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Maintenance means shifting your perspective

Sunday, December 18, 2011

At different times in my past, I've set a goal to lose weight and reached the goal. And I've always eventually put the weight back on. I'm very tired of going through this pattern, so this time I'm really trying hard to keep off the weight that I've lost.

So far so good.

Since this time is the first that I've taken maintenance as seriously as weight loss itself, here are some insights that I've had.

--You have to figure out how to make maintenance feel rewarding. When you are losing, the change in the scale is rewarding. You see yourself progressing towards a goal. I'm still tracking exercise and my food and using Sparkpoints and exercise minutes as my reward.

--You have to contend with boredom. I've been exercising for almost a year now and am bored with some of my exercise routines. Exercise at home has been my strategy because I need to get it done in the morning before work and don't really have time to hit the gym. I don't love exercise, which is probably why I've so easily quit exercising in the past once I reached a weight-loss goal. I'm still figuring this solution out.

--You still need goals. My pledge to avoid the candy dish at work has been one of the best goals that I've set. I check off every day that I attain this goal. I've felt the compulsion on many days to reach into that dish--and then I remember my goal and snatch my hand back. That candy dish was part of my problem a year ago.

--You can splurge on occasion as long as you limit the splurge and get back to healthy habits. I always think through first whether the high calories in any given dish or dessert are really worth it. On occasion, I do indulge--feeling deprived would be counter productive. I do limit these occasions and try to be sure that the taste is really worthy of making an exception. (I just thought about the Seinfeld episode where Elaine would judge whether a sexual encounter was "sponge-worthy.")

--I'm blogging through this process. Losing weight--been there. Maintaining weight loss--just now figuring this one out. Losing weight seems to get harder as you get older, so I'd like for this time to be the last time that I have to go through that process. That means I have to be strategic about figuring out what you do to maintain weight loss. I have to continue to build on the healthy habits that I've developed during the past year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 12/18/2011 12:10PM

    Very interesting indeed. I'm struggling with the occasionally splurging most as it somehow feels like you can splurge that little bit more often than when losing, but then the 'little bit' creeps up to 'quite a lot' and before you know it you're back to square 1. I guess the key is finding new goals as you say.

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DOGSRFIT 12/18/2011 8:44AM

    Your blog really hit home with me. I've added you as a friend and will follow your blogs.
I've been disappointed that maintaining has been as or more difficult than losing, but in a lightbulb moment reading your blog, maybe that's just the way it needs to be.

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Returning to routine

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We all have unexpected events that can derail our healthy habits. Ours was the sudden hospitalization of my father-in-law two and a half weeks ago. We lost him a week ago.

Life has been about being there for family, grieving, and finishing up the college classes that I teach. I've certainly had hectic days where exercise was the least of my priorities. However, other days I did exercise, and I managed to make pretty sensible eating choices on all of those days when we ate out with family. The result is that I maintained my weight and didn't go to food for stress relief--I used exercise to relieve stress. That's a big change from a year ago.

My husband is also more amenable to changing his habits as well. His father went into the hospital with pneumonia but had a heart attack while there because of three blocked arteries that doctors had never discovered. Given now that both of his parents have had heart issues, he's more aware of his own risks and that being overweight isn't wise. I hope he will be more careful of his health--I've avoided nagging him because I don't think that approach works.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 12/11/2011 5:54PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Glad to hear you managed to keep away from food as stress relief though. I think we do all this work in the good times so that healthy habits are ingrained and can be leant on during the bad times.

I agree that nagging isn't the way to help anyone else. They need to find their own reason for living a healthier lifestyle, but your husband is lucky to have you to help him if he wants to.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

We lost my father-in-law yesterday morning--he was much loved and will be missed deeply by all of us. I could not have asked for a better father-in-law or grandfather to our daughter. We are born into a family but then some of us are lucky enough to marry and add other wonderful people to our family. I feel honored to have had Jack in my life.

You are loved just as deeply by people in your lives so continue to work to safeguard your health with exercise and healthy eating so that your life isn't cut short by heart disease and other health conditions that you have some ability to prevent. Life is precious.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDITHANNIE 12/4/2011 7:27PM

    Sorry for your loss but you need to think of the good times you had and I'm sure there were many. You are in my prayers and thoughts. emoticon

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DIDMIS 12/4/2011 7:05PM

    I am so emoticonfor your loss.
God bless you.

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NOTFATCAT 12/4/2011 12:45PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. It is good you have such fond memories to carry you through.

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SHECHAM 12/4/2011 11:07AM

    Sending warm wishes that your happy memories will help you through this very difficult time. I am so sorry for your loss...

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TEXASCATFOOD 12/4/2011 10:44AM

    Much sympathy over the loss of your wonderful father-in-law.

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11 Months Down

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

At the end of December, I'll have completed a year of tracking food and exercise on SparkPeople. I've learned that tracking not only helps you lose weight but it also helps you maintain that loss. It helps you maintain an exercise routine. And it can become somewhat addictive--I find that I don't want to miss a day of earning Sparkpoints.

The challenge going into the second year will be how to keep exercise fresh. I can see how I could become bored.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNA202 11/30/2011 3:23PM

    Hey fellow addict! I've tried, unsuccessfully, to break the habit before but sometimes you just have to admit it: you're locked into something which is good for you!

emoticon on the 11 month milestones. Keep on sparking!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

One of the SparkPeople articles I read this week was about living one's life with gratitude--quite appropriate for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

If gratitude was a bigger focus than the food, many of us would be less nervous about trying to get through that day with little damage to our eating goals. That first Thanksgiving was about gratitude for not starving and dying during a very difficult transition into a new world. We have reality TV shows where producers spend money to put people into challenging circumstances that they have to survive. And yet all over the world we have people who really are trying to survive and who are hungry. Wouldn't it almost be more appropriate on that day to spend more time reflecting on all that we are so lucky to have and spend less time eating to the point of being uncomfortable? And then share more with those in need.

I'll enjoy the food that day but will try to eat each bite with gratitude and will stop when I've eaten a reasonable amount. And then I'll go for a walk and be grateful for the beauty of the fall.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOPAZROSE 11/21/2011 6:40AM

    Thank you for the lovely thoughts.

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