On Thursday, I'll reach my one-year maintenance anniversary. Over the course of the past year, I've learned a lot about myself and the strategies that are important for me to use to stabilize my weight. I'm quite fortunate that I haven't experienced any major life challenges to seriously throw me off track in the past year, so I feel like I've established a strong foundation to deal with with those when they do come down the road.
I've summarized a lot of the things I've learned in past blogs, but these are the ones that I think have been key for me:
1. Staying connected to my support systems
I've never had real support on maintenance and until now, I had always regained any weight I lost. Staying active here on SparkPeople, especially on the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team has been a huge component of my success. I've learned so much from the strategies used by other maintainers and have found having the support of like-minded people to be invaluable. Even if you're not at goal yet, I strongly suggest checking out this team. There's a lot to be learned from people who have experienced lasting weight management success. You can visit us here: teams.sparkpeople.com/ma
2. Keeping up my healthy habits
Maintenance is not a destination. It's a continuation of a process of refinement of the habits that you developed to lose weight and get healthy. Yes, I still experiment with different strategies to keep me interested, engaged and on track, but the basics of my diet and exercise regime are the same. Eat better, mind my portions, move as much as possible and strength train.
3. Continuing to track and weigh in regularly
Tracking was a useful weight loss tool for me and one that I've continued in maintenance. It's helped me to identify where I need to be from a nutritional and fitness point of view and has helped prevent weight creep. Regular weigh ins have backed up those efforts and shown me where changes need to be made.
4. Tackling weight creep with subtle changes
There have been times in the past year when I've added a few pounds. Rather than panicking and doing anything drastic, I've made subtle changes when I've seen upward trends and taken a more patient approach to getting the weight back off. I realize that a five-pound gain is nothing compared to a 50-pound gain and can be undone gradually without making significant changes to my meal plan or exercise routine. As a result, I don't feel as though I've had to shift back into weight loss mode and like I'm in a perpetual yo-yo cycle.
5. Learning to live life in a sustainable way
Unlike my past efforts, which were often quite restrictive, I've learned that it's okay not to be perfect. It's okay to indulge every once in a while and it's okay if I slip up from time to time. My overall lifestyle is healthy and it's okay if I don't adhere to a perfect plan all the time. Small daily treats and occasional indulgences have made my maintenance more enjoyable and made me feel like something I can keep up for the rest of my life. I don't have to avoid social events out of fear of weight regain because I've learned to choose my indulgences more wisely and to plan ahead and/or make healthier choices when I've felt like what's being offered isn't worth it.
I admit that it hasn't always been easy and that there have been times when my resolve hasn't been as strong as others. But as my anniversary approaches, I find myself right in the center of my maintenance range and optimistic that I can keep this up forever.