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Pondering maintenance

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I know I am still a ways away from it, but I already know it is going to be much harder than losing the weight. I'd lost before and didn't last. Daily stress, old habits, and genetics, I suppose, reassert themselves and I end up regaining.

How should I maintain motivation once I no longer have weight to lose? How to do this in the long run? Theoretically, I know the answers, I've read a lot on this site and elsewhere, but I am not confident that I'll actually manage that. Any personal experiences?
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    With 4 weeks of maintenance under my belt, I don't think I'm an expert. Among other things, I've lost 5 pounds since I hit my initial goal. That's not a disaster; but losing another 10 pounds might be.

    So far, the differences between losing weight and maintenance are, I have to eat more calories to hit the minimum end of the range; and I become concerned with weight movement in either direction. It's no longer good enough to just keep the weight moving down; I'm trying to make it go sideways, or at least not go down quickly.

    I'm still feeling my way around, but the plan is to adjust my food intake in response to what my weight does, because I expect the calories I burn through exercise will fluctuate and the exercise tracker is nowhere near accurate enough to tell me by how much. So far, the adjustments have been to add calories to the daily range, twice; and to allow myself cheat days, which I still need to track.

    As for motivation, I don't know about the long term. I've heard the cliche saying, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." That doesn't speak to me. I don't really care whether I look chubby or thin. So what I tell people who want me to eat more than I should is, "Nothing tastes as good as being able to run 5 miles continually feels." That's motivation for me for now, and time will tell whether it lasts.

    The other problem with maintenance, at least initially, is finding where your optimal weight should be. When you're clearly overweight, it's easy. The weight should go down. When you're in the middle of the various estimates of what weight is healthy, it's less clear. All of the standard systems for telling you what you ought to weigh have their flaws, and you need to find the answer that is customized to you personally. I haven't found it yet, but I think it's somewhere close to what I weigh now.
    2302 days ago
    I think about this too, but I think one of the big differences for me is that this is a lifestyle change that is slowly seeping its way through all the parts of my life. Healthier eating and daily exercise has led to more energy and joy every day. Even if I no longer need to lose weight, I am no longer willing to give this up. I feel good for the first time in years and I want to keep the good feeelings. emoticon Spark On!
    2302 days ago
    I have the same feeling about maintenance. I have been in maintenance in the past 7 weeks, and I'm experimenting with my food to find my real maintenance nutrition plan.
    I'm increasing my food intake step by step, and my weight loss slowed down. It did not stop yet - but I'm not worried, as long as my muscles don't start to shrink.
    I'm still anticipating a new smallest number on the scale everyday, and am happy when I see one (like today) but this quite rare now.
    I lost 10 kg (21 pounds), and that is enough.
    I'm eating 1700-1800 calories, and that's enough.

    Maintaining my weight by itself is not sufficient joy to keep me motivated.
    But my appearance, my fitness, my mood and self esteem is better than any time in the past 15 years, and this is because I do my exercise everyday and I eat right everyday (except 2-3 fail days per month).
    I think I'll continue measuring and tracking my food forever.
    It takes some time, but I like numbers and trackers, and at least I don't have time for mindless eating and negative thoughts ; )

    I expect exercise will be the key for me - I started running 3 months ago, and now I run 3-4 times a week, and I love it. My morning runs give me sunshine, fresh air and joy : )
    If you can find your favorite strength and cardio trainings, which feel not like a burden but a source of peace and pleasure, that will help you to maintain your ideal weight.

    Spark Diet book describes this a criss cross effect - that the healthy choices you make will enhance each other, when I read this first it seemed a bit far fetched to me, but for me it worked. I mean healthy eating + drinking 8 cups of water + exercise every day + sleeping enough + seeking community support together really really build momentum.

    Good luck to you and to myself : )

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    2302 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/7/2011 3:05:32 PM
    I think maintenance is actually HARDER than losing teh weight. I had a slip and regained 15 of the 55 pounds I lost. But I'm slowly whittling those away again.

    I think a lot of maintenance is just being dilligent. Keep doing the work. I know that I keep reminding myself how healthy and active I feel and can be now is a big motivator!
    2310 days ago
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