It’s not the first time I’ve thought this…. Heading down the weight loss highway makes me pay attention to all the wrong things sometimes and it could likely turn into a slippery slope into obsession.  I’m not talking all-consuming obsession here but surely one can see how trying to lose weight turns into a 24/7 kind of event.  I count calories because that is what works for me, that is my gimmick if you wish… This means I think about food a lot.  I plan my food, I pre-portion my food, I write my food down, I look my food up online, I analyze my food and I investigate new food.  When I write food down, it’s because I’m logging my calories and when you log calories it’s because you’re going for a deficit (or I suppose for those body builders out there or people trying to gain weight, which can be just as big of a problem as losing weight) which means you’re thinking about pounds and thinking about pounds leads to thinking about the numbers on the scale, how the clothes are fitting and how bad the butt jiggles when I jump up and down naked in front of the mirror. (Note: I do NOT actually do this.)

In essence, I’ve gone from being overweight and sometimes miserable about the way I feel in my body but most of the time ignoring my body and my weight to thinking about my body and my weight a large portion of every day.  Which is right?  Will I find a happy medium?  Who knows?  I’d like to think I still have my wits about me and I’ll figure things out as I go, but honestly, I notice things which make me uneasy.  For example:  I’m lucky enough to still be averaging a 2lb loss/week while consuming 1800 calories and putting in 6, 30-40 minute work outs per week.  Many people out there diet on far fewer than 1800 calories and exercise for at least 45 minutes at a time.  For a while now I’ve been waiting for the weight loss to slow.  I mean, it’s inevitable and I know it’s going to happen so I’m trying to expect it so I’m not as let down when I stop losing 8lbs a month.  When I began, I kept saying I’ve no desire to drop my calories below 1800 but now…. every so often… I entertain the notion of dropping to 1500 just to keep up the 2lbs/week…. and then my brain screams at me “slippery slope!!”

At the same time, I’ve been wondering what sort of calories I’ll be consuming once I stop trying to lose weight.  I mean, if I never drop the average below 1800, what size does that equal out to?  What numbers on the scale will that equal?  And, do I intend to add calories back in?  Well yeah, I kind of do intend to add calories back in… average of around 2000 per day.  Why?  I’d like to up the size of my lunch and 200 calories would do that really well.  But see, if I’m going to do that.. then how do I know when to stop?  I don’t want to lose PAST what 2000 will maintain only to gain some back when I jump up to 2000… and then there are these horrifying things I read occasionally whenever there is the whole “eat more, lose more weight” discussion going on over at 3 Fat Chicks (see links).  Some people swear that if you drop your calories too much, you don’t lose as much.  While one woman said she gains weight whenever she goes over 1500 calories.  The notion of consuming 1500 calories a day or gaining weight is a bit scary…. and this woman is a runner so she’s burning calories like crazy.  Isn’t she?

So what DO I have to look forward to?

Truth is, I don’t know.  I’m guessing a lot of trial and error mixed with fear of gaining weight again.  I’m not sure how to proceed when the time comes but I’m comforted by the fact that I’m pretty sure I’ll get to that point.  I must remember that I’m learning and learning involves trial and error and sometimes a lot of patience.  Re-learning how to relate to food, finding a way to exercise and actually enjoy it, stumbling through healthy food recipes, bumbling through upcoming holidays, learning how to socialize in a society where food is everywhere, finding out who I am underneath the fat….the list could go on and on… Each lesson taking time, patience, courage and the support of others.