Originally Posted by kathleen24
Okay, this question is for those hyper-self-analytical types out there, and I know from the outset that it may be a tough one to answer.
I know what losing feels like: that kind of `squarish' crunching feeling in the abdomen (usually) that corresponds with a drop in scale weight--not hunger, but right next door to it, and often an I'm hungry-but-don't-want-to-eat feeling.
I know what gaining feels like--that bloating, itchy-legged, I'm-full-but-want-to-eat feeling.
What does maintenence feel like? Is it just a pendulum swing between those feelings, or is it different? Do you find a peace where you are no longer trying to lose, or is it an eternal-vigilance feeling?
I remember from many years ago, an immediacy to the sensation of hunger when I was at goal--that `I'm-hungry-and-you-better-feed-me-NOW' feeling (like living with a 2 year old . . . ) but I don't remember anything else about it . . .
Thanks for your thoughts on this. . . .
In maintenance I don't feel much different than I did when losing. I can't relate to your descriptions of loss and gain, although I do remember the feeling of being stuffed yet still hungry when I was fat.
When I was losing,
I remember being more careful and afraid of what I was eating. The fear was highest when I first started, it changed focused a little, and slowly tapered away. It's still there but now it's like background noise. When you maintain you learn something you didn't know about "normal weight" people: weight fluxes
. It's totally normal to eat a bit for a few days because, say, celebrations or fruit season or bbq. It's totally normal to put on a bit of weight. Then you lose it again by going back to more strict eating, and that's that. No fuss no muss.
This helps you get over the fears that were fresh when starting the diet, because you are learning that you DON"T need to be perfect and you're not supposed to be. If you eat something bad, if you gain a pound, it will be fixed as long as you stay committed to thinness. The fears of everything weight & food related gradually goes away when reality interjects the closed bubble of weight loss dieting.
I also remember being hungrier. Since my goal was to lose weight as fast as possible while still being healthy, I under ate fats as well as carbs to really create an energy deficit. It wasn't so much the physical hunger that bothered me, because my blood sugar was tightly controlled it was very managable. It was more the physical effects of a body low on energy & conserving it. I was tired often, cold often (the winter was like a nightmare, oh my god), occasionally dizzy and weak. I take for granted now that I don't feel dizziness and weakness like I used to, I forget that used to be common. So I feel healthier and stronger. Ironically in maintenance I actually can feel hungrier, since less rules means more poor choices, which translates into less stable blood sugar. The difference is though that on maintenance when I'm hungry I allow myself to eat since weight loss is not a goal (unless of course I have gained weight after a series of indulgences).
The biggest difference is in perception, mental perception.
You kinda have to let go of food in maintenance. In maintenance you're not allowed to be extreme anymore. Many people who are food addicts temporarily deal with abstaining from food by becoming hyper obsessive with losing weight. I see it all the time. By a food addict going on a diet, you're kinda trading heroin for morphine. It can end up a couple ways. You can actually use it (food purity/restriction obsession) as true morphine, using it as a crutch to fill the void on the way to being eating normal. You can eventually find yourself adverse to it and just go back to food. OR, you can be triggered by it, grow dependent on it to replace the void of eating food, and develop a restrictive/compensatory eating disorder. To my estimations it is an unfortunate truth very few people have the "happy outcome", instead they become more dysfunctional in eating one way or other from attempting to reduce weight.
Anyway. When I had to learn to just be moderate and NORMAL and not focus on food so much, it was a big blow. I totally didn't realize the extent
that I was replacing compulsive eating with dieting. The transition was difficult to say the least. Maintenance made me realize I WAS an emotional dependent on food, and it forced me to deal with my compulsive tendencies. It is simply no longer an OPTION to be "all or nothing" like it was before, because this would result in undesired outcomes.
This is definitely premature on my part since I have a long way to go, but I feel more eating normal than I have ever in my life. Experimenting, in spite of fears, learning to actually eat food in moderation and on occasion, challenging my long held residual perceptions of being "deprived" and "yearning" for food (remnants of the carbohydrate sensitivity, the seeds for compulsive eating/restriction)... it's like I parted the fog and can see clearly for the first time. Of course this is only true if I also control blood sugar. I shouldn't understate how crucial this factor is, because becoming "eating normal" is only possible if one is no longer being triggered by the physical problems that lay the foundation for food addiction in the first place.
I've really went on waaay too long here so I"m just going to end it now.