Batman who is going to fly up and push away the dreary clouds in Omaha for us today.


12 responses to “Righting the ship on my weight loss maintenance

  1. Sounds like an excellent plan to get back on track! And exercising while watching Doctor Who is great! (That’s my treat for going to the gym.. is watching an ep while I’m on the elliptical!)

    Just love your little Batman there!

    • I bought that raincoat when he was just a few months old. I’m glad he finally grew into. I’m loving the superhero phase!

      That sounds like an excellent treat for going to the gym. I’m anxious about the new Doctor. I keeping attached to these guys and then they run off! I wasn’t sure I’d like Matt Smith after David Tennant and ended up loving him, so I’m sure I’ll like the new guy too in time. Change is just hard. 🙂

      On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 4:26 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:


  2. Kristin says:

    Oh awesome, Batman to save the day!! WOOHOO!! 😉 Great goals to get back to it!! I know you’ll feel better in no time because you’re such a dedicated person!

  3. I love how aware you are of yourself and your eating habits! You have a fantastic plan of action in place here, and I know you’ll do great!

    I do have a suggestion for an after dinner fruity snack – frozen fruit bars such as Dreyer’s Outshine Bars are usually very low in calories and take longer to eat than regular fruit so it may be perfect for your evening snack!

  4. leannenalani says:

    Great post and your goals sound perfect! I’m also at 8,000 steps a day. Your maintenance points are so true – You are totally right that we have to find ways to motivate ourselves besides dropping sizes and weight… Although right now I’m trying to get some weight off but I still consider in maintenance to some degree.

    I wish season 7 of Doctor Who would come onto Netflix because I’m sick of being so far behind!

    • It is hard to know where to draw the line between maintenance and weight loss, isn’t it? I’m hanging out at the fringe now – mostly maintaining, but I’d like to get these 5 pounds back off.

      On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:


  5. […] March, when I was originally thinking about inviting my parents for Easter and before I’d regained 5 pounds, I was planning on just taking the weekend “off” and trusting that I’d get back […]

  6. […] back up to its previous levels and actually sticking with my “no fruit as a nighttime snack” plan for the last two weeks, I’ve spent the last week hovering just above the 170 weight mark. While […]

  7. […] a wash overall. While I may or may not have convincingly met this goal, I can say I did stick to my plan of avoiding nighttime fruit snacking and increasing my exercise, so I’m happy with that overall. Whatever the scale was doing, I know I was making the right […]

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