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9/8/11 12:41 P

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I found the maintenance ticker too, now I just have to find some place to put my goal weight.....signature line feels ok! On to edit!

Bonita
Just north of Toronto, Canada

"Are we there yet?"


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9/8/11 12:37 P

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Love the ticker!!! I have my goal weight number as part of my signature line. You could put your total loss or original goal there too. As a tool, I like the maintenance bounce as my own personal reminder.

Nell
Reston, Virginia

No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/8/11 12:29 P

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Wow, when did that happen? Where did that ticker come from?

This rocks!

As far as showing how far we've come and how long we've been here, as Nell points out there are options like putting text in your signature, or even using your profile pic like I do.

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/8/2011 (12:39)
Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

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BAILEYS7OF9's Photo BAILEYS7OF9 SparkPoints: (126,082)
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9/8/11 12:14 P

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Okay, so I was all excited about the maintenance bar and changed it and then changed back.

I DON'T LIKE IT.

I does not give your current weight or where you were from initially. to me, I believe showing how much weight you have lost is just as important as maintaining that weight. I would like BOTH to show... like a history bar and the maintenance bar.

For me, I contacted people based on if they were near my weight or my weight loss amount to see how they did it. i have people contact me for the same reason. So to just show the maintain bar, I feel is loosing part of what is special on SP.

JMHO





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MIRAGE727's Photo MIRAGE727 SparkPoints: (188,173)
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9/6/11 4:28 P
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As long as I have my Sparkfriends, I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing and always striving for 100% effort in spite of the SP effort towards "us!". I'm not going to get into semantics. I'm doing just fine.
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Monty, Team Leader
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JONNYSMOMMY's Photo JONNYSMOMMY SparkPoints: (32,117)
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9/6/11 12:54 P

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Hi Everyone,
Thought I would bite on this topic. I have been around SP since 2007 and started trying to get healthy toward the end of 2006. My life has changed pretty dramatically since I first started out. I simply don't have the same amount of time to contribute toward a website as I once did. This is definitely reflected in how well (or not) that I have maintained. I have grown to love exercise and continue to set new goals for myself (just finished my 1st 1/2 ironman triathlon). The food thing though seems to escape me at times. Short story is that I love to eat out and do not always make good choices. I have put back on 10-15 lbs that I would like to see go away, so maybe I'm not really a maintainer. Anyway, long story short, I think it comes down to paying attention and continuing to use the tools spark offers when we get off track. I don't know that there is a ton of difference between those looking to lose and those looking to maintain.

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9/5/11 12:46 P

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Great thread! I agree that height does play a role in how we lose/gain, show and sometimes, think about it. I'm 5'8" and my range is 135-140 lbs. My oldest daughter is 5'3" and is very muscular. She plays on a premier soccer team. Even though she is very healthy and fit, she still gets hung up on the scale. I try to tell her that muscle weighs more, but she is a typical 16 year old and can be really obsessive at times. She is a vegetarian, Lacto-ova, and eats well.

I personally only weigh in weekly or I'd become too obsessed with the scale, too. I don't own a scale and weigh in at work on Fridays.

As for the maintenance part, I think this is the best part of SparkPeople. What we are doing right now. Supporting each other, getting new ideas, and giving advice!

Thanks to all the maintainers!

~Mako~


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NELLJONES's Photo NELLJONES SparkPoints: (228,262)
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9/4/11 10:34 P

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Let's hear it for the short people!! My 5'10" sister can gain or lose 10 pounds and you can't even see it. For me, 3 pounds and people comment. Bounce ranges are pretty narrow when you are short. They say 3 pounds above or below is "range" but that's 6 pounds, which is two dress sizes for me. At 5'4" I have to stay on top of it every day.

Nell
Reston, Virginia

No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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GUITARWOMAN's Photo GUITARWOMAN SparkPoints: (70,542)
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9/4/11 9:45 P

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This is a great topic!

brief deomgraphics--5 feet 1 inch tall, maintaining at 110-111 pounds for about a year, lost on WW points system and quite as the points plus did not work for maintaiinig, at least for short, small people like me.

I think SparkPeople does have more to offer about maintenance than WW, but I would like even more, especially a maintenance tracker where you could put your preferred weight range.

I have to weigh (food and myself), track everything, and do a lot of exercise to maintain, and I expect it will be like this for the rest of my life. If I stop I'll gain. I am so short that if I even look at food I gain!

I view myself as regulating my weight and using the usual tools I am comfortable with to do so.

Bonita
Just north of Toronto, Canada

"Are we there yet?"


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9/4/11 4:12 P

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ONEKIDSMOM--I LOVE what you wrote! I'm fairly new @ maintaining, but I have to say that it's not much different for me than losing. I'm doing the exact same things. And to me it's a healthy mindset vs. a lose weight mindset. Is the apple or the oreo going to give me what I need? Unfortunately for me [or maybe that's fortunate] if I choose the oreo, I'm not satisfied with ONE or TWO or…you get the point; however, if I choose something that is giving my body nutrients, I'm satisfied with that apple and it's got a whole lot less calories and no fat! You also said, "life happens". Now you have hard choices to make between throwing your health and fitness out the window and giving the current crisis your all... or somehow finding a balance." I love this and I LOVE your phases! What is a person going to do???? LOVE IT!!!!!

HOUNDLOVER1--I LOVED what you said about exercise! This is SO, SO key for me! I went 2 months with little consistency due to being busy and having a painful knee from hitting it--well, that was NOT good for me mentally or physically! You also said, "Temptations we face are extreme sometimes warranting a very strong support system to stay healthy." OH, I could not agree with you more! We need the constant encouragement, and I for one, find a lot of that on my teams, even if those people are still losing vs. maintaining. You also said, "I do not feel neglected because I choose to focus on what I can do, not what others do for me." I honestly feel this way too. But I feel INCREDIBLY blessed in return with constant support and encouragement. I LOVE your 'proactive' approach! When I sit back in the 'waiting' mode, I seem to always get disappointed, but when I set out to give back [pay it forward] for all I've been given, I inevitably have my cup filled to overflowing.

4A-HEALTHY-BMI--I've put in all my recipes and then weighed the total amt. of grams/ounces and that's how I do my bread. I made 100% whole wheat bread [we grind it] and I made a whole batch of dough--weighed the entire batch and then and put that many ounces in the nutritional tracker. Now when I slice a piece of bread, I simply weigh the slice and track accordingly. It's been extra work at times, but TOTALLY worth it for me. I like tracking, and it keeps me honest! emoticon You also said, "It's just so tragic that people can get the weight off but they don't seem to be able to keep it off…" I find this heartbreaking too! And I've done it MANY times!!!! I think it's keeping vigilant and never quitting. I wrote something on my blog today that addresses that: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
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nal_individual.asp?blog_id=4465808


SLINDERELLA61 said, "SparkPeople has some great tools. The fitness tracker is awesome, too, and all the trophies and points help me keep motivated." I SO agree with you! And even at maintenance [actually I've changed my goal now and I am trying to lose a little more so I can be more in the middle of normal BMI] I STILL delight in all the trophies and trying to beat my fitness goals, and so on. I think that maintainers have to keep EXCITED about the ongoing journey.

BREWMASTERBILL said, "Here is an idea, do not consider it maintenance, consider it weight control. You started controlling your weight when you began losing. You're still controlling your weight today." I LOVE this, Bill! PERFECT attitude and I'm going to adopt that phrase! Thank you! You also said, "I don't believe you're doomed. I think you're putting a lot more effort into it than a 'normal' person who has reached their goal weight. And that is probably the key." I couldn't agree with you more! We HAVE to put effort into it for the REST of our lives! That's what we have to do with everything else, why not our bodies! We maintain our vehicles! We don't just buy a vehicle and say, "Okay, we're done…we bought it and now we don't have to do anything else" HA! We may wish that, but the reality is we have to FILL it with gas, change the oil, wash and vacuum it, etc.! The same with our bodies! We don't quit this process until we take our last breath!!!!

This was just OUTSTANDING and stimulating thoughts! Thank you so much for starting this thread, I thoroughly enjoyed everyone's thoughts.

Susan--wife to Dennis and mom to 8 super blessings.

"You either sacrifice today to reach tomorrow's goals, or you give up your dreams in favor of the fleeting comfort that's distracting you." Dave Griffin

"I'm a simple Jesus girl on a journey to finding deeper motivation than just a number on my scale for getting and staying healthy." Lysa Terkeurst


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9/4/11 12:10 P
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I agree with you, Birgit, in that food SHOULD be enjoyed. I expect a gain when I overdo, and I don't let it panic me, I get right back on track. My past history tells me I've been in THIS space before, too, and still hit a huge relapse, so still not sure I completely trust it, but I'm enjoying every minute of it, and praying that the grace of maintenance and putting myself and my health as a priority remains.

Somthing about "this time" makes it feel that way... but I never say never!

emoticon emoticon emoticon Spark on!

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Max lifetime weight 224.5

Maintaining with 122 marked as "goal" since October 2010


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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,259
9/4/11 11:13 A

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I've been in all the phases that you describe so well many times. For the past year or so I have to say that I'm not sure that any of the phases describe me accurately any more. I'm thinking/feeling this out as I write so this may not all be in any logical order. I know I have not felt guilty for eating or for my weight or for a lack of exercise in a very long time (at least a year for the eating/weight, shorter for the exercise).
When stuff happens (good or bad)I still sometimes go to food for comfort and I definitely celebrate with food but it does not last very long, maybe for a few days at most over Christmas. This does lead to some weight fluctuations of 5-6 lbs. up or down. The last time it happened that my weight went up 5 lbs. I remember thinking: I used to get really worried at this point. But I know now what to do: eat lots of the GOOD stuff (I can still eat a lot) and do lots of the exercise I enjoy. Also, I really enjoy every bite of those yummy tastes. I think the true enjoyment I get from healthy food and being able to enjoy it completely guilt-free because it is all natural and largely organic ingredients allows me to get out of the down-spirals so much faster.
The biggest problem that remains for me is definitely putting myself first whenever I need to. Otherwise the stress of doing too much will cut into my exercise time or my food prep time forcing me to rely on too many restaurant or processed foods and those are still depriving my body of the nutrients it needs, even if they are organic. They also cost more money than I can afford.
Time to get out there and walk my dogs. emoticon

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 9/4/2011 (11:22)
You can talk to God all you want and that's great, but the changes happen when you start listening to him.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.




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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/4/11 9:39 A

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LOL thanx. I'm in "Phase 3" at the moment.
emoticon

Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

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NELLJONES's Photo NELLJONES SparkPoints: (228,262)
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9/4/11 9:30 A

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I think those phases you describe are the reason that research has shown that maintainers do best with daily weighing. There is nothing like a number you don't like to jolt you into something. What that something is, for me, is going back to the old, reliable basics. I am eternally grateful that I lost my weight on WW long ago (waaaay before points) and got their exchange program pounded into me until it was part of my DNA.

And one of the things about being short is that 3 pounds is a dress size, so I don't have a lot of room to move around. My identity is grounded in being the "short skinny lady", and I can't lose it without losing myself.

Nell
Reston, Virginia

No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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ONEKIDSMOM's Photo ONEKIDSMOM Posts: 7,231
9/4/11 9:18 A
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By the way, congrats on your profile pick bumping up 5 pounds! emoticon

My phase 1 is kind of where I've topped out and I tend to fluctuate in a five pound range at the top of wherever I got to "this time through the hoops". I hope never to be there again, but to remain in phase 5, making the hard choices, and returning NOT to phase 0 or 1, but back to the joyful phase 4 instead!

We can do this... we can be part of that 5% or 6% that succeed in keeping it off. We need only to learn and hold to the lessons the process has taught us.

emoticon

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Max lifetime weight 224.5

Maintaining with 122 marked as "goal" since October 2010


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/4/11 8:54 A

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I think the most damage occurs for me in what you describe as "Phase 1." It's in that state that most of my regain seems to happen. I can sit around for an astonishingly long time in that weird limbo of dissatisfaction with my fitness but not upset enough by it or keyed into it enough to actually DO something about it. That for me is where external motivators can really help.

I think what you call "overloading the camel" is what I call "dividing the focus" and it's what happened when I jumped into triathlon training before working out what it means to maintain.

The one thing that is different between this most recent attempt to get and keep the weight off is that I have not allowed "Phase 0" to happen. I've been close but never really just jumped in there altogether. That's where the "Never, ever, EVER give up!" comes in.

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/4/2011 (08:57)
Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

Media
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-me
dia


Weight chart
tinyurl.com/4A-HEALTHY-BMI-graph

Blogs
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Maintenance Info
tinyurl.com/maintenance-links

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ONEKIDSMOM's Photo ONEKIDSMOM Posts: 7,231
9/4/11 8:24 A
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The biggest single predictor of relapse is not the initial indulgence, it is "Continuing the trend".

I have historically done my analysis of the phases of the process of relapse / re-loss, re-working fitness, and it picks up where yours ends. (By the way, I've never broken the relapse down quite so well as you have...)

Phase 0 is in total relapse and disgusted with myself.

Phase 1 is a waiting state I have called "patiently waiting for motivation to kick in". During this phase I'm mourning over how much work I know it is going to take, because I've done it before. I start hanging out around others who are either working on it or already fit, gaining motivation from their examples.

Phase 2 is totally charged up and starting in. Not telling anyone, picking the program, motivating myself.

Phase 3 is the day-in, day-out losing process. This is a workmanlike project. It has to include taking care to side-step the inevitable days when I don't do so well, and recovering quickly... eye on the prize.

Phase 4 is having reached the level of fitness, taking joy in it. This is true maintenance. It's also when people quit cheering your losses and if you are in it for applause, you start taking on more and more athletic goals. If you are not careful with this phase, you can end up putting that extra straw on your fit camel's back, and thus setting you up for phase 5... the start of the great downward slide.

Phase 5: "life happens". This can come in the form of injury, death in the family, job schedule change or promotion, marriage, birth of a child/grandchild, moving, illness (of self or loved one), you name it: "life happens". Now you have hard choices to make between throwing your health and fitness out the window and giving the current crisis your all... or somehow finding a balance. This is the phase I have the most trouble with... and it hit me a few times in the middle of the losing process this time, but I somehow managed to change my mind-set to NOT toss the health out the window!

In Phase 5, when "life happens", you can choose to NOT go back to phase 0. But only if you haven't overloaded that camel! Those who succeed in maintaining long term, I am convinced have found a way to master dealing with life while keeping their health and fitness at the top of the priority list.

That is my goal as a maintainer: to keep my balance. And I will use whatever tools I can find, including my daily blogging, coming here, talking with others, reading inspirational articles, etc. ANYTHING to keep me motivated to take care of me.

For some people that's intellect and statistics. For others it is social. For me, it's giving up perfectionism but remaining vigilant! And I feel as though every time I have gone through the phases I have taken more lessons away. Another favorite tag line of mine: "It's never the SAME ten pounds."

Maintenance is the real trick. It's where life happens. Life has been happening all along... live it, and Spark On! emoticon emoticon

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Max lifetime weight 224.5

Maintaining with 122 marked as "goal" since October 2010


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/4/11 7:50 A

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My experience is more like Barb's.

There is a slippery slope I start sliding down, and when that happens I sometimes need external reinforcement to help catch myself and reverse the trend. That's where staying engaged and vigilant with people is so helpful (either online or face-2-face).

You're absolutely right that folks in the process of "checking out" aren't likely to subject themselves to research! LOL

For me it seems to go something like this:

1) Feeling self-indulgent for some external reason (like stress) or internal reason (TOM)
2) Eating a bit more than usual, usually tracking it. This is when my inability to read hunger versus other eating triggers really is a problem.
3) Telling myself that its OK to lighten up on the reins, and anyway, the scale hasn't moved (much)
4) Continuing the trend and sometimes not tracking the extra food until the scale has moved perceptibly up but the clothes are still fitting
5) Continuing the trend until the scale has definitely moved and the clothes are a little tight, but I'm still in denial about what is happening
6) At some point some of the clothes stop fitting well enough to wear out of the house and denial is no longer an option. At this point reality sets in, but by this point I've gained at least 10 lbs. And I'm unhappy and ashamed about it. And kicking myself for letting it happen, AGAIN.

It all happens so gradually and the power of self-delusion is so strong that without the external clues of 1) the tracking lapses and caloric increase and 2) the scale going up, I wouldn't even know it is happening. And the disease is such that sometimes I don't even CARE about those clues. This is where interacting with a community of supportive (and tough-love) buddies becomes critical. And where having external motivators like accountability challenges are so helpful for me.

I find it very interesting that Barb and I have a similar statements in our signature lines. Mine is borne out of those experiences. It is there to remind me that it doesn't matter how far gone I am when reality finally sets in. I HAVE to push myself back into the comfort zone. Giving up is not an option. Period.

Hers: Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Mine: Never, ever, EVER give up!



Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

Media
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-me
dia


Weight chart
tinyurl.com/4A-HEALTHY-BMI-graph

Blogs
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-in
dex


Maintenance Info
tinyurl.com/maintenance-links

Goal 155 +/- 3%


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ONEKIDSMOM's Photo ONEKIDSMOM Posts: 7,231
9/4/11 6:09 A
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This mistrust of our ability to listen to our bodies as opposed to measuring is based in personal experience, in many cases, Birgit! In my case, I might start out that way, and be on auto-pilot for healthy eating throughout the week, but the ability to read other things as hunger (self-deceived) is strong, and I've regained over 50 pounds multiple times.

For a truly compulsive eater (like myself), the solution may be different than for someone who does not have the addictive genes related to foods. Seriously, you *have* done several of the OA kinds of abstinance things in eliminating sugar, alochol and coffee, having identified the things that give you trouble. In my case, carbonated beverages being eliminated is part of my solution.

I can go several days without tracking by following the basic principles, but I come back. Is it just a security blanket? Maybe... and maybe it is a reality check... because without it, the voice of the disease gets stronger.

This topic has certainly taken an interesting twist from the original "tools" for maintainers. I agree that there are different reasons why people stop using websites like this: you bring up the positives... someone used it to get themselves back into healthy habits and went on. I've lived the other... someone tosses in the towel, returns to not tracking, regains and feels rather sheepish coming back.

My hope now is to keep coming here *even if I were to start down the slope of overeating again*! Why? Because there is another side to this: what is happening with us when we are slip-sliding away... there is something to be learned there, and nobody is doing that piece of research, because those who aren't trying, also aren't subjecting themselves to study! However, I also recognize that continuing to post and talk about it reminds me how much it means to me, and hopefully will prevent my complete relapse!

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Max lifetime weight 224.5

Maintaining with 122 marked as "goal" since October 2010


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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,259
9/4/11 2:27 A

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So many interesting posts since I last looked (this morning).
I really don't think I can control my weight but I can control how much I eat and how much I exercise. I think there is a lot of evidence that the human body is designed for a lot of exercise (at least 2-3 hours/day, ideally much more of not sitting). I have been able to eat how much I want and pretty much whatever I feel like for the last 2 years and maintain (within 10 lbs.) without scales or measuring.
I have exercised an average of 15-20 hours/week. About a third of this is walking, the rest is a mix of running, swimming, horseback riding, strength training, bicycling and whatever else I occasionally have a chance to do: roller blading, ice skating, snow shoeing, etc.
I have mostly (95% of meals) eliminated sugar, alcohol, coffee and other stimulants from my diet and I truly don't miss any of them. My favorite foods are now fruits and veggies, nuts, eggs, dairy and occasionally meat. My body will tell me when I've had enough. I eat about 80% organic fruits, veggies, nuts and eggs with the rest organic full-fat dairy and meat/fish. Last week was my birthday and I did eat three pieces of birthday cake (homemade carrot cake with reasonably healthy ingredients) that day and not much else but the next morning I was craving plain yoghurt with blueberries and nuts again.
I understand why many people feel safer monitoring their weight and calorie intake but I want to encourage everyone to start trusting their bodies more gradually. The research I've read on maintenance does not line up with my experience. I suspect that people who maintain without measuring calories, weight etc. may not continue on websites like this one because they focus on other things in life and have surrounded themselves with people who live healthy life styles and are active.
It's true that our society (USA at least) encourages us to eat junk food and sit around and watch TV or sit in front of the computer. But with the support on SP or healthy and active people around us we can do so many wonderful things that are much more satisfying than our old bad habits were.
Don't get me wrong, there are far worse things in life than having to monitor one's calories or weight for the rest of one's life but gradually, in small baby steps, letting go of the reins and allowing our bodies to self-regulate is incredibly rewarding.

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I love the idea of a maintenance ticker! That would motivate some to get to that point, in itself.

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That's a really nice image, the one of nurturing your weight / fitness.

It reminds me of the idea my spinning instructor shared once, that her goal weight was like "home" and the relief she feels to fit into her favorite clothes.

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I think it DOES get easier to keep my weight level as I go on. I think that over time I have come to consider my goal weight as more of a possession than an achievement. Like the guy across the street who lovingly pampers and waxes his Mustang every week, I cherish and care for my goal weight as one of my most prized possessions. It isn't so much that it is EASIER to walk past the Reeses, but that I know in my marrow that the desire will pass quickly if I just move on. I know absolutely that just because I don't eat pie tonite, that I can plan pie for a future day, a couple of times a year. I can't see my kids (my most favorite thing in the world) every day and I survive, why would I think I can eat pie (or Reeses or Cheetos or chips) every day just because it's easy? It would cost me dearly, and I know this so well that I will do whatever it takes to keep my possession.

That long slog to lose gave me a long view, I guess. I have no idea what will happen next in my life, I can't control so much of it, but I know I can be thin. It's the one thing over which I, and only I, have total control. It is mine, hard earned, and I cannot give it away to someone or leave it to someone in my will, no matter how much I love them. So I cherish my goal weight and polish it and hug it to myself. It is SO valuable to me!

Nell
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No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

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I don't believe you're doomed. I think you're putting a lot more effort into it than a 'normal' person who has reached their goal weight. And that is probably the key.

Like the study said, the people who interact seem to be more successful. You're interacting. It seems when you stop interacting, you "slip". I know that's not coincidence.

The article did seem to indicate that it does get easier, but that's subjective, of course. I've maintained for nearly 2 years now and I still have to watch it. That doesn't mean track every bite and weigh myself every day any more, it just means pay attention.

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BREWMASTERBILL, I do count exchanges (basic plus optionals according to the scale) and I am not freaky about measuring everything every day. But, once a year, during Lent, for the 6 1/2 weeks traditionally set aside for discipline and contemplation, I DO measure it all just as I did when I was losing. It resets my eyeballs to accuracy and reinvigorates my plan. The Bible is full of fast days, but weighing and measuring every bite or sip is as close as I get. And I think I get the same result.

Nell
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No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

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From the research I don't think we have enough evidence to say "it gets easier the longer you do it."

Since the rates of regain are so high, it's hard to know whether naturally successful maintainers are just unveiled through attrition of their peers, or whether people really do get better at maintenance over time.

Obviously I'm hoping it's the latter, otherwise I'm just doomed and so are lots of other people.
emoticon

I've been trying to implement ways to help new maintainers like me stay vigilant and engaged. (Acknowledging maintenance anniversaries, designing a maintenance-oriented challenge, and revising the team goals so they reflect scientific evidence on successful maintenance.)

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/3/2011 (17:49)
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I wasn't really looking for research, just a number if you had it. I think their line:

"Finally, dieters’ motivation may decrease after an initial weight loss;"

is probably the majority of it. This applies all along the process though. Another gem under the "predictors of weight maintenance"

"The average registry member devotes a substantial amount of time and energy to behaviors aimed at weight control."

Sounds like similar behavior to weight loss to me.

However, it seems like they have the answer to increasing probability of success. First, paying attention, time at maintenance (i.e. it gets easier the longer you do it), increased activity (60-90 mins per day, which is a little excessive imo), some sort of support group (face to face is best, internet group is second).

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I can point you to the research, if you like. I have collected plenty of papers on this. It is, unfortunately, not a very large field of research compared with the weight loss literature.

Most studies show that a majority of people reach their goal weight, and of those who do, a majority gain the weight back.

See this one as a place to start:
rimed.org/medhealthri/2009-02/2009-0
2-
53.pdf


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What percentage of people that try a diet fail before reaching their goal weight? Perhaps the argument isn't maintenance vs. losing, maybe some folks make it further along in the process than others.

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"SPs goal is to get and keep as many members as possible. In other words, you should log in to SP consistently for the rest of your life. They should be plugging that."

Yes, exactly. I can't think of any other reason for our team to have over 13,000 members and only 105 actively blogging in the last month, unless the vast majority of them lost interest and stopped coming to SP.

As I mentioned earlier for contrast, the "300 lbs. Plus" team has 5,600 members, 254 of whom wrote at least one blog post in August. We may have a lot of members, but comparatively few of them are active.

It is unfortunately very likely that around 80% of our 13,000+ gained back more than 90% of the weight they lost in the first place. And did it in less than 5 years after reaching goal. (If they are like all the other humans studied in weight maintenance research.)

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/3/2011 (16:39)
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Well said, BrewMasterBill. To maintain, one truly has to "get" that it is a life-long commitment to keep doing what works, and the tools are all here. If we were relying too much on external applause while losing, we have to adapt.

And no, I don't feel neglected... in that Spark offers far more support for maintainers than anywhere else I've ever found. Grateful for the good!

emoticon

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

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My two cents. First, I don't believe there is anything sinister at play with regard to SP and maintenance. If anything, I think they're missing an opportunity and here is why. I've noticed a pattern. When people "disappear from SparkPeople" they're far more likely than not making bad choices. I think the numbers speak for themselves (95% I think you said). SPs goal is to get and keep as many members as possible. In other words, you should log in to SP consistently for the rest of your life. They should be plugging that.

With regard to tools, they do provide the tools for maintenance. The weight ticker, the nutrition tracker, exercise tracker are all still there and should be used. And NELLJONES absolutely tore the cover off the ball here with this gem:

"I use the scale as my arbiter because it's the only thing that hasn't changed in 40 years. Sizes have changed (a size 8, 30 years ago is a size 2 today) but a pound is still a pound. I don't worry about the daily bounce, it happens, but when I am up a pound or two I just know that I have to limit my optional exchanges for the day. I still eat the 5 proteins, 6 breads, 2 milks, 2 fruits, 3 fats and 3+vegs for the day."

To me, that *IS* maintenance in action. You don't have to track every bite, you can let off the gas a little and use the scale (or body fat %) as your guide posts. When things bounce outside of your desired range, make a correction. But most of the time, make good choices anyway.

Here is an idea, do not consider it maintenance, consider it weight control. You started controlling your weight when you began losing. You're still controlling your weight today. When you don't log into SP or whatever tracker you use, you're no longer controlling your weight, plain and simple. We have to control our weight by external means because our internal mechanisms do not work well. That's not going to change.

So to sum it up, maintenance to me is a number. In the beginning, the number was there to create a deficit. I still tracked, exercised and made reasonable choices within my calorie budget. The only thing different for me is the calorie number is no longer a deficit, it's equilibrium. I still exercise, still log in to SparkPeople (it keeps my head in the game), still try and make good choices and when I'm in trouble, I track every bite.

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I think a Maintenance Ticker with an over-under weight tracking would be the best thing they could do. I think more than anything that is what makes me feel like an afterthought on Spark. Making that Maintenance Ticker part of Level 5 would make it the best Trophy ever!

Nell
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No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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SparkPeople was the first time I got meal plans especially for maintaining at the weight I want. I found that immensely helpful. I knew how to diet and I knew how to gain, but I didn't have hardly a clue about how to eat right. SparkPeople has some great tools. The fitness tracker is awesome, too, and all the trophies and points help me keep motivated.

That said, they do need a maintenance weight range instead of making it look on my ticker like I'm over goal. Or if I fluctuate under, SP wants you to reduce your goal.

I did read a SP article that said to gradually add the calories to get to maintenance, but I don't think the meal plans do that. I think it goes right from losing meal plan to maintenance meal plan when we need to gradually add those calories.

So, overall, I don't feel neglected because I can get nutrition and fitness trackers that help me. My SparkFriends are awesome and this team is great! But I do recognize that more effort to help people maintain makes sense since so few maintain. I regained my weight over and over. This time I think I have it. Thanks, SparkPeople!!

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I agree that it is incredibly tragic if people can't keep most of the weight off. I love the new challenge and think it is a great step in the right direction to get us all some answers and also some motivation. Let's keep talking about this...
Birgit

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LOL. Well, I certainly don't have all the answers, or I'd be better at this! emoticon

It's just so tragic that people can get the weight off but they don't seem to be able to keep it off...

So, yeah. I think maybe we CAN come up with some solutions, and the more angles from which we attack the problem, the better.
emoticon

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Thanks for the link. I'll take a look at those tomorrow. Maybe this a topic where we can all make a lot of difference and in a couple of years the answers will be a lot clearer and obesity will not be a common health problem in this country any more. emoticon

You can talk to God all you want and that's great, but the changes happen when you start listening to him.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.




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That is certainly an empowering viewpoint, and there seems to be a common theme of self-reliance among successful maintainers. I suspect that may be because in the current culture it takes a lot of self-reliance to succeed.

SP does have a collection of articles about emotional health. It's here: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellnes
s_
articles_list.asp?iSel=38


The high frequency of regain (95%) is what I find alarming, and I suspect that more can be done to help people stay a healthy size. What form that help could/should be seems up to debate.

As I said earlier, I personally respond well to challenges and incentives, so that is what I've been trying to build for this team. Other people may respond better to other modes of intervention. We're each wired a little differently.

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/2/2011 (18:11)
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I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I don't feel neglected at all, especially since we have this great team to encourage each other.

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I just thought of another thing that I wanted to respond to which is taking the topic of this thread more literally than it may have been meant originally:
Do you feel neglected as a maintainer (by SP or anyone else) ?
I do not feel neglected because I choose to focus on what I can do, not what others do for me. Maybe I am being neglected but that is something that I can't control (I guess I could leave SP and try to find another site if I thought that was helpful). I DO HAVE TREMENDOUS POWER TO CREATE MY OWN EXPERIENCE.
- I can talk to the people who have maintained successfully.
- I can help those people who want to maintain and need more info.
- I can share my own failures (and we all have them) from the heart to help me and others grow.
- I can do research by myself or as a team with others to come up with the best plan.
- I can experiment and see what works best for me.
- I can look at what I want to make my passion/purpose in life and how maintaining my health (and weight) is part of that.
As I focus on all the things that I can do the things that aren't so great (or downright bad) affect me much less on an emotional level. I haven't had a chance to check out what resources SP has for emotional health and balanced living but I'm sure some of it would apply to maintainers. One of my favorite books is the one by Jillian Michaels "Unlimited".

It reminds me that life is about so much more than maintaining. Maintaining (of health and weight) will be a by-product of finding and moving towards one's goals and dreams in life, not the goal.
Birgit

Edited by: HOUNDLOVER1 at: 9/2/2011 (13:29)
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@ Barb,

Oh, OK, I see what you mean. And I love moving averages for weight tracking.

And yeah, I agree the community is really important. There's something about personal relationships that really fosters accountability. That has also been documented in maintenance research, so we're not the only ones who feel that way.

@ Nell,
The whole issue of accuracy of food tracking is something I've thought about, too. In the end I usually just put a recipe in the tracker if I use it frequently. If it makes 24 muffins I just divide the total nutrients by 24. As long as they're all pretty close to the same size, I figure the calories and nutrients are close enough to right.

I control for uncertainty as much as I can by using a food scale and not volume measurements. I almost never estimate servings, etc.

And really, it's that fuzziness about "close enough" that makes me wonder; I mean, even packaged foods are allowed to be up to 10% over or under the weight stated on the front of the package.
www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&c
d=
3&ved=0CCYQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fts.R>nist.gov%2FWeightsAndMeasures%2Fuplo
ad
%2F06-LawsRegAppdxB-Pub15-04-Z.d
oc&rct
=j&q=food%20maximum%20allowa
ble%20vari
ation&ei=D9tgTu6IJJOtgQf
Cg6igAQ&usg=AF
QjCNG9f24QqKSpdC3gQ4cLFLar1-FkfA


I suspect that we can easily be off by 100 calories per day in either direction. Sometimes it amazes me that tracking food even works, given the amount of uncertainty in the numbers.

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/2/2011 (10:08)
Never, ever, EVER give up!

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I use the scale as my arbiter because it's the only thing that hasn't changed in 40 years. Sizes have changed (a size 8, 30 years ago is a size 2 today) but a pound is still a pound. I don't worry about the daily bounce, it happens, but when I am up a pound or two I just know that I have to limit my optional exchanges for the day. I still eat the 5 proteins, 6 breads, 2 milks, 2 fruits, 3 fats and 3+vegs for the day.

My problem with the nutrition tracker is how processed and restaurant food oriented it is. Yesterday I made scones from my favorite old recipe that has no nutrition info. The only choices in the nutrition tracker are branded commercial scones, which I don't think I've ever eaten. I don't want to type in every ingredient, and the end result might be off because not every scone is precisely the same. Do you really know exactly how many grams of flour or sugar or raisins are in the one scone you are eating? You can't. For me, I just pop it on my scale, and 3/4 oz is one bread exchange. So simple. And it's that simplicity that has kept me at goal.

Problem is, I can never forget to use that scale. That's why I like the community of maintainers. I Spark every day to never forget.

Nell
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No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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I did not mean to imply that I don't use the scale. I weigh daily. I use a little shareware program called Weight Commander that computes a rolling 7-day average to even out the daily fluctuations to avoid compulsion... I regularly expect to see a little variation.

What I meant was that the scale can't be the focus, the obsession, the grade! And yes, I track calories in and calories out, because that's how I know I'm eating enough but not too much. And how I recognize that even though I allow myself treats and overages from time to time... the majority of my days must be in balance.

What's important about support sites and finding other maintainers is the understanding that for some of us, with the tendency to obsess... a group of the like-minded is necessary to counter-balance that whole slick industry encouragement of our obsessive tendencies!

My thought patterns may have changed, but I don't trust their permanence without some regular reinforcement which is where Spark, my pep-talk blogs and this Spark Team in particular come in.

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Max lifetime weight 224.5

Maintaining with 122 marked as "goal" since October 2010


 current weight: -5.3  under
 
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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,259
9/2/11 1:09 A

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Barb,
I agree with what you said. The scales are in my opinion NOT helpful for maintenance. I would even say they are a hindrance. They CAN'T tell the difference between fat and muscle. Eating a lot when working out very hard is good and necessary to build muscle. Worrying about weight gain is only appropriate when not exercising (or only very little).
The only reason why I think maintainers need any support at all (like from this group) is because we live in a world that advertises processed junk and claims it's food. Temptations we face are extreme sometimes warranting a very strong support system to stay healthy. Exercise is for many not a normal part of everyday life but something one has to do in a special place (gym) with special clothing, paying money to participate. I know that unless illness keeps me from exercising I will have no trouble not gaining the weight back because I now think like a thin and active person most of the time.
Birgit

You can talk to God all you want and that's great, but the changes happen when you start listening to him.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.




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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/2/11 12:36 A

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@ Barb,

Even if you aren't using the scale to weigh yourself, you are using your fitbit to monitor other things, right? Just wondering.

I kind of need the accountability of the scale in addition to logging my food. At least I seem to at this stage of the game. I suspect I'll need it forever. But then, I like numbers and the number on the scale does not ever really surprise me or make me feel bad or good about myself. I try to use it as an early warning system. The scale usually moves before clothes start getting tight, etc.

It might be because I use physicsdiet.com to calculate a moving average. It keeps me from freaking out about minor wobbles due to water, and when I'm in plateaus, etc. As long as my daily weight is under the trend line, I know I'm losing. If it's over the trend line I know I'm gaining. Maintenance looks like bouncing around within a given range.

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/2/2011 (00:42)
Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

Media
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-me
dia


Weight chart
tinyurl.com/4A-HEALTHY-BMI-graph

Blogs
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-in
dex


Maintenance Info
tinyurl.com/maintenance-links

Goal 155 +/- 3%


254 Maintenance Weeks
 
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ONEKIDSMOM's Photo ONEKIDSMOM Posts: 7,231
9/1/11 8:11 P
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OK, I'll "weigh" in. A-hem. As someone who has lost 80 pounds, regained 70 of it, lost the 70, regained 50+, lost... etc. until finally within the past year reaching my college weight (another 20 below the original 80 pound loss... I feel somewhat qualified to address the issue. Because I've been a successful loser: several times. And a flop as a maintainer: several times.

I finally reached a point where I stopped trying to lose: my entire philosophy throughout the most recent 70 plus pound loss was one of not caring what the scale did. It was learning to feed myself properly and allow myself to be active *less* than the obessive loser did. In the end, it led to success.

I think the obsession with the scale as a determiner of success/failure gets in the way. We think we have succeeded when it reaches a certain number. While true success lies in using the scale more like a GPS... just a tool in the journey to self-care!

The weight loss industry sells us a whole boatload full of tools. Some of them are quite worthwhile, no doubt about that. Spark gives us a venue in which to connect with one another. To me, this is the most powerful spur to success at maintenance I have found to date.

I have been at goal and maintaining for a year now.

- Barb

Defeat is temporary: giving up makes it permanent! Never give up!

Max lifetime weight 224.5

Maintaining with 122 marked as "goal" since October 2010


 current weight: -5.3  under
 
10
5
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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/1/11 4:24 P

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Thanks for your insight. The fact that you've managed this for 41 years says something about the value of the things you have learned.

I love the image of you hustling past the Reeses.
emoticon

I wonder about the numbers too. I suspect there are far more people losing than maintaining, simply because so few manage to actually maintain in the first place.

In other words, I imagine 95% of the population are on a treadmill for losing. If/when they reach goal they fairly rapidly regain weight, which puts them back in losing mode again.

Although there are over 13,000 "members" of this team, I would be willing to bet that the vast majority are either no longer active on SP, have gained weight back after reaching goal, or haven't reached goal yet and are just looking ahead to find out what to expect when they do get there.

I just ran some numbers and found that only 105 of the 13,600 people on our team wrote a blog post in the last month. Contrast this with the "300 lbs. Plus" team, with 5,600 members, 254 of whom wrote at least one blog post in August. We may have a lot of members, but comparatively few of them are active here.

I'm in the category of those who have not managed to stay at goal for more than 4 months consecutively. But I'm trying to learn. And each time I gain weight back and go out of range I seem to catch it a little sooner and it doesn't get as far out of control as it did the time before.

I'm working at this trend. Maybe someday I'll be able to catch it and reverse it before I even get out of range, thus effectively maintaining consistently in the long term. As long as I keep the BMI under 30 I'm going to consider that basic maintenance, especially in light of where I came from. But I'm happier and feel better when my BMI is under 25 and my own personal eventual goal is to figure out how to keep it there with 20% or less body fat.

For me, as a competitive, goal-oriented person, I find tools like graphs, tickers, challenges, and icon trophies helpful. Even though I gained during our latest maintenance challenge, I'm pretty sure the gain was less than it would have been without the challenge. I need these external pressures to help me keep a focus on vigilance. I suspect I'm not alone in that.

I've moved toward a DIY approach to this since so few tools exist.

Here are all my little icon trophies, for example:
www.flickr.com/photos/47911494@N06/s
et
s/72157623514440428/

I wanted icons to celebrate 5lb intervals of loss, even when it was over 100 lbs.

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/2/2011 (18:08)
Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

Media
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-me
dia


Weight chart
tinyurl.com/4A-HEALTHY-BMI-graph

Blogs
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-in
dex


Maintenance Info
tinyurl.com/maintenance-links

Goal 155 +/- 3%


254 Maintenance Weeks
 
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NELLJONES's Photo NELLJONES SparkPoints: (228,262)
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9/1/11 3:26 P

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Wonder if it's in the numbers? You'd think there would be far more people maintaining, or wanting to maintain, than losing. Maybe it's like some addiction facilities: they make more money if people slip and have to return.

For me maintaining is SORT OF like losing in that it takes continued vigilance, something I was not prepared for when I finally hit goal. I remember thinking that once I hit goal I could finally eat what I wanted, and we all know how that turned out. In WW I learned to want different things, which made maintaining possible, but those old desires keep flaring up and the most surprising times, and I have to react as I did when I was losing. I have been at goal for most of 40 years and I still have to hustle past the Reeses in the stores. It just doesn't obsess me like it used to.

Nell
Reston, Virginia

No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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ISABELLET.'s Photo ISABELLET. Posts: 71
9/1/11 2:38 P

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Great Article!! I agree. Spark People do not give us many resources to keep us on track. I find only the nutrition journal and fitness keeps me on track and I would love to see more articles geared to maintaining our goal weights. Too bad the powers that are in charge are not listening to us emoticon

 current weight: 123.0 
 
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4A-HEALTHY-BMI's Photo 4A-HEALTHY-BMI Posts: 6,027
9/1/11 1:24 P

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This discussion started on another thread ( www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
sa
geboard_thread.asp?board=0x1111x4383R>5235
)
and it seemed like a good idea to move it here.

I am not aware of ANY weight management program that has a well-implemented system for helping weight losers through the transition to maintenance. Like most programs, SP pretty much just throws together a bunch of contradictory articles, says, "you know what to do" and abandons us on the weight management front.
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/lifesty
le
_center_detail.asp?id=1

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellnes
s_
articles_list.asp?iSel=42


As someone pointed out in the earlier thread, they seem to regard us as "graduates" rather than "continuers." The idea is that once you've "solved" your weight problem by getting to goal, it's time to come up with another goal to pursue. The trap here is that you somehow have to balance the new goal with figuring out how to maintain your weight, and that is likely to divide your focus.

I ran into this by prematurely training for a triathlon before I'd figured out how to maintain my weight. I knew how to lose, but not how to maintain. And suddenly I was burning vastly more calories and ravenous, and had no idea how much I should be eating or how to manage the new demands on my body. In retrospect I would have been much better off spending 6 months just learning how to maintain, on my existing exercise regime.

It's just not a high priority for them. They're more interested in weight loss, running, babies, teenagers, and finance. That's OK, it's their website and they get to do with it what they want. It IS free for us, after all. I suspect that they do not believe that fostering successful maintainers will bring in the clicks that advertisers are looking for.

If they won't put any of their resources toward building tools to help us learn how to maintain and celebrate our success at it, then we'll just have to do what we can with what we have.

This is one of the reasons I have been trying to update our team with goals that reflect scientific research in weight management, challenges that help us keep our focus, and a system for celebrating maintenance anniversaries. It's also why I started contributing columns to ikeepitoff.com .

I want to see us beat the trend of only 5% maintaining their weight loss. I really truly believe it can be done; we have the research, we have a community of us who are motivated and committed. I think we just need tools and a program to help us get there.

Until we started compiling our own list of anniversaries, there was not even a way to find out which folks here on SP have maintained successfully for more than 5 years. (fewer than 25% of us)
docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=
0A
h4KrA4GkhKgdC1oVGRkVTA0bUNTZk5zTGtzeR>HZGRmc&hl=en_US#gid=3


If you have any ideas for other tools or systems that would help us stay in that 5% of successful maintainers, I encourage you to share them in the "Dream Tools" forums on this site:
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
sa
geboard.asp?board=20386x1111


The more specific you are, the better, because specific ideas are more likely to be understood and implemented. There's no guarantee that SP will build these things, but if they ever want a list of things we'll have it ready for them!

...and even if they don't, maybe we can implement something similar using Google, or maybe one of our members is a programmer and could write something that does it, which we can implement elsewhere. (There are over 13,000 of us. That represents a lot of collective wisdom, creativity, and energy among people who are committed to maintaining their weight.)

Edited by: 4A-HEALTHY-BMI at: 9/2/2011 (18:05)
Never, ever, EVER give up!

From BMI 53 (336 lbs) to under 30. Now aiming for less than 20% body fat.

Media
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-me
dia


Weight chart
tinyurl.com/4A-HEALTHY-BMI-graph

Blogs
tinyurl.com/4a-healthy-bmi-in
dex


Maintenance Info
tinyurl.com/maintenance-links

Goal 155 +/- 3%


254 Maintenance Weeks
 
0
65
130
195
260
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