Sunday, August 19, 2012
There! "At Goal and Maintaining" has changed its name: it's now "At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance".
So: come on over. Depending upon where we began and how each of us feels individually, "Transition to Maintenance" might be 100 pounds away from "goal" (that elusive concept) or 50 pounds or 20 pounds or . . . . you get it.
It's not necessary to get to goal before we learn about maintenance.
And it's not optimal to wait either.
So many people seem to "get to goal", announce they've reached goal weight with a bit of fanfare and congrats all around and then . . . disappear.
Sure, most of us pretty desperately want to take it off. But we've done that before. A few times. So even more urgently, we want to keep it off.
Best strategy: to learn how. While we're losing. And to continue to learn how, while we keep it off. Permanently.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Following up from my previous blog, and given the desire of the "At Goal and Maintaining Team" to promote weight loss maintenance, I'm wondering if a change of name might help?
Dropping the "At Goal" part and focusing on the learning how to maintain part?
I know that before I'd lost enough weight to meet SP's goal for me (155) I didn't venture to join the team. Felt it would have been a little presumptuous, that "this was not for me". I did, however, begin lurking on the site. And then sought out a well-established At Goal member to mentor me a bit (thanks, TRYINGHARDER!!).
But in retrospect, I'm thinking that learning maintenance strategies while losing weight is key to breaking the weight loss/regain cycle. Key to changing that statistic (only 5% of those who lose weight maintain weight loss) to something closer to 100%.
And in any case, pretty much nobody stays "At Goal". We fluctuate up and down. We change what we define to be "At Goal". We distinguish between lowest achievable weight and lowest sustainable weight.
What do you think? If MAINtaining is the main thing . . . . if we're turning away people during the weight loss phase who aren't At Goal . . . would it help to adopt a different team name?
Thursday, August 16, 2012
There's a great discussion going on among At Goal And Maintaining Team members about the relatively low profile of maintainers at SparkPeople. Even though there are 16,300 of 'em maintaining away on the At Goal And Maintaining Team.
Of course there might be a whole lot more SP members who are maintaining but not engaged in this particular team. And there are probably plenty of maintainers who got to goal weight and left SparkPeople altogether. Don't know.
So, what percentage of SparkPeople members maintain weight loss? Well, how many members are there altogether at Spark People? The site currently claims 12 million registered members. Not all of whom are active either, I suppose. Some of whom (and it would be interesting to know the stats) may have also just left without losing weight.
But these are the numbers we've got. So OK: let's do some math with these numbers.
Conventional wisdom supported by National Weight Loss Registry research tells us only 3-5% of those who lose weight actually keep it off. And that statistic is pretty discouraging for people trying to lose weight, one of the reasons why it's not trumpeted too loudly. (Particularly by commercial weight loss services which depend upon recidivism for profit).
But, I'm thinking that here at SP, 16,300 maintainers out of 12 million total members would be . . . LESS than 3-5%. Way less. My online calculator tells me that 16,300 is only 0.1358333% of 12,000,000.
So: would that mean only 0.1358333% of us here at Spark People keep weight off once we've lost it? That SparkPeople is even LESS successful in assisting people to maintain weight loss than . . . the 3-5% of successful weight loss maintainers in the general population?
I can't believe that's so. Cannot believe that there is any co-relationship between the relatively low profile presently accorded successful weight loss maintainers at Spark People, and this really really really dismal statistic.
However, if only .1358333% of SparkPeople members are weight loss maintainers, that stat would help underline how important the topic of maintaining has to be. For all of us: those still losing AND those trying to maintain.
I get it, if you're not at goal weight right now, you might not feel ready for the topic of "maintaining" just yet. You might even feel it's a bit presumptuous to venture over to At Goal and Maintaining. But: not so. You're welcome right now.
That's because just about nobody who is trying to lose weight is doing it for the first time. We lose, then we regain. We grit out teeth and lose again and then . . . regain. And then again. And again.
Not good for our health. Physically or emotionally or spiritually . . . . .
Been there. Felt the self loathing.
So: here's a modest proposal.
If you're still losing, maybe now's the time to break the cycle of losing and regaining and losing and regaining by joining the discussion about maintaining even before you are at goal. On the At Goal and Maintaining Team message board.
There's a great group of people right there trying to pave the way. With some very hardworking and committed team leaders. Who really want to make a difference.
At Goal and Maintaining is considering the strategies for weight loss maintenance. Learning how to keep it off. Suggesting that it would be optimal to expect weight loss success AND to plan during weight loss how to maintain weight loss.
What's it going to take? How do we develop the resolve to do whatever it takes? And to keep on doing it? Permanently?
If we're not going to regain, then it's pretty clear. Developing the determination to maintain, the techniques, the strategies: all of this has to be incorporated into the weight loss process.
That's how we can give ourselves the best possible chance that we'll never have to lose it again.
That's how we can change the statistic from .1358333% to 3% and 5% and . . . why not as close as possible to 100%??
Weight loss Utopia? Everybody who does the hard work of weight loss gets to keep the weight off!! Forever!! Yeah!!
Sunday, August 12, 2012
OK, I don't want to embarrass 4A-HEALTHY-BMI by becoming a one-note cheerleader for her blogs . . . but yeah, I guess that's a possibility.
Because she writes excellent blogs. And is an outstanding leader for the At Goal and Maintaining Team.
Which, IMHO, is a really key team here at SparkPeople.
Because losing the weight to achieve our goal, and then keeping it off and staying healthy is what most SparkPeople aspire to do.
And it's tough to do -- we know that because current research indicates only about 5% of people who take it off, keep it off.
So if we don't learn about maintaining strategies, the hard won "victory" (weight loss) may also be a short won victory.
Commercial weight loss services depend upon recidivism for their business plan.
SP, although supported by advertising, is free: not a "commercial" site.
Which means that SP may be uniquely positioned to become the world leader in researching and teaching weight loss maintenance strategies.
I posted a link to 4A-HEALTHY-BMI's latest blog on the Spark Team Staff page. And I'm hoping you might join me in "liking" her blog and in encouraging SP to increase its efforts in the absolutely crucial area of weight loss MAINtenance!!
Here's that link too:
I'd love to see SP become the world leader in weight loss MAINTENANCE research, skills development, motivation and support.
What do you think? Whether you're at goal now or not, is MAINtenance your MAIN thing too?
Friday, August 10, 2012
Nope, not about fast foods. Or pausing while you eat.
About fasting. Not eating at all.
At two different points in my life, I've fasted for a week. No food. Water only. I used a book called "Fasting Can Change Your Life."
It was an interesting experience, not for weight loss so much as for resting the body physically from the work of digestion, slowing down and "resetting" the appetite, and providing a spiritual focus akin to mediation: "emptying" the mind. Hunger while fasting is not constant: it comes and goes. But fasting in that manner really does require supervision by someone experienced in supervising fasts; and it really does require that the person doing the fasting can withdraw from the usual routines of life and rest and keep warm. Not something to take on casually, or at least that's my opinion.
I haven't fasted for awhile, but there have been a few recent blogs in SP on this topic, riffing on a BBC program (which we can't get here in North America). However, one of the comments pointed me to this link on the Eat Fast Eat approach: namely, eating five days a week, and fasting two (separated) days a week, with a 600 calorie breakfast on the morning of the fast day and then no further food until the following morning's breakfast. The Eat Fast Eat approach also stresses weight training.
There are many religious practices that incorporate fasting, of course, including Ramadan.
And there are plenty of people outside the religious context who do fast (even without the 600 calorie breakfast) one or two days a week quite routinely.
This Eat Fast Eat approach is attractive to me as a more moderate approach which would not require withdrawal from the ordinary routine of work/life.
Has anyone here tried it?
Do you recommend it?
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