Lots and lots of folks have been sending me kind words about the segment in which I appeared on the TODAY show this week. Thank you!!!
And wow, I’m very happy if anything I’ve ever done or said has helped anyone else on their own journey. I’ve been (and continue to be) inspired by plenty of other people, both here on Spark People and on other sites. I’m not very good at keeping track of friends on websites, but I do try to answer comments and emails, etc. There have been a lot of these lately (thank you, again!) and please don’t be offended if it takes a little time to respond or if I somehow miss replying to you! If you have a question, feel free to shoot me a private Spark Mail (or two) and I’ll do my best to help.
There was fun involved, and it went very fast. Everyone was friendly, professional, and efficient. They run a well-oiled machine.
I enjoyed comparing notes with Joy Bauer on our favorite ways to buy and store almonds, grape versus cherry tomatoes, etc. She is very down-to-earth and accessible. I think she genuinely enjoys her job.
After I changed into the clothes I wore on set we had to duck around the corner at one point so Hoda and Kathie Lee wouldn’t see me before my “reveal.”
We took pictures on the set (Joy's idea), and even snuck onto the main TODAY set downstairs and tested out the couch.
Although it is very nice hearing kind things, and it was interesting and fun to see the show from behind the scenes and meet new people, that isn’t the reason I agreed to go on TV.
I did it because I spend what feels like a lot of time complaining that maintenance doesn’t get enough attention, compared with weight loss. And so when I was given an opportunity to make the issues of maintenance more visible in the media, it seemed like I should either step up and make a difference (even if only a small 4-minute one) or shut up.
Having been there myself, I know first-hand how awful it feels to fail at maintenance. And I’m not alone. The statistics on regain are appalling. I’ve heard from several people in the last few days who say they are also on a mission to get the weight off - AGAIN. There is a lot of pain out there, and people are suffering physically as well as mentally. Not because they can’t GET the weight off, but rather because they can’t KEEP it off.
Because he understands my perspective, Spark People head of media relations Bruce Corwin (THESLOWESTLOSER) kindly submitted my information to the Joy Fit Club, which is pretty good about acknowledging maintenance. People are only eligible if they’ve kept off 100+ lbs for at least a year. And since Joy is interested in maintenance too, she and her producers were happy to go along with a maintenance theme.
If you watch some past segments, you can see that they have focused on maintenance before:
Jan. 5, 2012: Strategies for Avoiding Weight Regain
April 23, 2012: Meet Joy's Weight Loss Superstars
Starting at 2:55 see three Joy Fit Club maintainers affirm that it's work but it's worth it...
June 29, 2012: Best Diets for Revving Up Your Metabolism
Discussion about the recent study about macronutrient ratios and weight regain.
An interesting interaction occurred off camera; separately with both Hoda and Joy; they were saying the sincere nice things to me that they probably always say to guests. Which struck me as ironic, so I said,
"Hold on. You guys are inspiration, to ME. Because as hard as it may be for me to keep this shape, it's nothing compared with what you guys have to do, in order to be camera-ready every single day on national television. So when I start to feel sorry for myself I think about all of you women in the media, and I remember there are others who have to be much more vigilant about their size and appearance."
They seemed surprised and touched that someone was thinking about their perspective. I thought about how mean and nasty the tabloids can be, and was glad they could hear that some people out here appreciate their own work at maintenance. And it’s really true. The closer you get to goal, and the lower you get your % body fat, the more difficult it is to stay that way. Those last few “vanity pounds” are the hardest I’ve ever tackled. Seriously.
If you’ve read my blog posts before, you probably know how disheartening the statistics on maintenance in general are. Depending on how you define maintenance, 80%-95% of people who reach their weight goals fail to stay there.
Here are three blog posts about the subject:
Wondering how to define “weight maintenance?” Researchers do too.
Familiar faces from Biggest Loser illustrate how wildly maintenance definitions vary
Weight Maintenance Definitions, Revisited
So, what can we DO about this??? Are we all simply doomed to fail?
I don’t think so. I think if we learn from the research and keep ourselves focused, we can raise EVERYONE’S ability to beat the odds (and in doing so, change the odds, themselves).
Fortunately for us there is scientific research going on in the field of weight maintenance. For example, studies gather and summarize data from folks in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR, www.nwcr.ws
) to tell us what works for most people. In short, we can learn from what works for those few who DO succeed at maintenance! Here’s a blog post about that:
Strength in Numbers: Predictors and Behaviors of Maintenance
(If YOU have kept off 30 lbs for at least a year, please consider joining the NWCR because the more high quality data we have, the better off all of us will be)
Here’s the bottom line, the “secret” to successful maintenance, as far as I’ve been able to figure out:
1) Frequent monitoring (checking how your jeans fit or weighing yourself, tracking athletic benchmarks, etc.)
2) Immediate correction (eating less, moving more - or eating more, moving less depending on the direction of the trend)
If you want details (and the devil is generally in the details), you can read about them in the link above. Some might surprise you.
There are places to go for help with implementing those behaviors. One of my favorites is the At Goal and Maintaining team, right here on Spark People.
We celebrate maintenance anniversaries and have a Hall of Fame where you can see who here is maintaining successfully and read all about what they do on their Spark Pages. You can ask for their advice and help, either directly, or through the team message boards. Here is a blog post about our own successful maintainers right here on SparkPeople.com:
Rockstars of Maintenance
We have periodic maintenance challenges, where we see who can keep their weight inside a +/- 3% range around a target.
The Team also has tons of links to information about maintenance research and other sites that focus on maintenance.
A couple highlights:
A site run by our own RUSSLANE (and also a Joy Fit Club member) that focuses specifically on accomplishing and celebrating maintenance.
Barbara Berkeley’s site, related to her 2008 book of the same name.
So, yeah. There ARE resources out there for maintainers. Could they be improved? Sure. For example, I’d love it if the Maintenance Hall of Fame could somehow be built into the SparkPeople.com framework so we wouldn’t have to manage it ourselves by hand on Google Documents. But the picture is far from bleak, as long as you’re willing to hunt down the resources and then actually USE them.
No matter where you are in your journey, whether you’re taking your first steps away from morbid obesity or whether you’re at goal and working to change your ratio of fat to muscle, there are people here to help.
And once you get to goal, please come join the At Goal and Maintaining Team. We’re waiting for you!