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Let the Countdown to One Year of Maintenance Begin!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Today I'm exactly one month away from my first anniversary as a successful maintainer. Although I won't be reaching one of the coveted maintenance milestones just yet (two years when your likelihood of regain drops to 50% and five years when it drops to 27%, according to the National Weight Control Registry), this is a huge accomplishment for me and represents by far the longest period of time I've ever maintained my losses.

When I started my journey back in 2010 at 240 pounds (that's me on the right, below), I had nearly given up hope that I could actually lose and keep off the weight:

I had lost 115 pounds in 2002 and 2003 and subsequently regained nearly all of it. In fact, until now, that had been the story of my life--a perpetual roller coaster of enormous ups and downs.

As proud as I am of losing the weight, that pales in comparison to how I proud I feel to have maintained for what I consider to be so long. And I know I'm not alone. I've seen several recent blogs written by other Sparkers approaching their one-year maintenance anniversaries who are also finally enjoying lasting success after many failed attempts. I see how our numbers are growing on the 'At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance' team and how so many of our members have remained committed to their goals and to staying active here. Although I don't have the hard data to prove it, I'd say we're making a dent in those daunting regain statistics and proving that maintenance, while hard, is achievable.

As I've often lamented, resources for maintainers are scant and there seems to be a reluctance on the part of the diet industry to provide maintenance support. "Maintenance lacks the luster of weight loss," "maintenance isn't the money maker that weight loss is" and (my personal unfavorite) "maintenance is hard and telling people that it's hard is discouraging (therefore, we choose to provide no support and information about how successful maintenance can be achieved)" are just a few of the reasons I've heard tossed around to justify this huge gap.

Thankfully, what we do have here on SparkPeople is a true grassroots movement of people who are dedicated to making maintenance a permanent state and who, without thought of financial compensation or the lack of glamor inherent in maintenance, generously give their time, share their knowledge and offer support to others who are working to sustain their healthy lifestyles. I think we owe a huge debt of gratitude to SparkPeople for providing a space where we've been able to create and shape such a wonderful network of support, sharing and encouragement. Without it, I probably would have been back to square one again instead of giddily looking forward to my one-year maintenance anniversary.

So, thank you, SparkPeople, for helping me achieve what I never thought was possible. If you're a longer term maintainer and have paved the way before me, thank you too. Your trailblazing efforts have definitely made my maintenance journey much easier. If you're coming up behind me, please know that successful weight loss and maintenance ARE possible and that you've come to the right place. I'm living that possibility as are many, many others here.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm 2 months away from my 1-year maintaining anniversary!
    This was the healthiest year of my life; I feel and look good!

    Maintaining is hard, but with good support everything gets easier!

    emoticon emoticon
    1765 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Heading to a year is so exciting. Yes, you are right, maintenance is not glamorous. It is hard work but so nice to be thin and happy. I love the support of Spark people and really feel it helps in maintenance.

    After you reach the one year, you will be entering your second year.


    1766 days ago
  • MARTY728
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1766 days ago
  • -AMANDA79-
    So excited for you, Tina! We will never see a tv show documenting folks maintaining their weight loss, but we do have each other and spark people!

    Awesome work!
    1767 days ago
    One thing we should remember is that we are the market. Companies sell us what we want to buy. People don't want to buy maintenance because it's a nebulous concept. What is maintenance? Well, remember how you ate too much before? Ya, don't eat that much, but eat more than you're eating now. How much is that? I don't know, you figure it out. Oh, and when you get it figured out, people won't say a thing, because hopefully you look the same. So you get all of the hard work, more challenges and virtually no reward. Weight loss is a lot more glamorous and easy to market to. I sort of have the same concept when people say that companies are out to sell us tasty food at a cheap price. They do it because that's what the market demands.

    Anyway, that's my take on why you're not going to find maintenance products any time soon if ever. So we gotta do it ourselves. It looks like you've got a pretty good handle on it. The way I see it, I've got a lifetime to beat the scale emphasis out of this group. lol.
    1767 days ago
    thank you tina, for being such a great motivation - you can do it! we can do it! yes we can!
    1767 days ago
    Congratulations Tina! You look great and wish you celebrate many many more anniversaries of successful maintenance!


    emoticon emoticon
    1767 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Great blog which is a reflection of all your dedication to your personal maintenance and to the team to which you have contributed so much. emoticon
    1767 days ago
    My opinion on the diet industry and the lack of maintenance information on their part is a bit different. I'll just say that it's not in their best interest to have many long-term maintainers. And that's probably the kindest way I can say it.
    Congratulations, Tina! You are one of those people who not only enjoys her success and keeps learning the secrets of life-long healthy weight maintenance, but also helping other people discover them on the way. And that deserves lots of praise!
    I'm wishing you continuous success for many more years to come.
    1767 days ago
    emoticon You look great, and congrats on keeping the weight off.
    1767 days ago
    Congrats! It's an early congrats, but i have no doubt that you will not only make it through the next month, but beyond that to year two and eventually year five.

    Still very much looking forward to being on the maintenance team. Just a few more pounds to go until i can start transitioning!
    1767 days ago
    Terrific job! Congratulations! It must be difficult to stay motivated to maintain. I hope to be there soon and looking forward to joining your team. Keep up the good work.
    1767 days ago
  • DALID414
    1767 days ago
    Congrats Tina, you are AWESOME!!! I can't thank you enough for sharing your maintenance wisdom.
    1767 days ago
    You did emoticon job on your self!
    1767 days ago
    "Liked" this blog. Tina, you are doing a great job as a maintaining individual (look at you!!) and also in your vibrant leadership role on At Goal and Maintaining: Transition to Maintenance Team. Which is THE team, IMHO, which is the most important team here at SP. That concept that "maintaining is hard so we don't want to tell people how hard it is" is sheer craziness. Better to know and to prepare and to deal with it.
    1767 days ago
    You have a wonderul, clear eyed approach to maintenance. Maintenance is wrapping our heads around the idea that weight loss (in some for or another) is a lifelong commitment. We can't be on a diet and ever return to previous eating habits once the pounds are gone. That is a a mindset that is essential to being successful maintainers.
    1767 days ago
  • GABY1948
    You are such an inspiration! Thank you
    1767 days ago
    Tina I'm so proud of you and excited for you! And I hope to follow in your footsteps!
    This is a great blog. You point out some very important issues about maintenance. But also, I hope you realize that all of your work for this particular team is why this team is so great for people in maintenance. You make the team so alive and active. Your weekly emails shining spotlights on people helps inspire us all!
    So kudos to you for not only all of your incredible success, but also for being such a help to so many!
    Thank you!!!
    1767 days ago
    Congratulations! What a thoughtful and inspiring blog!!
    1767 days ago
    Congratulations! Happy for you!

    Actually, it goes both ways. Sparkpeople owes a thank you to you for your work on the At Goal and Maintaining Group. It takes someone to champion an idea and you're doing that. Thanks for your efforts!
    1767 days ago
    Love it! So happy for you! Congratulations!
    1767 days ago
    You are looking awesome! Congratulations on a successful weight loss journey! Here's to many more years of success in maintenance!
    1767 days ago
    I'm doing a happy dance for you!!
    1767 days ago
    You can do it!
    1767 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.