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So, how's that weight loss going, huh?

Given that ninety-eight percent of "successful" weight loss becomes weight re-gain within a year (I don't actually know if that's still true, but it's a figure that has entered legend), and given that I set out fourteen months ago consciously and deliberately to become part of the other two percent, I think an update is in order.

In a nutshell: I started to experience the creep of bad habit, and over three months I've regained four of the sixty pounds I lost between October 2010 and September 2011. Here's the great thing: the toolkit I put together at the beginning of this journey still works. When the weight trendline began to slant upward undeniably, I was able to take all the tools back out again and use them to get myself back on track--and it wasn't very difficult.

In fact it was much, much easier than starting the diet in the first place. This surprised me: my dread of falling off the wagon and never being able to get back on again was significant.

My toolkit consists of
  • daily weight logging using principles from The Hacker's Diet
  • daily food tracking (with intent to keep calories below a specific bar)
  • daily exercise
  • breakfast at least five days a week
  • certain outright food restrictions (I just don't buy stuff I crave to excess)
  • stress management
  • EFT tapping

All these tools were critical to my initial success, but EFT tapping was the paradigm-shifter, the game-changer, the One Big Thing that let me put all the other tools to use. So when I recognized a couple of weeks ago that no, my sixty-pound loss was not a magical, permanent, no-maintenance achievement and was in fact beginning to dissolve, EFT tapping was the first tool I got back out. And once again it started the stalled engine. It's an amazing technique.

What made me stop dieting at sixty pounds? Several things. First, I was actually pretty satisfied with a sixty pound loss and needed some time to live in that new body before deciding whether to go for more. I've since determined that a total loss of eighty pounds will be about right. My original estimate of being 100 lbs overweight was high. My doctor concurs.

Second, I took a big trip late in the summer and gave myself permission to go off my plan for those three weeks. I stand by this decision, but if I had it to do again, I would make more of a point of resuming my efforts as soon as I was fully back in my own time zone. I let one week of recovery time bleed into two, then three. The scale showed no sign of budging upward, and I became complacent.

Third--and this was a big oversight on my part--about a month after my vacation, my job became extremely stressful. The big work push was predictable, on my calendar, and well-known in advance, but I failed to plan for it. I won't make that mistake again.

Not only did I genuinely not have time to go to the gym for almost two months, but the physical stress was enormous, leaving me weak-willed around comfort food and actually slowing my metabolism. Simple daily practices like tracking food and weight would have been a stress reliever, but I had no mental energy to re-establish habits that had drifted away.

It's not like I went binge-crazy. The creep back towards poor eating habits was very subtle, incremental, and gradual. The weight trendline was flat for the first half of my diet hiatus. It edged upward very very slightly--plausible-deniability-slightly--for a few weeks after that, but I began to feel it in my clothes about three weeks ago. It took another week of work stress and recovery for me to pay attention, and a further week for me to remember my tools.

I used tapping to clear the plausible deniability, deal with fears of deprivation, cement my new goals, and generally dissolve my resistance. Then I rolled up my sleeves and started afresh.

I'm fully back on track again, but I'm aiming to lose only a half pound a week now. That means that it could take me seven or eight weeks just to turn the trendline downward and get back to where I was in September. I'm not thrilled about that, but it's a valuable lesson.

On the other hand, I caught it. I caught the problem before my clothes stopped fitting, before I lost the health and mobility benefits I'd gained, and before I fell into the 98% trap that I've promised myself I will never again be part of.

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