I passed the 3-month mark on this diet last week. I actually didn’t think too much about it just then, but today I realized something. When I stepped on the scale this morning, I had a nice loss, and it occurred to me that I’m rapidly closing in on 40 lbs lost. (36.6 lbs to be exact. Sorry I haven’t been posting my weigh ins lately; it’s been a wonky few weeks, but I promise to get back to it on Monday!)
And that made me think of my most successful previous diet, which has been 12 years ago now. I lost 40 lbs then, but that was the point when I burned out and threw in the towel. I gained that 40 lbs and much, much more back over the intervening decade.
So for me, 40 lbs is a marker or milestone of sorts. It’s the most I’ve ever lost. And given that I didn’t lose more, it’s also obviously the point at which I stopped trying. So how about now? Am I feeling close to that burn out point? I am happy to report that the answer is:
There has been the occasional thought where I’ve wanted to just devour a whole cake and stop torturing myself. Notably, those have been very high stress days. On regular days, I’m actually feeling pretty good and stable and even optimistic. I feel like I’m going to make it through this year without too much difficulty. Not that I don’t struggle with cravings, but not in a way that makes me want to just quit.
Ironically, I have realized that it’s my very “failures” that are actually allowing me to succeed this time. Nate and I have allowed ourselves several more “splurges” than we ever had in the past, and I think it’s actually working to our advantage. It helps to avoid feeling burned out. If there is something I’m really craving (lately, that’s a mini bagel with onion and chive cream cheese), it’s not too hard to put it off when I know I’ll be able to have it in a few days. And at this point, I’m allowing myself to have a little extra carb about one to two times per week, so the wait is never long.
We’re also being fairly strategic with our splurges. We look for the difficult schedule days and use those as a time to go off plan. We don’t just say, “Low carb doesn’t sound good tonight. Let’s go have a hamburger and fries.” Instead, it’s more things like, “Maggie has a long competition day on Saturday that starts very early, so when it’s time for a break at 9:30, let’s go have a quick breakfast at Panera.” Or, “Easter is this Sunday, and there’s no way I’m not eating a couple of those awesome biscuits that Becky makes!”
I think another factor in my success is that I’ve also stayed completely off of sugar, even on Easter. (Nate has indulged once or twice.) I think it’s absolutely essential for my success that I avoid sugar, even when splurging. Whether it’s physiological, psychological, or both, I know that sugar is a big trigger for me, and I think if I allowed myself that particular splurge that it would be the beginning of the end.
Would I have lost more if I’d been 100% strictly on plan for the last 3 months? Certainly. Heck, a couple of times, the scale has barely moved for 2 weeks because I’d been off plan a few times too many. But in the long run, would that be helpful if I burned out and gave up this month, rather than actually being able to stick it out until next January? Absolutely not.
Maybe some people see that as a cop out. But I see it as realism. By the end of this month, I will have reached a weight loss goal I’ve never reached before, and I don’t care if the journey getting there is a little messy: the point is that I’m getting there. I haven’t turned around and gone back yet. And that right there is a huge victory.