I asked Susan if I could have her write a guest post about her eating/weight loss/triathlon journey. She has such a great story and I love the title of her blog, The Great Balancing Act. I hope to strive to the balance that she’s found with her own journey. I hope that you find inspiration and/or similarities in her story with yours.
How I Found Balance ~Susan
I started my blogging one year ago. I was drawn to her Lara’s blog, Thinspired, because I saw we shared many of the same struggles. We both lost a similar amount of weight through calorie counting, and have since been trying to figure out how to go from that “diet” mind set to a more regular one.
I’m actually a big supporter of calorie counting. For someone like me, it was a huge wake up call and an integral part to my weight loss success. Before, I had no idea what calories were, how many I should be eating, or how many I was actually eating. Once I got it all figured out, I found it was quite easy to do the math everyday, still eat yummy foods, and watch the extra pounds fall off.
Yes, the weight loss part was actually the easy part. This maintenance thing however is a whole other ball game.
During my weight loss, I weighed myself every Friday morning. There was never a week the scale didn’t fall. I was a classic case of just eating too much for my activity level. Tweaking the calories with the addition of a little extra movement was all it took. Once I was 5 lbs within my goal weight, I decided to start slowly increasing my calories to my maintenance-range. And for the first time, I watched the scale creep up. At first, I freaked out. I’d become so accustomed to watching it fall every week, I thought I was doomed to being chubby for the rest of my life.
However, everything I read seemed to say the opposite. It seems I may have slashed my calories a little too much – to about 1400 a day not including exercise. This was not enough for my body, and led to my feeling weak, dizzy and cranky. When you’re in too much of a calorie deficit, it’s normal to see an artificial gain when you increase your calories again.
So I did what any reasonable person would – I threw out my scale. Yup! I didn’t want it messing with my head or eating habits anymore. I’d gone from a chubby person who obsessed about eating too much food, to a thinner person who obsessed about eating too less of it. I didn’t step on another scale for four months, when I saw I reached my goal weight without it.
A few more months later I finally ditched the calorie counting. It was getting repetitive, and I was feeling confident about my food knowledge. It was an easy transition for me. I tend to eat many of the same foods, and I usually keep my meals and snacks at the same rough estimate.
At this point, I dived into triathlon training and fitness took the front seat over food for once. I ate to fuel my body, instead of fuelling my emotions. Not only did I finish that damn triathlon, but without the scale or calorie counting, I was actually 5 lbs below my goal weight!
I now go up and down between those bonus 5 lbs. Weight maintenance isn’t really maintaining one specific number, but rather a weight range. Sometimes I eat a little too much for a couple weeks and it drifts up. Others, I’m doing intense training or my hunger drops off, and it dips back down. I call this range my “happy weight.” Sure, I may not have the body I always dreamed of, but it’s one I can be happy with, while keeping some semblance of a normal life.
I think the key to finding my happy weight was when I stopped relying on so many numbers, and instead looked inward. I started eating and doing what made me feel good. I found that when I focused on being as healthy and happy as I could be, my weight just naturally followed.
That’s not to say the numbers aren’t helpful. They are. And I still use them from time to time to make sure I’m still on the right path. But sometimes, it doesn’t have to be as complicated or as stressful as we make it. Hopefully that’s something we can all remember heading into this new year!