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Sunday, 3 August 2008

Successful Sustainable Lifestyle Modification

I recently discovered Kelly and her blog Every Gym's Nightmare and her post about maintenance prompted this post.

Her definition of maintenance is successful, sustained lifestyle modification.
Maintenance is only when you don't have to actively try and change your lifestyle (like by being on a diet, trying to lose more weight, forcing yourself to go to the gym/workout: basically “white knuckling it”) True maintenance is when these things are ingrained in you and you aren’t having “good” days and “bad.”

I am in maintenance mode when it comes to training and being active. I no longer have to force myself to go the gym, I don't judge my success in terms of calories expended and I don't think of training as a chore. I do it because I love it and I want to lift, spin, do yoga or run on most days of the week. If I am stiff and sore, or physically tired, I give myself a rest day. This is not some kind of reward, it is listening to the intuitive wisdom of my body.

One of the highlights of my life is spending over $200 on a new pair of shoes - exactly like these

or finding a new symphonic power metal band (did you even know the genre existed? I didn't) to train to.

Maintenance, in this sense, should not be confused with not improving or challenging yourself. It is not 'resting on your laurels' or 'doing the barest minimum to get by'. It is training as hard as I want to, to grow massive shoulders and back, or as easy as I want by only pushing to 80% in a yoga class. It is having no guilt for not being perfect, but delighting in the fact that I always 'show up' and do what is necessary to get to my goals, at a comfortable, sustainable speed.

With food, I am not there yet. I am always on a diet - a cutting diet, a bulking diet, a gluten free diet, a "not on a diet" diet. I need to move to maintenance mode. I need to work on having a successful sustained eating pattern that helps me achieve my goal of less body fat and more muscle. The way I eat should mimic the way I train - loving the way I eat and how it makes me feel. I should eat clean, healthy lean meat and vegetables when my body and mind are happy to do this. I should eat the clean, healthy food I feel like when I need extra energy and have more complex carbs or more good fats and less fu*ken plain chicken breast meat/protein powder. I should choose the healthiest food at a restaurant when I am not that fussed, but I should also be able to have anything that is on the menu when I'm in the mood.

My tastes have changed. I want a roast vegetable salad and a couple of tempura prawns for lunch - the burgers and white bread don't appeal to me. I understand that on other days I might think I need greasy fish and chips only to discover that they taste like sh*t. I also don't need to be eating the grilled fish and green salad just to get my protein in and leave feeling deprived and unsatisfied.

My eating habits need to be successful (not buckets of KFC every night), sustainable (1500 calories leaves me miserable and exhausted), lifestyle (not just for 12 weeks), modification (gradual improvements).

Yesterday I cooked - oat biscuits (yes, I ate them ALL), and sweet potato and zucchini curry with coconut milk, almonds and dried cranberries (I just discovered these - YUM) for snacks. I ate far more than my calorie allowance and not enough protein. It was all tasty, healthy, fresh, unprocessed food. This morning I am nearly 1/2 kilo lighter than yesterday and not starving. I did have the vegetable salad and tempura prawns today at the food court and did NOT end up face first in chocolate and cake. I think I might be on to something.

It is having no guilt for not being perfect, but delighting in the fact that I always 'show up' and do what is necessary to get to my goals, at a comfortable, sustainable speed.


  1. every gym's nightmare6:10 pm

    hey, thanks for the shout out!

    and great post. its hard, and i have to say, i dont believe there are very many people that get to maintanence mode, let aone stay there for very long. but as long as thats what you strive for, you are headed in the right direction.

  2. Anonymous12:36 am

    We need to remember too that part of eating healthy means that we SHOULD eat a variety off different foods.

    It's good to see that you are doing that and that it is working well for you. I have been trying to focus on eating new or different things when I can. I think I do much better overall when I switch things up and keep my body satisfied and of course, always guessing.


  3. Great post. I like this way of thinking. Since I am no longer competing this year I am trying to get back into the training for the love of it rather then the clock says I must train. Im definately enjoying it more. The eating part is still a learning process. But when I give myself the option to have what ever I like I tend to chose the healthy option cause that is what I prefer. Yumm Dried cranberries - I might need to try these.