Wow! I am nine weeks into my "target weight range" phase of my life. My eating practices are becoming well-entrenched habits. I am eating up to (or close to, or even slightly over) my budgeted calories everyday. And I am incorporating new exercises into my routine (walking, biking, and light weight lifting is my routine.)
When I read the posts that others make on LoseIt.com, many people stop logging when they enter their maintenance phase. So I wonder, should I stop logging my food? Do I really need to keeping going to LoseIt.com every day and check my friends' progress? Do I need to keep posting on the threads, providing helpful answers (well, I hope they are helpful) to others? I spend time everyday doing that. Is it time well-spent?
In my mind, yes, that time is very well-spent. I've been fat (a less politically correct statement--but more direct--than "I've had excess stores of fat in my body") since I was a child. I never had the ability to control how much I ate. I was good at sneaking food. As a teenager, I would walk to the local grocery store (well, at least I walked the one mile round trip) and come back with a pint of sour cream, a large bag of potato chips, and a one pound bag of mini-Tootsie Rolls. Then I would go into my room, turn the TV on, and eat all of that as an evening snack. When I have no accountability, that means I can do what I want.
Life is about choices. I chose to eat those Tootsie Rolls. No one was forcing me to buy the sour cream and chips. But if I choose to stop logging my food and stop interacting with my friends and supporters, I fear that my success will be short-lived. Based on the many attempts at weight management in the past (including Nutri-System in the 80's, "medically controlled" at a Phen-Fen clinic in 1997, hypnosis in 1995 and again in 2001, as well as several diet plans in the 2000's) I never was able to reach my target goal, let alone stay at that goal. But now that I am at goal, I realize that I need to take responsibility for my continued success. I need to keep doing the actions that brought success.
Others may have lasting success without logging their food, and to them I say "Congratulations, you have reached your goal and changed your life!" But I believe that I will be logging my food for decades to come, if only because for the past five decades I never really took responsibility for the food I ate. And as many people say in the forums "The weight didn't go on in a month, and it won't leave in a month." I think that LoseIt will be my activity for the remainder of my life, and that is okay with me. It is my continued acknowledgment that my actions have consequences, and a reminder that success is not guaranteed without effort and focus.
But I also have learned the joy of anticipating future events. Tonight, my wife and I will enjoy a meal at home, alone except for Ozzy. Our eldest son will return to college by noon today and our youngest son is traveling with his high school band on a spring break trip to Tennessee. We will have a dinner featuring four ounce lobster tails, some drawn butter, wine and side dishes yet to be decided. And that meal, while serving as a celebration of some rare alone time, also acts as an appetizer for our upcoming summer vacation.
We (just the two of us--no kids, no dog) are driving to Boston, Maine, Niagara Falls and the wine country along Lake Erie this summer. And especially while in Maine, we will enjoy seafood. Real lobsters, fresh of the boats, drowned in butter and served with locally brewed ales. Steamed clams, fried clams, and lobster rolls will also be enjoyed. (And more beer.) It has been 12 years since my wife and I have taken a vacation without the children (and that was a short four-day cruise) and more than 20 years since the two of us have taken a vacation of more than a week's duration. And I can't wait! We chose these stops for historical, visual and cultural experiences. And for the food.
The trip is three months away. While on vacation, I will post pictures of the meals we enjoy, as well as any exceptional sights along the way. And I will log my food into LoseIt every day. We might be "free eating" but I will still take responsibility for my actions and log everything.
Life is about making a series of choices. Accepting responsibility for your actions. And anticipating life each day upon awakening.