Pardon the pun, but I'd like to weigh in with some further reflexions on the "maintenance as weight-loss" approach.
As an IEIT (intuitive eater in training), I tend to be very introspective about my eating style. I feel quite comfortable with the foods I eat. I know that I'm just not that into junk food to have to worry and I also know that sweets do not satisfy me when I'm hungry. The result is that I lean toward a large variety of healthy foods, ranging from proteins to carbs and and everything in-between. I do try to tweek my fruit and vegetable intake upwards, but generally, I eat what I feel like eating when mealtime comes around.
I do not eat with abandon, however. I'm always trying to be sensitive to the little signals telling me when to eat and in particular, when to stop. There's still more than a bit of a struggle between my stomach's usually quite clear message that I've had enough and my brain's needling suggestion that a lovely little dessert might be in order. I'm learning to get around this by occasionally eating just a tad less of the main meal and leaving just a little room for a treat. Let's say a 5-10% reduction on part 1 to give part 2 a little satisfaction. I also try to choose my treats carefully. A bit of cheesecake from the Sweet Gallery* (the purveyor of totally wonderful desserts right at the corner of my street) is a total joy, a pop-tart--meh, I can do without.
I like to think that I am learning to eat normally. Paul McKenna would call it "eating like a naturally thin person". Will I ever make it all the way there until it is so ingrained that I don't even consciously think about it? That would be awesome, but I'm not holding my breath.
We have all had to make some significant changes to our eating patterns to embark on this journey. Probably the number one reason why people gain weight back (and let's face it, 95% of people gain it all back and more) is because they think they can go back to the old way of eating once the weight is off. Intellectually, we all know that you can't go back, but my question is, are you already preparing for your new life once the weight is off? If your approach is "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead", can you operate on full diet-mode for the rest of your life?
I remember feeling very worried when I dieted in the past that I could never find the sweet spot of maintenance. It was up or down and it scared me just as much in the down phase as in the up phase. I'm glad to say that I feel much more comfortable (albeit sometimes impatient, I admit) with my my "slowly but surely" approach, which relies on weight maintenance rather than weight loss techniques. I believe it will serve me well in the long run.
No matter what you're doing to lose weight, think about the future and ask yourself if what you're doing now (even if it's super successful at taking the pounds off) is something that you can live with forever. It might be worthwhile introducing more "forever" into what you're doing today.
* Strangely enough, in the nine years we've lived down the street from the Sweet Gallery, I've only had dessert there two or three times! It's certainly one of the best dessert places in town.
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