'I've Maintained My 186-Pound Loss for Almost Three Years!'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Meet Angela Baldo, a SparkPeople.com member (username 4A-HEALTHY-BMI) who lost 186 pounds! Here, Angela shares how she has maintained her healthy weight for almost three years and counting.

What is your age? 46
How long have you been a SparkPeople member? How did you find SparkPeople? I joined in the spring of 2009.  An at-work wellness program suggested the Nutrition Tracker.
What is your favorite feature on SparkPeople? SparkTeams! Specifically, the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance SparkTeam.
Although maintainers are a tiny fraction of the entire SparkPeople.com community, we have a tremendous amount to offer, because we have experience with living the dream of every weight loser:  KEEPING the weight off.  As you may know, only 5-20% of people successfully keep weight off after losing it.  In my 20s, I was one of those statistics. I lost over 100 pounds, only to gain it all back--plus almost 100 more.
This SparkTeam has really become Maintenance Central--some of the wisest, most generous people I've ever met are involved in it.  Between the experience of our long-term maintainers (41+ years!) and our interest in the science behind maintenance, we have developed an excellent, supportive community of mentors.
We have a Hall of Fame of maintenance role models, and we acknowledge and celebrate maintenance anniversaries and compete in maintenance-oriented team challenges.  We have lively and supportive discussions about how to transition into maintenance mentality, stay motivated and engaged, handle life hurdles, etc. 
Anyone on a journey to lose weight can benefit from thinking about and planning for maintenance.  If you prepare for maintenance, you're more likely to cope well with the particular challenges it presents.  One of the reasons I've managed to keep the weight off this time is because I saw how easily I regained before.  From the beginning of my weight loss, I wanted to give myself every possible advantage in the struggle to keep it off this time.  And so far, with the help of this team, it's working.
How much weight have you lost? 186 pounds
How long did it take to lose the weight? I lost 160 pounds in a year.  Then, over the following two years, I dropped the remaining 26 pounds, bouncing around a bit while I figured out how this maintenance thing was going to work for me.
What was your light bulb moment that made you decide to lose weight? At 42, I reached 336 pounds and discovered I was ''super morbidly obese.'' (Yes, that is a real medical term.  It means your BMI is over 50.)  I suffered from arthritis, and I had trouble walking up and down the stairs.  I worried about my future mobility, and I cringed whenever I saw my image as I walked past a store window.
What was your biggest obstacle while trying to lose weight? Impatience.  As is true for many of us, I can be my own worst enemy!
Congratulations on reaching maintenance mode! In your opinion, what is the most challenging part of keeping the weight off? Thank you!  I work hard at it, and I'm pleased that I've managed to keep the loss for over two and a half years so far.  The mental shift from loss to maintenance is tricky.  Although the ''how'' of maintenance looks similar (tracking my food, weighing myself daily, cardio and strength training), the ''why'' is quite different.  I was really motivated by watching the scale numbers drop in weight-loss mode, and I've had to come up with maintenance-oriented strategies that work for me.  For example, knowing that I'm driven by competition, I developed maintenance challenges for the maintenance SparkTeam.  They satisfy the urge to beat a record (I compete against my past performance on such challenges), and provide public accountability.  I've also gradually learned how to see my goal range as ''home'' and feel comfortable there.
If you could give someone one piece of advice about weight maintenance, what would it be?

1) Frequent monitoring
2) Immediate correction
I guess that's actually TWO pieces of advice, but they don't work very well unless you do both of them! 
What does your weekly exercise schedule look like? For most of the past two years, it was cardio-heavy and looked something like this:
M - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump class in the evening
Tu – Cross-country skiing at lunchtime (if there is snow), Spinning in the evening
W - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump class in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Spinning in the evening
F- Rest, stretching, sometimes a deep tissue massage
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside
Over the past few months, I've been experimenting with a greater emphasis on lifting heavy and building muscle (using the New Rules of Lifting for Women plan). Recently, my workouts look more like this:
M - Lifting weights in the evening
Tu - Rest or spinning in the evening
W - Lifting weights in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime
F- Lifting weights in the evening (or rest, if I'm driving to a weekend kayaking destination)
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside
I have an Olympic barbell setup in my basement that I bought on Craigslist, and that's where I do the lifting.  So far, I'm quite pleased with the results.  I'm getting stronger, I have more definition in my arms and legs, my body fat is slowly dropping, and I am actually spending less time working out!
What is your favorite way to exercise? White water kayaking.  It's like the best water slide or roller coaster ride you can imagine, except YOU get to decide where the boat goes!  It's a blast!  When I started losing the weight, I would have been thrilled to just get under 300 pounds.  I never in a million, billion years ever expected to get to 150 pounds and take up extreme sports.

As much fun as it is, kayaking is more of a REASON to stay in shape than a WAY to stay in shape. I spend a lot of time driving to and from rivers, and there is a lot of opportunity to make bad food choices. I continue to work on strategies to cope with these factors, and I train during the week so that I can perform on the weekends.

Do you have any personal fitness goals coming up? I'm going to spend a couple weeks white water kayaking and trail riding on horses in Argentina and Chile this winter. So I want to be in peak physical condition to have the most fun possible!
What does a typical day of food look like for you? How does this compare to the way you ate before your transformation? These days, I'm eating between 1,700-1,800 calories because I'd like to nudge my weight down to the center of my goal range. I've found that I maintain my weight between 2,000 and 2,300 calories, depending on my activity level.  By trial and error, I've discovered that I'm most satisfied with about 150g of protein, 40g of fiber, 50g of fat, and less than 100g of sugar.  I eat a lot of Greek yogurt, lean protein (buffalo, fish, poultry, soy), green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and protein supplements.
When I was over 300 pounds, I would skip meals, didn't pay attention to calories or macronutrients, and ate a lot of starchy carbs. I LOVE pasta, especially paired with fats.  I would blow through a whole box of macaroni and cheese (with butter of course), or several Ramen noodle packages. I would bake bread and eat an entire oven-warm loaf in one sitting because it tasted so good.  I also liked baked sweet potatoes (with butter and brown sugar), Sara Lee cheesecakes and carrot cakes (I love cream cheese), ice cream, etc. I didn't always eat junk food—sometimes, I'd roast chicken or make corned beef stew. The problem was that I ate TOO MUCH food in general.
What is your favorite healthy food? Greek yogurt.  It has tons of protein, which helps keep me full and protects these muscles I've worked so hard to build.
What is your favorite treat food? Anything dairy. I love full-fat Greek yogurt in small (tracked) amounts, and I love ice cream.  I get a kiddie-sized cone once a month at the local Cayuga Lake Creamery where they make it themselves (the waffle cones are made by hand, too!).  This ice cream place was my personal secret local gem until the New York Times went and wrote about them in the travel section.  Now the lines are out the door.  I suppose that's a good thing because the lines help discourage me from going there more than once a month!
Who is your biggest inspiration? My biggest inspiration in the SparkPeople community is NELLJONES.  She has maintained her weight loss for over 41 years and sticks around here to help those of us navigating the maintenance waters as newbies.  She's generous with loads of very sensible advice, born of hard-earned personal experience.  As my friend Birdy phrased it, ''Nell is the Real Deal.''  I'm also inspired by all of my other maintenance teammates who share their wisdom and support on a daily basis with me and everyone else fighting in the maintenance trenches with us.
In real life, I have dozens of role models who overcame adversity against tremendous odds.  Some examples:
  • Lance Armstrong (despite having his titles recently stripped) for his athletic comeback and achievements after cancer nearly killed him. 
  • Ernest Shackleton for his leadership after Endurance was trapped in ice. 
  • Slawomir Rawicz, a WWII POW who escaped from a Siberian gulag and walked all the way to India.
  • Juliane Koepcke, the sole survivor of a plane crash in Peru. She walked for 10 days through the Amazon jungle to civilization. 
  • Joe Simpson, who survived a mountaineering accident in the Andes that left him alone with a broken leg deep in a crevasse. He crawled five miles back to base camp with no food or water.  
When I think about these people and the things they faced, my own struggles seem relatively manageable!
Do you have a personal mantra/saying/quote that you live by that you’d like to share? Yup.  It's the same thing as I have on my signature: ''Never, Ever, EVER give up!''

For more on Angela's journey, check out her appearance on the Today show. What pointers from Angela can you use in your own journey to healthy living?

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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REDROBIN47 3/13/2018
Very inspirational article. Hows about an update. Report
MKLOMBARD333 11/14/2017
Truly inspiring! Thanx for sharing!!! Report
Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration to me. You have some good ideas that I can incorporate into my lifestyle. Well done! Report
Well done, stick with what you are doing as it is working Report
What a stupendous accomplishment!! Report
Absollutely inspirational! Great Job! I recently joined the maintenance Team and They are truly a great bunch of TeamMates! :D Thank you so much for sharing your journey! :D Congratulations on your marvelous and magnificent journey! :D Report
WOW, Keep up the great work. Report
oh wanderfull lady thanks to shear Report
I just entered maintenance after losing 160lbs! My biggest fear is gaining all my weight back. What a great inspiration you are! Thank you for sharing your story! Report
Very encouraging and inspiring. Keep up the outstanding work! Report
I've never had a problem losing weight, but like 95% of people who lose, I have always gained it back. This gave me hope that it is possible. Report
WOW! Totally real. Your story makes me think I might actually be able to do this, too. Report
Angela, You are one fantastic woman in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring people. I pray I can make that statement "I've maintained my weight loss for almost 3 years" First, I have to lose the weight, and I still struggle with that part. I have always heard that maintaining is the hardest thing to do. I just need to believe in myself and Never Ever Give Up!
Absolutely inspiring. Thank you for your story and your honesty. Report
I am so incredibly happy for you. The one thing that would terrify the heck out of me was what do you do WHEN you lose all of this weight......well for me it turned into IF rather than WHEN I will lose the weight and I would just give up. I was my own worst enemy and I am so glad that I came across your story because maintenance is something that I am now greatly concerned about. I currently have to lose 200 pounds (starting, as I am currently 376...a loss from 381) and the mental thought of losing all of that weight just baffles me. weight loss, I believe, is physical as well as mental otherwise when we lose the weight we will all keep it off and I myself am a yo-yo loser/gainer. Again I thank you for your story as it came at the right time in my life and I can say I am now more than ready. God Bless you and your family Report
Love your inspiring story and insights about maintenance. Thanks! Report
WOW!!!!! Your story is awesome!!! Seriously!!! I'm just beginning on my journey & I've got alot of weight to lose. Thanks for sharing your story with us. It's encouraging!!! Report
Great story! Thanks. Report
Your story is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing it. Report
What an inspiration you are! Having lost and regained 100 pounds in the last 2 years, your journey is one that I know from personal experience is incredibly difficult. Taking it off is hard, but keeping it off is in some ways even more so. Thank you for sharing your story with us! You show that yes, it is possible as long as you never ever give up! Report
You are very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Report
What an inspiring story!! Thank you for sharing it with us. Report
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can hear your enthusiasm and positive energy, even in a transcribed interview. What you've accomplished is inspiring. Report
Incredible story I am glad you wrote about. I am kick starting my journey and am so inspired by your experiences. Thanks so much for having the courage to share these deeply personal details with us all. I don't feel so hopeless now. Report
Awesome and amazing work! You go girl! I need to lose 30-40 lbs and as you described, I've lost the same weight before only to gain it back. I know I can do this and enjoy reading stories like yours to motivate me! Great job! Report
You really are an incredible inspiration. I can see my own experiences in your before behavior and have just as much weight to lose and am just getting started. It is a long way to go, but you give me hope. Report
wow you truly are an inspiration to so many people.. 186lbs great job!! Report
Your story was just what I needed to read this week! Thank you for sharing all of your ideas and for being a role model of maintenance. 2 weeks ago I thought I was ready to "maintain" my weight but I got overconfident and gained a couple of pounds and learned some things. It's a process, but I appreciate your reminder to NEVER give up!! Report
You are I inspiration and role model. If you can do it, so can I! Thanks for being there and thanks to SparkPeople. SparkGuy is right up there with Mother Theresa. Report
wow what a great read thanks for sharring and keep up the great work! Report
Congratulations!!! Report
The beginning of your journey is so much like mine. I am 45 right now and have the same type of weight and everything. I am so happy I read your story. What an inspiration to me. Thank you so much!!! Report
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story! I loved all of it but I have to say the part that relates totally to me is the following:

"At 42, I reached 336 pounds and discovered I was ''super morbidly obese.'' (Yes, that is a real medical term. It means your BMI is over 50.) I suffered from arthritis, and I had trouble walking up and down the stairs. I worried about my future mobility, and I cringed whenever I saw my image as I walked past a store window."

I am 42 and need to lose 140lbs.! Every sentence in that paragraph is EXACTLY me. I could not have said it any better myself! If you can lose the weight at that age because of the same exact reasons I need to then there is hope for me as well. Thank you ever so much! Report
Fantastic. How did you both manage to get into those jeans without falling over? Report
Job well done. 10yrs ago I went from 234 to 127 and kept it of for 7yrs, but stress and life got the best of me. Now, I need to lose 40lbs! So, I am getting things in order to accomplish my goal. Report
This story brought tears to my eyes!!!! It is so inspirational and lets me know that what I want to do can be done. I too have arthritis but I know that the biggest problem with my knees is not the arthritis, but the weight! My friends are going to Hawaii in May and I don't want to go as the "fat girl" so I have decided to diligently work at this weight loss effort. Thanks, because after reading your story, I know I can do it too!!! If you don't mind, I would like to keep in touch with you. Report
All I can say is WOW! Your story is an inspiration to me and filled with a cup of "I can do it too" attitude. Thank you for sharing.

Ginny Report
That is great that you could accomplish your goals in such a manner. I am in need of some inspiration and that was just a great way to get it!!!! I would love to do the activities that you do, but more importantly I would love to meet the same weight loss goals as well. Congrats! You are an inspiration!!!! Report
She has also been an inspiring leader of the maintenance team. Great work! Report
Awesome job. I hope to have a similar story one day. Report
wow that is an amazing story! Very proud and happy for you Report
You are so inspiring! Thank you! Report
Amazing and Congratulations! WOW! Report
WOW! You go girl! Report
Congrats to you. This is so awesome and what an inspiration you are to me. Thank you Report
Inspirational! Thanks for sharing! Report
Inspirational. Thank you for sharing. Report
Wow! You are amazing. Thanks for sharing your story and motivating so many people. You are an inspiration and you give me hope. Report
Congratulations regarding all of the hard work, the terrific burn results and your lease on a longer, healthier, energized and happier lifestyle!

Thank you very much for sharing your time, story and commitments. You have provided me many valuable and very useable ideas and methods for keeping what has been discarded and burned gone for good.

The best of everything to you, take care! Report
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