I joined Nutracheck six years ago, when I weighed 23st 5lbs and had decided to get down to a healthy weight – for the first time in 40 years! It took me 20 months to lose 10st and no longer categorised as 'overweight', and I have now been maintaining for well over four years.
Exactly a year ago I blogged about the difficulty of weight maintenance but I said that, despite the difficulties, my maintenance was generally working. I was pleased that what I had come to think of as my 'usual' maintaining weight of 12st 8lbs was still about half a stone lower than my original target weight of 13st 2lbs. But I also said that my weight did bob around an awful lot, which was not a great way of carrying on.
The year since then has included another maintenance problem – the bobbing around of my weight continued, and the trend also continued. Upwards! By June 2019 my weight was back around my original target of over 13 stone, and it had not been up there for the best part of three years.
It was pretty clear to me what was happening. I was still putting on some weight when we went away (which we do a lot), but rather more weight than previously. And the usual quick loss on return home was not happening – or it was happening much more slowly. The puzzle was why, because I was pretty sure that my eating at home was as controlled as it ever was. But I really did want an answer – although half a stone may not seem much, I have been this way a lot before in my life and have gained several stone quite slowly – but surely! And half a stone a year, every year, soon adds up to a lot of stones.
To cut a long story short, I did find the answer. And, as often seems to happen in weight loss and maintenance, the answer was not one dramatic single thing, but rather the result of different things added together.
First should have been the most obvious – what I was eating! I no longer routinely complete my food diary – I reckon that I am now pretty knowledgeable about the calorific value of the things I eat and drink. But I was so keen to find out why my weight was on the way up, that I started to complete my diary again, and things immediately began to be clearer. Without submerging you in detail, some portion sizes had increased, my after-dinner desserts (while 'healthy') had become surprisingly calorific, and my breakfasts in hotels had become bigger. And several other calorie increases.
Second was that my daily steps had reduced by an average of about 4,000 steps a day, because of all the usual excuses (no time, too tired etc). That works out at a gain of a stone and a half in a year!
Don't get me wrong, the calories I was consuming and burning were perfectly reasonable for someone trying to maintain. The snag was that while at home I was often trying to lose weight – the weight I had put on while staying away – and my dietary habits were no longer restrictive enough to do that.
So I had the answer in my hands. For the last two months I have been carefully completing my diary, and making adjustments to make sure I had a calorie deficit. Adjustments such as cutting right back on alcohol, having smaller desserts, smaller portions of rice and many others. I have even changed by usual breakfasts while away, saving a few hundred calories. I have also upped my average daily steps. The result, probably unsurprisingly, is that over the last two months my weight has dropped by half a stone.
I must also thank my ever-supportive wife and my ever-questionning diet coach. They have, as always, been extremely helpful.
The lesson I am going to take from this is – for Goodness sake! – if my weight starts to go in the wrong direction, get back to basics as soon as possible! There is no magic in it. If I am putting on some weight, it will be because I am either consuming too many calories or burning too few (or both). And what I find the best way, by far, of monitoring what is going on calorie-wise is to complete my food diary. With any luck I won't be so slow on the uptake if there is a next time!
Steve lost a massive 10st with Nutracheck. He now regularly writes about how he maintains his weight loss.