Anyone that’s ever lost any weight knows that the entire process is a journey and a major pain in the ass. The forfeiture of living on Doritos and dark chocolate, the thankless trips to the gym, the daily choices you’re forced to make to be healthier–but what a lot of people don’t appreciate is that getting the weight off is only the half of it. The other hard, tricky, mind-numbing half? Keeping it off.
I reached my goal weight around October/November of 2012. Starting from 250lbs., I got down to 130lbs. (some days 127, other days 131) in about a year and three month’s time. Over that year and three months, I committed myself to going to gym just about daily, and I attended strength training and kickboxing classes twice a week. …Basically, I was Lance Armstrong without the blood doping.
I was lucky during that period of time, because for majority of it, I was still going to school and only working part time. Despite having tons of papers to write and afternoon shifts to show up for at work, my schedule was considerably un-busy, so attacking my weight loss was a lot easier for me than it might have otherwise been. But that’s not the case anymore.
I knew when I started working full time in January 2013 my entire exercise regime was going to have to change, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. When I was working part time, I’d diligently show up to the gym every morning before work, put in my 30-45 minutes of running, ellipticaling, torture, etc., and head off to work with the satisfaction that I was finished with my workout for the day. Now, because of where my new job is located, going to my gym every morning is an impossibility. Like starting a new job isn’t nerve-wracking enough, what was really weighing (pun intended) on my mind was, “what does this mean for maintaining my weight loss?”
Losing weight is simple when you really think about it–the act sure as hell isn’t–but the logic makes sense. You need to burn more calories than you consume. Keeping an eye on your diet and getting enough exercise accomplishes that, but maintaining your weight isn’t so cut and dry. Just blame math, science, and mother nature. Those three are always up to no good. If you’ve never been at a healthy weight before (like me back then), you have to get accustomed to what your new body needs, how it behaves, and what you need to do (or not do) to stay right where you’re at weight-wise. This may take a little getting used to, and during that adjustment period you might see your weight fluctuate a little while you and your body figures everything out. It’ll freak you out, you’ll panic and admonish the scale, but trust me, you’ll get past it.
My biggest fear (read: nightmare) in starting to work full time was that I’d suddenly gain back all the weight I lost. I thought, “If I can’t make it to the gym everyday, how will I burn enough calories?!” What us weight losers need to keep in mind any time something throws a wrench into our routine, is to keep everything in perspective. In my case, it’s true, I can’t go to the gym in the morning anymore, but nothing’s stopping me from running a quick mile around my neighborhood every day before work Forrest Gump style. I can still hit up strength training class on the weekends. Plus, I’m commuting to work now, which entails about two extra miles of walking that I wasn’t doing before.
I’m realizing, too, that there are several creative ways you can get in some extra exercise even at work. I always take the stairs instead of the elevator, and as part of my lunch, I run 30 flights of stairs (up and down) to get my heart rate up for a while. Perspective. …And sore legs. …And being the weird girl that runs in the stairwell. Regardless of what your circumstances are, don’t shy away from getting unconventional with your fitness if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight. It’s not easy, but it’s entirely possible.
No matter what life changes come up, I’ve been learning that the most important thing you could do for yourself is listen to your body, and even more importantly, be realistic about doing what you can. Some days you may oversleep and have to skip the gym. Some days the wind will be too damn cold for me to even consider running outside. Once you really commit to being healthy and keeping the weight off, come hell or high water, you’ll find a way to make it work no matter what kind of fork in the road life throws at you. …Or more frequently, for me, what kind of fork in the cheesecake life throws at you.
How do you personally manage not to gain 500lbs. in your day-to-day life? I’m always looking for suggestions!