Monday, September 24, 2012
A couple days ago I wrote a blog about whether maintaining a weight loss is hard. My point was that if you have reasonable expectations about how you are going to eat and exercise once you achieve your goal weight, that maintenance won't be as hard as it is for those with unrealistic expectations.
I wrote that blog after thinking about the many times I did not succeed at maintenance. I was the queen of unrealistic expectations. I thought my life would be perfect at goal weight. It wasn't. I thought I would not have to work so hard to maintain. It's work. I expected to eat dessert every day. I'm more successful when I eat more fruits and veggies and a few nuts rather than sweets. I thought I'd just naturally learn how much to eat. I haven't. I still need to weigh, measure, and track often.
Having realistic expectations about how you will eat and exercise to maintain goal weight may be necessary for maintenance, but on further reflection, it is not sufficient. This time when I got to goal I read everything I could find on maintenance on SparkPeople, WeightWatchers, Beck Diet Solution, National Weight Control Registry and whatever else I could find. One thing I read scared me. I read several places that expecting success at maintenance is important to maintaining. What?? How could I have confidence that I could maintain when I had failed at maintenance at least eight times before?
I wanted to succeed at maintenance, but I had very little expectation that I would. I knew that building confidence in my ability to maintain was important for my success. So, I started out very slowly. This time, instead of adding desserts and treats to my losing food plan, I added extra skim milk and more extra virgin olive oil. I was not gaining!! I found the SP meal plans with calorie ranges for my maintenance. Although I didn't follow them exactly, I used them to inform my food selections and portions.
Although I got to goal weight with more or less realistic ideas about how I would eat and exercise, I did not have expectation of success. But by eating as well as I could (sometimes far from perfect) and continuing to enjoy my workouts, I gradually built confidence in my ability to maintain. One of my SparkFriends (should I call out MIRAGE727??) said he "owns maintenance". I love that confidence! I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.