Diet Creep and Getting Back to Basics

Steve Marshall | 22 Jun, 2016

First the numbers of a careful maintainer... Weight that I decided to maintain at: 85.0kg (13st 5) Average weight since getting to my target: 83.3kg (13st 2) Average weight in the last month: 83.7kg (13st 3) Away Eating Days in the last month: 7 Average daily steps in the last month 9,681

As I blogged last time, this 'Away Eating Days' thing is about how many days I am away from home, eating in restaurants. The more that is, the bigger the problem, because with that sort of eating, I usually put quite a bit of weight on - as opposed to 'Home Eating Days', where I lose a little. Since I have been maintaining, the balance between Home Eating and Away Eating has generally been OK - my weight has been stable, despite a few blips up and down. But recently I seem to have had more trouble losing the Away Eating weight that I have gained, and I have become concerned about the dreaded Diet Creep!

Diet Creep is where you start to get sloppy about what you eat or drink, and especially sloppy about portion sizes. Diet Creep is probably at its riskiest for somebody like me, who no longer keeps a food diary, because I never intended to record all of my food and drink forever. So I went back to basics in the last couple of weeks, and completed my food diary, to see whether there was any Diet Creep going on. The short answer was yes!

What I did was keep a detailed log for three Home Eating Days - one 'slack day' where I was eating what I have got used to after 15 months of maintenance, and then two 'tightened-up days' when I was putting my foot down with myself! The headline was that on the slack day my net calories were 250 calories higher than allowance, but on each of the tightened-up days my net calories were 850 calories lower than allowance. That neatly illustrates my Diet Creep, and why my Home Eating weight loss has slowed recently.

So what have been the main Diet Creep culprits? For these particular days the biggest sinners were:

  1. Beer. Real (very nice!) beer on the slack day was higher calories than the no-alcohol stuff.
  2. Alpro yoghurt. I had not one but two 500ml pots on the slack day.
  3. I had a persimmon (sharon fruit) on the slack day, not realising that these modest-sized fruits are pretty calorific.
  4. I have allowed my breakfast porridge portion to increase - just 20g more than it used to be, but that's over 70 calories every single day (adding half a stone in a year!)
  5. Walnuts. I have started having walnuts in my lunchtime salad but, 'healthy' or not, they are very calorific (three walnuts are 138 calories!!)

The other thing that was bad about this particular slack day was that I didn't do many steps. If I had done my usual number, then the slack day would have been more or less on allowance. But I still would not have lost any weight like that, and these Home Eating Days are supposed to allow me to lose the weight I put on on Away Eating Days.

So going back to basics was a very interesting and useful thing for me to do, and I should do it again from time to time, to make sure that Diet Creep is not re-starting. In fact since my three-day experiment, I have continued to eat 'tightened-up', and my weight has drifted down nicely - all ready for the next Away Eating period, which is not so far off. But I must remember what I am always preaching to others - the need for Constant Vigilance!

Steve lost a massive 10st with Nutracheck. He now regularly writes about how he maintains his weight loss.

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