Gain While You Maintaintain

Or What You Should Be Doing Once You Have Achieved Your Weight-Loss Goals

My weight is like the stock market: it has been up and down throughout my life. This wasn't something that just happened. It was something that I allowed to happen. Not that I wanted it to happen, it's just that I wasn't doing a damn thing to prevent it. I allowed it because I was making a crucial mistake. One day, I would be fed up with being overweight. I'd be angry with myself for letting it happen. I would use that anger to give me the determination to lose weight ("Let fury have the hour, anger can be power. D'you know that you can use it?" ~ The Clash), and that worked out just fine. I'd lose the weight and feel great. Then I'd stop everything that I was doing to lose the weight and slip right back into the bad habits that made me overweight in the first place. That was the mistake.

"Let fury have the hour, anger can be power. D'you know that you can use it?"
 ~ The Clash

In order to maintain my weight after weight loss, I learned that I'd have to stick to the same healthy habits that got me there in the first place. I have finally learned, through trial and error (mostly error) that I should no longer indulge in a daily habit of fried foods, and barbecued ribs, and buttered bagels, and ice cream, and all that other delicious unhealthy garbage that I used to enjoy. Instead, I had to learn to enjoy being healthy and fit more that I enjoyed that junk. Damn, I miss that junk, but for my own sake, I have to keep reminding myself that it is junk.

In addition to adhering to healthier eating habits, I also now realize that keeping up with regular exercise is a must. That probably sounds like a bummer to someone working hard to lose weight, when your agonizing routines are a means to an end. Once you achieve that end, you'd think you can just knock off the regular workouts. At least that is what I thought, and that is the biggest mistake I made. Like it or not, you have to remain active if you want to maintain your weight after weight loss, but there is a plus side which I am now only realizing.

Working out not only helps you lose weight and maintain your weight, but it also helps to build muscle. This wasn't a complete revelation, mind you. It's just that building muscle was never a big goal for me. I was far more focused on losing the weight. I was paying too much attention to the scale. During my latest effort to lose weight, I dropped as low as 142 pounds. But weight isn't everything. For the past couple of months, I've been holding steady at about 150 pounds, but I have been building muscle, and we all know that muscle weighs more that fat. I am seeing definition in my body that I have never seen before. It is a slow process, to be sure, but it's happening, and I gotta tell you: it's pretty cool. As long as I stick with eating healthy and working out regularly, it will continue to happen.

The bottom line is: don't dread eating healthy and working out regularly for the remainder of your days (or for as long as you are able to anyway). You are not punishing yourself. You are rewarding yourself, with a longer, healthier, happier life, and, with any luck, you just might turn a few heads. Check this out: I was going for a long walk the other day, and I passed several pretty women who who were looking at me and smiling. That was a great feeling, until I realized that I had forgotten to zip up my fly before leaving the house. But that's another story.