Thursday, June 21, 2012
I've been thinking for some time now that NBC should do a spin-off show from their ever-popular, "The Biggest Loser". I would love to see it be a show about MAINTAINING the big losses they show. Everyone seems to have the greatest way to lose weight but so few actually focus on how to KEEP it off.
I've lost more than sixty pounds since joining Spark in 2007. What's more, I've kept it off since 2008. My weight has fluctuated as much as 5-10 pounds in that time, but never more than that. But here's the thing about maintenance, it's HARD! Harder, for me at least, than the losing was. When I was losing, people noticed..."Wow, Jeni, you're looking really good!" I had something tangible each week as I was able to move my ticker closer and closer to that goal weight. There was an end to work toward. I had a specific goal in mind that helped me focus on healthy eating choices.
In maintenance, however, the comments are much fewer and farther between. People I meet now have no idea the struggles I went through, how much work was involved. The scale doesn't move much and when I am trying to get it to move down a little, it's a lot harder to make it do so. Also, in maintenance, there's no end in sight. I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life. Maintenance isn't glamorous or impressive (probably why we'll never see, "The Biggest Loser--The Next Chapter" on T.V.), it's just living life.
So what do we do to make it work? How can we be successful maintainers? For me, the first step was realizing that my reasons for losing weight in the first place still apply. I have a fantastic family--my hubby of 11 years, a 7 year old daughter and a 4 year old son--and I want to be a healthy, active part of their lives for a long time. I couldn't do that when I was so heavy that I was out of breath going up the stairs. I have to remind myself when I'm feeling tempted by food (yep, sorry, still tempted by junk. I wish it was different for me, but it's not) that my family is way more important.
I have to track. I may not log every BLT (Bite, Lick, Taste) on Spark every day, but I keep a running tally in my head of everything I eat and write it in a little notepad that I keep in my purse. When the scale starts going up, though, I do come here and log it all. There's nothing like seeing it in black and white to wake you up and get you back on track.
I work out a minimum of 5 days a week--even when I don't feel like it. I have a little trick I have to use sometimes, but it usually works for me. I tell myself I HAVE to do 20 minutes. If, at the end of 20 minutes, I don't want to continue, I don't have to. *Usually*, at the end of 20 minutes, the endorphins have kicked in and I continue on for a while longer, but some days, 20 minutes is all I do. That's okay! You don't have to be a world class athlete to be a maintainer (or a loser, for that matter!).
I allow myself to be human. I think, so often, we get in this hardcore mindset and that's almost impossible to maintain for any length of time. Real life happens. When it does, you have to be able to roll with it or you'll fall off your path. What I mean by that is, yes, I work out 5 days a week. Yes, I still track my calories and keep within my calorie range. However, I'm fallible. There are days when I go over my calories. I don't look at that as a free-for-all anymore, though. If I have something special coming--a birthday, anniversary, etc, and I know that I'm likely to go over my calories for that, I plan for it. Not just the day of, but the WEEK of. I keep to the lower end of my range for the week leading into the event and usually up my workout intensity. Sometimes, however, there are unexpected events. For the most part, I try to make the best choice I can (like having the build your own spinach salad when my cousin dropped in unexpectedly this week and we all went out for dinner), but if I mess up and choose something unhealthy, I see it, own it, and move on. I no longer allow that bad choice to snowball into a week of bad choices.
So, will we ever see "The Next Chapter"? Probably not. BUT, we can definitely live it!!