Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Part of my daily routine often involves cruising the blogs and SparkPages of my fellow maintainers on the 'At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance' team, where I'm one of the leaders. In addition to keeping an eye out for blogs that I can recommend to the other members of the team, I really enjoy reading the about the thoughts and experiences of other people who are finding their way in maintenance. One of the things that I've come to realize is that many maintainers seem to possess a common trait: wisdom. Wisdom that comes from experience. Wisdom that comes from opening yourself up to the idea of going through a process of experimentation in finding what works and what doesn't. Wisdom that comes from learning from past failures and not repeating them.
Wisdom isn't something that's innate and that we're born with, but something we develop over time. If you take a good look at the people who are successfully maintaining, there aren't too many real young'uns among our ranks. Although I don't think that means that successful maintenance isn't possible if you're under a certain age, I do think it underscores the value of our development of wisdom in this process. I certainly don't think the 16, 21 or 28-year-old version of myself ever fully understood what it meant to truly live a healthy lifestyle. I had always thought of weight loss in terms of dieting and for me, dieting meant something that was temporary. My resulting regains shouldn't have been surprising, yet I was somehow always shocked when I found myself back at square one.
For the first time ever, I've really internalized and put into practice the concepts of true moderation, of staying vigilant without becoming obsessive and of finding and achieving a balanced and realistic approach when it comes to eating and exercise. One of the most important lessons I've learned in my nine months of maintenance has been the realization that my habits have actually changed very little from my weight loss days. I still weigh, measure and track the majority of my food. I still hit the gym regularly. I'm still active here on SparkPeople. I still take time to enjoy life's special occasions and some of the food that goes along with them. Basically, my sane approach to weight loss translated into a sane approach to maintenance.
Although I've lost a lot of weight (90+ pounds), I've gained so much--good health, confidence, a sense of real achievement and empowerment. And I owe all that, in large part, to the wisdom I've acquired along the way.