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Two Years of Maintenance

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Monday, October 07, 2013

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:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4524719


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:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=5089728


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
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=5078058


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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JEANKNEE
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    Wonderful blog!

    Again, Happy 3 Year Maintenance Anniversary to you! ... and wishing you a wonderful year ahead with your half marathons.
    788 days ago
  • GABY1948
    emoticon so much for sharing your maintenance journey with us! emoticon and many many more years!

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    788 days ago
  • HAKAPES
    Congratulations for the featured blog post title!
    You earned it!
    And congratulations for the healthy lifestyle that you do.
    I enjoy a lot your blogs, and your continued support with your feedback on my entries.
    1121 days ago
  • MOEE45
    emoticon emoticon
    1130 days ago
  • MANILUS
    Great work!
    1130 days ago
  • BABARR67
    Dang! A 7 min mile is nothing to sneeze at! I'm working at getting mine back under 20 after a break from running. LOL You are right to focus on the positives, that is what keeps most of us motivated. Fear is inspiring in the short term. I started on this journey bc I was afraid to end up like my mom (dead-- from complications of obesity.) However, I keep going bc I want to keep living the lifestyle being healthy allows me to live.

    Take care and best wishes always, BEV
    1132 days ago
  • LOGOULD
    CONGRATUALTIONS emoticon on two years of maintenance! You aren't simply maintaining though, you are growing stronger and wiser and inspiring the rest of us along the way! Thank you for writing such a motivating blog!
    1132 days ago
  • PEZMOM1
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    1132 days ago
  • RUNNINGYOGINIRE
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    1133 days ago
  • CHERYLHURT
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    1134 days ago
  • SUSIEMT
    Congrats on the two years! Isn't it a relief when you can put your focus on other things like fitness. You go guy!
    1136 days ago
  • WATERMELLEN
    What a great blog! Congrats on two years maintaining -- and I've no doubt at all you'll still be maintaining at 5 years and for life. You've got it all figured out and know what matters to you and how to keep on keeping on!
    1136 days ago
  • BROWNCOFIDDLER
    A HUGE congrats to you!!! I forgot my 1 year maintenance anniversary too!! Your attitude and outlook is fabulous!! Way to GO!!! It just feels SO good to be healthy. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1136 days ago
  • -SHOREIDO-
    Great stats! Your good at this and it shows! emoticon Congrats on **2** yrs!
    1136 days ago
  • STRONGDAWG
    Well done, friend. Thank you for the reflection. It is very helpful for me (and I expect for others) as I work hard to have the mental discipline to stick to living healthy. The eating isn't as difficult for me as is sticking with the exercise. It is too easy for me to let work get in the way and then excuse away working on weekends because the work week was so difficult. Reading about your maintenance helps me to focus on getting to maintenance. I'm not sure where that is. Right now, I want to get to the high end of the healthy range for my height and age - 155.

    Huzzah!
    1136 days ago
  • LESLIELENORE
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    1136 days ago
  • PACKERMANN
    powerful insights. thanks for sharing your lessons learned.
    1136 days ago
  • JACKIE542
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    1136 days ago
  • PROUD-GRANDMA
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    1136 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    happy second maintenance anniversary! congratulations!
    1136 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Congrats on your 2 years of victory and maintaining. It is a lifestyle and just something that becomes 2cd nature after a while. I know that for me, this is about the rest of my life so I have to make it count. I too became a runner for the first time in my life after I joined spark and was sparked to join in the fun!
    Keep up the great work. You are doing awesome!
    1136 days ago
  • ISHIIGIRL
    I agree. Maintenance is something you keep in the back of your mind and the longer you maintain the more it becomes about the healthy lifestyle and less about weight loss. Looks like you are very focused and I hope that continues for you. So far, it seems you have found what works for you. Congrats on your 2 yrs.
    1136 days ago
  • TORTISE110
    Really appreciate your laying out your progress this way. It shows that maintenance is anything but a "sedentary" mind set, not to mention activity time! Thanks much.
    1136 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Great b;pg. You have made health and maintenance your daily way of life. You are very inspiring. I am glad you are making progress on healing that foot and are able to run again.

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    1136 days ago
  • CELIAMINER
    So happy for you! I'm coming up on 1.5 years and finding my enthusiasm waning. Blogs like yours help me dig a little deeper inside for that motivation to track every bite I eat and to get out and run on a cold morning like this. Ready, set, GO!
    1136 days ago
  • GREENHOME1
    Congratulations! It's nice to hear from men too! And to hear that tracking our food is part of maintenance forever for some of us. Sometimes I envy those who don't have to, but for some it's "a way of life", as he says.
    1136 days ago
  • CHANGINGHORSES
    An inspiration for all!
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    1136 days ago
  • CRUISEBOUND4EVR
    Great Blog! emoticon
    1136 days ago
  • ELLEKTRA
    I LOVE THIS BLOG!! Your last few statements are so so so true!

    A big HUGE congrats to you and your accomplishments and for a very well stated blog!
    1136 days ago
  • SLENDERELLA61
    Great blog! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Wish my experience paralleled yours. Perhaps it will eventually. I run. I love to run. I don't run as fast as you, but I can run for 3 hours. Hope to do my next HM in 2:30. But my focus is weight first and fitness second. I am 29.2 pounds under my initial goal. But I'm still working on nailing down my goal weight 55 months after hitting my BMI 25 goal weight and almost 3.5 years after being in the BMI 20-22 range. I plan to finally determine my goal weight in 2013 and to lose the scale obsession in 2014. Maybe I can also turn my focus from that weight number to fitness. I think that would be a big step forward.

    Congrats on your tremendous weight victory and best wishes for your third maintenance year being your fittest ever!!
    1136 days ago
  • BRADMILL2922
    What a great accomplishment! Congrats!
    1137 days ago
  • KIMBERLY_Y
    Great job! Congratulations on the featured blog and on you maintenance anniversary! You are an inspiration! Best wishes on your continued journey towards health.
    1137 days ago
  • KELLIEBEAN
    Congratulations on your accomplishments! I love your mindset!

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    1137 days ago
  • RUSSELL1960
    Wow! Thanks! I have maintained now for six months although not as perfectly as you have. Your blog is an inspiration because my current goal is to maintain for two years as you have now done. What you said is also encouraging because you are doing what I'm doing - tracking, weighing in daily etc. It works. Again thanks - you are an inspiration.
    1151 days ago
  • HEALTHIERKEN
    "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. "

    Oh my! You've said it all and you've said it perfectly. I think I should post this on my bathroom mirror as a daily visual reminder of where I want to be. Thanks, eh!

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    1151 days ago
  • PLMITCH
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    1151 days ago
  • KRISZTA11
    Happy second Maintenance Anniversary, and may there be many more!
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    1152 days ago
  • PAULOBRY
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    1152 days ago
  • TORTISE110
    Great line: "The longer I maintain, the more natural it is to just *do* what I need to do to maintain."

    It is also helpful to know that tracking is key for you, along with frequent weigh ins. I am in my second year and finding I need that too.

    And most importantly, congratulations!
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    1152 days ago
  • 4A-HEALTHY-BMI
    It may not be important to YOU, when your maintenance anniversary is, but it definitely is important to others looking for inspiration and hope that weight management is achievable.

    Way to go, dude!

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    1152 days ago
  • SUNSHINE20113
    Congratulations!! I especially like what you say about 'learning not to lose weight' at the beginning of maintenance. I had to learn that too. I also agree about focus. Now I find I want to keep a healthy weight so that I can run well. The main focus is being able to run well, with my healthy weight supporting that.
    1152 days ago
  • ONEKIDSMOM
    Fascinating. What I find fascinating is the difference between siblings. You are a normal person, not a compulsive overeater like your sister. Therefore, for you, learning about nutrition and how to control your ranges has been sufficient to the task of getting to the lifestyle that will result in what I expect will be a pretty natural maintenance for your remaining years on the planet.

    I, an admitted and proven compulsive overeater, find I still have days when I seem to lose control over my eating, and clean out half the pantry! Regardless of knowing what I'm doing.

    Consequently, my strategy while it has some elements in common with yours, has to include such things as "winning the battle at the grocery store". Self-honesty with kindness. Repeated self pep talks. And praying daily for the grace of abstinence from compulsive eating... because I can even eat brussels sprouts and carrot sticks compulsively!

    Would I trade my journey for yours? Or anyone else's? No, because each of us has a journey in this life tailor made to teach us what we were meant to learn. Acceptance, humility, and rejoicing in the gifts that we have been given... keys to the life, for sure.

    Congrats on your two years in maintenance, Bro! And here's to many, many more years of healthy, happy living... and running. emoticon emoticon
    1153 days ago
  • DALID414
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    1153 days ago
  • SHOURESSOOTE
    Congratulations, not just on your weight loss, but on the maintenance! You're awesome!
    1153 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.