I joined SparkPeople in July 2011. I knew I needed to lose some weight, but I didn't have a clear idea of just where my goal weight should be. After a week or two, I settled on an aggressive (or so I thought) goal of 175 lbs., from the 196.6 lbs. I weighed when I joined. This was aggressive because weight loss efforts in the previous few years had tended to bounce off the mid-180s. For reference, the top end of the healthy BMI range for me would be 182. I hadn't weighed that little in over two decades.
On October 7, 2011, I weighed in at 174 after spending the previous day helping my daughter move from one apartment to another. The weight came back up a fraction of a pound after that, but never broke above my initial goal weight of 175. I was in maintenance territory.
Two years ago, I blogged about not knowing where my true goal weight should be:
That got resolved during the first year of maintenance. Now, I'm maintaining to a center weight of 162 lbs. Looking back through my records, I see that from April 1, 2012 to present my daily weights have had a maximum of 163.6 and a minimum of 158.8. Yeah, there's a bias to the low side of the midpoint. I haven't resolved that bias, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to weigh below 160 for any extended period of time.
One year ago, I blogged about my weight trends, and the ongoing effort of maintaining:
In that blog, I put up a couple of weight graphs, cited the maintenance statistics, and referred to a then-current blog by BREWMASTERBILL about keeping your head in the game: www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
I concluded that Bill's idea of keeping your head in the game was more relevant to me than the maintenance statistics.
So, a year later, how am I doing with keeping my head in the game?
I forgot it was my maintenance anniversary. When I read KRISZTA11's 2 year maintenance blog a few days ago, it reminded me that my two year maintenance anniversary was coming up. I thought I should organize some thoughts for a blog. Then other stuff happened in my life, and I spaced it off. If the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance Spark Team hadn't pointed it out to me, my two year maintenance anniversary would have passed right by without my noticing it.
I'm still maintaining. This morning I weighed in at 162.2, within measurement error of my target weight of 162. I've lost count of how many times I've adjusted my nutrition range up or down to keep the weight in range, but they system is working for me. It's working without putting a lot of attention on the weight. Eating to the nutrient ranges is not an issue most of the time. This non-issue status can be seen from the fact that I haven't written very many blogs about food and nutrition.
The fitness side of the equation has got a lot of my attention. Two years ago, I had just become a runner. I was concerned with keeping it up, or retraining in the spring for the Chase Corporate Challenge. I was concerned with learning to dress for and run in cold weather. That seems like a distant memory at this point.
Now, my attention is on rehabbing from a foot injury and being able to run regularly again. That's where most of my blogging this year has focused, because that's where most of my fitness attention has been. And I don't regret that. The attention and focus has been rewarded with the renewed ability to run for a half hour. With further attention and focus on the rehab, I believe I'll be able to maintain and extend that ability.
But today is a day to reflect on maintenance. As I review my blogs from one and two years ago, it's clear that my attitude has changed. The weight has gone sideways from a year ago, which is exactly what I wanted to happen. But somewhere along the way, making the weight go sideways became almost automatic, part of the background of working on maintaining fitness.
And that might be part of why the oft-cited statistics say,
- The likelihood of regaining weight when you reach goal is 80% - 95%.
- When you've maintained for 2 years the likelihood of regain drops to 50%.
- When you've maintained for 5 years the likelihood of regain drops to 27%!
When I reached goal, I was very focused on losing weight. The next few weeks were focused on learning to not lose weight, and the weight ultimately settled near where it is today, about 13 pounds below my initial goal.
A year after I reached goal, I was very focused on maintaining weight and making that number go sideways.
Two years after I reached goal, I'm still maintaining and making the weight go sideways. But I'm more focused on fitness, specifically training to sustain my running ability. Maintaining the weight is a part of that, and must be done. But maintaining the weight does not need to dominate my attention.
I suspect that this is part of why those statistics say what they do. The longer I maintain, the more natural it is to just *do* what I need to do to maintain. In my case, that's track everything I eat, eat to my target nutrient ranges, weigh myself daily, and adjust the nutrient ranges I eat to when the weight starts trending up or down.
I can do this. It's a way of life. Yes, there are other ways to live, and I've lived other ways in the past. No, I don't really care whether I look particularly thin or muscular, even if I am a bit vain about being able to see my abs. But . . .
Nothing tastes as good as being able to run for half an hour feels.
Nothing tastes as good as being able to run a 7 minute mile feels.
Nothing tastes as good as being able to do pullups feels.
And forgetting when my maintenance anniversary is doesn't really matter, because maintenance is something I need to do all the time, even when I'm not thinking about it.