I probably gained the first 20 in the first year of marriage and the remaining 10-15 since then. In January of this year, I finally stopped gaining and have been able to hold steady, but that was only half of what I wanted to be achieving. I don't need to get down to my pre-wedding-weight (I was only at that weight for a short time before the wedding), but I would really like to get back to my comfortable weight (AKA: The weight I need to be at in order to fit into the majority of my clothes).
The weird thing is, while I feel disappointed with myself for allowing this to happen, I'm conflicted, because the real reason this happened is that I'm HAPPY. I don't need to blame anyone or anything - I have simply been enjoying life. I've been spending time with family and friends (often over food and drinks), chatting over meals with my husband about things both big and small, having picnics in the parks with my puppy, cheers-ing to new jobs, new homes, new adventures... and I wouldn't take a second of it back - not even to fit into my best skinny jeans.
The issue for me really is that it's not the decisions I've made during these times that were bad - it's all the times in between. I probably didn't need to have a bagel at work every morning for breakfast and I definitely didn't need those mid-day trips to the convenience store for a chocolate fix. That's all excess and that's where the problem lies for me: I don't need to indulge at EVERY meal. I can indulge when the mood strikes - as long as it's not all the time. "Everything in moderation" is my mantra, only I have been completely ignoring that.
So, for the past six months, I've seen that I can very easily maintain my weight, without even much effort. What I needed a plan for was losing enough weight to get to a point where I have a reason to open my third drawer and wear some of the many pants I no longer fit into. Enter: South Beach Diet.
I don't generally believe in dieting. I prefer to make lifestyle changes and look for ways to incorporate those changes in a way that they aren't a "fad" for me. In other words, it should be something I can maintain on my own.
I've used Weight Watchers with success (in fact, that's how I lost 35 lbs prior to my wedding), but I think I realized I didn't want to track points for the rest of my life. I wanted to learn a new way of thinking about food that could sustain itself without an app or monthly subscription.
I took a look at the way I tend to live my life and tried to find something that would allow me to do that, while providing guidelines I could follow throughout my life. I'm not a fast food junkie, but I'm addicted to carbs. I'm not a big boozer, but I love having a glass of red wine after a long week. I'm not a chocolate fiend, but I love me some cheese. I'm not extremely active, but I take my dog for long-ish walks at least once a day, sometimes twice. And I walk to and from the train station, all of this resulting in what my Fitbit says is usually around 12,000 steps per day.
I started reading up on South Beach Diet and learned that it's heavily Mediterranean-based. It takes a three-phase approach - Phase 1 (for two weeks) carb-free, with lots of lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats and no sugars at all (including alcohol) to break you of your addiction to carbs. Phase 2 (until you reach goal weight) which slowly re-introduces carbohydrates via fruits and whole grains (and red wine!). Phase 3 is the maintenance phase, which is the "phase" you'll stay on for the rest of your life with the knowledge you gained from the other two phases. If at any point you start slipping, you can revert back to Phase 1 or 2 to help get you back to where you were.
I felt like this was something I could do. To me, this was a logical way of living. You eat as well as you can using wholesome, nutritious ingredients. When life gets in the way or amps up and meals are a little more out of your control than usual, you compensate by restricting a little until you're back to where you need to be. All I needed was a plan (and to get through Phase 1)!
In my next post, I'll go over how I prepped for embarking on the South Beach Diet, as well as logging a daily food journal for the duration of the plan for anyone who is interested in what my experience with it has been. What was/is your most successful "dieting" approach? Any words of encouragement? Help a girl out! :)