A Day in the Life of Maintenance 1

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I so very much appreciate the feedback I got on my last blog. The feedback definitely got me thinking: I shared so much throughout my journey while losing weight, why pull back now? So many people suggested that maintenance is another tricky part--and one, many pointed out, we seem to often stay pretty quiet about! I hadn't really thought of that, but it's a good point. I think there's real benefit to sharing about THIS part of the process, perhaps just as much as sharing about losing...

I think the general silence is at least partly due to the fact that often, when we frame the discourse around weight loss, we mark "goal" as a sort of end point, as if you had a problem and now you're suddenly cured. I get this very energy from a lot of people who ask me questions about how I've done it, what tips I can offer them, etc, as if I've found the panacea and they can come visit me on my throne for advice and answers. The truth is, I found something that worked for me and helped me lose weight--but I haven't really "arrived" anywhere, and I realize that buying into this as an "end point" isn't ultimately healthy for me either. Framing it this way blocks out any space for understanding maintenance in its complexity: as a time of adjustment, of celebration, and of struggle (it's that last part that especially gets blocked out!).

In short, as I used this space to write about the process of LOSING weight, I will use it now to write about the process of maintaining--which is just as much a process as the losing was!

Right now my weight sits in a range of about 138-143, depending on what exercise I've done that week, what salt I've eaten, the temperature, my hormonal cycle, and my calorie intake. I'm pretty comfortable with that range. What I haven't figured out yet is how often I'd like to weigh in or check on that number. My weight loss hasn't fully stopped yet, although I lose no more than a pound a month at this point (for instance, two months ago I would have told you my weight fluctuated between 140-145 pounds). While I'm mentally pretty okay with seeing the fluctuation of a "weight range," there are days seeing a small gain upsets me, especially when I feel like I can't explain it. In the past, I used those small gains as a reason to restrict more, to be hard on myself or mad at myself, to beat myself up. I definitely don't want to do that, and while I want to stay vigilant and honest about my weight, I also don't want to hover over the numbers or allow them too much power in my life. I'm not sure yet whether weekly, twice weekly, once-every-other-week, etc. weigh-ins will help me strike that balance, but I do know that stepping on every day (or nearly every day) isn't useful, nor what I want to do. I guess that's a start.

Today's training happens at the end of the day. This afternoon I'll be going for a 5-6 mile run, doing some ST at the gym, and then doing a Master's swim class, which, at my current level, takes me about two hours to complete. I know for a lot of people, their workout is something to "get over with," but I'll be looking forward to these all day (well, minus the twenty minutes of ab work I'll do, ha). I am--every day--grateful for what I can do in this body!

Alright, full day ahead with lots of goals, and I'm going to get to it. Love and light, sparkfriends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is a little aha! moment for me (not about maintenance being hard, but everything else. I too have heard that maintenance is a challenge). What a great way to look at it all. I call my new lifestyle change and way of eating my new normal.

    I, too, enjoy working out. emoticon

    I'm so impressed by your transformation and your new normal :)
    2844 days ago
    I find Spark challenges useful for the weigh-in process. It sometimes helps me to delegate the "when to weigh" decision to someone else. hehe :o)
    3020 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 12:36:16 AM
    3021 days ago
    So glad that you are doing well with maintenance... Hope to hear more from you as I need all the help I can get maintaining (I have gained 9 lbs since maintenance).

    Have a great Wednesday!!

    3021 days ago
    You are doing soooo great!! Maintenance is something you have to stay on top of or else you're having to struggle to lose all over again! A very important step! My suggestion for weighing is to weigh weekly till which time you have stopped losing and are staying within a pound or two of a number, then maybe stretch it out to every 2 weeks. If it were me, I think I'd stay at that interval so I couldn't boo boo too far to easily fix should I fall off the wagon. Spacing weigh days as much as a month apart might give me too much wiggle room, so.....just sayin'.
    I know you're doing fine and I can't tell you how happy I am for your accomplishments!!! emoticon emoticon
    3021 days ago
    Way to go on doing so well with keeping up with exercise. It's great that you have found things that you enjoy doing so much. It makes such a difference. My hat is off to you!
    3021 days ago

    I LOVE this idea and can totally relate! It's time to start talking about what happens "after the goal."

    Your words and deeds always provide such insight and strength to me. "I haven't really "arrived" anywhere, and I realize that buying into this as an "end point" isn't ultimately healthy for me either." These words sum up what I've been trying to say for so long, but didn't quite know how to articulate. Thank you.

    You so rock!!

    3022 days ago
    not sure if i am bustin out in the heat tonite or staying in for my workout, but i am looking fwd to it too :) it is always the best part of my day! last nite i went swimming and for a walk. maintenance is tricky, i like the once a week scale when i am just checking in and making sure everything is still looking good. hope you had a great swim et all! much love my friend, i have a cat here who will not stand for a moment more of typing *L*
    3022 days ago

    The fact that you love your exercise and look forward to doing it (except the ab work) certainly gives you a leg up on being able to maintain your healthy lifestyle for life.

    3022 days ago
    Thank you for this blog.

    I think that too often, even though Spark touts this as a lifestyle change (which it should be), there are too many of us that think of Spark as a diet site. And just like other "diets", we tend to think that when we've reached our goal that magically we will be able to eat however we want and thus slip back into our old habits of not making healthy choices.

    It looks like you are one of the lucky ones that realizes that we have to keep on making those healthy choices for the rest of our lives.

    Keep on blogging and acting as an inspiration to the rest of us and giving us hope that we, too, will be able to get to our goals, and maintain them.

    I just love your spunk and attitude. Keep it up.

    3022 days ago
  • JAY75REY
    Stick with it and keep blogging! I've "failed" several times in the maintenance stage of WW so I know it's extremely important to keep "working". With your athleticism, you have a great opportunity to be successful in maintenance. Amazing transformation, I'm really impressed.
    3022 days ago
    would love to keep hearing, maintanence will be the hardest for me. you know all the comments comeon, you don't need to lose anymore one bite won't hurt. etc. Thanks for sharing
    3022 days ago
  • JEREMY723
    Having been losing weight, maintaining, losing a few again, etc. I know that maintaining is much harder for me than losing. Thanks for sharing your great thoughts on this!
    3022 days ago
  • FREES1
    You are so correct - that some people consider reaching their goal weigh the end point explains why so many regain their weight1 there is still the challenge of staying there.

    I've read the suggestion of weighing daily and recording it for a month or two and then graphing the results. This will give you a visual image of how your weight fluctuates. That also might help you to determine when you need/want to weigh on a routine basis..

    those pounds wander off and on the scale sometimes just because - regardless of what we do or don't do... so its good that you aren't going to be anything other than kind to yourself about it!

    have a great run and a great class! and thanks for sharing - love reading what you write!
    3022 days ago
    Love and light - I really like that salutation Melissa, and I might just borrow it.

    I'm glad that you're not disappearing entirely . . . I have missed your blogs over the past couple of months, as you've entered the maintenance phase.

    Keep up the good work. I thought of you yesterday - my best friend's daughters are taking part in a kids' triathlon (they're 7 and 6), and it made me think of you and your triathlons. I love that they're starting young!
    3022 days ago
    Yeah, I usually am looking forward to workouts. Like get through the work day, so I can go have fun!!! Unless I work out in the morning. Then I have nothing. :( hahaha. Yeah this whole maintenance thing is tricky - which is why I'm over here re-losing some pounds as we speak. We gotta keep working at this healthy lifestyle thing! *HUGS*
    3022 days ago
  • BANAN2
    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for deciding to write about this! I have reached goal so many times in my 56 years that I've lost count. I have never maintained the losses for more than a month or two, and once I hit that slippery slope of regaining, I always got into such a mess of twisted thinking that I just kept on sliding away from what I had achieved. I had even given up trying to lose for a while, as I saw myself as "over the hill" and unable to do maintenance. I learned so much from your journey, recognizing things in myself that were similar and understanding them better as a result. I am hoping that your sharing about this maintenance phase will do the same for me and that the sharing will be helpful to you as well.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3022 days ago
    I just love reading your blogs! I see so much of what I think in your words. However, the perspective you allow us to see helps me so much! Your afternoon workout sounds like so much fun!!! Enjoy!

    Have a great day! emoticon
    3022 days ago
    I LOVE this blog! Thank you for writing it! I feel the same way about maintenance. Like my journey is ending. Also, I look forward to working out nearly everyday, lol.
    3022 days ago
    I am not ashamed or embarrassed to admit that I need success stories like yours in my life. I have missed your motivation and especially your amazing insights into life and your journey.

    The day you participated in your first triathlon you posted some of your pictures on Facebook. Joan and I were at a restaurant with about ten friends and I was scrolling through my page and I saw your pictures. I murmured a little "wow." One of my friends asked me what I was looking at. I passed my phone around and told your story. I pulled up my Spark Page and showed them your before and after pictures. They were amazed in a very positive way. I shared with them your journey and how in many ways your journey was a motivator for me. I'll use the word impressed to explain their reaction but it falls far short of their deep respect for you when I finished.

    With success comes immense responsibilities. There are those of us still thrashing about in the weeds trying to get where you are. Likewise you still need our support and love. We are here for you now and always and thank you for being the inspiration you continue to be.
    3022 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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