Thursday, November 14, 2019

Weight maintenance and random thoughts

According to my diet gurus, almost everyone who maintains their goal weight 2 years will maintain it 5.  I'm  past 3 years well below target.  What was my target?  211...(based on my max allowed weight in the USAF)...then 200, then 192 which is what I consider my real goal--that's based on Metlife's maximum longevity.  I got down to a one-day low of 176.  Now I'm around 183, plus or minus a couple.  If I get above 185 for more than a day I get a bit stricter until I'm back down.

Some of this will repeat from my last weight loss post, this is what I've settled on for maintaining.

For a few months my tailbone was sore.  That improved. 
My feet are at least a full size smaller. 
My hat is a lot smaller. 
For a while I would occasionally kick myself in the ankle when I walked.
Most candy is too sweet, when I was very strict most candy was unpleasant.
Either fewer or vastly less severe colds.
Less congestion and sinus trouble.
I can't lift as much, but I've got far greater endurance.
Rarely need an afternoon nap.

I've settled on a relatively limited diet, with days off a few times a month.

I cook main dishes ahead in big batches and freeze in pint deli containers--2 kinds of chili, several spicy bean dishes, split pea soup, hummus, Alton Brown's Winter vegetable soup.  Most of these are about 7 or 8 pints at a time.

Strong black Aeropress coffee early in the morning.  (by strong I mean 3 scoops per mug, Aeropress lets you go this strong without being bitter. The coffee being bitter, I mean)

Breakfast around 9am at work, varies or skipped at home.   A pint of raw vegetables (usually mini sweet peppers), a pint or so of fruit.  I was also drinking a smoothie with a pound of frozen fruit and a half cup of almond milk, I've stopped that.

Lunch is a pint of raw vegetables, a pint of cooked vegetables with Chipotle Mrs Dash,  a pint of main dish and a pint of fruit.  After lunch I often have about half an ounce of 70% dark chocolate. Not too particular about the brand, most 70% tastes pretty good to me, 80% or higher is too bitter.   Milk chocolate is now too sweet.

Another cup of coffee early afternoon.  I was also trying to reduce my caffeine, so I'm limited to 2 cups a day., or sometimes iced tea in the summer.  I don't drink pop anymore, I do have selzer, sometimes plain, sometimes flavored but not sweetened.

Snack is a pint of fruit or raw vegetables.

Dinner is a huge salad, at least a pound and a half, often over 2 pounds.  Kale, spinach, mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, half an avocado (when available) and about 1 1/2 oz nuts and seeds most of the time.   I alternate between a small sweet onion and homemade walnut vinaigrette dressing,  otherwise a chopped Granny Smith apple, grapes and raisins with half an ounce of commercial raspberry dressing and 2 oz lemon juice.   Another pint of main dish, or something from the air fryer--sweet potato fries or crunchy buffalo chickpeas.   I weigh many of my salad ingredients to get proportions right and to avoid too much dressing or nuts.  I may also have an ounce or so of cheese.

At first I thought a food processor was essential.  I was using it to chop salad among other things.  Now I don't use it much, instead I have a family sized salad slicer guide.  Dump salad stuff in whole or in large chunks and cut it all at once.  I also thought a high power blender was needed, but now that I'm not drinking daily smoothies it gets less use as well.  I'm glad I have them and still use them, but I don't consider them essential.  In retrospect, I might not recommend daily smoothies--very little effort for the calories, and leaving them out seems to give a bit more leeway for off diet days without exceeding my max weight. I suspect weight loss might be even faster without.  On the other hand, I lost half a pound a day for months with them, so they are at least a substantial improvement on what I ate before.  Maybe to start, then dropping them when my weight loss slowed?  Even though breakfast is usually 14 hours or more after my last meal, I'm not particularly hungry then.  I'm more hungry about 4 hours after lunch.

Restaurants are very difficult, and usually I don't even try to stay on diet if I have to eat out. Salad bars are usually limited in the greens and the dressings are generally fairly bland for the calories.  Kind of annoying to plan a day trip if I don't want to be off diet, I'll have an early lunch and a late breakfast.

My diet gurus wanted very low salt.  I eat fairly low salt--I don't add it to anything.  I try to get "low sodium" but I don't try all that hard.   I'm old enough that I usually have to get up once during the night to pee...but not the night after I've had a normal diet, or even a moderate serving of chips or similar.  I don't drink as much liquid as I did, although I'm sure I get more in my fruit.

At first normal meals would make me a little queasy, especially if there was lots of bread or starch.  That's not entirely gone if I go overboard, but it isn't usually a problem.

There's a common belief that "almost all diets fail, the few that succeed at first almost all fail within a few years".   I was trying to find the exact statistics for that...and found that it is apparently based on a single very old study where people were given a single set of diet instructions.  My experience with this has not been consistent with "so hard almost nobody succeeds"--this has not been all that difficult, nowhere near at my limit of willpower.  It's annoying, there's more time chewing and more frequent grocery visits, but not really a challenge once you're used to it. 
Worth it.