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4A-HEALTHY-BMI
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Rockstars of Maintenance

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Friday, September 30, 2011

The statistics are disheartening no matter how you define weight maintenance.

Here are two extremes:
5% of people manage to stay within about 5 lbs of their goal weight.
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.
gov/pubmed/10224727

20% of people manage to keep off at least 10% of the weight they lost in the first place.
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pub
med/11375440


But look at these numbers:

NELLJONES has maintained for almost 41 years.
SHIRLEYD1959 has maintained for over 23 years.
JACKIERN and BETH7CAM have maintained over 8 years.
PERSISTENCEMIMI, ZUCCHINIQUEEN, CAROLJEAN64, and JCORYCMA have all maintained over 5 years.

When I'm trying to do something that is hard, I like to have role models. For bicycling, Lance Armstrong is a pretty good one. I like to read about how he eats, trains, and LIVES. I'm not Lance and I'm not going to ride in the Tour de France anytime soon, but I still get good ideas and motivation for my own training. And that makes me a better cyclist.

Weight maintenance, as shown by the statistics above, is also difficult. Unlike world class bicycle racing, or even the world of weight loss, we almost never see maintenance role models acknowledged, let alone celebrated. So how do I even find out who is good at this game so I can learn from their experiences?

I make a list, that's how.

As one way to keep ourselves focused and engaged, we've started celebrating maintenance anniversaries in the At Goal and Maintaining team.
www.sparkpeople.c
om/myspark/team_messageboa
rd.asp?board=0x1111


In the process of finding out when to celebrate those anniversaries we've also ended up collecting a list that can be sorted in terms of how long people have maintained. You can see it here:
tinyurl.com/maintenance-
hall-of-fame


Years maintained
40.764 NELLJONES
23.125 SHIRLEYD1959
8.292 JACKIERN
8.292 BETH7CAM
7.244 PERSISTENCEMIMI
6.844 ZUCCHINIQUEEN
6.139 CAROLJEAN64
5.097 JCORYCMA
4.886 POTRIDGE4
4.556 GOLIONS
4.333 PEGGYT3
4.194 -HORSELADY-
4.139 CAROLJEAN64
4.05 DIDMIS
4.017 DLVANCE24
3.958 ANNE403
3.242 ERPARA
3.181 DUBINJL
3.175 LF5517A
3.056 MOM5INFL
3.042 AEHEGE
2.764 SPARKARINO
2.747 LILAC93
2.619 BORN2BLOSSOM
2.558 SLENDERELLA61
2.556 BULBS
2.208 BESTSUSIEYET
2.125 WATERMELLEN
1.906 BAILEYS7OF9
1.875 SHERONN66
1.825 LAURIE5658
1.806 DONNAEDA
1.725 4A-HEALTHY-BMI
1.639 SLOANARTS101
1.55 HUSKYPUP
1.244 MAYFLOWERCHICK
1.239 HAPPYLOSERS1
1.156 ONEKIDSMOM
1.081 ROSEWAND
1.056 CAHUNO2
1.028 GUITARWOMAN
1.022 62NVON
0.911 CHERRYALLIE
0.897 LADYBUG999
0.897 BRONWATER
0.892 CLARKBAR01
0.794 GISSELLET
0.792 MEXGAL1
0.75 SKIRNIR
0.747 HAPPYSOUL91
0.733 ELLEKTRA
0.703 DENISEFULLER
0.639 SHELBSYD
0.556 AGILLASPIE60
0.5 COACHMOMMY
0.478 NORTHWOODSMOM8
0.461 G1NNY7
0.458 MAGGIEROSEBOWL
0.458 MJREIMERS
0.4 MAARTJEBOL
0.392 HEALTHYCALM
0.372 MIRAGE727
0.369 CARTER4414
0.367 LJR4HEALTH
0.314 CARLAKYN18
0.303 STARDUSTD
0.289 LOVINGIT7
0.239 SUSIEMT
0.139 EMEXROSE
0.125 MILEHI52`
0.078 SHERRYJVP

Those long-term maintainers are the folks that the REST of us need around. For their advice, support, and as living, breathing examples of people who are putting in the work every day to keep their fitness. They have life throwing them curve balls too. And they have setbacks. And they overcome them.

Over 60% of us on the At Goal and Maintaining team have maintained less than 2 years.

docs.google.com/spreadsh
eet/pub?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&
key=0Ah4KrA4GkhKgdC1oVGRkV
TA0bUNTZk5zTGtzeHZGRmc&sin
gle=true&gid=9&output=html



docs.google.com/spreadsh
eet/pub?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&
key=0Ah4KrA4GkhKgdC1oVGRkV
TA0bUNTZk5zTGtzeHZGRmc&sin
gle=true&gid=7&output=html


I think if we can figure out how to stay engaged and focused and learn from these people, I think we can beat those depressing published odds.

We've started having maintenance challenges, to see who is good at holding weight steady for two months. And we're brainstorming and investigating other ways to keep ourselves interested and involved.

If you are maintaining and would like to celebrate YOUR anniversary, I encourage you to join the team
teams.sparkpeople.com/ma
intaining


and also put yourself in our list of maintainers:
docs.google.com/spreadsh
eet/viewform?hl=en_US&form
key=dC1oVGRkVTA0bUNTZk5zTG
tzeHZGRmc6MQ#gid=0


And if you'd like to make maintainers more visible and celebrated, one thing you can do is "like" this post so more people will see it (and them).

---------------
Update: One year later the list is still going strong, with twice the number of maintainers on it!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=5057292
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v JAMER123
    WOW!!! Congratulations to all for the great job of maintaining!!!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1441 days ago
  • v -SHOREIDO-
    Annual thing!? gets my vote : ) Our maintaining team is there to lean on so why woulden't this turn out a success story? emoticon
    G I'm a Sparker!!
    1441 days ago
  • v TMW54812
    The best way to not regress is to never stop trying to improve!
    1441 days ago
  • v ELMAYNET
    Now that I am at goal, I look forward to being added to the list and staying on it for years to come!
    1442 days ago
  • v FIREFLY4407
    I can't wait to be part of this list! I know I can get there, and knowing that there is a group addressing the specific (and unique) challenges of maintenance is very encouraging. I am even more motivated than ever to reach my goal - thank you!
    1442 days ago
  • v TINAJANE76
    Hey, can we make this an annual thing? Rockstars of Maintenance II? It would be great to see how the list grows from year to year.
    1445 days ago
  • v CIRANDELLA
    WOW! Consider yourself a SuperSparked shot in my arm! Thanks for ALL of these links, and yup...I joined the list :) - Susan emoticon
    1777 days ago
  • v 46SHADOW
    Thanks so much for putting it in perspective!
    1780 days ago
  • v G1NNY7
    I read my name on the "hall of fame" in this blog -- and I got SO motivated to stay in the maintenance bandwagon. Thanks SO much for doing this analysis. I have a suggestion for SP to help we who are "just" maintaining. Please, SP, add an optional ticker for us to show how long we have maintained (that would be awesome to have instead of, or in addition to, pounds lost.

    Thanks again for this blog, I needed it right now (2 or so extra pounds need to pack their bags and leave!).

    emoticon
    1780 days ago
  • v CANNIE50
    Very impressive and thought provoking blog. I immediately looked for Tublady, who is a mighty impressive Sparkler (and maintainer). Perhaps I just missed her name, I will mention it on her page and send her this way. THANK YOU for this.
    1782 days ago
  • v BIONICMONARCH
    AWESOME!
    1783 days ago
  • v MOBYCARP
    As I enter my second day of maintenance, I'm noticing that I still need to keep paying attention to both what I eat and how much I exercise. I have no scientific studies, but I'd guess the low rates of successful maintenance are due primarily to two factors:

    1. Insufficient physical activity built into the cultural context, and
    2. Too much food built into the cultural context.

    Both of these factors can be overcome; but I can't overcome them without paying attention. Today is a big football day. I'm going to miss a lot of football on TV due to exercise, home maintenance activities, and enforcing a strict bedtime.

    If I weren't paying attention, today would be a day of maybe 2K steps with no formal exercise, who knows how much untracked junk food, and watching a lot of hours of football. I might still get some time in watching football, but it isn't going to be all day and it's going to be whatever game is on when I have time.
    1783 days ago
  • v KRISZTA11
    I loved this blog, thank for compiling all the data for us.
    It is scary to see those 5% in the statistics, but your blog post is a great inspiration to me.
    emoticon emoticon
    1783 days ago
  • v KIPPER15
    I am doing better with the Spark then I have with zny other diet plan. I am glad to see the stats. emoticon
    1784 days ago
  • v GREENTHUMB70
    This isn't the first attempt I have made to lose weight but I'm confident that Sparkpeople is helping me make sure this is my final walk down the path to heath. Thank you.
    1784 days ago
  • v ROOSTER72
    I think SP will beat the odds, since it is not a diet.

    If you diet hard, and kill yourself exercising - you wont understand how to maintain. If you learn what it is to live a healthy lifestyle - maintaining will be more likely.

    I am not saying maintaining is ever easy - but I think SP is giving us the tools to have a better shot at it.

    Great you are promoting the maintainers - it gives us all something to aim for!
    1785 days ago
  • v SCRAPPINPOLLY
    Awesome job!!
    1785 days ago
  • v DWILCZKO
    so motivating!
    1785 days ago
  • v SEYSARAH
    Best blog I've read since joining in August of 06. You are absolutely right..we have to find a way to celebrate the maintenance and be around those who are at that pinnacle so we can have a fighting chance of being there and staying there.

    I'm joining and will post my anniversary for maintenance as well..and I will definitely like this...it's high time we start liking the posts of the maintainers!
    1785 days ago
  • v SHEILA8383
    Great blog. Good to hear of those who have been able to lose and keep it off.
    1785 days ago
  • v BELLALUCIA
    Great blog!
    1785 days ago
  • v BENDIEB
    With a 1.5 lbs to go, I am looking forward to joining the maintenance teams.
    emoticon
    1785 days ago
  • v CUDDLYPOLARBEAR
    What a great post....thanks for sharing....
    1785 days ago
  • v BARBIE779
    Thanks for the inspiration. We often think something is impossible because you hear about all the people who couldn't do it. It's nice to hear about the ones who did and prove that it is possible.
    1785 days ago
  • v MARKSTIPANOVSKY
    Lovely and inspirational. Thank you...
    1785 days ago
  • v MCHILSTR
    I love your analytical approach - the numbers speak to me, and as soon as I hit maintenance (sometime in 2012) I'll add myself to the list!
    1785 days ago
  • v MAGGIEROSEBOWL
    WOOHOO! Good on you for making popular blog. Thanks for posting the link to this blog on my page, I had looked at it already. Great info. Like you I am always looking for maintenance role models and you are a great one! I can't believe NellJones has maintained for 41 years. Amazing! That's what I want to do. OF course in my case it would mean living until I'm 100. The way I feel today, I think that's a possibility.

    In a little over ONE week, Oct. 15 (which is next Sat.) I will celebrate 6 months of maintenance. HALF a year baby!!! I was trying to think what I want to do to celebrate. Of course food comes to mind first. Old habits die hard. Maybe an under 550 calories entree from Applebee's for lunch, and then a nice hike somewhere. That's how I like to celebrate now--healthy and tasty!!
    1785 days ago
  • v GRRARRGH
    Thanks for sharing!
    1786 days ago
  • v BILL60
    Thank you for sharing. What an inspiration!!
    1786 days ago
  • v CORKY982
    I have 15 pounds to go, and then I'll be on that team!!
    1786 days ago
  • v LINDABENEDICT
    how informative and inspirational ! thanks !
    1786 days ago
  • v LAURIE5658
    For any Sparking Maintainer that would love a Spark Team that is one of the best...join the tried and true At Goal and Maintaining. IMHO Spark does does do good enough with supporting Maintainers, but this Team is chockful of information and support. The leaders are awesome!!

    Thank you!
    1786 days ago
  • v THEIS58
    Great! I am 5 pounds from goal, very helpful
    1786 days ago
  • v CAROLINA_KOUKLA
    Great blog!
    1786 days ago
  • v STARDUSTD
    I'm so grateful that there's a team of maintainers I can learn from. It's encouraging seeing my stats above, too! emoticon
    1786 days ago
  • v LORIDREX
    Wow! Fantastic! Thank you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1786 days ago
  • v LADY_MARIANA
    Wonderful blog with great information. I really appreciate it. emoticon
    1786 days ago
  • v VALERIEMAHA
    Extraordinary in every way. ROCKSTARS INDEED! And you're at the top'a da list, making this important information available and celebrating those among us who are fighting the good fight.

    As always,
    emoticon
    Maha
    1786 days ago
  • v TEMPEST272002
    What a great blog. As a get closer to goal weight, I've been thinking about where to find role models for maintaining. Now I know about the team, I'll be sure to join when the time is right. When people mention the 97% stat, I reply that I've already beaten the odds losing 100+lbs & getting healthy. I have every confidence that I'll beat the maintenance stats too.

    I wonder about that number. In the past, there was barely any support for dieters, nevermind maintainers. Recent studies have shown that support is a key factor in success. As more sparkers reach goal weight, we can expect that the community of maintainers on here will also grow. I can't see myself giving up my sparkfriends & blogging just because I reach GW! So with more support for maintainence, there should also be more success.

    Thanks for addressing the issue so thoughtfully. I liked it & I'm going to mention it in my next blog for my buddies to read too. I think this deserves a popular blog award.
    1787 days ago
  • v JOYINKY
    Great blog! Maintenance isn't the "goal" or finish line; it IS the beginning of a new way of life.
    1788 days ago
  • v MARTHAWILL
    Great blog!!! Thanks for all the effort in putting this together. "Liked" it a lot.
    I know I need to stay connected to SparkPeople and groups like AT GOAL AND MAINTAINING to help keep me on track and that's what I intend to do. That still takes a lot of discipline but I'm not going back to where I was.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1788 days ago
  • v SLENDERELLA61
    Best blog I've read in ages! Thanks for the shout out, and even more, for demonstrating so vividly that maintenance is tough but absolutely do-able. We are proof! You are doing an awesome job as team leader. Thank you so very, very much. -Marsha
    1788 days ago
  • v RUSSLANE
    Go for it, 4a!

    It's amazing that when I interview other maintainers, two interesting conceptual quirks get revealed:

    A) They often don't "think" of themselves as maintainers, even though they clearly are.

    B) They rarely know anyone else keeping their weight off, but have lots of dieting friends.

    It certainly points to an absence of a "maintenance community" to speak of. Fascinating to me.

    Certainly blogging and clever marketing terms ("fatosphere" *gag!*) help promote this, but having some role models, someone taking a stand in some manner (even if only for themselves) is so important.

    This rocks. Keep it coming!
    1788 days ago
  • v 4A-HEALTHY-BMI
    Very good point, Nell!

    You never know someone's history just by looking at him or her.

    When I see someone in the gym who looks good, I am often reminded that he or she probably works very hard to maintain that level of fitness. And if I want something like it, I can work hard at it, too.
    1788 days ago
  • v AEHEGE
    Thanks for the diligence it took to sort this all out and make a blog. Thanks for sharing -- this is a good one to pass along!
    1788 days ago
  • v NELLJONES
    I'm only on that list because I am on Spark. When you walk through your life and see thin people, do not assume they were always thin, or that they stay thin without effort. There are a million hidden success stories out there. You might be standing next to one in line at the store.
    1788 days ago
  • v WATERMELLEN
    I not only "liked" this blog, I think it's one of the most important blogs (definitely in the top 5) which I've read in all my time at SparkPeople. And that's not just because of the shout-out, although yup I appreciate it. (I also appreciated the recent "goodie" in recognition of maintaining from the At Goal and Maintaining Team too . . . although wasn't sure how/to whom that appreciation could be expressed!)

    This blog is full of hard-hitting statistics, helpfully presented in a graphic format to underscore the evidence: maintaining is tough.

    SparkPeople is different from "commercial" weight loss services (Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, all the rest) because -- it's free! There's no profit to be made! And that also means no profit to be made out of recidivism! SparkPeople is purely interested in helping people take weight off AND KEEP IT OFF, to combat and to reverse that alarming 95% "off the rails" thing.

    Personally I've gotta say: taking weight off wasn't so so tough. Keeping the weight off: very tough. Absolutely one of the hardest things I've done because I continue to have to do it, 200 + food choices every day . . . a food choice at a time.

    As grateful as I am for all the existing and amazing SparkPeople resources, I'd be happy to see SparkPeople focus more effort and attention on weight loss maintenance.

    In the meantime, 4A-HEALTHY-BMI is doing an awesome job as Team Leader, At Goal and Maintaining! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


    1790 days ago
  • v KAYOTIC
    Great blog, hope lots of folks see it!
    1790 days ago
  • v DDOORN
    Kudos to ALL of you RockStars, but ESPECIALLY to YOU, Anja for fighting the good fight for weight loss maintenance!

    Not "there" yet, but can't wait to join the club! :-)

    Duly Tweeted & Dugg (still haven't jumped into the world of FB yet...lol)!

    Don
    1791 days ago
  • v MIRAGE727
    I congratulate all the winners on this team. I thank 4A-HEALTHY-BMI for her effort and the great education!

    Here's my brutal truth. I never want to be as close to death as I had been in the past! I WILL maintain my healthy weight no matter what. I feel good, I look good, I have my wife and granddaughter, and I live in Paradise. I'm not losing any of that! Spark? I'm a raging fire!

    emoticon
    1791 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.