In her "Indulge Me" post Julie talked some about her philosophy of weight loss/control, and Robin has mentioned trying things a little differently this go-round also. I also have a slightly different bend on things than Julie and Robin do.
My philosophy? I do the plan by the book. I guess that's not so much a philosophy but moreso just the way I am. The rules are the rules, and I follow them. I do give myself flexibility to have the things that I want - insofar as I can fit them into my points. It's like a puzzle that I work out every day. I want bacon cheese fries? I have bacon cheese fries. I go help someone trim hooves or put up hay, and save up some flexies, and I'm good to go. It means a bit more planning in my life, but I'm good with that. This type of thing works out nicely for me because I am a scheduler... a list maker... a keeper tracker of all kinds of stupid things.
It's rather strange actually. I lose my cell phone, misplace my sunglasses, lose the Small Dog's coat, and things like that on a regular basis. However, I can tell you exactly how many points different foods are, how many points I've used for the day, how many AP's I have accrued, how many I have left, how many Flexies I have left, and I can tell you what I'll be eating today and give you a rough idea of the rest of the week while I am at it. I can tell you what I've got scheduled for every minute over the next month, and I can often tell you what YOU have scheduled too.
For that matter, I have a massive list of points values *stuck in my head*. My friends and coworkers even often call me to ask points values of this and that. That list is stored up in there with the phone numbers of all sorts of places and people that won't seem to go away. It is stored up in there with portion sizes, recipes, and driving directions to all kinds of places. This is the reason I track online. I have to get some of it out of my head, and once I plug this stuff into my tracker online I can at least let it go for a while. Sounds strange, I know, but if I do it on paper I mess with it constantly.
All of that being said when I hit maintenance the first time Julie's comment to me was that I needed to be less rigid. That I couldn't live the rest of my life that way - and it's true that she doesn't want that for herself. So I tried it. It didn't work for me and basically resulted in a free-for-all struggle that took me almost two years to grab hold of (understand that I'm not blaming Julie for that - I CHOSE to try to be less rigid). Countless piles of guilt accumulated, and THAT is no way for me to live either. What I have learned from my experiment with trying to just loosely self-monitor myself is that working the plan by the rules is the ONLY way I can keep my weight under control. Anything less results in a runaway freight train screaming down the track of ruin. Ok, so that's a little dramatic. Anything less than doing the plan and I am fat. Again.
Evidently I don't have the modifier that says, "Ok, I've eaten pizza this week so I shouldn't eat fried fish too." I don't seem to have a middle ground - it's either in control our completely out of control. In some ways actually tracking and plotting how I'm going to eat what I want and either maintain or lose weight gives me a strange sort of freedom. Freedom from the guilt and stress that accompanies feeding frenzies without accountability. I'm going to embrace it instead of feel guilty about it.
What to take away from this? We all work our weight loss or weight control or lifestyle plans differently. That is OK. I think that's one of the ways that we'll make it work - doing what works for us without apology.