Weight Maintenance = Indefinite Diet + Exercise DeficitA Chapter by Sara Mercury
I do not claim to hold a degree in health, nutrition and weight management; I can only approach these subjects through my own personal experience.
As thus, I highly recommend that anyone who is on a weight loss programme ... congratulations! You're now engaging the fun and easier part of weight management. (Notice that I didn't say it was 'easy' ... just 'easier'.) Losing weight is much easier than keeping it off.
Keeping weight off becomes a challenge because everyone thinks they can go back to eating whatever they want and keep the weight off just because they're physically fit enough to work off the 'extra calories' they consume each day above their maintenance level. (Maintenance level = the amount of calories needed for the body to operate on a minimal basis, not counting physical activity.) For example; at my current weight of 113 pounds, my maintenance level calories is only 1145 per day. If I want to eat the minimum required for my body not to think it's starving (1200 calories), that means that I have to burn off an extra 55 calories each day with physical exercise ABOVE AND BEYOND my normal, daily activities. (I don't know about any of you out there, but this is a very difficult place to be, Folks, and I can honestly see why a lot of people give up the fight to keep the weight off when they get here. It gets to the point that every effort at STAYING THIN begins to infiltrate and consume every avenue of your life!)
I cannot stand these weight management programmes that exchange FOOD for calorie deficits, as if food is EARNED by more activity. THIS SETS EVERYONE UP FOR ABSOLUTE FAILURE! I will explain why this is so.
When you're losing weight, you're normally creating a diet and exercise deficit of at least 500 calories per day to lose one pound of weight per week. (That's the easiest phase of a weight management programme!) Once you've reached your desired weight goal, I propose that you must continue to create a minor caloric deficit each and every day for the rest of your life. The minimum calorie deficit should be no less than 100 calories a day!
For example, if maintaining your weight means you should only eat 1400 calories a day, you should aim at eating only 1300, or exercising off an additional 100 calories and not consume any more calories to make up for the extra burned. That means NEVER exchanging FOOD for extra calories burned.
The reason why you must always strive for a minor daily calorie deficit for life, is because life has too many variables. In short, the unexpected happens. Things go wrong. You get into car accidents. You fall and break a leg. You have a mishap at work that puts you flat on your back for two months. You have a medical procedure that restricts your activity level ... or your cardio machine suddenly BREAKS and you haven't the funds to replace it ... any of which prevents you from you normal exercise routine that's been keeping that weight off.
What happens then? YOU GAIN ALL or SOME of the weight back again! Who wants or needs that?
I propose a better solution for such problems ... and believe, me ... LIFE DOES AND WILL HAPPEN TO EVERYONE AT SOME POINT.
Firstly, as my own personal rule of thumb, NEVER, EVER think you can exchange FOOD for that little extra bout of cardio you've done! You might think you're able to keep the weight off with long, strenuous bouts of cardio and weight training and eating 1500 calories most days, with 2500 calorie 're-feeds' twice per week for months at a time, but rest assured, just as soon as LIFE HAPPENS, you will be lying flat on your back and the POUNDS (from all those re-feed days of 2500) that were floating round in your body being prevented from solidifying on your body through the exercise WILL COME BACK FULL FORCE and undo all your efforts up to then! I am not only sure of this, I can guarantee it FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!
Rewards for exercise should be something that is NON-FOOD, like an afternoon shopping spree (STEER CLEAR OF STARBUCKS CAFE ALONG THE WAY, THOUGH!), a new pair of jeans, cosmetics, fashion accessory, trip to the beauty salon for a new hairdo or manicure, etc. ... anything but FOOD and calories. If you are getting used to rewarding yourself at the end of a week with that 500 calorie treat simply because you've accumulated the appropriate diet and ACTIVITY deficit POINTS ... you are only asking for trouble in the long run.
YOU HAVE OFFICIALLY BEEN WARNED BY SOMEONE THAT THIS HAS SADLY BACKFIRED UPON!
And once you gain back five pounds, it's almost impossible to work off that five pounds of newly gained weight! It is far better on your aching, tired body to just relax and gain it all back, wait two years for your metabolism to break down again so you can repeat the entire process! Only next time round you ought be mindful NOT TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES!
Remember my motto that I live by ... 'If you're not losing weight, you're GAINING it!' and 'Once on a diet, always on a diet.' Once you've lost the weight, FOOD should never be on your mind at all, except in an effort to AVOID EXCESS AMOUNTS OF IT.
If you are physically unable to burn off a calorie ... be mindful and in control of yourself and your hunger to STARVE IT OFF if necessary. In the long run, you will be doing yourself a lot of good living your life in this manner. One thing is certain, though ... you won't be doing yourself any favours with FOOD REWARDS for a job well done. You might well end up with a binge disorder instead!
© 2012 Sara Mercury
Added on February 29, 2012
Last Updated on March 5, 2012
From the Kitchen of Sara Mercury
Lake City, FL
AboutHello, Darlings! I am a published author, and a legal assistant, as well as the mother of a 15-year-old son. In addition to writing novels, I enjoy singing and playing piano, writing poetry and son.. more..