Sprog, 53, who lives in the West Country lost a total of 3 stone 7lbs. She initially tried the Nutracheck food diary service in February 2015 for a couple of weeks, before joining seriously in July 2015 – and she’s never looked back. She steadily lost weight over the next 8 months until she reached her target weight in March 2016. Since then she has been successfully maintaining between a 8st 10lbs and 9st 1lbs.
Here Sprog shares story and top tips.
1. How did you find the transition from losing weight to maintaining weight?
Scary. My big fear was not that I could not lose the weight, but that I will not be able to keep it off. I have lost weight (though not as much as this, or as efficiently as this) several times before, which proves (a) I can lose weight and (b) I have not been so successful at maintaining that loss in the long term. Having kept a 35lb weight loss off for three years previously and then moved back into gain and loss cycles I am not not complacent or even confident at the moment.
2. Did you continue to use your food diary when you moved into maintaining?
Absolutely – in exactly the same way. There was a patch towards the end of my weight loss where it slowed, and I realised that I had slackened somewhat in the diary and some of my good patterns were slipping already and my weight loss slowed. I returned to my good diary habits, joined a challenge, and polished off the rest of my weight loss.
3. How frequently did you initially weigh yourself?
I weigh daily; and then I take the average of the last seven days as my weight when I weigh in.
4. How long have you been maintaining your weight?
4 months. My weight has drifted down a bit further, because I am anxious about maintaining. I have decided to maintain within a 7lb range and make my target weight the top end of that range in order to help my anxiety about maintaining. This includes a week on holiday (self catering, but no scales of either kind). By the time of my weigh in on the Sunday after my return my average was the same as when I left, so I think I am getting there.
5. Do you still use your food diary now?
6. How often do you weigh yourself now you are four months into maintaining?
Exactly the same as before: daily with a weekly average. I intend to to keep this up forever. I may experiment with not weighing food, or not using the diary every day, but I shall continue to weigh myself to ensure I am not drifting. I think it was stopping weighing myself which has been part of the re-accumulation of weight before
7. What would your top 3 pieces of advice be to someone who has recently reached their goal weight?
- My first piece of advice would be to think about maintaining long before you get there. Nip in the bud any thoughts such as “when I reach my target weight I can eat what I like, when I like”. Bear in mind that now you are thinner you need fewer calories to maintain your weight than you did when you weighed more: therefore if maintenance is your goal you will need to eat less than you did when you were heavier. I didn’t fully understand this until I came to NC and I think it was part of my regaining weight previously.
- My second tip is, wherever you are on your weight loss journey, read Steve Marshall’s maintenance blog to get you into the zone and get some useful tips. I am so glad I started reading this when I started losing weight: I knew, months before I got there, that maintaining is simply an extension of losing weight.
- My third tip is in Steve’s words, “constant vigilance” is required: about my weight and about what I am eating. I find knowing that I need to be deliberately thoughtful about maintaining the loss (in the same way as I was about losing the weight in the first place) is really helpful and motivating. The power to stay this weight is in my hands. My thinking, my behaviour, and my choices are what will make the difference in the long run. I am now in charge of my weight.
They can perhaps be summed up like this, continue using the strategies which worked when you were losing weight: you know they work !