Hey there, it's Susan Peirce Thompson, and welcome to the Weekly Log. A Bright Lifer(tm) wrote in, and I want to address her question because it's on the subject of Maintenance, and I think it's a really important concept for people to understand. She says, "I live in a rural area of New York state in the United States. I've lost over 60 pounds with Bright Line Eating. I started Bright Line Eating in July of 2020. Since I'm more sedentary during the cold winter months, I've gained about seven or eight pounds back, but the scale goes up and down within a 10 pound window. The warm summer months, I love to walk and hike, so the weight drops back down. Is this what Maintenance looks like? I'm not quite sure as I'm afraid of gaining. So, I'm back to the Weight-Loss Plan."
Oh, my goodness, great question. The reality is that living at Maintenance for years and years and decades, I've been at Maintenance for about two decades now, is very much a process of adding and subtracting food in sort of a wave. Food gets added, food gets subtracted. There are factors that impact our weight. Like you say, our activity levels is a big one, right? If you're just more active at certain times, then you might need more food during those times. Seasons, like you mentioned for sure, aging. Aging overall, as we age, we need less food, but we still need protein. As a matter of fact, we need a little bit more protein, so that's an interesting thing. You don't want to cut back on the protein as you age, but you're going to want to cut back on some other things over time. On average, what else is going to...if you get an injury, suddenly, I know someone who was doing great, maintaining about a hundred-pound weight loss, and then he got injured and he never took out food. Suddenly he wasn't able to do his long bike rides and his weight training sessions, and he put on about 40 pounds over two or three years without really weighing himself often enough, and without really checking up on it, he should have been subtracting food as his weight crept up. So, here's what I recommend, and here's what I do to accommodate fluctuating weight, whether it's fluctuating for seasons or exercise levels, or metabolism shifts with age or whatever it is. I weigh myself once a week, and it's very scientific, really. It's an art and a science. It's an art and a science.
If my weight is trending up and I'm reaching the higher end of my goal-weight range, and let's be very clear, goal weight is a range, not a number. It's a range. Our Bright bodies tend to prefer to settle at some sort of range. And if you don't want to use the bathroom scale, then have some clothes that don't have just elastic waistbands, right? Have some clothes that you can put on to say, okay, I'm still going to fit in my clothes. If these clothes fit, all my clothes are going to fit, right? I've got some truth pants. They're black slacks. There's not a stretchy thing in 'em. They're just black slacks. And I know from the waistband, I've had those pants for almost 20 years, and I know from the waistband of those pants, whether I'm on the lighter side of my range, the center of my range or the heavier side of my range. I'll just say right now, my number right now is on the heavier side of my number range, but my pants are fitting smack in the middle, right? Well, that makes sense because I'm lifting weights with a trainer these days twice a week. So, it makes sense that my weight on the scale would be a little up, but those truth pants, they tell me I'm right in the middle of my range. However you want to track it, you're thinking about a range, and I think a 10-point range is very sane, very reasonable. As you trend up into territory, that starts to feel uncomfortable. And this is where the art, not science, part comes in that you got to feel into what feels like, okay, I think this has gone on enough. My weight's gone up, and then up then up. The pants are getting a little tight. It's really time to bring this back down.
What you do is you shave out food from your plan, and typically that means taking out one thing from your plan. Whatever the last thing was that you added, whether it was a grain at lunch or a grain at dinner, or maybe you'd gotten up to six ounces of grain at lunch and dinner, and now you shave it back to four ounces for both lunch and dinner, something like that. You're just going to shave some food out of your plan. If your metabolism is such that you never really get past the Weight-Loss Plan, you might shave a little bit out of that. That's not inconceivable. Someone who's 70 years old and five feet tall and female bodied and relatively sedentary. There's all sorts of factors that correlate with just burning less fuel and having sustained a significant weight loss that also leads to typically burning less fuel. You might find that you don't even need all the food that's in the Weight-Loss Food Plan, right? That's possible. So, anyway, you're just going to shave some food out, and then as summer months hit, as you get more active, you might need to add some food back in. Typically, my weight will vary by as much as 10 pounds. Most of the time it will be within a five-pound range, but as I get to the top of that range, I'm taking food out for sure, and as I get lower in the range, I'm adding food in. I mean, again, I've been in Maintenance for 20 years, and I'll just say 18 years ago, I remember being on a food plan that was, I'm not even kidding, I don't think twice as heavy as my plan is right now, twice as heavy. It was before I had kids. I was exercising a lot, and I just needed a lot of food back then. Over time with age, just maybe not moving as much, whatever the factors are, I've gained and lost weight with pregnancy twice, and here I am pushing 50, and I just don't need as much food as I used to need. Whereas on Maintenance, I used to get fruit at every meal, I just don't anymore. I don't at the moment have grain at lunch or dinner. I've had to shave it out, but not that long ago, I was eating grain at lunch and dinner for a little bit, and then it just slowly had to get shaved out. You add food when your weight is low, you take food out when your weight is high. There's nothing wrong with going back to the Weight-Loss Plan if you really feel like you've got enough weight to lose that it warrants that.
It's best to just shave a little bit rather than being so drastic. The body will respond. If you just take a little bit of food out and you're weighing and measuring every bite, your body will respond. But you can weigh yourself once a week and check back in after a couple of weeks and see if your body's not responding, take another thing out. So, yeah, it's the ebb and flow. It's the ebb and flow of Maintenance. We add and subtract food in order to keep ourselves within that Bright body range that we want to be in. Some of this is practical. We just don't want to be buying whole new wardrobes of clothes. We want our clothes to fit. And some of it is just, I don't know what to call it, maybe for the benefit of our comfort level and our lived experience in our body, we just tend to settle into a size, a shape, a level of mobility that feels right for us, and we kind of can feel it when we trend too far in either direction. I feel this either way, if I go too far up or too far down, I start to feel a little off like, oh, this is too thin for me. Or, oh, I start to feel like my middle's getting a little too big, and I can feel it either way. We adjust our food plan accordingly. It's one of the beautiful things about Bright Line Eating is being able to do that.
The last thing I want to say is I really recommend that everyone work with a Maintenance guide or a Maintenance buddy for these types of changes. I still to this day never make a change to my overall food plan structure without running it by someone. I just like to externalize it. That's the word we use here, externalize it, meaning get it external to my own head. This is that recovery saying that if you're alone in your own head, you're alone in a bad neighborhood. Especially when it comes to our food, our weight, our bodies. So many of us have obsession and body dysmorphia around these topics. We just don't want to be squirreling around in our own head about it alone. Even though I always come to them with what I think I typically do, say, here's what the number was. Here's what I'm thinking, here's how I'm feeling in my body. I think it's time to add something. Here's what I'm thinking. What do you think? And I listen to their feedback, right? Sometimes they'll say, I think you should just wait another week or two. I just don't think there's been enough of a trend yet. And sometimes, sure enough, it's been a blip. My weight was up just a little bit and it comes right back down and I didn't need to change my plan. Sometimes they have a different suggestion of what I might add. It's just helpful to have someone external to you to run these changes by. When you've been stable at Maintenance for a while, you can do the service of being a Maintenance guide or a Maintenance buddy for someone and support them by listening maybe once a week. Really, it takes five minutes once a week. You know what their weigh day is. You got a certain time of the day that you check in, and easy peasy lemon squeezy. It's just fun to support someone like that. I recommend for the long term, having that practice of having a partner to talk it through with, and just make sure that you're being slow and steady around your adds and your subtractions to your food plan. It's just the way to go. So great! Great question. Thank you for writing in. That's the weekly vlog. I'll see you next week.