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5 Surprises After 5 Years of Maintenance


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What can I say about 5 years of maintaining an 80 pound weight loss after more than 5 decades of being overweight or obese? I've already said so much. In "Please Read This Blog If You've Gained Back Weight Before," I credit Super Foods, increased cardio, and most importantly the mindset to "quit quitting" as my keys to maintenance success. www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
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I still believe every word of this blog.

In "How I Found My Inner Jock" I tell about my foray into running after years of gradually evolving from couch potato status:
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Running has helped me. I love it. But I know that successful maintenance is probably 80% food and 20% activity. During time of injury or limited activity for any reason, I can still maintain by focusing on food. I feel best, though, if I get in my activity!!

What can I add at this 5 year milestone? Well, I am really surprised about a lot of things.

1. First surprise: I have kept off 80 pounds. Honestly, I did not think I could do it. And that lack of confidence scared me. I read that having confidence in your ability to maintain is important to success. I knew I wasn't confident, so I worked to try to build confidence. Earning trophies here at SparkPeople, blogging about small successes, acknowledging and savoring compliments from 3D friends and SparkFriends, celebrating minor victories all helped me gain confidence.

2. Second surprise: It still isn't easy. It takes a daily (or more often) commitment. And the hardest day to make that commitment is when I messed up the day before. I know those "getting back on track" days are critical to success. I've had an hour or maybe two in the past 5 years where I gave up. But I have not had a whole day. I grab some water, do some exercise, and declare myself back to healthy living NOW.

3. Third surprise: If I honestly look at how much time I spend struggling with food issues, it is a very small percentage of my life. Given that it isn't easy, and that I'm tempted to overeat every week (actually on most days), I could envision myself obsessed with food and food thoughts. That isn't so. Usually I have a small period of time after supper when it is hard not to eat even though I know I don't need more food. That time is harder when I'm tired but can't go to bed yet or when I haven't been able to exercise. Thinking about what I really, really want helps at those times.

4. Fourth surprise: I don't have to endure much hunger. Through the Beck Diet Solution I learned that I can endure hunger. Hunger is not an emergency. However, maintenance is easier for me if I'm not hungry. If I make wise choices and eat small meals often, I have very little actual hunger. If I go to a ball park and have a hot dog on a white bun or go to a birthday party and choose to have a piece of cake I will be hungry and want to go over my calorie limits. I know it is my choice. Do I want to eat a convenience food or enjoy a treat? If so, am I willing to endure a bit of hunger?

5. Fifth surprise: I have not nailed down my healthy routines. I still don't have menu plans that I have been meaning to develop now for years. Hubby still does the grocery shopping and our kitchen is filled with whatever is on special. He is great about always getting lots of fruits and veggies. And I always have tuna in water, fat free cottage cheese, frozen plain fish like cod and tilapia, 70 calorie Boca Burgers and other low calorie protein sources so I can choose to eat something other than what he wants. I've definitely learned to be flexible. I can make my calories balance out even if a last minute decision to eat out is thrown at me. I've learned that no food can trigger me to eat if I'm feeling strong and healthy and determined. I am stronger than peanut butter. I am stronger than candy bars. I am stronger than cake. I am stronger than any food.

And it is no surprise that the support I've gotten from my SparkFriends has been a major factor in my success! As ONEKIDSMOM tells me every day, life is good. Life is precious. And to be able to live life fit is a tremendous blessing to be valued and prized!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MOMTO6CUTIES 5/14/2014 2:17PM

    Great job!! :)

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ALICIA363 4/25/2014 6:30PM

    It. Can. Be. Done.
emoticon for the hope and inspiration! Two weeks and counting...

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FLDEEZ 4/24/2014 10:46AM

    I loved this post! Thank you so much. Even though I have a lot to lose, part of my issue is that I already have a fear of regaining. I love your long term approach and strategies. I really appreciate that you took the time to share them!

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FLDEEZ 4/24/2014 10:46AM

    I loved this post! Thank you so much. Even though I have a lot to lose, part of my issue is that I already have a fear of regaining. I love your long term approach and strategies. I really appreciate that you took the time to share them!

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RENATA144 4/22/2014 11:23PM

  You are emoticon !!!
May your Blessings continue emoticon

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_CYNDY55_ 4/22/2014 10:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KEEPITSIMPLE_ 4/21/2014 12:12PM

    5 Years, WOW and Congratulations! You are a wonderful role model as well to all of us. This journey is so amazing, and I'm right behind you at 4 years today. I echo your list of surprises, and I find that as long as I remain consistent, flexible, plan, and keep my healthy routines freshened up, especially exercise, things are great. It never is "easy", but most areas come pretty naturally, although my inner brat shows up now and then in protest.

I never thought "just 10 minutes" of exercise could ever do any good, but I am so amazed at how my body has changed and now craves movement as much as possible.

My Spark journey is amazing to me, and so are my Spark friends, teammates, leaders, and so many other Sparklers that just stop by with supportive comments and don't even know me. I don't have this support at home, church or work, and It's a major part of my success this time around, and it's why I haven't left.

You are awesome!

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HOLLYM48 4/20/2014 8:51AM

    Great blog so full of honesty and wisdom and feelings that all of us experience frequently. I think one of the things that helps me the most is knowing that I am never alone here. All I have to do is reach out to anyone here and they would have my back in an instant! Congrats on all your success and all we can do is take it one day at a time. I think all of us who have been overweight and know how easy it is to get there are afraid that one day we will be back there but we know how to eat differently now and I know that all the food I use to eat will never be eaten again in the amounts that I used to be able to eat them. Confidence is hard but we can do it one day at a time I am sure. Keep up the excellent work, you are such an inspiration to me and so many others. You are doing awesome. Congrats on 5 yrs of maintenance and here is to many more years of success!

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CHANGINGHORSES 4/20/2014 7:03AM

    You are truly an inspiration!
Great blog!
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OHMEMEME 4/19/2014 8:30AM

    AWESOME, HONEST, SO TRUE, and living proof that it is ALL POSSIBLE! Thanks for sharing. I will take your information, inspiration, and motivation and move forward. Congrats on 5yrs and 80 lbs! Keep Sparking! emoticon

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HAKAPES 4/19/2014 2:55AM

    Very inspirational, thank you for sharing!
And congratulations for the way you live your life!

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SWEATERHATS 4/18/2014 8:48PM

    Thank you so much for the blog recommendation. I am struggling with a re-gain of almost 100 pounds. So good to see someone who has been successful!

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KIMBERLY_Y 4/18/2014 7:13AM

    You are the WOMAN! I love your points about what you learned. I found myself nodding along as I continued to read about your success. Congratulations on five years! I truly hope I can celebrate that milestone some day. Best wishes for continued success! emoticon

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MJREIMERS 4/17/2014 11:06PM

    Wise words from a wise woman!

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MAREE1953 4/17/2014 9:41PM

    emoticon

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SUSIEMT 4/17/2014 8:58PM

    WOW! Congrats on your five years Maintaining! Keep up the great job!

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LESLIELENORE 4/17/2014 2:13PM

    emoticon

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NYCALIGIRL 4/17/2014 12:47PM

    oh my gosh this is awesome, very inspiring and made my day thank you! emoticon

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IAMAGEMLOVER 4/17/2014 11:25AM

    emoticon Very inspirng blog. emoticon for posting.

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FELINA 4/17/2014 11:12AM

    emoticon
Great, motivating blog! Thank you for sharing with us.

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on 5 years maintaining!
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FAIRHAVENQUEEN 4/17/2014 10:26AM

    Thanks for this very encouraging blog! I am not always stronger than candy bars, but getting right back on track after a small indulgence is so much better than letting it turn into a large, lengthy indulgence like I used to do. I am so impressed that you started running when you did. I am too chicken to run, not wanting to incur injuries, but I LOVE being so active now. Helps so much to curb the urge to eat! Thanks for sharing!

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PACKERMANN 4/17/2014 10:09AM

    Good for you!!
thanks for sharing your surprises.
Pat

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NELLJONES 4/17/2014 8:10AM

    I also have noticed that the amount of time I spend agonizing really isn't all that much time. It just takes up so much energy it just FEELS like it fills my life.

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TORTISE110 4/17/2014 8:09AM

    CONGRATULATIONS! What a milestone, and as a runner you sure pile those up. It is impressive that you got to running later in life and have made it such a part of your life. I hope you celebrate and enjoy your great success! emoticon

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LOSINGLISA 4/17/2014 6:57AM

    Congrats on your 5 years! Thanks for such an inspiring and motivating blog! emoticon

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BESSHAILE 4/17/2014 6:38AM

    Oh my! I know those surprises!

Now all I need is to get in 4 more years and I will have followed in your footsteps!

So happy for you. And I still beam whenever I see this butterfly photo. Makes me happy all day.

congratulations

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GABY1948 4/17/2014 5:08AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

You are such an amazing inspiration to all of us....and you remind us that WE can do it too! emoticon

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WENDYANNE61 4/17/2014 4:08AM

    A wonderful, encouraging blog - I am celebrating 1 year at maintenance today, so it was lovely to read how you have got on over the last five years! Congratulations!

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NEW-CAZ 4/17/2014 2:56AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DSJB9999 4/17/2014 2:47AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

You look amazing and thank you for your tips of how we can all achieve the wonderful changes you have made, what an inspiration to us all! emoticon

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DAWNDMOORE40 4/17/2014 12:41AM

    emoticon for sharing your success with us! I too have been on Spark People for five years and have maintained emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon a weight loss of 56 lbs! Your right when you talk about having good days and bad days! I too began running, but the most I have been able to run without hurting is a 5k! I don't know if I will be able to ever run a marathon, but it feels good to know I can get out there and run and feel better about myself! I wish you a bright future and I hope you win many more awards!

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ECCOVISION1 4/16/2014 10:22PM

    Wonderful blog! emoticon emoticon

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MICKEYH 4/16/2014 9:56PM

    I agree with peanut butter things. I do need to work on that too. Thanks for sharing a great blog.

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DDOORN 4/16/2014 9:56PM

    What a Spark SuperStar! Your accomplishments are ALL so IMPRESSIVE, but for me your ability overcome "trigger" foods...just WOW!

Don

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LESLIESENIOR 4/16/2014 9:31PM

    Great Blog!!!!! Great "surprises"! Thank you for sharing your success.
I have 7 years of a 60 pounds loss and you are right, it is a daily vigilance. But it is wonderful and worth it!
Congratulations and Spark On! emoticon

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KANOE10 4/16/2014 9:21PM

    Great blog. That is a wonderful success story. I identify with many of your comments. It is a daily process. I am also more prone to old habits when I am tired.

You are an inspiration to all of us. 5 years and 80 pounds is incredible.



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PEZMOM1 4/16/2014 9:11PM

    emoticon

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DALID414 4/16/2014 8:58PM

    'I am stronger than peanut butter.' I giggled at this, but I need to be stronger than, too.

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MOMMY445 4/16/2014 8:55PM

    you are such an inspiration to the whole SP community! have a wonderful day!

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THOMS1 4/16/2014 8:49PM

    emoticon on your five years and emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 4/16/2014 8:12PM

    Of course I already "liked" this great blog but wish I could "like" it again!! I'm hoping it will become the "popular blog" post it so richly deserves to be, so that lots and lots of people can benefit from the SLENDERELLA wisdom here!!

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GLORIAMAJDI 4/16/2014 7:58PM

    Thank you for sharing this bit of inspiration - I had a great light bulb moment when you talked of not having to endure hunger. I too eat small meals often and I am NOT hungry. But sometimes I am and now it makes me think, those treats are not filling, don't give me any nutrition and I will be HUNGRY soon! Congrats on five years!

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MBTEPP 3/25/2014 3:08PM

    Congratulations! on emoticon

Knowing one's weaknesses is part of the success!

Kudos to 5 year, and 50 more.

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_LINDA 3/21/2014 7:53PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
I had read this amazing summary and couldn't believe I hadn't commented on it!! Duh!! Clicked on the like button and forgot to comment, no wonder I couldn't remember what I said, like a senior moment.
You have inspired so many with your journey!
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for being a emoticon emoticon

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JANEWATKINS 3/17/2014 10:53AM

    Thanks, Marsha. Wonderful advice. I REALLY fell off the wagon after the Parkinson's diagnosis. Why? Not sure, but I'm up about 12 pounds this morning. Will get back in the saddle. Have gone all morning on a healthy breakfast. One meal at a time, huh?
Thanks for being my friend.
Jane

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BOOKAPHILE 3/14/2014 2:10PM

    I don't think there will ever be a time when we aren't surprised by something related to our maintenance journey. You have made great progress and are an encouragement to so many of us. Thanks for reminding us that such surprises are normal and still require our effort to push through.

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WIZKEY 3/14/2014 2:00PM

    Love this blog and congratulations on 5 years maintaining!!! I am going to remember: I am STRONGER than the food that is tempting me!!

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AQUAGIRL08 3/13/2014 5:20PM

    Wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing!

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TERI-RIFIC 3/13/2014 7:23AM

    Thank you for the very valuable insight and information! I'll be referring to this as I progress with my weight loss. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEXGAL1 3/12/2014 12:21PM

    I so love how you put it. I share all of your points. Thank you for putting this all down and sharing with us.
Have a terrific day.
Sallie

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