It starts like a trickle. Little compromises. A nibble of cookie at the office. A little extra helping of supper. A latte just because. And "suddenly" our weight and habits are right back to where we started, and we are left wondering "how did I gain this weight back?"
Why do 95% of dieters gain back the weight? I think it starts one compromise at a time. I can't count the number of times I told myself "one little bite won't hurt" or "this brownie doesn't really make a difference." But it does. And when I finally lost the weight I really grasped that concept. That was one of the keys for me when it came to losing the weight. To realize that each bite really did matter AND that I had to be honest about what I was eating. The calories in that handful of chocolate chips count whether I write it down in my journal or not.
Recently I found those old thought patterns creeping back in. "This handful of chocolate chips won't make a difference." And honestly, if I include them in my daily calorie count and balance it with exercise, I can have some treats. But if I start absentmindedly nibbling on chocolate and chips or other snacky things without accounting for them in my overall calorie count, I'm going to be shopping for bigger pants.
So it's taking the discipline to include each indulgence in my food journal...and to be able to say "no" to excessive intake of chocolate.
Besides chocolate, the other goodie that started creeping in come in liquid form. It's so easy to ignore the calories in a latte or Gatorade because it is liquid. In fact, the country's waist lines have been expanding in large part due to the increase in size and variety of caloric beverages. And I find myself (especially as the cold sets in) wanting to have a coffee type beverage several times a day. Coffee itself is calorie free and relatively harmless. But add in some whole milk, sugar, and flavoring and it goes from non-harmful to "show me the elastic band pants". My goal is to say no to the drinks most of the time and ask myself "is that really worth 360 calories and $5??"
Eleven months after my weight loss journey began and six months after reaching my goal my scale is staying in my maintenance zone. It still takes consistency and vigilance, but it is worth it.