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The importance of AGAM+TTM team

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I undertook an interesting little experiment today. I wanted to find information on one of the most difficult aspects of weight control: maintenance once a goal weight has been achieved. I was looking for specific techniques or programmes to follow, couched in language aimed at the general reader.

A quick scan of the magazine stand in the local supermarket should have given me a clue as to what I'd find: masses of weight LOSS material, headline after headline promising quick, effective weight loss - celebrity examples, meal plans, exercise programmes, before-and-after photographs - there they all were, in abundance. Weight loss sells.

Next I tried the city library catalogue. This library caters to about 400,000 people; its catalogue gives access to the nation's other collections and to international data bases. Nix.

Keyword and subject searches for weight maintenance brought up many topics: Plumbing was prominent; there was a lot on golf, archery and recreational vehicles.

Weight did get a look-in: for weight "loss" you could choose from at least 379 titles, AND you could choose your own method! Short of time? There were titles promising a difference in 17 days or 4 days or whatever number you chose (e.g. "The 17 day diet: a doctor's plan for rapid results", "The 4 day diet", ), 8 seconds (Although the title indicated the author or publisher were a bit confused about the actual time involved: "8 Second Secret: The scientifically proven method for lasting weight loss: A fitter, firmer you in just 20 minutes a day"), 4 hours ("The 4 hour body"), 6 weeks ("Just tell me what to eat", The 6 week cure for the middle-aged middle"),8 minutes (but you need to be an early riser - it HAS to be in the morning but is definitely the way to shed 2lbs a week!),you can even do it "Now", in "easy steps" (varying numbers of steps, however, depending on title.

Want something to blame? Tackle the villains and all will be well (and thin)!

Titles suggest you rein in the fries, the sugar,the fat, the hormones, the portions, the carbohydrates, the soft drinks, the fast food, the bread, the potatoes, the fries. Adjust to the effects of childbirth, syndrome X, Y or Z,your cells, your metabolism, your blood-type, your D.N.A.your body type, your features ("The facial analysis diet"). Deploy known weapons (hypnosis, various "magic foods", brainstorming, weights, pilates, cardio) and add all plants, coffee and tea (especially green varieties); eat less/all you want, omega 3. Follow the 10 dietary commandments or the 3 simple rules or the 50 steps to 50kgs gone. Harness your sleep ("The Doona Diet:sleep yourself slim", "The hibernation diet: it works while you sleep")
Harness your sleep ("The Doona Diet:sleep yourself slim", "The hibernation diet: it works while you sleep")oryour pets ("Diet with your dog"), follow celebrity plans, the French, the Japanese, the Kiwis (The Kiwi KISS workout"). Get on shank's pony and walk away the kilograms. Meditate and melt the fat. There's a diet for those who want to enlist their clothesline ("The Clothesline Diet") or their workplace (The Magazine editors' diet") or to improve performance in a myriad of sports. Even Spark is there as an e-book with the promise of a 28 day breakthrough plan for losing weight, getting fit and transforming your life.

Weight loss is commercially profitable. There is one title on prevention, "How not to get fat" and one which suggests maintenance, "Keeping it off", although even it seems to be a sequel to a weight loss story and its author undertook body building as exercise; this is not an option for the majority. Many of the titles pay lip service to maintenance, they include words such as "for life", "forever", "keep it off" but these words are in few titles, are frequently in the sub-title and are rarely, if ever, followed up in detail in the text.

A wider search of the on-line data bases did produce more on maintenance. However, most of the articles were designed for medical scientists both in language and content.

It is a matter of debate whether or not any of the weight loss titles discussed above are effective in helping their readers to lose unwanted weight. But the number of titles available at least gives a choice of programmes to follow, and the better ones provide a great deal of sensible and useful information. Once goal is reached it's not like reaching the satifying end of an exciting book and the sequel is definitely less enchanting! There are few exciting scale or non-scale victories, before-and-after photographs lose their impact and there is the ever-present fear of regain.

Maintainers still struggle with issues of diet, exercise, mindset, motivation, cravings, time management, social and work demands, confidence, stress and emotion, and pressure from friends and family just as they did in the weight loss stage. But the solutions to these issues are often difficult to identify and there is little help available in the public domain. The shared knowledge and experience of those who have been through the difficulties of weight loss and now aim to maintain a healthy weight is all that there is.

Weight maintenance doesn't hold out the necessary commercial carrots to be a popular candidate for investment: which is why the Spark team At Goal and Maintaining+Transition
to Maintenance is so valuable to its current and prospective members.
If you want to check out this team it's a mere click away at:

www.sparkpeople.com/mysp
ark/groups_individual.asp?
gid=1111
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 2/3/2013 5:19PM

    Yet another fabulous blog! I'm intrigued by the titles you came up with and had to laugh at most of them.

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MARYHENNIG 1/29/2013 10:45PM

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GREENGENES 1/29/2013 9:10PM

    Very well said! Thank you!

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CATMAGNET 1/29/2013 4:11PM

    FABULOUS blog! I know that I've been struggling more in maintenance than I ever did when shedding the 130+ pounds, partially because of things you mentioned in your blog and partially because of the body image (the quick transformation, the loose skin, stretch marks and mishapen body parts that came as a result of shedding almost half of my body). I know there are a lot of us that struggle with these issues every day, and I'm SO grateful for this team for listening to me and understanding when others don't.

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SUSIEMT 1/25/2013 4:42PM

    Well said!

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MJREIMERS 1/25/2013 3:01PM

    emoticon blog and so TRUE! I wish those that maintained would get as much media attention as those on diets or worse yet, those that have failed. This team has been such a vital part of my success. I didn't join teams or even blog until after I lost my weight, but I'm so glad I started.

Thanks for the blog and thanks for this team!! emoticon

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KRYSTALGEM85 1/25/2013 10:52AM

    Great blog!

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STEVEHANCOCK 1/25/2013 9:45AM

    I completely agree ... there are so few resources for those who have won the battle of losing but found they are fighting the new battle of maintenance. There are many issues which you have mentioned a also a few unmentioned ... (so, about that extra skin?) ... anyway, the only resources are those that have gone before and are winning sharing their experiences. Its a daily struggle that never ends ... great job and keep up the great blog posts!

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FITFOODIE806 1/25/2013 9:21AM

    Loved this blog! Thanks for writing.

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MAREE1953 1/25/2013 8:13AM

    Great blog. I feel SO grateful for this team. I love the science, the diversification in the membership, and the numerous ways teammates have reached goal. [Haven't come across any members who used the 8 second diet! lol!] Maintenance, for me, has boiled down to stepping on that scale several times a week and tracking nutrition when I eat something not on my "lean, tried and true" list. Best wishes to you and all maintainers!

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NEW-CAZ 1/25/2013 2:50AM

    i think maintaining is harder than losing LOL
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_LINDA 1/24/2013 11:29PM

    Weight loss is the glamour girl of the Health Industry, Maintenance is the Ugly Duckling. Not much money to be made off a maintainer -they don't need no supplements, special programs or anyone's help. They got the message, eat healthy, exercise regularly and enjoy life to the fullest with all things in moderation!
Welcome to the team, the buck (and yo yo) stops here!
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SUSUSUZZZIE 1/24/2013 10:29PM

    Love your blog! I'm not there but this is a great help for me to be prepared when I get there.

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BROWNCOFIDDLER 1/24/2013 10:12PM

    Fabulous, MUCH NEEDED blog for maintainers. It's all true too....it's far easier to market 'LOSS' than maintenance, so that's where the dollars go. All I know is I'm a Sparkie for the duration. There's no stopping, no quitting, no backing off. I never let up one bit after I hit goal weight and I WILL not. Thanks for sharing your research & thoughts about maintenance. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ADRIENNIE 1/24/2013 3:51PM

    Great blog. You did a great job of investigating options. I find that Spark People has a good enough process for losing weight but I wish there was more for us maintainers. My thoughts are we need a whole website to our selves. It would be a great advertising benefit for Spalot of us maintainers and as a great we may need more general encouragement than we did when we were losing.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/24/2013 2:16PM

    Great blog--there is so little written for the average person about maintenance, it's frustrating. I appreciate the AGAM+TTM team and all the resources that have been collected there. It is all about making changes for life, not following some crazy diet that doesn't give you the tools for keeping weight off.

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MKELLY72 1/24/2013 1:33PM

    So well said! I laughed as I read your references to all the different diet approaches out there, and of course part of me returns to that old annoyance that for those of us so desperate to lose weight believed some (or all) of the claims in the hopes that somewhere along the line we would land on the "one" that works! Who would have guessed the only gimmick we needed was the common sense we all should use--it's not glamorous, but good old fashioned healthy food choices and moving more...hmmm...
Thanks for sharing!
Michelle

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OOLALA53 1/24/2013 1:27PM

    I don't think maintenance is tough. I vowed not to do anything to get here that I wouldn't be willing to do for the rest of my life. I haven't counted calories for three years. I'm committed to moderate meals and just a few extras a week forever. It's gotten easier as time has gone on. Good eating becomes a habit when we reduce our wavering about it, dickering over this and that bite. Eat when it's time to eat and live the rest of life in between.

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PRESBESS 1/24/2013 1:21PM

    Thanks for sharing your research results. SparkPeople and the At Goal and Maintaining + Transitioning to Maintenance team rocks!
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DESERTJULZ 1/24/2013 12:33PM

    Great morning smiles! Thank you for the listing of all the silly numerical diets. Maybe I can write the "8 ways to a Slimmer You Diet" and pocket a few bucks. What would that be? 3 servings of fruit and 5 of veggies?

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DIANNEMT 1/24/2013 11:46AM

    I am going to be leaning HEAVILY on this team as I get ready to maintain!! You guys are awesome!

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POINDEXTRA 1/24/2013 10:07AM

    Thanks for such a wonderful plug for our team! We maintainers see lots of results, they're just more subtle, and spread out over (hopefully) a much longer period of time. And to all who are still in losing mode who get frustrated with those plateaus, remember that they're just practice for the ultimate goal of a never-ending plateu!

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LOGOULD 1/24/2013 9:40AM

    Seems to me that our culture is always searching for that "magic" pill ... the eternal search for the fountain of youth. I never did find it, but what I have found is so much better. That is the information and support available through Spark and ultimately the AGAM+TTM team. Thanks for helping to blaze the trail across the vast expanse of the relatively uncharted territory of maintenance!

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MANDELOVICH 1/24/2013 9:39AM

    Great blog. I agree this team is hugely valuable. I love when you say, There are few exciting scale or non-scale victories, before-and-after photographs lose their impact and there is the ever-present fear of regain. I couldn't agree more.
I think Beck's book has a good chapter on maintenance at the end. I liked it. I also think Inside Out Weight Loss has a good podcast on maintenance (for free, all the podcasts are at this link: http://podcasts.personallifemedia.c
om/podcasts/216-inside-out-weig
ht-loss, they are all useful during maintenance and some specifically talk about it).



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CELIAMINER 1/24/2013 9:18AM

    Super blog! I'd add that another thing maintainers suffer from is weariness due to constant vigilance, though perhaps that could fall under stress. Also, while not everyone wants to be a body builder, strength training as exercise IS available to the majority and has been very much a part of my weight loss/maintenance/overall health regime.

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NEVERGIVEUP 1/24/2013 9:05AM

    Excellent blog. You are absolutely right, weight maintenance does not sell, and there are few resources out there to help us learn how to maintain our success. Perhaps if there were, the long term statistics on successful weight maintenance wouldn't be so dreadful. So thankful for the At Goal Team! emoticon

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VTRICIA 1/24/2013 8:45AM

    "Get on shank's pony?" What does that even mean, LOL? Thanks for putting this together. I wish you the best in your journey to maintenance!

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LORILEEPAGE 1/24/2013 8:42AM

    It looks like some Spark Maintainer ought to write a book! I bet there's people out there wanting to know what to do to successfully maintain, outside of the SP community.

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MARCOSMASTER 1/24/2013 8:07AM

    Wow you are so right!!! it's no wonder the statistics are overwhelming for folks who gain back the weight. I have struggled with this issue myself, hoping I have found the right group of folks to help me maintain! emoticon

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NELLJONES 1/24/2013 7:51AM

    Those things aren't frustrating, just amusing. And it's been going on a long time. Even Napolean tried to lose weight with a weird diet. Illness ended up doing the job for him, not something anyone would recommend. Don't blame the word "diet". Blame "easy", because that is what people are really looking for, something to get them to thin quickly so they can "safely" go back to the fries and milkshakes. Those of us who have been at goal for awhile know that isn't in the cards.

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CMRAND54 1/24/2013 7:47AM

    Maintaining is harder than losing, in my opinion.

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KANOE10 1/24/2013 7:15AM

    Great blog and so true.Losing weight is a commercial business and maintenance is sorely neglected. I love the At Goal team.

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SLENDERELLA61 1/24/2013 6:52AM

    I totally agree! Our team is priceless. Thanks for sharing your research experience. Many people find weight loss exciting, but maintenance just boring. Personally, I think (after 5 decades of overweight/obesity) maintaining a normal weight is one of the COOLEST thing anyone can do!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/24/2013 6:39AM

    Great blog. You could be an investigative reporter. If everyone who lost weight maintained at their goal, the diet people would be out of business.

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SWEDE_SU 1/24/2013 5:39AM

    so true - there is profit in weight loss, but maintenance? not so much... and yet that is the true goal to which we all strive. at goal and maintaining is probably the most important team on SP - because that is where the resources and support are for the rest of our lives... emoticon

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LIVINGFREE19 1/20/2013 9:00AM

    emoticon for the information!

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ARTJAC 1/20/2013 12:04AM

    emoticon emoticon

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HZGLORY 1/18/2013 11:28PM

    Whoo Hoo Popsy, did anyone ever tell you, you were a brainiac! Whew I got dizzy reading your blog. I said to myself how did she keep all that in her head, I couldn't. I agree with you that maintanance is a ideal thought that eludes so many many people that lose the weight. I think for myself it was because until Spark it was about losing it now and then I could go back to eating what I wanted even if it was not as much as I wanted. Well we all know what happens with that. No that is why before coming here I would not diet for anything because I said it has to be something I can do for the rest of my life or I will just gain it back with another 10 or twenty besides. So when I found spark I thought "well it is about time isn't it" Now with the changes I am making I know I will be able to keep them up and thus the lifelong journey begins.
Thank you for taking all that time exploring outside spark for us and saving us all that time, you rock girl. Susan

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NPA4LOSS 1/18/2013 1:12AM

    emoticon Great information! emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 1/17/2013 10:16PM

    Thank you for an amusing yet realistic survey. It's a wild and wacky world out there--those weight loss gurus and their plans. Maybe I will attempt the Harrisburg Pennsylvania lose 30 pounds in 3 days on 3 minutes of concentrated isometric mediation a day by Dr. Blank from esteemed Ivy league university....or maybe he's simply French!

I've been reading a lot of these books and my befuddlement has transformed to amusement.

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WENDYJM4 1/17/2013 7:03PM

    great blog Penny. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/16/2013 8:19PM

    Great blog! Losing weight is not much fun, and most of us have done it over and over again because we don't know how to keep it off. ONly 5% of those who lose weight make that weight loss permanent. And yup: that' s why AGAM:TM is such an incredibly important resource. MAINtenance is the MAIN thing for most of us: what we want most!!

Comment edited on: 1/24/2013 7:38:23 AM

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/16/2013 11:27AM

    Thanks for the shout out!

I shared these frustrations too, which is why I started collecting all the information I could in one place, on that team. There are lots of scientific resources about maintenance in the links... emoticon

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MLH148 1/16/2013 9:02AM

    Leave it to you to do extensive research for all of us. Thanks. Some day I'll be maintaining -- someone said the other day that a plateau is practice for maintenence. I like that-- makes it easier to accept.
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TORTISE110 1/16/2013 8:19AM

    True, and why I love the Spark maintenance team.

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TINAJANE76 1/16/2013 7:18AM

    Thanks so much for the shout out to the team! I noticed the same thing about the lack of resources for maintainers as I was approaching goal and it's a big part of the reason why I decided to get more active on the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team. I think we've got one of the best support networks out there for maintainers and people who want to start thinking about what it will take to make their healthy lifestyles permanent and am so thankful for each and every person who participates on the team and offers their insights into what living maintenance as a lifestyle really means. It's certainly made my own maintenance process so much easier and more enjoyable and I hope that it continues to do the same for many others. Maintenance may be tough and not as glamorous or marketable a "product" as weight loss, but there's definitely a need for support and I'm happy that we're all working together to fill that void!

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MICKEYH 1/16/2013 1:25AM

    Wow !! You've got really good point about it. I agree with you on this. Thanks for sharing.

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SUSIEPH1 1/16/2013 12:24AM

    Thank you Penny for the amazing investigation .
I think it all boils down to diets never work .
We must eat smaller portions of healthy fresh food to keep ourselves well and healthy ..
Congratulations on making motivational Blog !
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Comment edited on: 2/10/2013 12:07:44 AM

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