Suddenly, I'm Skinny

Reflecting on a 50-pound weight loss, and the challenge to maintain

by Susan Avery
self image
Photograph: Justin Fantl

Turns out, it’s normal! I’m normal! This was another first. I was able to let go of the ongoing tape in my head that was so quick to label me a failure.

Next question to my respondents was, how do you maintain?

Over and over I got a variation on this answer: “When my pants feel tight, I cut back until they fit properly again.”

No drama, no fuss. It’s that easy.

So now, almost three years after I started the diet, I’ve found a happy gray area. No longer is my life about dieting or cheating on a diet. It’s about eating. I have vegetarian days, and animal protein days, and sometimes, like yesterday, I have ribs-biscuits-butter-and-ice-cream days. And that just might be breakfast.

All I know is that it works. My body is thin, which is fabulous, but equally fabulous is that I really see myself that way. Because of my new image of myself, I have peace and quiet in my brain, which is the most fabulous of all. To quote my accountant, trust me on this.

SUSAN AVERY is a freelance writer based in New York City.

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First published in the November 2013 issue

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02.06.2014

In the millions of words I've read on the topic of weight management, very little is said about maintenance. I'm guessing that a photograph of someone smiling and happy at 120 pounds ("Before") and another of someone smiling and happy at 120 pounds ("After") doesn't sell books or magazines. I'm struggling to stay at my lowest weight in more than 15 years; it's tough.
One idea I did glean along the way: create an emergency plan right now, before it's needed. Define what constitutes an emergency, such as getting up to a specific weight or not being able to get into a particular pair of jeans. Then define what your emergency response will be. My own is to go on a fruit/vegetable/whole grain regimen until I'm back in my safety zone. Time will tell if I'm going to follow through but at least I have a plan, so I know if I'm on target or not. "What can be measured can be managed." (Peter Drucker.)

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