Despite my generally impulsive/right-brain nature--or perhaps because of it?--when I want to make a significant lifestyle change the actual decision is spur of the moment but I almost always pick some future day to implement the idea. The delay allows my level of commitment to deepen or lessen and allows me to consider possible strategies.
So, about a month ago I decided to "practice maintenance" during the month of April. There were only 2 rules. One rule was to not eat processed foods and the other was to not eat unless I had strong "gut hunger" (as opposed to brain cravings) and then to use a mix of low- and high-density foods to help achieve the "happily stuffed" feeling without actually ingesting too many calories.
At the same time, I also decided I would wage a final campaign of weight loss this year to reach a weight I feel good about and feel I can maintain. I lost 55-65% of my excess fat last spring/summer so my goals are reasonable.
The final piece of my planning a month ago was to create/identify a trigger that would shift me from the relaxed mode to weight-loss. Without a clear trigger, the starting date can become a rolling "tomorrow." After thought, I decided to make the shift the day my winter friends left to return to their home up north.
They're pulling out this Friday so my shift back to weight loss mode is upon me. What, you ask, does that mean?
It's very simple. Between "maintenance" and "weight loss" modes there are only 3 differences: frequency/type of fasting, dairy allowance and fruit allowance.
Frequency/type of fasting: For maintenance, nearly all fasting is IF (intermittent fasting) but for weight-loss I prefer modified ADF (alternate-day fasting.) My modified version is to fast Monday, Wednesday and Friday, eat fairly low-cal on Tuesday and Thursday and as desired (of unprocessed foods) on the weekend. For long term maintenance, next fall/winter I may still use modified ADF about one week every month or 2 to avoid a gradual erosion of appetite control.
Dairy allowance: For maintenance, heavy cream is as desired, divided between coffee and berries/fruit with cream. I make extra-fat home-made yogurt (3 parts whole milk to 1 part heavy cream) and eat 2/3 c yogurt 3 times per week usually with fruit. I occasionally use Kerrygold butter on cooked vegetables but in the summer I go all-raw on veggies (probably with oil and vinegar) and raw or frozen on fruit.
Fruit allowance: For weight loss, I eat no fruit on fasting days, 1 grapefruit on low-cal days and as desired on weekends (more like 3 total servingson average.) My natural preference for long term maintenance is to eat a generous amount of fruit but I rarely approach 50g of fructose daily. Note: I include water kefir in the fruit category as it contains at least a little fructose. I'm currently drinking 1-2 cups at least 3-4 days per week and that will remain stable this spring/summer.
That's it. I don't tend to overeat meat or vegetables so there are never any specific allowances for those. What I've learned in the past year is that my weight is stable or decreases gradually as long as my brain cravings/binge impulses are in good control. I eat about the same whether or not I fasted yesterday, so fasting tends to accelerate weight/fat loss. We'll see what happens now.
Wish me luck!