How I reset and refocused myself after gaining weight on Maintenance


One month after Christmas, on the 24th of January 2022, and I looked at my scales and thought... 

I'm heavier than 90 kg!

I weighed exactly 90.5 kg. 
Six months earlier, I had celebrated one year on maintenance and keeping at my goal weight of 85.5 kg.

In only six months I had gained 5 kilos!
That's nearly a 6% increase in weight in six short months!

My Health Journey started in June 2018 when I weighed 185.5 kg.
Two years later, I had lost 100 kg and weighed exactly 85.5 kg.
One year after that, I was over the moon as I had maintained perfectly and still weighed 85.4 kg.

And now I had pants and shirts that were feeling tight.
Plus, I just didn't 'feel' healthy any more.
I felt 'fat' again.
And I hadn't felt 'fat' for several years.

Now I know that it was only 5 kg, and that in the whole scheme of things, gaining 5 kg after losing 100 kg isn't that much really, but deep down I knew that if I didn't reset myself straight away, then in another six months time, I would be 10 kg above goal. 
And the year after that, 20 kg above goal.

I would be in a spiral, and at 55 years old, I wanted to be back to my healthy self from a few months ago.

So, what went wrong?
How did I go from being at my Goal weight of 85.5 kg up to 90.5 kg?

Well, I think you know the answer, but it is important for me to put it in writing.

I lost focus!

I slowly went off plan and over-indulged.
I am a sugar addict, and I had more than my normal bowl of nightly ice-cream that fits into my maintenance plan. I was also eating too much food that I didn't prep completely myself (pre-made burgers, rissoles, honey soy kebabs, koftas, chevaps etc).

It started as one or two kg...
And before I knew it, I was at the high end of my maintenance range of 83.5 kg to 87.5 kg.
This is the four kilo range I decided on for my maintenance.
Two kilos above and two kilos below my goal weight of 85.5 kg.

It is totally normal for our weight to go up and down over the day / week.
Our bodies naturally fluctuate over the day / days and week.
But I knew this was a danger for me as I could feel it...
Tight shirts and pants were the warning sign and I couldn't ignore it any longer.

So I decided that I would draw a line in the sand and start a reboot / reset.

I then looked back over the last six months to see what went wrong.
Now, I haven't tracked religiously since hitting maintenance. As I had two years experience before hitting goal and starting maintenance, I knew in my head when I was on point with my Units or not.

As I freestyle (create my own meal plans based on the TWD guidelines), I pretty much know what I am consuming on a daily basis as I base my meal plans on a template with variations.
I knew that I was overeating, especially in my indulgences, but I had been ignoring it.

What I saw was pretty eye-opening....

Because I am an IT nerd... I do things a 'certain way'. I still use the online weight tracker with weekly weigh-ins, but I also weigh myself daily, and record the extra foods I ate on my Word document.
(Yes... I know I should use my CSIRO TWD food tracker, but like I said... I do things a certain way)  😂

I did a keyword search in my Word document for numbers, to see the last time I was a certain weight.

And to my shock, I saw the following...
The last time I was under a specific weight was as below....

  • Under 87.5 kg - November 11 (about six weeks earlier)
  • Under 86.9 kg - June
  • At goal weight of 85.5 kg - June.
So there it was in black and white.
I had been above my maintenance zone weight of 87.5 kg for six weeks and I then piled on another 3 kg on top.

More of a worry was that I hadn't been under 86.9 kg for over six months!
I had been living blissfully at the top end of my maintenance zone weight for over six months...

And then I checked for the extra food I was consuming...
It was pretty common for me to have extra indulgences... every few days!
Double ice-cream, Arnott's Shapes, ANZAC bikkies, Panecotta ice-cream, as well as extra breads, extra cheese.

I know from experience, if it is once every few weeks, it would be no problem.
But I was eating all this extra food virtually every day!

As I've said many times before...
I accept that I am a sugar addict... and it showed...


How did I reset / refocus myself after this weight gain?

Well, I decided to reset myself via my second account that I have for when I beta test for the CSIRO, Total Wellbeing Diet. This allowed me to capture my health journey reboot and share screenshots of my ‘Diet Reboot’ without all the clutter of my previous three and a half year journey.

I literally went through the starting questionnaire, weight, height everything.
I got my suggested goal weight which I think is too light (around 80 kg as it goes by BMI).

Anyway, I had the right mindset now which was critical.
There was no point in doing a reset / refocus if my mind wasn't set on achieving a goal.
So I set my goal to get back to my goal weight of 85.5 kg, but push myself to 83.5 kg if possible so that I stay within my maintenance zone of 83.5 kg to 87.5 kg the vast majority of the time in the future.
Basically... what I should have been doing for the last six months anyway.

Having my goal weight now set, the next step was to work out my meal plans.
As a 'freestyler', I create my own meal plans based on the TWD guidelines.

You can check out my earlier blog post on how I freestyle here - Link

I 'reset' my plan to Plan 2 for lower Food Group Units
I was previously on my maintenance level which I determined by following this guide - Link - which is posted in the TWD Facebook group.
I next created my freestyle meal plans based on Plan 2 food units and tweaked the meals to suit my higher needs.

What did I sacrifice when changing my meal plan?
Not much really - As I said, I tweaked my existing maintenance menu plans to be close to Plan 2 food unit levels.
My maintenance plan would be a bit higher than Plan 3 food units as I originally tweaked my units until I neither lost or gained weight while working out my maintenance units.

The main changes I made were the following
 - Breakfast - Removed one egg and one slice of cheese (I used to eat two eggs with two cheese slices)
 - Lunch - Removed rice or pasta - Replaced processed meats with home cooked meat / seafood
 - Dinner - Replaced processed meats with fresh meat (cooked mince), seafood and corn fritters
 - Fruits and Healthy Oils - No change - Still two fruit units and 4 Healthy Oils units
 - Snack - Cut back to six Vita-Weats with cheese - Limit my indulgence to 1.5 indulgence units

If you are still on your weight loss journey and not on maintenance yet, it is highly recommended that you follow the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Guidelines for your Food Unit levels.
I am using my nearly four years of experience to tweak their guidelines to what works for me during maintenance and now.
On maintenance, you determine your food unit levels through trial and error till you neither lose or gain weight.
I have included my strategies to give you an understanding of my thought processes. But if you followed this as a guide and you haven't reached goal / maintenance yet, it really could mess up your progress.

Typical Reboot Menu Plan and Food Units
 - Yes, I know we don't count calories, but I added them to my tables as knowledge is power. 😀

You'll notice this image has Turkey mince in it. I started with Turkey mince as it is the lowest in calorie value, but guess what... it was totally flavourless.
I ended up changing to Kangaroo mince, cooked with garlic, onion and Worcestershire sauce. Still super low in calories, but much more flavour... so yummy that I will be continuing with it after my reboot.

How did I exactly determine the changes?
Easy, I went back to basics and changed my food plan units to Plan 2.
I then used the knowledge and experience gained over the last three and a half years and tweaked the food units a little to suit my metabolism.
I also updated and reviewed my Protein Comparison table that I used years ago to determine what I felt was the best choice of meat / protein that would get me to my goals.

You can get the latest version of the Protein Comparison table from the TWD Facebook Group.
Under - Files - Look for the file called - Protein meat comparisons - V2.pdf - Link 
Note that in the future look for the latest version.
I've also uploaded a Protein meat comparisons - Per serve - Not 100 grams version - Link
I use this to understand my proteins per serve.

Here is a screenshot that will give you an idea of what the table includes - (More info in the original)

The main takeaway from this image, is that the processed foods like Olga's Chicken Burgers, Chevaps, Koftas etc, are MUCH higher in calories than non-processed meats like mince and seafoods etc.
Sure... the Olga's Chicken Burgers track with healthy oil and bread units, but the Chevaps and Koftas track as straight protein, and I can clearly see that processed foods are much higher in calories than unprocessed foods like fresh mince, frozen prawns etc.

These processed burgers, koftas and chevaps wouldn't have been a problem if I only ate them once or twice a week, but when reviewing my log of what I ate, I realised I was eating these usually at least once a day, sometimes twice a day. And over the week, as they are the main component of my 'meal templates', I would be eating them possibly ten times a week !!!

And yes, I know in the CSIRO, Total Wellbeing Diet we don't track calories or macros, we track food units. And that is perfect the vast majority of the time.
The reason here that I am focusing on the underlying calorie count, is that it REALLY made me understand WHY the TWD lifestyle focuses on meal prep. This is because prepping my own meals is so much healthier than buying pre-prepped meats.
Yes, they all tracked primarily as Protein units, but as you can see, there is a huge difference between them. And the big issue once again was that I was eating too much of the pre-prepped meats.

Pre-prepped foods are great for variety, but as my focus is now about getting back to my goal weight, I swapped out these processed foods for non-processed proteins, in particular, I focused on
- BASA fish
- Prawns
- Eggs
- Kangaroo mince
- Kangaroo meatballs

I also swapped out my weeknight meals to usually be my home made Corn Fritters that I make in bulk on the weekend and then freeze.

Just to clarify, remember I am on maintenance so my food units have been calculated carefully for ME...
So my Protein units will be much higher than most people, especially people that are still focusing on weight loss. I personally know that I can consume extra protein units with very little negative impact. However, if I go high on my indulgence units, that definitely will show on the scales for me.


Typical Weekend Meal Prep - 

Saturday meal prep - For around two weeks of lunches
Pumpkin and Corn soup
1kg of kangaroo mince cooked with onion, garlic, and Big Red Tomato soup - six lunches
1kg of green prawns, garlic and Big Red Tomato soup - six lunches
500g of kangaroo rissoles - cook in air fryer and freeze - three lunches
Woolies roast chicken, pull apart the thighs and some breast - two lunches (my son eats the rest for his lunches)

Sunday meal prep - For one week of breakfasts and dinners.
Double batch of corn fritters for work week dinners
Two dozen fresh eggs cooked sous vide style (cooked in egg shell with consistency of poached eggs) for breakfasts


Challenges - 

Week 3 - My first real challenge.
I was reminded by my wife that we had tickets to see a comedian (Kitty Flanagan) on Saturday night, 36 hours before my end of Week 3 weigh in. But as the show is 90 minute drive each way, I was already stressing about feeling hungry and making bad choices while away from home.

And my daily weigh in had already shown a weight gain of 1.6 kg from Monday to Saturday morning.
Yep... I had the good old reliable Week 3 weight gain / plateau.
I still had a small weight loss in Week 3 when I started TWD, and I quickly remembered how annoying it actually was. You can check out the blog post I wrote about it back then here - Link -

I was nailing my food units, walking daily, and my meal choices were perfect.
No extra indulgences. But the weight was just going up.
I know from experience that this is normal and expected, but it still did my head in.

And here I was on Saturday, wondering... What can I do stay on track when I'll be on the road for three hours tonight... How will I handle the potential hunger while at a Comedy event.

So, I calmed myself down, planned out the options in my head, and just tweaked my eating times and filled up on veges... Simple really... 
It's funny how stress can cause a severe brain fart.
But once I looked at the options and thought logically, the solution came through.

So here's what I did.
I planned to eat my normal healthy Reboot diet, but have my soup around the time I would normally have my fruit and nuts at 4 pm. I normally have my soup for morning tea, but I can easily last from breakky to lunch without it.
This now frees up my fruit and nuts that I can take with me in my lunch box with a freezer brick. I can now enjoy my watermelon, tamari almonds and cashews after the show, just before we start the 90 minutes drive home.

And with a big dinner (and soup) just before we leave at 6pm, I was comfortable that I had it all under control.
I even had my Vita Weats, tomato and cheese that I can eat when we get home.
And of course, room still for my my daily ice-cream (life is too short to not eat ice-cream).


So did the wheels fall off along the way?
Oh hell yeah !!!

That first spike was when I overindulged for a few days running.
I ate a kebab at lunch at work one day, and some ANZAC biscuits that night, and my wife and I went out to see Marty Sheargold live. Life is about living, so I am not concerned about a short lived spike in the numbers on the scale.

That second big spike was when the family and I went to Sydney for a long weekend break.

I ate WAY too many indulgences.

You can see I put on 3.1 kg in that week (most of it in the few days away).
Let's just say that I even ate some Mrs Field's Cookies at the airport, which is something I haven't eaten for many, many years. Plus we had some marvelous meals, including Lobster Mornay at a top level restaurant.

However, as I went straight back on to my 'reset diet', I actually lost 3.2 kg that week we returned.
This goes to show that if I refocus and eat healthily, my body will reset itself quickly.

Ultimately, I cracked sub 86 kg at Week 12 and got within 100 grams of my ultimate goal at the end of three months / 13 Weeks.

I am very happy with the results of my 'reset / refocus'.

I even see the humour of being within 100 grams of my goal weight.
I do find it hilarious that I have lost 99.9 kg and not the full 100 kg.
It's like the Universe is laughing at me, but it doesn't REALLY matter as my weight will fluctuate up and down constantly anyway.

And as you can see by the updated progress chart below, when you draw a line through the spikes, I still have marvelous progress over those 13 weeks.

And although you can't see a huge difference in the comparison shot, I can definitely FEEL the difference... My pants and shirt now fit comfortable and I actually feel much healthier.


Let's talk about my meals and look at some examples....

Kangaroo mince -
I really enjoy my kangaroo mince, and to mix it up a bit, rather than bulk cook the mince with garlic and simply portion up into sandwich bags, I decided to prep further, my twist on a bolognese meat sauce if you will.

I just cooked one kilo of kangaroo mince, one large onion, and added a heap of minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce. I then added two big 820g tins of Heinz Big Red tomato soup (they track as vege units) and let it simmer for a while. I then portioned up into six for the freezer and added some frozen peas and corn to the container just before freezing for my workday lunches.

Let's just say that six portions make REALLY big meals, even for me.
When serving one time, I realised just how big the meal is and decided to leave some spare that I can reheat for a savoury mince on toast with cheese for the next day's breakfast.

I love savoury mince on toast with cheese, and this has now become nice variation for me... I now have the mince for lunch (I add a heap of fresh mushrooms to the meal and then just microwave), and I set aside a leftover portion for toast with cheese for breakfast the next day.

Corn Fritters with eggs on top

I loved these as a kid when my Mum made them, and they are my new favourite dinner that I have five nights a week, and still look forward to them every night.

I add some chutney on top and smoosh some poached eggs on top.
My kids make fun of me saying - "Corn Fritters for something different hey Dad?".
I don't care as I love these and will continue them as my nightly meal as they are super healthy and delicious, chock full of veges and only one bread unit (the flour in the corn fritter mix).

The full nightly meal of Corn Fritters tracks as below including the two poached eggs and chutney on top. It will probably be high in protein units for a lot of people with the poached eggs on top (especially those that haven't hit maintenance yet), but of course you don't need to have those extra eggs if you don't want them or have the protein units available.

My version of the TWD Corn Fritters recipe.
You can find the TWD Corn Fritters recipe in the online tools - Link - , but it tracks really high in Healthy Fats and Oils as it says to cook in pan with oil. I just cook in a non-stick fry pan with a spray of canola oil so I can have Tamari almonds and cashews for my Healthy Fats and Oils for the day.

I also add more eggs so it goes further. It tracks a bit higher in Protein units due to this, but it fits my tweaked version of my diet / maintenance plan.

Full recipe below - This makes ten HUGE fritters - 
- Small onion chopped
- 2 x cans of corn kernels
- Eggs x 10
- Zucchini grated
- Carrot grated
- Self raising flour - 1 cup (wholemeal self raising flour is low GI)


My new Maintenance Meal Plans

Well, this has certainly been a long blog post, so thanks for sticking around.

As I've said earlier, my main take-away is that I was eating too much processed / pre-prepared meats and proteins, like Koftas, Chevaps, rissoles and burgers. These will track as protein, but are usually MUCH higher in calories. And as I was eating them for both lunches and dinners sometimes twice a day and usually many times per week, this was impacting on my ability to maintain my weight.

So here is a table of my Maintenance Meal Plans moving forward.
As mentioned, I will be reducing the amount of processed / pre-prepared meats / proteins.
As you can see, I will be smashing the veges as I have done for a very long time.

My reboot has shown me that I don't need to eat the bigger breakfast and just the one egg and one slice of cheese (Vegemite, Egg and Cheese toasty) is enough to keep me going to my mid morning snack.

For morning tea I'll either have a huge plate of lettuce, tomatoes and beetroot or my World Famous Pumpkin and Corn soup - Link 

Lunch will be either a burger (Salmon burger or a Chicken and Cheese Burger) or a variation of my 'template meals' of protein with Heinz Big Red Tomato Soup. This is a big meal of either Kangaroo Mince / meatballs, or seafood with the soup, with a huge serve of fresh mushies, baby corn or peas and corn. At this stage I won't be having Basmati rice or pasta with this lunch, but I might add later if my weight drops a bit during maintenance.

My afternoon snack will be what it always is - 28 grams of almonds and cashews, and two fruit serves.

Dinner will be either my Corn Fritters with two sous vide eggs (similar to poached eggs) or a cob of corn with Salmon in the air-fryer, steamed or smoked Basa fish, or a big slab of high quality steak.

Just before bedtime I'll have eight Vita Weats with tomatoes and some sliced cheese, followed by a bowl of ice-cream.

Most importantly, I will be tweaking this over the next few months till I get to a point where I successfully maintain... Where I neither lose or gain weight.

When planning this out, I have taken into consideration that I will be having bread units as part of the Corn Fritters some nights, so on those days, I am making sure I don't have the burgers to keep my bread units within the right range for my maintenance level.
So on the days when I have a burger, I make sure I have the steak / salmon / basa instead of the Corn Fritters.

For processed meats, I've gone from eating around 8 - 10 meals with pre-prepared meats down to only three meals. I really think this has and will make a significant difference in my ability to maintain my weight effectively.

Below is a guide to how I have broken up the weekdays for variety and to keep to my bread units on burger days etc.

For more information on how I freestyle, please check out my in-depth blog post on Freestyling - Link.

Make sure you check out the new blog post from CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet focusing on my two year Maintenance journey - Link

Thanks so much for reading this post and I hope it gives you some insight into how I reset myself after gaining weight while on Maintenance.

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