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What I Like About Maintaining #5 (Last in the Series!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The longer I maintain, the fewer people presently in my life remember that I was ever overweight. Pretty much nobody notices or comments on my present shape and size. Everybody just takes it for granted: this is me.

I lost the big whack o'weight in 2001, 230 to 150. That's now a dozen years ago. I've been a size 8 long enough to have worn out most of my original "after weight loss" wardrobe. There was just one temporary regain blip up in 2009 of about 20 pity party pounds with a cancer dx, taken off within months once I'd signed up here at Spark People, and kept off since then with a bit more actually, so I'm now wearing size 6s a lot of the time.

OK then, what's so great about nobody noticing? Getting no credit? Especially when maintaining is actually so difficult for me? When maintenance actually requires eternal vigilance and daily tracking and . . . . all of that. When maintenance truly is one of the hardest things I do? Wasn't it fun when people were praising me practically daily as I dropped weight dramatically from size 20 to 18 to 8 in about 8 months??

Sure it was. But being unremarkable in the weight department is better. Weigh better!

When I was heavy, people noticed. Oh sure, they tried not to. They knew that they shouldn't notice. But the initial response to me as an overweight person was . . . um . . . not positive. It came with a whole bunch of negative assumptions.

Like I must not care enough about my husband and my kids to stop eating so much it was affecting my health. Even though I was probably shortening my life. Pretty selfish.

Like I must be lacking in self-discipline, even prey to addictive behaviour. Regardless of what I was achieving in other areas of my life, I was obviously unable to resist foods that weren't good for me.

Like I must be unaware of how awkwardly I moved. Huffing and puffing and taking up too much space.

Like I must be oblivious to how I looked.

None of this enhanced my image a whole lot.

And I had to work so hard to overcome these initial negative reactions. Of which I was absolutely and miserably aware.

I had to compensate by being excessively vigorous. Excessively organized and punctual. Excessively cheerful. Excessively obliging, often offering to take on more than my share of tasks. Excessively competent as a wife and mother and in my work. Or at least I felt I had to. And so I tried.

But often without liking these burdens. All that ingratiation took a lot of effort.

Am I exaggerating the actual reactions people had towards me when I was heavy? Really, I don't think so. Because the effusive compliments when I was losing the weight, even though I appreciated them, also made me uncomfortable.

Like people had been severely censoring their criticisms up to that point. And worse yet, that people didn't really have a whole lot of confidence I would keep the weight off. Since I really was that kinda selfish, unselfdisciplined, unathletic, dowdy person they'd taken me to be all along. Soon to return to my former shape and size most likely.

So the longer I maintain, the more people take my present shape and size for granted. The more unremarkable it is, the less vigilant I have to be about ingratiating myself.

Oh sure, I still try hard to be a pleasant human being. But only within reasonable limits. There aren't a great number of tasks I take on that I really don't want to do any more.

That's why, in terms of managing personal and professional image, weight loss maintenance actually takes a lot less effort than over-compensating for my overweight image ever did. A whole lot less effort. I am the person you see.

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What got me thinking about all of this? I realized after I posted my "What It Takes to Maintain" blog that it made weight loss maintenance look pretty tough. Formidable. Overwhelming.

And maintenance IS tough. But not impossible.

My "What I Like About Maintaining" series is meant to offer a bit of comfort . . . to me as much as anyone. Because although maintenance is difficult and the effort required is relentless, it's worth it.

Health, freedom from compulsions, freedom to move, freedom to choose what I want to wear and how I want to look, freedom from censure and the need to overcompensate: five powerful reasons to continue the hard work of weight loss maintenance.

I like maintaining.

I like maintaining enough to keep on doing it, no matter what it takes.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEMORESTUBBORN 4/6/2013 11:17AM

    Excellent blog!

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EFFRAYECHILDE 4/4/2013 1:36PM

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AMANDACOETZER 3/25/2013 11:01AM

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PANIK257 3/21/2013 12:38AM

    Great blog. I find maintaining is the hardest part about losing weight.

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ID_VANDAL 3/19/2013 6:55PM

    Boy you really hit this one out of the park. What a well thought out blog.

I really relate to the complements you get when you are losing weight. Makes me wonder what they thought about me when I wasn't "looking great" I know they mean as a complement but still ....

Thanks for such a great and obviously popular blog.

Vandal

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DDOORN 3/18/2013 9:18PM

    Great to know what to look forward to when one can wave the baggy pants no longer! :-)

I can definitely relate to the excessively cheerful, obliging, competent deal. When one truly feels good enough, just as they are, who needs to be eternally vigilant as to whether they are going the extra mile to "make up" for what they lack?

Don

ps...you cannot stop this series! keep 'em rollin'! you keep tapping into deeper and deeper wisdom!

Comment edited on: 3/18/2013 9:20:24 PM

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DMSGLASS 3/18/2013 6:40PM

    emoticon Thanks for writing a great blog.

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FROSTIERACES 3/18/2013 9:52AM

    Well I certainly haven't forgotten! I love this blog!! You are doing so wonderful Ellen! I was gone from Spark again for awhile and have wondered how you're doing. Here you are pressing forward and onward doing excellent! I'm so happy for you!!

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MITCHARVEY 3/18/2013 9:51AM

    I so agree with this post! I can succeed at the weight loss but always fail at the maintaining part!
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GRAMPIAN 3/18/2013 6:45AM

  Great! emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 3/18/2013 1:59AM

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JAMER123 3/17/2013 11:52PM

    CONGRATS on your maintaining!! it is a lot of work but a little easier to handle a pound or two versus a significant amount of pounds which also seems overwhelming!
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CICELY360 3/17/2013 10:08PM

  good blog

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SKYVALLEYGAL 3/17/2013 10:03PM

    I have reached the point that I am now ready to begin maintenance. Thanks for for your insight. Knowing it's time to stop worrying about losing and being concerned about holding steady is a daunting undertaking. It actually scarry! Congratulations on your success. emoticon

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ILIKETOZUMBA 3/17/2013 9:23PM

    OMG, I completely agree!! Now that I'm maintaining and have been healthy for a while, it feels awesome when people find out that I used to be so heavy and say "wow, you're so little I just figured you were naturally small." I LOVE thinking that people just see a normal person now instead of a fat woman (to be judged accordingly: undisciplined, slovenly, lazy, etc.). Fabulous blog! :)

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ROCKYCPA 3/17/2013 7:18PM

    Great blog - thanks for sharing!

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GRGAP86 3/17/2013 6:11PM

  Just read the whole series, a great inspirational piece. Thank you!

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NEPTUNE1939 3/17/2013 5:55PM

    emoticon

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ALIDOSHA 3/17/2013 5:42PM

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TERMITEMOM 3/17/2013 5:36PM

    Many things to think about... Thank you!

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LIVELYGIRL2 3/17/2013 5:10PM

  Presently, I know some who are figuring how, why they seem to even eat whole grains in small portions... because the weight was sneaking back the last few months.

They want to get more normal, than a diet. They are having a reasonable portion and exercise 3-4 times a week. If your up on this, send me a comment in my e-mail box ( really this for a friend. I want to support her.

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SANDYLH1 3/17/2013 5:00PM

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KALIGIRL 3/17/2013 4:51PM

    Here's to 'unremarkable'!

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ROBB1N 3/17/2013 4:32PM

    Very inspiring. Thank you!

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DIANNEMT 3/17/2013 4:21PM

    You folks that hae maintained are my idols!! I will be reading your old blogs very soon--I am almost ready to say "maintain" instead of "lose".

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JOANNHUNT 3/17/2013 4:07PM

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REMEMBER THE WEIGHT LOSE AND MAINTENANCE IS FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE. TUFF THAT THE OTHERS CAN'T SEE IT. IT IS THEIR LOSE. ENJOY YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST EACH AND EVERY DAY BASKING IN YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

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LISA_FRAME 3/17/2013 3:20PM

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SJKENT1 3/17/2013 2:45PM

    Maintenance is a great thing. When you maintain your vehicle, servicing when necessary, adding the right ingredients - not too many, not too few, it will reward you with a running vehicle and not so many costly repairs and trips to the auto mechanic (Dr).

Good job!!

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KARRENLYNN 3/17/2013 2:33PM

    As someone who is very uncomfortable with attention (good or bad) aimed at me, I can certainly relate to your liking less attention the longer you maintain. I don't like every choice I make censored and judged. especially if I choose to have that cake or other off the wagon choice.

Have a great day and I'm glad you've gotten healthier and are maintaining!

Karen emoticon

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NEWTINK 3/17/2013 2:24PM

    emoticon

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JUDYAASH 3/17/2013 1:33PM

   
Just keep it up. You are doing great. I wish I had your problems but will be there soon. Good luck. emoticon







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GRIZ1GIRL 3/17/2013 1:02PM

    As long as you realize you can NEVER relax your efforts--you can absolutely maintain long-term! Keep doing it! Good for you!

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PATRICIAANN46 3/17/2013 12:53PM

  Congratulations on a job emoticon and continued success re: Maintenance.

Comment edited on: 3/17/2013 12:54:01 PM

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KANOE10 3/17/2013 12:08PM

    You are right about the eternal vigilance. I am in the same position. People have stopped commenting about my weight loss as I head into year two. I did not like all of the attention when I was losing nor the criticism when i reached my goal. Now people leave me alone and accept me. I am happier. You are also right on about overcompensating when you are overweight!

great insightful blog. emoticon

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NCSUE0514 3/17/2013 11:54AM

    Congratulations on your success. I look forward to achieving my goal so that I can begin my maintenance journey!

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TANYA602 3/17/2013 11:51AM

    THANK YOU! I am overwhelmed by what you say here, and see that this is who I was, and who I am becoming. I started at 228 (or more, I don't know, I stopped weighing in) and only started my admissions of who I was when I hit 200 and joined SP (even to my husband/best friend). I did the same thing - volunteering for any and every extra job at work, all for some kind of approval. In the past year I've made concessions and have started to believe there has to be a balance in life. I needed this blog today more than you can believe. I can't wait to read your other blogs about maintenance. Have a beautiful day!

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SUSANNAH31 3/17/2013 11:41AM

    What a finale! You have nailed it on the head. Most of us have experienced those negative self-belittling thoughts and their accompanying emotions because of excess weight.
Once they are gone - along with that excess weight - just think of all the extra emotional space we have to fill with positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves and the world.




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MISSBOOBOOKITTY 3/17/2013 11:36AM

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CLAYARTIST 3/17/2013 11:20AM

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NANCY- 3/17/2013 11:18AM

    Great series. You are who you are. And that's what is great about you,
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JANEMARIE77 3/17/2013 10:35AM

    emoticon

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JACKIE542 3/17/2013 9:51AM

    Great blog, maintaining is hard but worth it. emoticon emoticon

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CEEMAY 3/17/2013 9:42AM

    emoticon I so enjoyed reading your blog and can't wait to get to my own maintenance phase~

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OFGREENGABLES 3/17/2013 9:22AM

    woot. thanks for sharing.

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POINDEXTRA 3/17/2013 9:18AM

    Loved this whole series. Doing the work to maintain is definitely worth it.

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LOGOULD 3/17/2013 9:15AM

    I am so grateful to Spark and to the AGAM&TM team for helping me to learn to appreciate this phase of my healthy living journey. Thanks for leading the way!

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WORKNPROGRESS49 3/17/2013 8:46AM

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REGILIEH 3/17/2013 8:35AM

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KATHIC2 3/17/2013 8:26AM

  Great blog! Really helpful and love your outlook!

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MOMMY445 3/17/2013 8:22AM

    such a wonderful,inspiring blog,Ellen! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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