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What It Takes To Maintain: Thanks For Asking, STARDUSTD!

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

STARDUSTD has left an intriguing comment and inquiry on my SparkPage, riffing on a quotation from Steve Siebold of fatloser.com fame (and if you haven't tried fatloser, it's free and it's pretty motivational!):

Steve Siebold: "What would I have to believe to succeed at this at the level I desire? If you don't know, ask people who are consciously competent of why they are successful in what you want to succeed at."

What are your beliefs regarding maintenance and your ability to successfully maintain?

STARDUSTD is asking me, and I'm so flattered that she is! Here's my answer:

I believe that maintenance is never going to get easier. The weight loss part was the easy part.

I believe that I have to accept that it will be a struggle every day to keep my calories within my maintenance range: which is approximately 10 calories a day for every pound I'm willing to hold onto. That's all.

I believe that I will need to track nutrition and exercise daily for so long as I want to maintain: which means essentially for the rest of my life.

I believe that given how low the number is for my maintenance calories range (about 1400 to 1500 calories a day) I can't afford to waste many calories on empty nutrition if I want to stay healthy. I've gotta get the best possible nutritional bang for my calorie buck . . . and supplement with multivitamins too.

I believe that exercise (cardio, weight lifting, balance, stretching) is essential for heart health and strength and all-round physical and mental and emotional fitness. Besides, when I'm exercising I'm not eating!!

However, I don't believe that exercise helps me much with maintaining weight loss.

I don't believe that I will ever be able to exercise enough to eat whatever I want.

I believe that I will have to tolerate some hunger. Pretty much every day. And when I 'm hungry, wait till it's time to eat again.. Hunger is not an emergency: it's a signal that I'm really going to enjoy my next meal.

I believe that I also have to tolerate some emotional turbulence related to feelings of deprivation and unfairness (How come those other people can eat whatever they want?) I've gotta accept it: this is my metabolism to manage. And accept it even if I don't like it. Oh well. (Lots and lots of people have to manage much more difficult conditions than a lousy metabolism. So I'm not permitting myself to wallow in too much self pity either.)

I believe that keeping weight off is an essential strategy in doing all I can to prevent a recurrence of my estrogen-positive cancer. That's my main motivation.

However, I also believe that indulging in a little vanity and frugalista fashion is very helpful in keeping my more serious and long range health-focused motivation strong and steady. Don't care if its trivial and superficial to enjoy my bright blue leather boots. I've gotta have some fun!

I believe that food for me is fuel. Not entertainment. Not distraction from boredom. Not a means of celebrating. Not consolation for grief or frustration. Not the focus of socializing. Fuel. Good food tastes good, sure it does. Maybe not as good as potato chips some days. But there are many non-food sources of pleasure in my life. And it helps to focus on them.

I believe that eating pretty much the same stuff day after day helps a great deal in sustaining eternal vigilance and avoiding temptation. If I know I'm eating omelettes or oatmeal for breakfast, salads and fruit for lunch, soups and yogourt for dinner most days . . . and have those meals in my fridge, all ready to be eaten, at home and at work . . . then I'm not asking myself that very dangerous question, "What do I feel like eating today?" Which is a good thing. Because: what I want to eat and what I need to eat are not remotely the same thing. Some of the foods I want most are highly addictive to me. They will trigger binges if I have even a small portion.

So weight loss and maintenance is mostly about planning, and organizing my environment to avoid temptation. Hiding the peanut butter and cheese. Not bringing the chips into the house.

I believe that when it comes to weight loss and weight loss maintenance, will power is highly overrated. Will power is easily exhausted, especially because we need will power in so many other areas of our lives (to get to work on time; to avoid snarling at our spouses and kids; to change the sheets and run the laundry through and clean out the bath tub regularly . . . and a whole lot more).

I took off the initial big 80 pound whack o' weight in 2000-2001. Since then I've lost more and I've kept it off. I know that only 5% of people who take weight off keep it off. I know that those who've kept weight off for over 5 years and who track their calories daily and who pretty much eat the same things day after day and who weight themselves regularly and who average 30 minutes of exercise a day are more likely to keep it off. I do these things (although I tend to exercise 3-4 times a week for 60 minutes+).

So yes: I do believe that I will maintain my weight loss. I am consciously competent in weight loss and maintenance.

But: I'm not complacent about it. I don't take it for granted. I don't underestimate the effort it has taken and is taking and will take.

I've done quite a few tough things in my life. And weight loss maintenance is one of the very toughest. But I'm committed to doing it. Because: it's worth it.








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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 4/29/2013 1:19PM

  great inspirational blog maintenance is difficult but that is how have to go on for the rest of my life emoticon

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JUSGETTENBY42 3/25/2013 1:51AM

    emoticon

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IN102WIN 3/15/2013 12:58PM

    I don't believe that I will ever be able to exercise enough to eat whatever I want. " Thanks for your post!!! emoticon

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ISHIIGIRL 3/12/2013 8:17AM

    Your right, maintenance is tough. You said it sister! Great blog!

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LIFETIMER54 3/12/2013 6:16AM

  emoticon emoticon

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UZA77777 3/11/2013 3:09PM

    You wrote: what I want to eat and what I need to eat are not remotely the same thing.

Amen!

After years of yo-yo dieting (although I never thought of myself as a yo-yo dieter until now), I finally figured out that reverting to old eating patterns/foods after reaching a weight goal is *sabotage*. Just "one little bite" or sip of certain things trigger addictions that are far easier avoided than controlled once set into motion. So this time I am focusing on giving my entire lifestyle an overhaul--a life plan similar to what you've outlined here. Sounds like I'm *finally* on the proper course.

Thanks for a great post.

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TORIAMAE 3/8/2013 4:49PM

    Great blog! Thanks for putting so much into this!

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FLDEEZ 3/8/2013 9:19AM

    Great post! I've lost before (and gained it all back), so this time I'm trying to re-frame and think about the long term. Dealing with some of my issues. Setting up a support system and habits I can continue ... forever? So, even though I'm now back at the beginning (almost) of my weight loss, your post was a wonderful reminder of getting into the right mindset. Thanks.

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LADYSMITHC 3/7/2013 2:37PM

    "I believe that I will have to tolerate some hunger. Pretty much every day. And when I 'm hungry, wait till it's time to eat again.. Hunger is not an emergency: it's a signal that I'm really going to enjoy my next meal. "

Here are the lines I appreciate! Funny thing...I see the previous post before me took the words right from me! Looks like both of us liked this comment.

I had 2 pretty bad days back to back of not sticking to my plan, so I was scmoozing the blog posts looking for inspiration.

I got it!.. Thanks!

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MEDIEVALROSE2 3/7/2013 1:23PM

  "Hunger is not an emergency: it's a signal that I'm really going to enjoy my next meal."

This line really stopped me in my tracks, because it's a great way to look at hunger. I may have to write that on a post-it note to put up at my desk!

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RONNIEHUEY 3/7/2013 1:11PM

    thank you

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FIREFLY_MEDIC 3/7/2013 12:14PM

    :S

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BOXER-MOM 3/7/2013 11:03AM

    Really wish "Maintaining" didn't sound SO HELLISH!


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TRACYLYNN853 3/7/2013 10:58AM

    emoticon

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FIRECOM 3/7/2013 10:48AM

    WOW. This really hit home. I know from the experience of many yo yo diets that maintenance is extremely difficult and therefore many fail in their original goal of a healthy lifestyle.

I am 6 months into maintenance and it is truly difficult.

Thanks for your blog.

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EFFRAYECHILDE 3/7/2013 10:08AM

    emoticon

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TRYINGHARD54 3/7/2013 5:51AM

    great blog, thank you

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REBECCATKD 3/6/2013 7:47PM

    Love the "I believe" statements. You are the one in control (as are we all).
emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 3/6/2013 9:09AM

    Great blog. Well done

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K-MONEY 3/6/2013 12:43AM

    Thanks! I am in a maintenance time right now (although I would rather lose, it's a struggle just to maintain), so this was incredibly timely.

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JIBBIE49 3/5/2013 1:37PM

    emoticon You're in the Spark Mail again. What an inspiration you are to others.

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DONNACFIT 3/5/2013 9:56AM

    Great blog as usual!! emoticon

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ANNIEONLI 3/5/2013 8:02AM

    AMEN SISTA!!!!!
emoticon emoticon
Couldn't have said it better myself!!


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KANOE10 3/5/2013 7:55AM

    Great blog. Maintenance is very much like you describe..with continual vigilance and work. I have to stay away from trigger foods as well. I simply cannot eat them. You have established good strategies for maintenance and you know your body and what it needs to maintain. I have no doubt you will keep this weight off for good.
Thanks for sharing.
emoticon

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PENOWOK 3/5/2013 7:11AM

    You definitely are worth it! Thanks for the words of wisdom!!

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DRAGONFIRE4 3/5/2013 6:15AM

    Thank you for sharing. Your beliefs are strong and encouraging! emoticon emoticon

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CORNERKICK 3/5/2013 2:01AM

  Thanks for sharing

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BLUEJEAN99 3/5/2013 1:56AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 3/5/2013 12:31AM

  Wow! You are very strong to persevere when it is such a hard struggle.

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JAMER123 3/4/2013 11:28PM

    emoticon emoticon You will be able to maintain.
You have the right attitude.
I am a long way away from this but I know i don't want to go backwards to where I was and will do what is needed!!

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STARDUSTD 3/4/2013 9:33PM

  Thank you so much for not only responding to me but dedicating an entire blog to doing so! I'm grateful and honored that you put such time into your answer and are so gracious in sharing your wisdom.

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DDOORN 3/4/2013 9:11PM

    Wow...you know, I've heard you say so many of these things in other contexts in the past...but putting it all together makes one heckuvan impressive gold ingot, heck WAREHOUSE full of gold in wisdom for which you fought long and hard!

Thank you so much for sharing this with your SparkFamily!

Going to hang onto this for some reminders and nudges for myself! :-)

Don

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HEARTS116 3/4/2013 8:50PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CLAYARTIST 3/4/2013 8:08PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SIMONEKP 3/4/2013 7:57PM

    good blog

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TERMITEMOM 3/4/2013 5:05PM

    Not only is it worth it, YOU are worth it! emoticon

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DIANNEMT 3/4/2013 4:42PM

    I am nearing maintenance and this is the BEST description of what I'll need to do that I have seen. Thank you!! I'd LIKE to eat things I have "given up" but, for me, a little isn't possible. I WILL do this--I do not want to get heavy again!!

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CONNIEKANDOIT 3/4/2013 4:27PM

    Great blog, thanks.

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ALIDOSHA 3/4/2013 3:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PCASEY7 3/4/2013 3:54PM

    What a fabulous blog! You expressed so succinctly my own plan of attack for maintaining. And here I thought I was the only one who 'ate the same things most every day'. Congrats on the weight loss and more impressively the maintenance!

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LISA_FRAME 3/4/2013 3:50PM

  great post

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JOANNHUNT 3/4/2013 3:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STARTINGINLIMBO 3/4/2013 3:04PM

    Thank you for sharing this. :)

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CHERYLHURT 3/4/2013 2:54PM

  Thanks!

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LIVELYGIRL2 3/4/2013 2:47PM

  Wow-ee WOW. I really liked this blog. While not everything works for every single person and personality, you did some good thinking and developed a plan, and explained so well the hows and why. Thank you. This was emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon worth reading.

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AKATHLEEN54 3/4/2013 2:29PM

    Wow! great blog. That really expresses what this truly is.... not a diet or a temporary fix. This is a lifelong journey and you had better prepare yourself for the ride!! Thank you emoticon

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PATRICIAANN46 3/4/2013 2:23PM

  emoticon for telling it like it is. Great Blog!!!

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SHOAPIE 3/4/2013 12:50PM

    emoticon

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WENDYSPARKS 3/4/2013 12:09PM

    emoticon

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MOMMY445 3/4/2013 12:08PM

    what a great blog! have a wonderful day!

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