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Losing

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weight loss" just isn't a good concept for people who want to stop yo-yo dieting and sustain a healthy weight because . . . weight loss is all about "loss". Yeah. Duh!

If I had it to do all over again -- losing 90 pounds that is (and I'm determined NEVER to have it do all over again) -- I'm thinking now it would be better to start by looking in the mirror and asking myself, "How many of these pounds do I want to maintain?"

And (related question) how many calories can I eat to maintain just those pounds I want to maintain? When I weighed 230 pounds, I'm pretty sure I was eating 2,300 calories a day: 10 calories a pound. And more, because my weight was still going up. That 100 extra calories a day was resulting in an additional 10 pounds a year. That's all it took.

Now that I weigh in the 140 range, I know I can eat about 1400 calories a day: the magic number is still 10 calories a pound. So "maintaining" myself down to 140 pounds really meant eating within my maintenance range of 1,400 calories a day. From the start. Then keeping it up. Maintaining it.

So: (related question), from the start I also needed to be asking myself, "How can I rearrange those pounds for optimum strength and fitness?" That's the exercise bit. It doesn't seem to have much to do with weight loss, at least for me: more to do with cardio, strength training, flexibility, balance. And mood: optimism, determination, focus.

So: (further related question), it would have helped to ask myself, "What's the optimum nutrition plan to keep each one of those carefully selected pounds I'm gonna maintain as healthy as possible?" Because if I'm starting out with my maintenance range-for-life, each calorie I eat has to be nutritionally packed. Otherwise there won't be enough calories to deliver the complex carbs, protein, healthy fats, and all the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals etc.) that those selected-to-be-sustained pounds need. Every day.

Yeah. Like that.

The longer I'm in maintenance, the more I realize that thinking about "weight loss" is counter-productive. Because a focus on "weight loss" means thinking about LOSS. Lots of losses.

Giving up . . . random mindless eating whatever I want whenever I want.

Giving up . . . sitting around most of the time (except when not just sitting but fully horizontal).

Giving up . . . socializing with the kind of persons who eat all the time and sit around all the time.

No kidding, those extra pounds I didn't want to maintain constituted a highly contagious condition, judging by the general shape and size and fitness level of a lot of people I hung out with at 230! And with whom I justified chocolate croissants. Giant muffins. Elaborate coffee drinks with whipped cream, etc. While wearing size 18 elastic waist pants. And sitting around talking about (gloom) how unfair life is. Sometimes about how much discrimination we felt because of being overweight . . .

Gotta admit, I've lost most of those former friends with the pounds. Not my choice, either. Theirs. Their unwillingness to tolerate and accept my new priorities. Sure, the loss of some of those friends is something I do regret. Just not enough to expose myself to the infection again!

Focusing on loss, on what it's necessary to give up, is something deeply unattractive to human beings. Researchers in economics tell us we attach a huge surplus value to what we already have and do. That we feel entitled to hold onto what we already have and do. (You know the studies: for example, if you pay $5 for an ordinary coffee mug that you use every day, you tend to become attached to it and don't want to sell it for less than $10. It's "special". It's "mine": one of the first things two-year-olds learn to say!!) These feelings of resentment over loss of something "taken away" are much stronger than regret about not achieving something we don't have yet. (Such as health. Such as a more attractive body.)

So: all of this tells me it really doesn't help to focus on loss. Including weight loss. Thinking about weight loss triggers an initial enthusiasm and then creeping resurgence of entitlement. Rebellion. And then failure: which in this context means temporary weight loss, giving up and rapid regain. Never having achieved the feeling of health and fitness.

That's why we've gotta lose the "weight loss" concept. We've gotta think about gain, not loss. And that means we've gotta think about maintenance. Right from the beginning.

Not, "i'm on a weight loss program." Rather, "I'm on a weight maintenance program". Meaning, privately, "I'm eating just enough to maintain those pounds I intend to keep!!" (And sure, saying I was on a weight maintenance program would have resulted in some raised eyebrows when I was 230!! I'd have enjoyed that, actually.)

Not, "I'm on an exercise program to lose weight." Rather, "I'm on an exercise program to gain health. To gain energy. To gain strength, flexibility and balance. And to have more fun!! With new friends who share those values with me!"

Enough of responding to the nosy questions anyhow. How about just leaving it at that last part. "I'm having more fun!"

There is nothing lost that's worth grieving over at all. Not at all.

Because we do have more fun when we're healthy. When we feel good. When we're eating what's good for us and hanging out with people who are good for us. Who are active, happy and optimistic. Way better than that $5 coffee mug, or the chocolate croissant!

It shouldn't be about weight loss. It's really about all there is so to gain. And to maintain. That slim strong active healthy body, having fun.

Once you have it, you feel so entitled to it. So committed to maintaining it. No matter what it takes.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SANDYLH1 12/28/2012 5:11PM

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JUSTCHELLE75 11/29/2012 5:37PM

    Love this

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TIFFANIE150 11/29/2012 4:13PM

    BEST POST EVER!!

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WORKNPROGRESS49 11/26/2012 3:32PM

    emoticon blog post!!!

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REENIE131 11/24/2012 11:31PM

    Great blog!

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KANOE10 11/24/2012 10:22AM

    Great blog and well said.

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LAWANDMUSIC 11/23/2012 6:05PM

    Very well said. Thanks!

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ALASKASKY 11/23/2012 1:08PM

    emoticon

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ROSGETSSERIOUS 11/23/2012 12:05PM

    Fabulous well thought out blog - I am going to change my mindset to " weight maintenance" from today! Thanks!
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FIRECOM 11/23/2012 10:48AM

    I really like your blog. The part that really sticks with me is your paragraph ...

"Gotta admit, I've lost most of those former friends with the pounds. Not my choice, either. Theirs. Their unwillingness to tolerate and accept my new priorities. Sure, the loss of some of those friends is something I do regret. Just not enough to expose myself to the infection again!"

This is so true and yet seldom put into practice. I have always maintained that if you want success, associate yourself with those that are successful.

Over the years, I have determined that my magic calories per pound to maintain is closer to 8 rather than 10. I wish it was 10.


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IAMAGEMLOVER 11/23/2012 10:15AM

    emoticon

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HEIDIE6 11/22/2012 9:51AM

  GREAT BLOG--IT REALLY INSPIRED ME. THANK YOU. emoticon

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KIMBOLEAN 11/21/2012 2:03PM

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CRYSTALJEM 11/21/2012 1:22PM

    What a wise and wonderful blog. You've left me with lots to chew on lol. Thank you as always, CJ

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4GREEN4 11/21/2012 12:44PM

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PATIENTSAM 11/21/2012 11:58AM

    emoticon

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SCRAPPINPOLLY 11/21/2012 11:27AM

    Wonderful post today and something that I totally needed.

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SH9719 11/21/2012 11:02AM

    The overall message loss is a gain is a great message. What we appear to be losing in this process other than the weight is in fact just the anchors that were holding us back from a healthy happier life.

I have already thought about my maintenance mode which is 4-5mths from now for me. I guess I do not view the new life long maintenance calorie range as that much of a handicap. Part of what this program puts you through is in fact the lesson plan we need to live the healthy life. My theory is that in maintenance mode I will scale back the intensity of my workout plan and be more focussed with it on conditioning and not on calorie loss. The plan I am already working through will keep me in shape and burn enough calories so there will be less pressure on my calorie range.

I will continue to eat basicaly the way I have learned to do today except I will allow myself to more often relax to enjoy higher calorie good food. The one lesson I have learned is that if I allow myself to have a high calorie meal, it better be good food. No more high calorie junk food for me. That will in fact be my general theme, eating good healthy food in correct proportions.

Good luck on your maintenance journey.

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JOYFULME01 11/21/2012 9:20AM

  Right on the money here.

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EWL978 11/21/2012 8:18AM

    Don't think there's much to be said that hasn't already been said here. Don't let yourself be ruled by anxiety!!

keep on keeping on and good luck in the future!!

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GHOSTFLAMES 11/21/2012 3:55AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZRIE014 11/21/2012 1:13AM

  must think positive and move forward emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 11/21/2012 12:37AM

  Well said - and you are so right!

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THESLIMMERME1 11/21/2012 12:27AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MANILUS 11/20/2012 5:11PM

    Great piece of writing! Thanks for the amazing point of view!!!

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POLSKARENIA 11/20/2012 2:32PM

    I love the maths - but then, being a maths teacher and loving numbers, it would!!

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MEADSBAY 11/20/2012 2:02PM

    Wow-ow-ow-ow!!!
You have got me thinking now!
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SERASARA 11/20/2012 1:15PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SJKENT1 11/20/2012 12:20PM

    Keeping the focus is so important. My eyes are on the prize... a healthy me!!

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FOLEY30 11/20/2012 11:15AM

    Awsome blog!! The place I do all my workouts with just wrote something very similar and I am very happy to say that I belong to somwhere that is part of my extended family lifestyle that focus on wellbeing and not weightloss!! emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 11/20/2012 10:58AM

    emoticon Blog and great advice Ellen....and how did i miss your Blog becoming 'Popular'?? It sure deserves it too....plus a emoticon
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on all this..it makes so much sense! emoticon

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MCHILSTR 11/20/2012 10:52AM

  very well said, and thought provoking!

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PACKERMANN 11/20/2012 10:34AM

    wonderful advice! makes so much sense!
the 10 calories per pound clicked for me. (lighbulb moment)
if i can net that by eating healthy and exercising, i will maintain my goal weight.
I can do this!!! thanks so much!!

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NANNABLACK 11/20/2012 7:29AM

    I like what you said: Not, "I'm on an exercise program to lose weight." Rather, "I'm on an exercise program to gain health. To gain energy. To gain strength, flexibility and balance. And to have more fun!! With new friends who share those values with me!"

Thanks for sharing.

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FATHINSN 11/20/2012 7:02AM

    Hmm, so instead of aiming "I want to lose weight", it's much better to "I want to gain freedom of excess luggage!". Perhaps almost similar concept with negative-positive statements - instead of saying "I can't", change goals to "I can" :D

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MOTIVACTION2 11/20/2012 6:01AM

    Awesome, thanks for sharing!

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LIVELYGIRL2 11/19/2012 9:35PM

  AWESOME !!! I liked what emoticon you shared.

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MTRACHEL 11/19/2012 8:33PM

    Nice job spelling it all out. It's made me reflect on all the things I gained by changing my habits to a healthier lifestyle and weight. Thanks!

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WOWGIRL51 11/19/2012 8:30PM

    Great blog post. I needed a new perspective and here it is. Thanks!
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TRAVELGRRL 11/19/2012 5:23PM

    Great blog! You MUST be one of the AG&M/TTM blogs to feature! You have so much insight and have helped me so much. Thanks are not enough, but this American Thanksgiving week I have thanks for Watermellen! emoticon

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MS_PERCEPTION 11/19/2012 2:54PM

    Insightful. Thanks for sharing. I've failed at maintenance for the last time!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 11/19/2012 9:10AM

    I *love* the idea of focusing on maintaining weight rather than losing weight. I wish I'd had that focus during the time my weight was going down - it might have saved me some of the trouble I'm having regaining weight (I lost TOO much and now don't have enough body fat to function properly at the moment). It's really hard to let go of the mentality that "less is more" when it comes to weight. Thank you for sharing your very mentally healthy perspective on this whole weight business!

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EATVEGAN 11/19/2012 3:01AM

    So glad you shared this. I just recently experienced nostalgia about the days when I could go out and buy and stuff in my face anything I wanted. I think I gave into it for several days. But the 5 pounds I gained in those days were a wake-up call, because even though I have a long way to go to my goal, I have changed enough to really enjoy the way I feel. emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 11/19/2012 1:54AM

    emoticon emoticon

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PCASEY7 11/18/2012 11:57PM

    Loved your blog, it's a great way to think about getting or gaining your health back!

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JOANNHUNT 11/18/2012 11:10PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JAMER123 11/18/2012 10:10PM

    emoticon emoticon Great blog!! Thanks

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GOOSIEMOON 11/18/2012 9:13PM

    Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

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FARIS71 11/18/2012 8:21PM

    Sheesh that was deep stuff and well put. Thank you!

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CICELY360 11/18/2012 7:33PM

  good blog

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