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Is it a problem?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Maintenance is hard. I have read many helpful thought from you, my SP friends, on this topic, but I am still struggling here. Getting the equation just right obviously escapes me and I would appreciate any help.

Since calling myself in maintenance about two and a half months ago, I have lost about 4 kg more. Healthwise, it is not a problem - I am smack in the middle of the healthy BMI range at 21.7. The problem is that I would like to maintain, not lose any more weight.
I have upped my calories for sure, but since I no longer track, it's hard to know exactly how much I am eating.

A normal day's intake goes something like this:
Breakfast: coffee with whole milk (about a cup of milk total), a fat-free yogurt, and a banana
Lunch: A cup of soup, a sandwich made with two normal slices of part-whole wheat bread, a quarter of an avocado, turkey breast, about 50 kcal slice of hard cheese. Whatever fruit there is, a piece of dark chocolate, coffee with cream (two small coffee cream containers)
Snack: A cereal bar (130 kcal)
Dinner: Whatever the family has, often some kind of pasta dish with veggies and cheese. 2-3 times a week I'll have a glass of wine with dinner. If there is dessert, occasionally I will have a little piece. If I feel snacky after dinner, I'll have some fruit.

No, I'm not eating perfectly, and definitely not clean, but that's a separate issue.

A 1550 kcal or so day looked quite a bit like this, except no dessert with lunch and dinner, no wine, smaller portions at dinner.

Exercise: 3 times a week strength training, usually with my stability ball, and no more than 25 min. 3 times a week a Zumba video, usually 20-25 minutes, occasionally over 30 min but rarely these days. That's a very conservative program, I think. This is what I did while losing, too.

My problem is that I don't want to start eating much more, since I can see how bad habits can creep back in with increased calories. On the other hand, I really don't want to keep losing, I want to maintain.
I do think that my work-related stress is not helping stabilize my weight. It seems I both gain and lose relatively easily at this time in my life, and both trends are affected by stress. Left to my own devices, I will just gain, though, since I use food as a stress relief unless I am aware of it. No intuitive eating for me, sadly.

I've had a neighbor ask me if everything was ok, whether I lost weight because I wanted to. That scared me a little. I know people say all sorts of things about weight loss, and resist change in others. Yet, if I can be perceived as sickly and not svelte by choice, well... My husband says I look great and I'm feeling good and strong.

Is it a problem? What to do?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLWALDRO 3/7/2012 12:02AM

    If you are not sure of the calories you are consuming then track again until you feel comfortable with your ability to make choices and stay within your maintenance target. You amy want to add to your tracker if you have not already the amount of protein, fat, calcium and other key nutrients. It looks a little light on protein.
I would also track your exercise and make sure you run the report of calorie differential in the reports section to make sure you are not continuing to be so negative that you are still losing weight.
It is not easy but is achievable to be comfortable in Maint. Trust the opinions of those who have been with you through the entire journey not just those who occasionally see you.
Best wishes to stay in your maintenance goals

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/6/2012 8:26PM

    It takes time to adjust to the smaller size. If you want to stop losing without eating a whole lot more volume, add compact calories: dried fruit has less volume, more calories that whole fruit, for example. Nuts are good, pack a lot of calories in a small space. Don't eat a *whole* lot more, just a little bit more.

And, do not worry about the comments of others! I had someone feel she just had to share with me that someone else said I had lost too much... but all that was really going on was that they were not used to seeing me at a healthy size. I had been heavy for so long.

And good suggestion about tracking for a few days... maybe you are still eating at a deficit, and that's why you keep losing. Measure your supper portions and estimate the recipe calories as best you can.

Good luck! You clearly CAN do this.

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MIRAGE727 3/6/2012 4:56PM

    I think we all go through this in maintenance. The first few months I was always in a state of panic. Then I relaxed and settled in. As for people asking whether you are well? My mom at one time said the exact same thing! Of course, she always saw me as overweight and not showing my "lines!" My DW told me I was fine. My wife is my biggest cheerleader, as I am of her. I really don't care what people think outside of her. I know I feel damn good...especially when I've finished a run. I wish you the best and know you will find balance.

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KRISZTA11 3/6/2012 3:28PM

    I share this situation with you,
and I share your concerns too.
It is hard to eat enough of healthy food, and it is so easy to eat too much of junk. Sigh...

During my 6 maintenance months I lost 5 kg.
Almost went down to -6, but now I seem to be back at -5 kg, and I'm happy with it. Everybody tells me I shouldn't lose any more, and I agree.
I tracked my food all the time, and it shows I lost weight eating 1500-1900 calories, and -hopefully - I'm maintaining around 2200.
(I do about 45 minutes cardio and 15 minutes strength training every day)

I'm not an intuitive eater either, and I'm afraid there is no easy way.
I need to pick a goal weight which makes me feel happy, fit and strong, and balance food and exercise based on trial and error.
I need exercise to maintain momentum and good spirit, so I'm not reducing it.
That means I need to eat quite much but this high calorie range gives me ideas in the evening (some more dark chocolate? a leftover sandwich? a slice of pizza?)...

As our friend Mobycarp wrote:
It's not like parking a car in the garage; it's more like trying to keep a boat in one spot in the middle of a lake with variable currents and winds. It can be done, but it requires me to pay attention and make adjustments in response to changing circumstances.
I would suggest to track food again for a few days, and add some more.
But I'm sure you will stop losing eventually, as a smaller body needs less calories.

Not easy, but I like it much more than pre-Spark times when I was inactive, overate and helplessly watched fat layering over my body.

Comment edited on: 3/6/2012 3:30:17 PM

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Still here!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I have been pretty bad about blogging. For a while, real life intervened and we had some worries. None of them came to pass, I'm very thankful for that. But even during that stressful time, I kept on eating normally and exercising, and that made me feel a lot better.

Other than that, driving is getting a little easier and I can sort of see that maybe at some point I'll actually be able to pass the test. emoticon I did pass the German test, I just found out yesterday. Even though I will never need to prove a higher competence in the language for official purposes, now I'm motivated to study some more and actually be able to converse with real people!

Maintenance-wise, I'm still not quite there. The loss has slowed, but hasn't stopped yet. I think I'm close, though, as I'm losing less and less every week. I have not been tracking lately and it's been working out so far, but if I notice any signs of slipping I will start to track again.

I'm looking forward to this cold streak ending. Apparently it will snow tomorrow, a sign that the temperature will rise. It's nothing unusual if you've ever lived in MN or WI, but for central or southern Europe, it is certainly a little extreme. My daughter has had it with being cooped up inside, but it really is too cold to be outside for anything over 15 minutes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BD3269PM 2/12/2012 9:10AM

    Congrats on passing the German test. Keep on tracking that food really helps us to reach and maintain our goals. emoticon

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KRISZTA11 2/12/2012 9:03AM

It's so good to see you around!!!
Congrats to the German test and to your progress in driving.

It is great your weight loss is getting slower and slower.

We have extremely cold weather here in Hungary too.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/12/2012 8:29AM

    Good to see you writing today! Glad you passed the German test (es tut mir leit)... and I have every confidence that with practice you'll pass driving too. And special emoticon for eating normally and exercising. I can't say enough about how much those two things in and of themselves help reduce stress!

In short... keep on keepin' on, you're doing great... and we're out here Sparking along whenever you need a boost and have the time.


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CONRADBURK 2/12/2012 6:04AM

    I am glad to hear you are doing well! Congratulations on passing the German test. Ausgezeichnet!

I am sure you will pass the driving test. Just be calm and alert and you will do fine! Practice and preparation are the keys to passing any test.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BRONNYPIGZ 2/12/2012 3:45AM

    You sound so much like me. Keep with it! We will get through it! emoticon emoticon

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A bit of fatigue

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

There is nothing out of the ordinary about this week, or the next, but the stress is still getting me down. I work full time, am trying to prepare for this language test - it'll be over in two weeks, no matter what - and take a driving lesson every week. I have not been taking much joy in anything recently, and that's not right when I have a healthy, nice family. I feel like I am bouncing from thing to thing, and always worrying about some snafu at work or about the future. My kid deserves better from me.

I have been getting enough sleep, which is a plus, and have also started taking a Magnesium supplement to see whether it will help any. Food and exercise have been pretty easy - no out of the ordinary cravings, easy to stick to my range. I seem to still be losing, but slower. I hope the weight will stabilize soon.

I really do love my Zumba dvds. They definitely help me destress, even if the effect doesn't last the whole evening. It's just nice to be dancing (to have permission to dance, 'cause it's exercise!), and the kid enjoys it as well.

A word about my driving lessons: I never thought I would learn to drive, had less than zero interest when I was 18. I'm quite anxious, and was always worried I would not react well in traffic. Learning at 36, I still dread every single lesson, but have managed more than I thought I would. I still can't picture that I'll ever actually like it, but decided I should learn. We've been lucky to live in places with great public transport, and still do, but what happens if we have to move elsewhere and my husband has other obligations? Will I be stuck at home? So I grit my teeth before every lesson and sweat quite profusely during it, hoping it will, it must, get easier and less overwhelming.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONRADBURK 2/9/2012 7:07AM

    Driving is a learned skill. The more you drive, the better you will get. I know how you feel because I recently had to have my driver's license renewed. For any test, adequate preparation is the key to success! Just remember to stay alert at all times and keep both hands on the steering wheel. When you do get your license, you can continue to improve you driving skills by practicing. Eventually it will become second nature to you!

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KRISZTA11 1/12/2012 3:19PM

    It's always hard to get back to work after holidays, especially in the winter.
Try to take it easy, as much as possible.
Congrats to successful diet + exercise + getting enough sleep!

Good luck to the driving lessons!
I had mine long ago, and didn't like them at all, I passed the exam but I felt so lame and miserable I cried lol...
but only 2 years later I got an excellent job offer, and driving license was mandatory so it was worth!

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MOBYCARP 1/11/2012 7:48PM

    The nice thing about waiting to get your license is that while you'll still pay more insurance for being an inexperienced driver, you won't pay teenager premiums. My daughter got her first license at age 18, and the insurance was notably cheaper than the quote I got when she was 16. It goes down again for over 25, so you've missed the most expensive insurance years by delaying that license!

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/11/2012 6:48PM

    I'll put an extra prayer out there for your anxiety in the driving lessons. emoticon

Other than that, sounds like you're doing great!

Comment edited on: 1/11/2012 6:48:41 PM

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Still losing

Monday, January 02, 2012

I lost .6 kg in my first week of maintenance, while being at my SP maintenance calorie level. I'll see how I do this week before I further increase the calories. What I am eating now is enough, and I am worried I'll eat more junk if I increase my range.

I can afford to lose more, but the reason I would prefer to stabilize here for a little while and see if I can maintain is that I have never maintained a weight lower than this in my adult life. If I can't maintain a lower weight, I think it's not healthy to lose and gain more than a couple of kg.

Otherwise I've been in a bit of a funk; the pressure to be happy over the holidays, especially while ringing in the new year, made me even more blue. I'm going back to work today and I hope it'll help. It's better to face the stress head on than to brood about all the stressors and bad scenarios endlessly.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 1/2/2012 7:32AM

    Yeah, that sounds like my first week of maintenance.

Maintenance is where you come to grips with the fact that the SP calorie ranges are *estimates* and won't be exact for your specific situation. If the estimate was low, you were fine with weight coming off more quickly; but it's more important to have a close estimate when you're trying to neither gain nor lose.

In 20-20 hindsight, I think it was a Good Thing that my initial goal was not very aggressive. I lost between 9 and 10 more lbs. figuring out (and admitting to myself) that I needed to eat an awful lot of calories to keep from losing more.

I'd say that the first step is to get to where you're losing more slowly than you were before maintenance. Once you can identify a difference in rate of weight loss, you can look at calorie levels and have a better idea of where you need to end up.

And yes, it is hard to eat just enough more of the good stuff. It's easy to eat way too much of the bad stuff.

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KRISZTA11 1/2/2012 3:01AM

    Yes, it is difficult!
In weight loss phase it was OK if you didn't eat too much - now you have to watch both ways...
There are so many calories, and it is hard to fill them with healthy food.
Scylla of losing too much and Charybdis of getting back to old bad habits.

The SP maintenance range may not be perfect, but it is a good estimate, so it's a good idea to wait and see.
Probably you will lose some more weight for a couple of weeks, but your weight loss slows down, and you will find the balance eventually.

I'm in week 15 now, eating at top of maintenance range, and still losing slowly.
I must confess I'm still happy when I see a new minimum - it's hard to accept that I do not need to lose weight!

I hope your mood will get better when you start working again!
Going back to work gave me only bad sleep ; )

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My goals for next year

Friday, December 30, 2011

My goals, as they relate to healthy living:

1. Maintain my weight by continuing to do things that have been working so far

2. Get to bed before midnight every night (shoot for 11:30)

3. Keep up my current fitness level - a cardio DVD 3x a week, ST 3x a week

4. Get the muscle mass up; lower fat % to 25% by Tanita measurement, whatever that means by a really accurate method (current value is 27%)

5. Cook at least once a week ( i.e., don't work overtime every day). This one is really important; my husband usually cooks twice a week, and if I don't find time to cook at least once, it means it's much harder to plan what we will eat on one or more days, thus making grazing and eating too much of the wrong things more likely.

6. Make sure I make time for grocery shopping at least twice a week. Again, my husband does most of the heavy shopping, but if I don't get to the store, we are often left with a depleted fridge. This is trickier than it sounds because my local store here closes between 12:30 and 2 and only works until 6:30

7. This one is hard to measure, but I will try to deal with stress in ways other than eating mindlessly. It looks to be a rather stressful year, but I hope it will be manageable.

8. Restart running again in the spring. emoticon I love it, but I somehow always manage to get hurt and then sidelined for way too long. I have been trying to strengthen my muscles and joints in preparation for running.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIER_K 1/1/2012 2:29PM

    Great set of goals, and good luck! Happy new year!

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/30/2011 6:40PM

    Great, great stuff!

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FLAMENM 12/30/2011 5:17PM

    Love the goals. Your shopping goal sounds like mine. When the husband is left with all teh shopping, we turn into carb monsters with no veggies in sight.

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KRISZTA11 12/30/2011 3:02PM

    Great goals!
Doing the cooking and shopping groceries when you both parents of a baby girl work full time, that is a challenge.

For running: I did the Spark People 5K Your Way program (5 weeks and starts with short intervals of running), and it worked great for me. The articles in the Running Center helped a lot too.

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ARCHIMEDESII 12/30/2011 2:06PM

    Sounds like a good plan to me. Getting enough sleep is definitely an important factor towards keeping your weight stable. Also, have you ever tried read the Joy of Cooking or any of Julia Child's cook books ? Both are really good basic books for learning to cook. I'm sure there are some really good Indian cookbooks too.

My mom started teaching me the basics of cooking when I was a child. I love cooking. Once you know the basics, you can cook just about anything.

As far as running, perhaps you're trying to do too much too soon. One thing I would recommend is a Couch to 5K program. don't start where you left off, start from the beginning. You may find that slowly easing into a running program will decrease the amount of injuries you get. Read some of the Spark articles on running in the fitness section. Those will help you to reduce any injuries too. accidents do happen, but the more informed you are, the less likely you are to have those accidents.

Happy New Year !!


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YINETTV 12/30/2011 1:35PM

  You know what they start small and work your up. Good luck and have a rest of the year

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