Friday, September 30, 2011
The statistics are disheartening no matter how you define weight maintenance.
Here are two extremes:
5% of people manage to stay within about 5 lbs of their goal weight.
20% of people manage to keep off at least 10% of the weight they lost in the first place.
But look at these numbers:
NELLJONES has maintained for almost 41 years.
SHIRLEYD1959 has maintained for over 23 years.
JACKIERN and BETH7CAM have maintained over 8 years.
PERSISTENCEMIMI, ZUCCHINIQUEEN, CAROLJEAN64, and JCORYCMA have all maintained over 5 years.
When I'm trying to do something that is hard, I like to have role models. For bicycling, Lance Armstrong is a pretty good one. I like to read about how he eats, trains, and LIVES. I'm not Lance and I'm not going to ride in the Tour de France anytime soon, but I still get good ideas and motivation for my own training. And that makes me a better cyclist.
Weight maintenance, as shown by the statistics above, is also difficult. Unlike world class bicycle racing, or even the world of weight loss, we almost never see maintenance role models acknowledged, let alone celebrated. So how do I even find out who is good at this game so I can learn from their experiences?
I make a list, that's how.
As one way to keep ourselves focused and engaged, we've started celebrating maintenance anniversaries in the At Goal and Maintaining team.
In the process of finding out when to celebrate those anniversaries we've also ended up collecting a list that can be sorted in terms of how long people have maintained. You can see it here:
Those long-term maintainers are the folks that the REST of us need around. For their advice, support, and as living, breathing examples of people who are putting in the work every day to keep their fitness. They have life throwing them curve balls too. And they have setbacks. And they overcome them.
Over 60% of us on the At Goal and Maintaining team have maintained less than 2 years.
I think if we can figure out how to stay engaged and focused and learn from these people, I think we can beat those depressing published odds.
We've started having maintenance challenges, to see who is good at holding weight steady for two months. And we're brainstorming and investigating other ways to keep ourselves interested and involved.
If you are maintaining and would like to celebrate YOUR anniversary, I encourage you to join the team
and also put yourself in our list of maintainers:
And if you'd like to make maintainers more visible and celebrated, one thing you can do is "like" this post so more people will see it (and them).
Update: One year later the list is still going strong, with twice the number of maintainers on it!
Friday, September 16, 2011
I'm still using the trick of tracking what I want to eat and choose not to, alongside what I actually DO eat.
I got this idea from NELLJONES. More about that here:
The past two days have been particularly challenging. I've spent them in a training workshop where they had a big plate of brownies and cookies out all day. I didn't have any. I just didn't want to go there or even get started.
I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and didn't buy seitan or sugar free jelly beans or anything else with calories that could be a binge risk. I got some diet sodas I can drink if I really feel the need for a packaged treat.
I didn't stop and get an ice cream cone at the awesome local place that makes their own, even though I wanted to.
When I got home I didn't cook up 2c of quinoa with olive oil and soy sauce, although I thought about it.
But I did track all those things.
Instead I made a healthy salad for lunch from things I found in the grocery store on the way to the workshop this morning, had grapes and blackberries for a treat, and greek yogurt and a banana for a midmorning snack.
Here's my salad:
Here's what was in it:
Here is what I ended up eating for the day:
Notice that what I wanted to eat IN ADDITION to what I actually ate, was almost 2000 calories. It would not have been productive. I like that this strategy gives me a chance to see all the healthy decisions I'm making throughout the day that I would normally forget about. Yay, me.
This could easily have turned into a 3000 calorie day if I'd eaten whatever I wanted. Not good. And a clear picture into how I got to over 330 lbs in the first place.
One thing that is providing some much-needed short-term motivation is the desire to remain in the running for the title of "Scariest Loser" in a challenge I'm managing between now and Halloween.
You see, I gained a little this week. And I'm going to have to be on point with my intake between now and my weigh-in on Monday if I want my average over at Physics Diet to at least break even with last week if not be below it.
So I'm going to do my level best to stick within the program. And long-term I hope this will get me back down under 160 where I'm happiest size-wise. (At my usual food & exercise regime that usually tracks with body fat being close to 20% which is where I feel the most strong and comfortable.)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Binging and night eating are tough for me. When I get the urge to eat when I'm alone, it can be extremely difficult to break the chain between the urge and getting up to go to the refrigerator.
It appears I have problems with impulse control, or deferred gratification.
According to this article, skills in this can be taught, but it's not clear how long the delayed gratification behaviors persist:
It seems the key, at least in this article, is self-distraction. There are a number of techniques I've heard of that people can use to break the chain when the urge to eat strikes:
- Doing sit-ups or push-ups or going for a walk
- Logging the food in the "I didn't eat that" tracker
- Making sure that preferred trigger foods are inaccessible (locked or not there in the first place)
- Setting a timer and telling yourself that you can have it if you still want it after 20 minutes
- Meditating on the feelings you're having at the moment
When I'm successful at dodging the urge to eat, it's usually due to a combination of factors:
1) I've usually had at least 150g of protein
2) I've avoided starches and sugars
3) I've eaten enough fat and fiber
4) I'm not dehydrated
5) I've exercised in the past 2-3 hours
These things help prevent the physical sensations that trigger the urge to eat. And even if I do get the urge (and I do, believe me) it's not as strong if I've fueled myself in the above ways earlier in the day.
Once I'm alone at home if the urge to eat strikes there are things that have worked for me with varying degrees of success:
1) Engineering my environment so that tempting, easily eaten food is not there. My pantry at the moment consists mostly of dried beans, which take too long to cook to satisfy an intense short-term urge. I do most of my eating at work, where there are people, and I'm less likely to slip.
2) Logging what I *don't* eat in a separate tracker
3) Drinking a glass of water or Crystal Lite or having a diet soda if the urge for a treat is really bad
4) Not having cable in the house so if I want to watch TV it has to be streaming over the internet. (TV is a big trigger for me.)
5) Exercising after work. This minimizes the time I spend alone at home before going to sleep and also provides those appetite-suppression effects of exercise right when I need them the most.
Is this normal behavior? Probably not. But if I were a normal person, I never would have had a BMI over 50 three years ago.
I will do whatever it takes for me to continue to be a healthy, active size so I can continue doing the things I like to do (white water kayaking, cross country skiing, cycling, snowboarding, swimming, etc.)
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