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Phases of Maintenance

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A couple days ago WalkingAnnie postulated that perhaps maintenance has predictable phases kind of like group development (forming-storming-norming-performing). I've been thinking about that statement quite a bit. I think she's probably correct, although I haven't determined what the stages are.

I was feeling some concern that my weight maintenance routine was a bit obsessive -- or maybe more than a bit. Annie and others indicated maybe that is a phase we maintainers all go through, as we try to create our new normal.

While in this mind set, I came across a post on the Weight Watchers message board that suggested these as some of the phases of maintenance:

"Testing the Limits (a.k.a. Can I get away with this?)" phase

"OMG - I'm gonna gain it all back" phase

"Being allowed to eat more is Scary" phase

"I'll get back on plan tomorrow" phase

"How can I still feel fat when I'm at goal?" phase

"Look at Meeeeeee !" phase

"I can do this easily forever" phase.

"Why is no one paying attention to me anymore' phase.

"I have to have new clothes / I am wearing colors again" phase.

I think I've at least touched on each of these phases. The post I read indicated that there are a lot more stages in another post. So far I haven't found it.

For those of you who are maintaining, or have experience with maintaining, can you identify any stages you or maintainers in general go through?

I am so glad that this time I did not get stuck in the "I can't possibly do this another day" phase. And I can't wait to get to the "healthy eating is second nature to me" phase. -Marsha


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 5/16/2010 8:45PM

    I may be @ the 'eating more' phase, as I haven't quite figured out weight.
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I have to admit, I was blessed; as being overweight was 150 @ 5'5", when 145 was considered fine.
So clothes were my indicator before joining Spark. I refused to buy a size 12 and suffered (in more ways than one) in size 10s. I am now in 4s or 6s, and am thoroughly annoyed with an American clothing industry that cannot determine standard measurements for a size. (sorry to rant).
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So, I am trying to add more food and have to admit it's a tad intimidating...
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MNNICE 5/16/2010 7:29PM

    Hmmmm... I can go through at least 5 of those "phases" in a single day! Maintenance is sometimes frustrating, sometimes confusing, sometimes boring, sometimes fulfilling, sometimes fun. But regardless, it is definitely a place I want to be and stay!

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MEXGAL1 5/16/2010 6:14PM

    I am new to this group and I think that maintaining is just so hard. I guess I am in the phase of knowing that it is so easy to gain a pound back here and there. I am always still thinking about food. I love to eat. I find myself still following the nutritional guidelines for loosing weight and then when I do eat more(like when we go out to diner) the weight I gain from that will come off again when I go back to more the "diet" plan. I make healthy food choices but I think it's the quantity I can put away that can add the pounds quickly. Plus, even though I walk the dogs 3.5 miles up and down the cobblestone streets here in Mexico, it's not enough to eat more. So I am in the phase of knowing and realizing that it will always be a battle for me.

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LAURIE5658 5/16/2010 4:56PM

    Great blog, marsha. One thing is certain, maintenance is sometimes a scary place. I am still new at this and still finding my way. I WILL be successful.

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AQUAGIRL08 5/16/2010 4:09PM

    Great information! Thank you for sharing!

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DONNABRIGHT 5/16/2010 3:12PM

    Great article - thanks!

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JHADZHIA 5/16/2010 2:53PM

    Thanks Marsha!
I am in the combo phase actually, being allowed to eat more is scary ties in with OMG I am going to gain it all back!
I don't think you can be too obsessive about maintaining. Its when you relax and let it go that the troubles can creep back in again. I think you need to be vigilant. Its so very easy to gain weight and so very tough to get rid of it :((

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WALKINGANNIE 5/16/2010 2:49PM

    Thanks for this discussion Martha. I think it was you who prompted my suggestion of maintenance phases, so I was probably reflecting back something that you said anyway!

It's good to be looking for information and understanding together, as there doesn't seem to be much accessible research about maintenance - especially compared with all the information about weight loss. (At Goal & Maintaining and the other maintenance teams would give a very good basis for field research.)

All the stages that you have listed seem very familiar!

I've done an internet search to see if I could find any evidence to support the hypothesis of maintenance phases. I didn't find much, but this scholarly article was interesting:

http://www.natu
re.com/oby/journal/v8/n6/full/o
by200054a.html

The last 2 sentences stated that, 'As duration of maintenance increases, a shift in the balance between effort and pleasure may occur. This shift may, in turn, increase the likelihood of continued weight maintenance.'

Actually, I think I might recognise this feeling too. Over to longer maintainers like Linda (RAYLINSTEPHENS) and Monty (MONTY68)........?

Thanks for prompting further exploration of how this works.

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SWEATONCEADAY 5/16/2010 1:57PM

    i am in the "i can't believe i let myself gain 10 lbs after maintaining X amount of time" stage. i agree with the above stages though and did touch on most of them myself.

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Measuring Goal Achievement

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I do better when I have a goal to work toward. My most recent goal has been to lower my body fat percentage from 29%, the "acceptable" range, to 24%, the "fit" range. I wasn't sure that was achievable for me at age 60 after a lifetime of obesity, but I thought for sure I could at least bring it down by a percentage point or two.

One of my main motivations for joining the gym was that I would be able to measure my body fat percentage. Other reasons included learning better form for doing free weights, access to classes (Zumba, pilates, step, aquatics), and access to weight machines. I'm glad I had these secondary reasons, because it turns out that measuring body fat % has been a total flop.

At my intake interview, the Wellness Coach measured my fat percentage as 29%. After 6 weeks of every other day of weight machines and obvious improved definition of muscles in my arms and legs my fat percentage tested 29.4%. The Wellness Coach said the measurement was influenced by hydration and to try again later. After 3 weeks and 14 more strength training sessions, I tried again. I measured 31.7% body fat. The Wellness Coach said to totally discount that measure. It simply is not accurate.

So that leaves me with no way to measure this goal. One of my team members suggested asking my doctor to measure body fat percentage. My doctor was vague, but didn't order it. I'm not sure if she has access to calipers or someone who can do it or not. Maybe she doesn't think I need it done. I should have pushed her for more of an answer. A Weight Watcher friend has her fat % measured through BodPod. I think I'm too claustrophobic to feel comfortable during that procedure, plus it is a long drive and will cost $$$$.

I do want a measurable, meaningful goal to work toward. Maintaining my weight between 126 and 133 pounds is a good, measurable goal. But I'm not sure it is enough.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAYLINSTEPHENS 5/16/2010 9:28AM

    I could be mistaken here but I think the best way to measure fat is the flotation test.

As long as you are fit and healthy, just enjoy living this new lifestyle.

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WALKINGANNIE 5/15/2010 2:55PM

    I'm sorry that you're not able to measure the goal that you had planned Marsha. I know that you're very focused and like to have clear and measurable aims.

Perhaps it might help a bit if you think about why this specific issue is so important to you. What would the regular measurements tell you if they were accurate? Why are they important to you? How would they make you feel? What do you want to prove to yourself? If you still feel as strongly that this is THE goal then you can pursue ways of getting the measurements that you want.

If not, are there other goals that you can go for, or ways of measuring the same goal? Can you feel and describe differences without other forms of scientific measuring?

I'm sure that you'll find an answer that you are happy with - or perhaps being happy without an answer could be a goal in itself!

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AQUAGIRL08 5/15/2010 1:14PM

    I wouldn't worry about the % of body fat as long as you look and feel good and fit. Is your BMI within the normal range? I think that you may have to go with that for the time being. You are doing an amazing job, Marsha. Keep up the good work!

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JHADZHIA 5/15/2010 12:06PM

    My gym always did my body fat % before a workout, and they also said the better I was hydrated, the more accurate the results. I was pretty consistent in my weigh ins and measurements and always had had plenty of water to drink before my workouts (I always have a minimum of six cups water of before my workouts). I do miss them being measured. My last weigh and measure was January. I broke my elbow just before I was to be measured in February :((. By the way, calipers are the best way of measuring, BUT if you have loose folds of skin from being obese, that will skew the results :(( Unfortunately, I do have baggy saggy skin :(( So I guess I will have to be happy with visible results :) Just feeling fit and healthy should make you happy!

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RISSASPIECES 5/15/2010 10:56AM

    For me it is not about external measurements...it is about how I perceive that I look and feel. :-)

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MARIEBART 5/15/2010 10:52AM

    Measuring body fat using calipers is accurate within a certain range but I know it's accuracy is affected by a number of conditions. For one, I know my gym only does it before you work out. I don't know if that's because of hydration or what. They also recommend that you have the same staff person do it.


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WATERMELLEN 5/15/2010 9:55AM

    Those "body fat" scales just aren't very accurate -- if you're toning at the gym, maintaining weight, clothes fitting well, high energy and happy then maybe you don't need (or can get along without) the more accurate body fat measurement: after all the first measurement may have been wrong (almost certainly was wrong???) as well.

But: if you DO want it -- paying to have it done could be a reward for maintaining for x period of time as a motivator???

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THERAPIST2 5/15/2010 9:48AM

    I used to go to a weight loss clinic and their scale showed % body fat. I think they even sell something similar for home. There were lots of variables and I would be disappointed if I didn't see a steady drop in fat. Haven't been there since Aug 2009 because I was able to count calories and have SP to guide me. I liked the breakdown of body composition with those weigh-ins, but-Oh Well! The most important thing is feeling good at the weight we are and being healthy!

Keep up the good work!

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POSITIVELYJOY 5/15/2010 7:48AM

    I wouldn't worry about the body fat percentage as long as your weight is where you want it and you are feeling stronger and healthier. Good for you in getting to the gym!

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Declaration of Health

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I declare my hip officially healed! It did great for a whole hour of Zumba this eve. I planned to take it slow, but it was too motivating. I couldn't help it. I just got into it!! -Marsha

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 5/13/2010 4:00PM

    This made me smile. I'm so pleased that your hip is healed and impressed with the way that you dealt with the situation.

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AQUAGIRL08 5/13/2010 9:44AM

    That is great news!!!! Enjoy your class!

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DONNABRIGHT 5/13/2010 6:53AM

    Great news!

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MONGO2TEN 5/13/2010 5:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JHADZHIA 5/13/2010 12:59AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MONTY68 5/12/2010 10:49PM

    Marsha that is fantastic
There is a statement that when something is a fact or believed to be completed. A statement would say " And So It iS" Your hip is healed

Monty emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 5/12/2010 10:21PM

    Excellento!! Nothing feels better than feeling healthy!!

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RISSASPIECES 5/12/2010 9:57PM

    Woo hoo!

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KALIGIRL 5/12/2010 7:52PM

    Love it emoticon

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THERAPIST2 5/12/2010 7:36PM

    Wow! Great enthusiasm!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/12/2010 7:30PM

    Love it, Marsha! Hope you're giving yourself recovery time after all that Zumba!

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-WRKNG2ABTTRME- 5/12/2010 7:27PM

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Teeth Whitening Update

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I've used the bleach and trays four nights and I can see that my teeth are slightly whiter. I greatly reduced my coffee and tea use for two weeks, but then went back to it. My teeth are still whiter than they were before I bleached.

I have enough bleach stored in the refrigerator to do about 6 more nights. I'm thinking I'll wait and see if I get more motivated to try to reduce the staining drinks before I use what I have.

Eating an apple almost every day, as well as a well balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies, and very little sugar certainly helps with dental health as well as weight maintenance.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYANNSCH 5/12/2010 11:35AM

    emoticon emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 5/12/2010 10:00AM

    It sure does! You've probably noticed a lot less tartar on your teeth when you go to brush them. I found this amazing! Nothing beats a beautiful smile and you sure have one!

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JHADZHIA 5/12/2010 2:20AM

    Good luck with your whitening! I wouldn't even consider it as my teeth are a natural dark yellow color, from having aspirin as a child for my RA. Nothing can be done about them. When I needed caps on my some teeth, they actually had to yellow the original color to match them! I had never even drank coffee (can't stand it) or tea. I do like green tea and other herbal ones now.
here is to healthy eating!
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KOSHIE1 5/11/2010 4:51PM

    I'm doing the same thing right now. But MY progress is VERY slow. I've finished the first tube and just starting on the second, and I'm not particularly pleased with the level yet. And they got sensitive; but the paste they sold me rapidly took care of that problem.

They say drink tea--it is good for you. They say black tea will darken your teeth. They say put milk in your tea so you reduce the staining potential--but they say if you put milk in your tea, you lose the positive health benefits... AAAARRGGGHHHHHH!
Green tea is so wimpy! I hope you find something you like to drink taht will not undermine your efforts!

I know I ate blackberries, just a few, and was appalled at how gray my teeth looked afterwards. I thought the bleach effect lasted for a year! Maybe not... apparently!

Good luck!

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Glimmer of Sanity, Perhaps

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sometimes I worry that I may be obsessed - with food, with the scale, with exercise, with smaller clothes, with my waist line, with SparkPeople, etc. But I had an experience this week that made me think perhaps a glimmer of sanity on this issue is beginning to emerge in me.

I tried on some clothes. A size 4 pair of pants was too big on me. So I decided I would try size 2. I tried on 3 pairs of size 2. One was too short, one was too tight, and one was just right. I considered buying it just because it was a size 2. I mean, how cool is it to go from size 2X to size 2? But I didn't need another pair of black pants. I decided to pass.

In the past I have bought quite a few clothes just because I fit into a 12, into an 8, into a 6, etc. Never again. I'll buy what fits, looks good, and I need. No more supporting vanity sizing for me. Perhaps that is a step toward sanity.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 5/12/2010 1:25PM

    Wonderful - here's to our sanity!

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JHADZHIA 5/12/2010 2:25AM

    Good for you! You have come a long way!
I haven't come across these little sizes, but I don't shop much or maybe the generic stores don't do them, who knows. For me, sizes like 0-6 are BABY sizes not real human being grown adult sizes! Sorry, it just gets me when people are talking about these kinds of unreal sizes, they don't make any kind of sense to me.
Keep up the great work!! You have got everything under such good control and are really thinking about where you are with your healthy lifestyle and what you want to be doing! Great planning!

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WINDSURFNERD 5/10/2010 8:11PM

    You used the word "obsess", but if it keeps you healthy I wonder if that's a good choice? At least for me self-neglect is the norm that I'm trying to change w/Spark, so when I finally bring things into balance and pay attention to taking care of myself, it feels like "obsessing" by comparison. Anyway, 2x to 2 is something to celebrate!! -naomi

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WALKINGANNIE 5/10/2010 6:53PM

    It's interesting that you, Barb (ONEKIDSMOM) and I are at roughly similar stages of maintenance and all of us are now trying to introduce more 'normality' and acceptance of our new status although we're taking slightly different approaches.

I wonder if there are recognised stages of maintenance along the lines of 'storming, norming and performing'?

Well done on getting into the pants and not needing to buy them.

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PEGGYANNSCH 5/10/2010 6:38PM

    emoticon emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 5/10/2010 5:16PM

    Marsha, you inspire all of us. Consider experimenting with smaller sizes a part of the adjustment process. You're doing a great job!

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DONNABRIGHT 5/10/2010 9:15AM

    We've all been to that point - that if it fits you buy it because in the BIG sizes we had so few choices! Although I am not yet at goal I have had to buy some things to fill in as the big ones just had to go out the door. I'll be more aware of choices now.

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A*L*P* 5/10/2010 9:11AM

    That is AMAZING that you have lost that much! Good for you -- I think it iis extremely easy to get 'obsessed' with things. Especially when we're so scared to "go back" sounds like you are finding a happy medium! Good for you!!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/10/2010 8:02AM

    I really like the sanity angle.

And I, too, am looking forward to a day when the obsession is less prominent in my life! The scale exercise is part of my effort in that direction. This looks similar!

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WILD4STARS 5/10/2010 7:48AM

    I'm looking forward to the day when I can buy a 4 or a 2. Thanks for putting that vision in my mind this morning. You are an inspiration to us all.

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