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Managing Maintenance

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Monday, November 18, 2013

I have reached goal before.In 1993 I was at goal for about 10 minutes. The problem was, I had the losing weight part down pat. The articles, classes and groups all focused on how to lose weight, not how to stay at goal. In 1993, Weight Watchers (which is how I lost my weight) had a maintenance program, but a leader was needed, so I was pushed through to take a few classes as soon as I reached goal. Furthermore, I was replacing the only leader in town.

In 1994 I injured my knee and had some major surgery including a laparotomy to remove the excess skin from my abdomen. With the surgeries, came a break in exercising and a loss of momentum.

With maintenance, as with weightloss, much of the battle is mental. The laparotomy was supposed to make me feel sexy and vibrant again. What it did was emphasize (to me anyway) the excess skin on my legs, arms, neck and other places. To my inner eye, I was an utter failure and had failed to re-make myself in spite of a 160# weight loss. In other words, I gave up.

I gained back about 40# over the next 8 years, then my late husband got sick. For the next 26 months I literally lived in hospitals eating hospital food, fast food and sitting at my husband's bedside. I gained an additional 90-100# back putting me almost back to my starting weight.

Over the next 8 years I yo-yo'd 20-40# once or twice/year. Last August (2012) I got serious again. I decided that I would never do this again.

With the help of Sparkpeople and some intense focus, I lost 136#and passing my original "final" goal, then 2 more "final goals" before settling where I am now. With Sparkpeople, I have learned to accept who I am. I am not EVER going to have a firm 25 year old's body! I am a 56 year old grandmother.

Maintenance is becoming as comfortable as dieting and the fluctuations are becoming less alarming.

As a teen, I remember my aunt, who always wore a size 9 and weighed 110# would gain 5# so she would cut down on her calories for a day or two and be right back where she started.. Aunt Marcella would eat 5 or 6 times daily. She would get up to oatmeal or an egg and toast with 2 slices of bacon. Then after scrubbing floors by hand and doing her morning chores she would take a break for a snack. Usually she had freshly baked pie or a chocolate cake or gooey chocolate chip cookies. She would have a small portion, leaving the pie crust or the cake icing on the plate.

Lunch would be half a sandwich and a small handful of chips. Afternoon snack would be a chunk of cheese and a couple of crackers with maybe a few grapes. Dinner was a roast or other meat with potatoes (Hey! We are from the midwest!) and a couple of veggies. There was popcorn for a bedtime snack.

My point is, if we want to be thin, we need to live like thin people do! I now weigh daily. When the scales show that I am up a pound or two, I review my diet.If I have stayed in my range and on plan, I don't alter my course. If I have been eating a bit more than usual, I decrease my calories by 100 or 200 for a day or two, then I am back to my goal weight.

With Sparkpeople, I know that I will continue my healthy lifestyle and my healthy weight. I have the support here, the experts to ask when I have a question and the tools necessary to monitor myself.

Today I am thankful for Sparkpeople!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I had the same problem with WW all those years ago. There wasn't anybody that knew how to teach maintenance. I put the weight back on quickly. With the help and support of Spark I still used the old WW to lose again, but have learned how to maintain! Thank you for sharing your story.

    1060 days ago
    1060 days ago
    So true! The spark can't blaze with the same intensity everyday, but with fuel and oxygen on a consistent basis, it will continue to burn and that is what maintenance is all about.
    1061 days ago
    What a great plan and how true of life in the Midwest! I come to Spark daily for the support and inspiration as no one understand like those living it! Thanks for the blog and keep at it, but remember you've always been beautiful!
    1061 days ago
  • BABARR67
    I have an aunt just like yours, cept she is from California so would eat salads and such. LOL. I remember her visiting us in Buffalo and bringing her own salad with her bc when she was up a few pounds she would not stray from her plan. It did not matter that she was on vacation. I am not sure I would go that far. I'd probably have taken the best food choices from what was offered and possibly even a piece of my grandma's cheesecake bc I'd know that I wouldn't get that again til I visited Buffalo two years in the future... LOL However I definitely see the value in nipping things in the bud and in treating weight maintenance as an ongoing journey.

    1062 days ago
    Thanks for your blog and Whoo Hoos for your amazing weight loss!! - I have been maintaining for 7 months now and as my weight tends to veer towards 3-4 pounds over my original goal weight, I will definately be trying out your minus 200 calories mode for a few days next week!
    1063 days ago
    Thank you! Great blog!

    I have been maintaining for the past 15 months. It is easier than the weight-loss was, but it does require me to pay attention, weigh in and alter my eating habits. I weigh in once/week and record my weight online to keep me honest.

    Thanks again!
    1063 days ago
    I'm still struggling with maintenance, after more than a year! In my mind, I truly believe that I have learned how to eat the right portions and to take in enough exercise, and that I shouldn't have to keep tracking them. Yet, every time I stop tracking, I eventually begin to put on a pound here, a pound there. Then I start tracking again and hit goal.

    My new goal is to maintain weight goal without tracking! :D
    1063 days ago
    Wow...thank you so much for sharing this. I struggle with maintaining and I have been doing it for 3 years...sometime I just want to scream at the stress of it all, but, no...I just go for a run and alls well in my world.

    This is a brilliant write up. Thank you
    1064 days ago
  • _LINDA
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    So glad you have finally found the balance and peace and solved the puzzle of successful maintaining -no more yo yo!
    Very well done!
    1064 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your plan. I'm just beginning maintenance (again), and I hope I can be as successful as you've been. emoticon emoticon
    1064 days ago
    Congratulations on reaching a goal weight you can live with. I agree with you we have to live like a thin person. Eat smaller meals and move more. I am a little older than you and have reached my goal too. I walk my little dog Dusty three to four times a day. You are awesome. Keep up working out and eating well. Linda from bean town emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1064 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Congrats on your weight loss and the lessons that you have learned along the way. You have a great attitude and you are so right, Spark teaches you how to maintain after you lose. One of the most valuable teaching points there is to have!
    Keep up the great work. Way to go!
    1064 days ago
    Wise words! We won't ever look like 20-year-olds again after we have kids and years of mileage on our bodies - including the sad neglect we put them through part of that time. What we CAN have is a healthy and fit body that supports us and enables us to do what we need to do. We can be and feel attractive, and we can maintain this time! You've touched a chord with all of us.
    1064 days ago
    Great blog! You inspired me. I can so relate to having made it to goal for ten minutes, and then letting the stresses of life overwhelm me and put all those pounds back on. I think you're right about the scale. It's one thing I've realized—I need that reality check every day. I can't trust what I see in the mirror, or even the way my clothes fit. It's too easy to fool myself. The scale is my friend!
    1064 days ago
  • THOMS1
    Great Blog. I am very close to maintenance and still learning. I now weigh daily as I can finally accept the fluctuations which is a big step for me. I wish you continued success. emoticon
    1064 days ago
    Ahhhh. Wise Grandma! The glory of getting older is having acceptance, courage, and wisdom. I have been in maintenance for 7 years and that is my strategy exactly. Your aunt had it right and so do you. Hooray for us all!
    1064 days ago
    1064 days ago
    I loved this blog! Thank you for writing it! I also weigh daily and I know I wouldn't be able to accept the fluctuations if I hadn't learned my lessons well from Spark People. The weight I gain now is and always will be temporary! Thank you sparkpeople for setting me free.
    1064 days ago
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    1064 days ago
    Thank you so much for such a wonderful blog. A great blog to read this Thanksgiving day.
    I am so thankful for sparks folks like you who take the time to express themselves here.
    Have a wonderful day.
    1064 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That was a great blog. You have worked you way into a healthy life. You are an inspirational success story! Yay for Spark people. I know you will maintain that loss!
    1064 days ago
    Great blog! You've got this maintenance thing down now.
    I also weigh daily. I expect fluctuations, but if the trend is up, up, up, I want to be aware of it and honestly reevaluate.

    Daily fluctuations aren't depressing to me, but double digit weight gain definitely is.

    Congratulations on your achievement and your attitude.
    1064 days ago
    Congrats on a great blog! Deserves to be highlighted by the At Goal &... Team. Congrats on all your success.
    1064 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    you definitely have a good plan going! you are so motivating and inspiring! have a great day!
    1064 days ago
    Great blog! Congratulations! I really identify with this philosophy. Since I started SP, I weighed myself daily and now I still do. It helps me remember what I need to do during the day and gives me that extra push I need at night when I tend to stray from my plan. Best wishes to you as you continue on your journey!

    1064 days ago
    I am in awe. You had so many challenges and you did it, you made great things happen. You have the mindset to maintain this new lifestyle and you have inspired me to keep on track today,

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    1064 days ago
  • MAMMAC66
    emoticon emoticon I am still six pounds away from maintenance, but this is exactly how I view it. I am learning to eat (and think) like a slim person, and keeping myself active. That's how I plan to keep the weight off. I have learned it is never to late to learn new things. I started lifting weights when I was 64, just about a year ago. I found that I love doing it. I am healthier and more fit than I have been in a long time and I plan to stay that way! emoticon
    1064 days ago
    Jean Nidetch said in her 1970 book The Story of Weight Watchers that she liked to watch how thin people ate at the dinners and events she had to attend. They just ate less. She said one woman kind of stirred her dessert around to make it look like she'd eaten some, but didn't actually eat any of it. We all assume that naturally thin people eat the way we want to eat but it never shows. They eat less. We may have to weigh and measure (the lessons of WW) but so what? I'm like your aunt now. I weigh myself every day and just cut back a little if I see an upward tick. If I do it right away, it just isn't that big a deal. WW is an amazing program in that it made me feel like it was OK to have to watch my food intake carefully for the rest of my life. I, too, am a Grandma, though over 60 now, and I'll never look like a young model, but so what? I'm thin. Thank you WW!!
    1064 days ago
    This is JUST what I needed to read.

    thank you.

    1064 days ago
    So happy for you! As another "over-50" we're here to show menopause doesn't have to equate to pounds. Let's rock!
    1064 days ago
    Very interesting blog! Congrats to you on your success and your sane maintenance plan! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    PS I also find that weighing myself daily helps me in maintenance. I have a five pound goal range, and if I find myself at the top of it, it's time to start pulling back. It helps a lot, I think. This is the first time I've maintained for over a year. I could never figure out WW maintenance when I was on it! emoticon
    1064 days ago
    Super blog. Must of us have weight loss down pat: we've done it so many times! But it's the weight maintenance that's essential: and monitoring to catch weight creep fast is a necessary strategy.
    1064 days ago
    Of course it's possible to do it later in life, and you are living proof. I started my own journey at 68 and reached it at 71.
    1064 days ago
  • TORTISE110
    I really like your blog and share your philosophy. If we want to be thin, we have to live like a thin person. Seems so simple! LOL But we know it's worth it too. Thanks for posting this and I look forward to seeing it awarded it's due!!
    1065 days ago
    emoticon emoticon you are an inspiration emoticon
    1065 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring and the message about how to maintain is very important to me because like you I learned how to lose, but not how to maintain the loss. You are emoticon emoticon
    1072 days ago
    Please still be here when I get to maintenance.
    1074 days ago
    Thank you for sharing your story, as it spoke to how part of my life has been. I know everybody is different, as we are all unique individuals, but sometimes we do live parallel lives with others, which is where I see you and me.

    It used to be hard to look back, but NO LONGER! I've embrace every bit of me and the way I've looked through my life. I own up to it, and I realize that I did this to myself. However, I now have one supreme being, GOD, who's in my corner, and He's the one who sent me to this site, along with the entire SP family. I'm thankful for each and every one of you, and I pray that everybody has the success that they're working toward, by His Grace.

    Be blessed,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1074 days ago
    WOW!! What a great story! You should be so proud of yourself! Thanks for sharing!!
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    1074 days ago
    I learned a lot from WW about eating healthy and losing weight. But never got how to do maintenance so like you the weight came back. It sounds like you have come to a place where you can accept what maintaining looks like and make it a part of your life. It really helps to read your story to continue to figure out the issues and strategies for long term success. Thank you for posting.
    1074 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/18/2013 12:13:04 PM
    You have a good plan going. You're such an inspiration and are definitely one of those people who rekindle the inner Spark in others!!

    Way to go!
    1074 days ago
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