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2012 Weight Maintenance in Review

Monday, December 31, 2012

Most of my recent blogs have focused on fitness and injury recovery. On this last day of 2012, I'd like to look back at weight loss and weight control, a.k.a. "maintenance."

2012 was the first full calendar year of maintenance for me. On January 1, I weighed in at 165.0 lbs. I thought I was done losing weight. 165 had been a stretch goal for weight loss that seemed unachievable, and I got there!

On December 31, I weighed in at 159.8 lbs. I wasn't trying to lose weight in 2012, I was trying to make the weight trend go sideways. The rear view mirror says the trend didn't truly become sideways until about the start of May. For the first four months of the year, I kept adjusting my concept of goal weight downward. Some time during the middle of the year, I settled on 160 to 163 as my desired goal range. Since May 1, I count 8 days when my weight was outside that range, 2 higher and 6 lower. The last three low points were December 23, 24, and 31, all at 159.8.

There's no secret why the weight is doing what it is; I've been running more, and not eating enough more. I'm trying to correct that. My current calorie range is the highest it's been since I've been on SparkPeople, and I may have to move it up another 100 calories to get myself to consistently eat a little more. This is scary. I did quite well on 2800 calories per day, and it's hard to adjust to 3100 calories. But I know it's way too easy to add an extra 2000 calories if I don't track.

Fiddling with the calorie range in response to what the scale does has worked for me in 2012. The lower end of my calorie range (which I think about much more than the upper end) has ranged from 2200 to 3000 calories in 2012, depending on what was going on. Here's what the weight did in 2012:

Longer term, here's what the weight did from 2002 to 2012:

Edit to add: The labels didn't show up as well as I hoped. From left to right, they are: End of 2004, First time weight lifting. End of 2007, Budget becomes major focus. Summer 2009, 2009 Rodent Diet. July 2011, Started SparkPeople. Early October, 2011, Started maintenance.

One of the nice things about weighing daily is that I can look back at where I've been and connect it to what was going on in my life at the time. I won't bore you with all the details, but here are a few highlights that relate to how I ended up in maintenance on SparkPeople.

I went through a divorce process that lasted from August 2002 to August 2004. In late 2004, I made my first serious effort at weight loss, focusing on eating only when I was hungry and getting some exercise, primarily walking. I took up weight lifting in January 2005, and I was impressed with my success on the weight front. Then I bounced off 185, which was still 3 pounds above the top of healthy BMI for me.

Various things happened in my life, and I struggled to maintain. At the end of 2007, my daughter dropped out of college. This simultaneously increased my expenses while cutting my after-tax income. As a result, my major focus in 2008 had to be learning to budget. I was successful; but the weight piled back on and I achieved my lifetime high weight of 221 in late December, 2008.

In 2009, mice were spotted where I work. My employer instituted a new food policy: No food at the desk. All food brought for consumption must be in sealed containers, and must be consumed in the first floor cafeteria. No open containers food were to be on the working floor. I jokingly called this the "rodent diet," and it helped me lose weight down to 191. Until the restrictions, I did not realize how many times I was mindlessly wandering away from my desk for a piece of chocolate.

After the rodent diet restrictions relaxed, I tried to maintain the same discipline, with mixed success. I got my weight down to 185 again, but failed to keep it there. In the summer of 2011, I visited my sister. She was thinner than I remembered ever seeing her before in my life, and she nudged me into SparkPeople. I grudgingly admitted that I couldn't out-train a crappy diet.

I set what I thought was an ambitious goal, 175. I achieved that in 12 weeks and spent 8 more weeks nominally in maintenance but actually losing another 10 pounds while learning how to not lose weight.

The weight loss phase with SparkPeople stands out on that graph, doesn't it? The rodent diet showed a comparable result of losing, but the loss wasn't sustained. However, with SparkPeople I think I've figured out maintenance. Yes, that sideways trend is short on the scale of 11 years; but it's a sideways trend of more than a year, and a tight sideways trend of 7 months.

These days, I'm more focused on the fitness side than the diet side. I'm concerned with how much I can run, how many pullups I can do, how much weight I can lift. These things aren't trivial; but managing my weight is a higher priority. It just happens to be a fairly easy priority to achieve, which allows me to have a lot of attention for other priorities.

I can't believe I just wrote that managing my weight is easy. But there you have it. I benefit from living alone and controlling the food that comes into my house as well as the food that goes into my mouth. If I weight, measure, and track everything, it really isn't that hard. The only tricky part is recognizing when the targets for what I eat need to change. And I've got some weight graphs showing I've managed to do that acceptably well in 2012.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    OK, don't laugh. Your tiny little sister here is about to have a Toddler Barbie style tantrum on the floor, kicking her little patent leather shoes! I got as far as this sentence and had to leave the room to pour myself another cup of coffee before I finished reading the blog. It's NOT FAIR! It's NOT FAIR!

    The sentence? "I did quite well on 2800 calories per day, and it's hard to adjust to 3100 calories."

    Dude, I start gaining at about 1700 calories a day. I drift down on 1400. Maintain pretty well in the 1500 - 1600 range, but have to run a lot to eat more. Sigh. You may complain about Mr. Testosterone talking to you, but the biology of body composition and your 6 foot frame (compared to my 5' 3") leads to this.

    All that little tongue in cheek tantrum aside, though, I have to say I'm happier today, and enjoy my 1500 - 1600 calories a day, truly enjoy them. You may get twice as many to maintain... but they can't taste any better than mine! emoticon

    Life's oh, so good, here in Spark-land. Spark on. emoticon
    1882 days ago
    You've achieved quite a bit and learned even more about yourself and what works for you.
    It looks like 2013 will be another good year for you.
    Stay healthy and continue doing what you know how to do.
    1882 days ago
  • DALID414
    I just hit my goal weight today, I hope my maintenance is as easy as yours.
    1882 days ago
  • RG_DFW
    "If I weigh, measure, and track everything, it isn't that hard." .. So true! How many blogs do we read where people want to make this the hardest thing in the world!

    I've got to admit that it took a little while for me to figure it out, but it really is pretty simple once you break through all the hype and negativism involving weight loss and fitness (and stick with it).

    Congrats on your success!
    1882 days ago
    Congrats to your successful weight maintenance!
    Your graphs look amazing.

    I wish I could say that about myself but I hope 2013 will be my year of success.

    1882 days ago
    good look at things. Yep, it sure is easier to eat right and keep the right things in your home when you live alone. I know when my DH travels and I am alone I don't have a problem but when he is here he wants to eat out more. But so far my way of eating as if I am on a diet all the time accept for when we go out is working for me.
    Happy New Year!
    1882 days ago
    Since I am a little challenged when it come to the
    technology of setting up graphs, etc, I use my memory
    to take a walk back in time. I analyze where I have
    been and then, where I need to be. On doctor's orders,
    I have maintained 130-135 pounds quite nicely. I am
    up a little this morning and will grant myself this
    last day of the year to organize my thoughts for 2013.
    May all go well with you in the New Year.
    1882 days ago
    it looks like you've done a fantastic job in 2012 - it seems like staying on top of it and analyzing the situation are necessary to avoid slipping back into the mindless approach that brought us to where we were in the pre-SP days. have a great 2013 of maintenance! emoticon
    1882 days ago
    1882 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.