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    CELIAMINER   157,549
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My Miracle: One Year of Maintaining

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

One year in maintenance. I wish I could say it has flown by effortlessly, but such is not the case. Along the way, I've read stories from many maintainers, some, like me, new to the idea, some who have kept weight off for one year or many years, and some brave souls who revealed they had regained their weight after maintaining for a year or more. I owe a great debt to those motivators who shared everything from confusion over what maintenance entailed to the hard truth that maintenance is work to inspiring stories to tips and strategies. In the end, though, the job of keeping off the 75+ pounds I lost has come down to me, and that has been the scary part given my yo-yo history.

It seems to be Spark tradition to blog on maintenance anniversaries, so this is my story. After waffling for a couple of months last spring, I finally decided to "declare victory" one year ago today. I had already joined the At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team in preparation and read everything I could. Over the next six months or so, I played around with the calorie intake and fitness activity needed to stay at my goal weight, but I didn't approach the task scientifically, e.g., add "x" calories a day or increase fitness by "y" minutes a day. Instead, I just watched to see what would happen. At first my weight continued to sink slowly, going down another five pounds. I was happy with that, but I recognized that my lifestyle would not sustain the loss once travel and holiday seasons rolled around, and I was right. I gravitated back to my goal weight and have stayed within +/-5 pounds with rare exception.

So how do I approach travel and holidays? Mainly, I don't stress. Often, I consciously eat in weight-loss mode before big trips or major holidays and let my weight go down a few pounds (but still in range) in preparation. Life (especially the vacation part) is too short not to enjoy it, so I rarely try to keep up with food tracking during those times. Even so, the habits I've developed on my Spark journey have helped me make better choices. At these non-routine times, I try to start the day with a light, healthy breakfast, but if I choose an omelet, bacon and toast, it's okay, because I find myself still full at lunch, so I eat very light then, often just a piece of fruit. Snacks are mainly fruit or trail mix, and most often I choose smaller amounts of meat and copious amounts of veggies at mealtime. Fitness? DH and I love to walk, especially volksmarches (www.ava.org), so we frequently build trips around volksmarch event locations. On our most recent vacation, we walked and hiked in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. The miles helped counter the great food and drink, and the beautiful settings and companionship turned the walks into meditative times.

But what about the rest of the time, you may ask. That's the work part. I realize that a couple of years on SparkPeople can't entirely undo the mental and physical complacency that led to decades of overweight and obesity, so I maintain an attitude of vigilance. I continue to track food and fitness most days of the week, and on days I don't track, I can look back and know that even if I went over on calories that day, it's not the end of the world. I just try to be better the next day. And I go through food and fitness slumps, times when I snack mindlessly in the evening several days in a row (and yes, I know what my triggers are) or times when I just don't feel like exercising. Those are scarier times, and I've had days when I've awakened in a panic, convinced I regained all my weight. In general, though, those experiences have served as wake-up calls to get back to the lifestyle changes that have brought me to a better state of being. Finally, I continue to weigh daily, not as an obsession with a number, but to watch for trends that signal the need to act.

In conclusion, for me maintenance is a continuation of Spark habits with some tweaks to keep my weight steady. I'd love to say I've done miraculous things in the last year, like run a marathon, but I haven't (though I did run some 5K races). In my world, the miracle has been keeping off the weight, something that has never happened before. So, one year down
and time to work toward two years. Cheers!

Edit: Thanks, all, for voting this a Popular Blog!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MY1FAN 6/5/2013 11:56AM

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AALLEY2 5/29/2013 10:13AM

    emoticon job! You are worth every single hard choice you made through out the year. You are my inspiration! emoticon

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ROSE284 5/29/2013 5:01AM

    Congrats on your year of maintenance. It seems like you have a great attitude and even thought I'm not near my goal yet I could still take a lot from this blog, thanks.

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ADVENTURESEEKER 5/28/2013 1:05AM

    Thank you for sharing this last year's journey. I have a feeling my eventual maintenance may be a similar journey as yours, with a conservative 'loss mode' before and after vacations or holidays. Good luck in your continued maintenance! Stay healthy :)

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LORILEEPAGE 5/27/2013 4:37PM

    Congrats on the anniversary of your maintenance! You have done a great job! You are on the right track and have inspired me. Congrats on having your blog recognized as a Feature Blog!

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MI-ELLKAYBEE 5/26/2013 10:38PM

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GOCALGAL 5/26/2013 8:48AM

    emoticon What a thoughtful, insightful and inspiring glimpse into your journey! Thanks So much for sharing. I have been slowly losing and have 5 pounds left to make goal. I hope it is ok to add you as a friend so I can revisit when I get there!

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OOLALA53 5/25/2013 5:55PM

    I'm glad to hear you haven't run a marathon. I don't like the idea that we have to work out like maniacs forever to live at a reasonable weight. So glad you find life liveable.

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MAREE1953 5/24/2013 9:27PM

    Great blog Celia, congratulations and keep up the great, rewarding work of caring for yourself, soul, mind and body.

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MOONCHILD8 5/24/2013 3:47PM

    Wow! You are Amazing! I have only been maintaining for a 5 months. You are so right to keep doing what you are doing because it works! Congratulations on keeping the weight down. Linda from bean town emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAUREENV2 5/24/2013 10:46AM

    Congratulations on one year at goal. Your blog was very inspiring to me. i too have been maintaining for over a year and agree that I need to keep tracking my food and exercise or I get lazy and fall back into old habits. Thanks for sharing

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SANDICANE 5/24/2013 9:29AM

    As I scrolled down to leave this comment, I see the faces and logos of those who support me. I am a 'baby maintainer" and I too am so very grateful to those who have gone before us, but take the time to tell us their story so we can learn from there successes and "trips".

This is the first time in my life I have maintained so long, and I guess you too.

Congratulations to you on your one year anniversary...onward we go.

Cheers,
Sandi

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NELLJONES 5/24/2013 8:54AM

    Congrats! Amazing feat, isn't it?

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MOMMY445 5/24/2013 7:58AM

    i'm so proud of you! congratulations! i agree with you,too, that you have to stay on top of it.

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ELMA1913 5/24/2013 7:39AM

    Proud of you - maintaining is sometimes harder than losing. Congratulations!

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HAKAPES 5/24/2013 5:51AM

    I can feel your motivation in your blog, and all the commitment.
It's inspiring!

I'm happy you are on the maintenance team, and am looking forward to hear about your journey, both ups and downs!

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PAM_COOPER 5/24/2013 1:23AM

    I think I've finally learned the long hard life lesson, for a long hard life of being a recycled 'big' fat girl . . . . that you DO have to continue with the same healthy food and the same healthy lifestyle habits it took us to get fit and stay with it. (I realize, with modifications along the way.)

Before, even with major weight loss, I arrived at my goal and then gradually began to indulge here and there, I eventually abandoned any mindful eating I might have had and stopped calculating my calories. I gave in to sitting on the bench rather than a few laps around the park . . . . . . now, I know better . . . MAINTENANCE is as important than the getting to the goal.

CONGRATULATIONS on your FIRST Anniversary!!! emoticon

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I am looking forward to my one year milestone with only 6 months to go! I hope WE can both say 10 years (and counting) someday!

I hope you have a successful and mindful year TWO!!! emoticon



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_LINDA 5/24/2013 12:08AM

    m emoticon m emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Way to make it to emoticon
You have done really well to make it through travel and holidays without gaining a lot back. Your new healthy attitude should finally keep those pounds from ever coming back! Monitoring without stressing over every little thing -great plan!
Keep up the great work!!!


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CAROLISCIOUS 5/23/2013 10:20PM

    Congratulations on 1 year of maintenance. I'm approaching 5 years...and my approach is much like yours. Living a life that I can live with is my motto.

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_JODI404 5/23/2013 7:22PM

    emoticon on successfully maintaining for one year!!! emoticon

That really is a great accomplishment! Keep making those good choices and you will continue right along!

Best wishes for continued fit & healthy success!!

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DIANNEMT 5/23/2013 4:48PM

    I also declared "maintenance" in May--but just this May! I hope next year I can write something about staying around goal!! It is lots harder than I had hoped... Thank you for sharing your story!

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/23/2013 4:38PM

    Congratulations on maintaining a year! It isn't easy, but it is absolutely worth the effort. So often I have had the mindset "If I could just lose the weight, I could eat what I want." Now that the weight is off, I realize that is SO not true; we have to continue the habits we developed to lose the weight if we want to keep it off permanently. Well done!

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CLARK971 5/23/2013 3:46PM

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MARTY728 5/23/2013 1:59PM

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COACHMOMMY 5/23/2013 12:47PM

    Great Job on maintaining. From one Yo Yoer (is this a word?!) to another - keep up the good work!

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PRESBESS 5/23/2013 11:44AM

    Awesome! Bravo! Keep up the excellent work. It's a daily task, I know, but surely your are doing something right.

Spark On!
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PRETTYPITHY 5/23/2013 11:44AM

    Good job! It seems like you've chosen a very sustainable path to maintenance. I have the utmost confidence that you'll do just as well this year and for many years to come! emoticon

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SUSANFL1 5/23/2013 11:41AM

    Happy anniversary! Great work.

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MANDELOVICH 5/23/2013 11:00AM

    Bravo! I think it is a miracle to keep the weight off long term! I am still trying to make that miracle happen!!!

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DIGISCRAPPY 5/23/2013 10:31AM

    Congratulations! emoticon

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DAYSPRING-STAR 5/23/2013 10:27AM

    Congratulations on your miracle! And thank you for sharing your experiences in this blog. As I get nearer to my own goal weight, I'm kind of like you in approach. So I'm trying to get a view of maintenance from the shoulders of those who have arrived at that place before me. You have offered a realistic and yet encouraging scene! Thank you and please continue to update us on your progress.

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ANNIEONLI 5/23/2013 10:03AM

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EVERLEARNING 5/23/2013 9:48AM

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MANILUS 5/23/2013 9:43AM

    Keep up the great work! You can do it!

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-AMANDA79- 5/23/2013 9:32AM

    Great blog! Congrats on your anniversary!
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VTRICIA 5/23/2013 9:07AM

    Happy Anniversary!

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LRSILVER 5/23/2013 7:51AM

    Congratulations. you are amazing. emoticon emoticon

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CHRISKENANDKIDS 5/23/2013 7:48AM

    So proud of you! I was so excited to see the team featuring you. Congratulations!

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PEZMOM1 5/23/2013 7:15AM

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SLENDERELLA61 5/23/2013 7:10AM

    Great blog! Congrats on a very successful year of maintenance. There is great wisdom in these words you have written and some, even after my 4 years at goal, that I need to take to heart. Thank you very much for posting. So glad this blog was featured by the At Goal & .... team. Well deserved. -Marsha

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BESSHAILE 5/23/2013 7:06AM

    I love the way you keep your perspective. Congratulations on year one - bon voyage throughout year two.

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TORTISE110 5/23/2013 6:44AM

    Hi Celia, Since I follow your story on shared message boards, your approach is not new to me. I "see" you doing the work that needs to be done. I so appreciate your showing up often. Your steady and supportive-to-others approach obviously works for you and motivates the rest of us!

Congratulations on your Sparkversary! As you move on to the next one I hope you feel the steadiness from all your healthy habits. You know what healthy is!!



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JSTETSER 5/23/2013 6:17AM

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KELLIEBEAN 5/23/2013 6:06AM

    Congratulations! I love your attitude! I feel the same way, life is short, enjoy it mindfully.

I'm so happy for you!

I hit six months of maintanance today. Can't wait to follow in your footsteps and say its been a year. It's great being your maintanance team member!

Here's to another great year!

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FELINA 5/23/2013 6:04AM

    emoticon
Great job ! Love your positive attitude !
Congratulations !

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CAMAEL100 5/22/2013 4:37AM

    Sounds like you have developed a very balanced, rounded approach to enable you to maintain and still enjoy life!

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KANOE10 5/21/2013 7:53AM

    That is a wonderful success story. Your calm positive attitude will keep you maintaining. You have made it work for your lifestyle!
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GINGERHAWK 5/20/2013 10:41AM

    Congratulations, Celia. What a wonderful (and inspirational) story. I have found that maintenance has been harder than the weight loss journey itself but I just take it one day at a time and try not to obsess. It's great hearing that you've been able to maintain for a year through moderation and movement - I need to follow suit!

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TEMPENATIVE 5/20/2013 12:36AM

    wow, thanks for sharing your experience, I will look to you 'old-timers' when I get to maintence-ville too some day. emoticon Cheers!

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ALAINEBUG 5/20/2013 12:23AM

    Let the term yo-yo remind us all of parlor tricks like around the world and walking the dog. And let the word diet make us think of you and healthy life style changes. Congrats. Oh, and it was not a miracle. You worked your butt off to get to your goal and keep it.

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