The Anti-Jared has a good post right now. His point is that you can't cheat your body. It knows if you have been treating it well or not. You can eat badly for a few days and not gain, but if you do it all the time, you will. At a minimum, you will feel less well. Have a look: http://theantijared.com/2011/07/the-house-always-wins.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAnti-jared+%28The+Anti-Jared%29
To that end, I'm down to about where I was pre-hospital weight. Mostly, I have been watching portion sizes and eating good food. Real food. No doughnuts. If you look at www.refusetoregain.com (at the right side of this page), you will see that the writer emphasizes the importance of the quality of the calories one ingests, not just the number. Her theory is based on insulin load in response to certain foods. She does not believe it's a zero sum game. I 'm not sure I do, either.
When I was in my recent doughnut phase, I don't think I ate an extra 10,500-14,000 calories in a couple of weeks (3-4 pounds). I really don't. But I do think that the fried, carbo-goodness of doughnuts wrecked havoc on my body's blood sugar. (Note: I am not diabetic, knock wood.) In less than a month, I was up a solid six pounds. I started eating better (not really much less, either), drinking more water, too, and I'm back down. (I guess it's possible that I was just "impacted," if you know what I mean. It's possible that dehydration was making me retain water. Either way, it was a decent reminder that eating good food is a reward in itself.
I have been frustrated at the stagnancy of my loss. But staying the same doesn't suck, given my history. So I'll keep doing what I'm doing, and I'll get back to the gym.
Speaking of, I haven't been to the gym much in the last seven weeks or so. One baby came home from the hospital last Wednesday, and I think the other one will come home tomorrow or Tuesday. It's made for a crazy sleep schedule, and it's hard for me to get to the gym when I can barely see straight. But I'll get back. Everything I read says you can't exercise away a bad diet, so I'm going to focus on eating in a healthy way for now and hit the gym when I can.