Mark, who you will remember is a process engineer, wants me to come up with a list of rules for "loss mode" as a weight maintenance tool. He has cheerfully volunteered set up an SPC (statistical process control) chart on which I will plot my weight every morning, watching for trends. When the data indicates that I am so many standard deviations above my target, I will switch to the loss mode rules until the data returns to the target.
This is the idea, anyway. Right now I'm more than a few sigma away from that target, and so should be in loss mode all the time.
What are the rules? If I were to distill The Bearing Diet to simple, objective instructions (eschewing judgment-requiring stuff like "only eat when you're hungry"), what would it be?
The first set of rules have to do with the content of meals and snacks:
1) Breakfast is one egg and a half-glass of tomato juice, plus coffee or tea-with-milk.
2) The optional 10:30 AM snack is zero to ten nuts, zero to one ounce of cheese, and zero to 1.5 ounces fruit.
3) Lunch is a single plateful, half of which is simply prepared vegetables.
4) The mandatory 3:30 PM snack is zero to ten nuts, zero to one ounce of cheese, and zero to 1.5 ounces fruit, plus coffee or tea-with-milk.
5) Dinner is a single plateful, half of which is vegetables, plus one extra helping of vegetables or salad, if I want.
6) No solid food after dinner.
The others are general ones:
7) Always measure the foods I have trouble limiting: for me, bread, crackers, pastries, grains, and pasta.
8) Periodically, pre-plan and measure a day's meals and snacks to ensure it's in the weight-loss calorie range: for me, 1200-1500 calories.
9) Stick to one serving of alcohol at a meal.
10) Dining out or in a pinch where the other rules are tough to follow, eat only half of whatever's not a plain vegetable. Faced with desserts or sweets, the limit is three bites.*
*I think of this one as The Annie Rule, named after my stepmother. She swears by it as the single strategy with which she has maintained a healthy weight for, like, forty years.
That's it: The Bearing Diet For Not Eating So Damn Much. Does it look hard to follow? Or complicated? It hasn't felt complicated or even very difficult to me -- although the rules developed gradually. I tried some rules that I later threw out; for instance, I tried and abandoned "no sweets" and "no snacks," but did settle on "no bedtime snack."
The big question -- still theoretical, I might add -- is, how would my behavior change if I wasn't in loss mode? It's going to happen eventually -- either I'll hit my target, or I'll get pregnant. One of these things will happen. I won't be trying to lose weight forever.
I guess I'd allow myself a larger breakfast, I'd drink more alcohol, I'd serve myself bread/pasta/grains more freely. I'd still periodically pre-plan my day's meals, only for a higher calorie range -- maybe something like 1850-2150 calories (gleaned from this nutritional needs calculator that takes lactation into account, and within a couple hundred calories, reinforcing my previous engineering estimate based on my weight loss rate). I'd probably drink more milk and use more butter on purpose.
I think I'd still stick to the one-plate meals, the Annie Rule, and the fruit-cheese-nuts snack regime. They're pretty powerful at maintaining the habit of moderation.