I guess I have found my weight maintenance, as opposed to weight loss formula: stick with the plan except have seconds every now and then, or a few evening snacks. I have been doing this for several weeks because the strict discipline I need to actually lose weight is flagging. Obeying my body and indulging my spirits, I am letting up a little. And indeed, I am holding steady.

But I am hovering half or three-quarters of a pound above my goal, which is 145.8. (I did see it once but it disappeared by my weekly weigh-in day.)

Why that odd number for a goal? It is 10 percent below the weight at which I signed on to Weight Watchers. It is actually more than 10 percent below my starting weight, because I lost more than 5 pounds on my own before WW. But I read somewhere that losing more than 10 percent at a time isn’t good because it encourages rebounding. Maybe my body is saying, you already lost more than your 10 percent, let’s just keep it there for a while.

But this is very boring. I want to reach a milestone. I want to see what bells and whistles WW online offers when I reach goal and 10 percent at the same time. (Those little stars and words of cyber praise bring a silly kind of satisfaction.)

What I really want to do is throw the discipline out the window.

However, what this low hovering is teaching me is that if I think losing 22 pounds is hard, guess what. Keeping them off is even harder. Because I’ll have to keep up the discipline without the reward of seeing weekly progress.

I’ll have to keep up the three miles a day or equivalent.

I’ll have to keep counting points and stick close to the minimum.

I’ll have to keep drowning the evening snacking urges in herbal tea.

One six-ounce glass of wine, weekends only.


All of this will have to continue after I reach that magical, mythical 145.8. Reaching my goal changes nothing. I may be able to let up a little, like I have been doing recently, but not a lot.

What has to change is my mentality. Setting a goal tricks you into adopting discipline. Eventually you will reach the goal and, unless you can immediately set another goal,  you have to concentrate on the intrinsic rewards of that discipline. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

The fact is, my tummy feels much better going to bed on chamomile tea rather than Trader Joe’s Sesame Sticks. I can’t even drink two glasses of wine anymore without getting a headache. The thought of cheesecake turns my stomach. If I crave anything it’s veggies and brown rice and some sweet, ripe papaya.

My daily exercise makes me feel good and sleep well. My energy level is at a new normal, much higher than before. Even though the midriff bulge isn’t gone, it’s hideable. I like looking in the mirror and I like trying on clothes.

I have to remind myself of these things and be grateful and pat myself on the back. That’s a good shoulder stretch, too.