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Why Maintenance Stinks

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yup, you've read that correctly. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of wonderful things about maintaining your weight. The feeling of accomplishment, the healthier and better-looking body, more energy, etc, but for all of the articles you can find about the challenges of losing weight, there are far fewer about the challenges of keeping it off and highs and lows associated with it.

I've been maintaining for almost two months now and as I try to settle in to a long-term program that works for me, I have to admit that I feel a bit like I'm going through the weight-loss equivalent of post-partum depression. When you're losing weight, you have easily definable goals, the expectation of great losses and changes that are very visual. Once you're at goal, it becomes a bit harder to challenge yourself, the changes aren't so noticeable and you don't get the rush of seeing that you've lost two pounds in a week. And then there's the compliment factor. Once you lose a certain amount of weight, the compliments start pouring in and they're a huge motivator. After you've been at goal for a while, people get used to seeing you thinner and the compliments become fewer and farther between.

So what's a girl to do to stay challenged and motivated? I'm continuing to do many of the challenges I had done while I was losing weight because I think they're mostly still very relevant for me. I've also picked up a few new ones that I think address where I'm at. Hopefully this slightly down feeling I'm experiencing will pass soon and I'll find lots of new motivation!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think the fact that you realize how difficult maintenance is and will always be is very positive. It means you'll fight to keep your goal weight and healthy life style.
    2214 days ago
    Thanks for writing this blog. In a way, I'm not looking forward to the stage where I'm no longer trying to lose weight & having the problems of keeping up the motivation. You've got loads of people rooting for you here on Sparkpeople & who know that it's never easy and never will be easy. x
    2214 days ago
    I know that maintaining is probably harder than losing the weight. I just keep looking at the biggest size clothes I have had to wear and it just makes me want to keep going and not go back up again. I mean, just look at yourself in the mirror and at the great things you have accomplished. You can do this!
    2215 days ago
    There is a statistic quoted that only 5-10% of people who lose a significant amount of weight can maintain that loss over time. This is because it is tough - for all the reasons you describe above.

    My tracker is now 'Weeks maintaining' - because I find this very motivating. I am nearly at 6 months. Then I will be focusing on 12 months, then 2 years.
    The rest of my focus is trying to maintain and develop healthy habits that work for me - what calorie level is appropriate, how can I motivate myself in my cardio, what classes do I enjoy etc etc.

    It is tough, and it does stink - but being one of the 90-95% who put it all back on again would stink even more!

    2216 days ago
    You are awesome!! I give you alot of credit to take it off and KEEPING it OFF!! Hugs, Moni emoticon emoticon
    2216 days ago
    I guess one way to tackle maintenance is to just make new goals... like striving to achieve perfect nutrition, training for a marathon, training to be able to do a certain amount of push-ups, or something else you might not be able to do.... I'm getting close to where I will be starting maintenance myself... I'm in a bit of a plateau now since I've started really working out... and am hoping the extra time it is taking me to reach goal will help me get used to the concept of maintenance...

    2216 days ago
    I REALLY understand what you are saying. Maintenance has always been my biggest hurdle. A couple of years ago I had lost about 30 pounds and was finally at a healthy weight, and I gradually stopped doing the things that got me there, and started doing the things that made me overweight again. I gained back about 20 of those pounds over a two year period. There were other things too... lifestyle changes such as changing jobs (working on my feet in a juice bar inside a gym to working at a desk in an office, for example). I do feel that it was (and is) my responsibility to reassess my needs as the changes occurred, and now I'm back on the right track.

    If cost is not too burdensome I would recommend getting a personal trainer. They will help you set new fitness goals (since weight loss is not the goal anymore). You can split the trainer with a friend, maybe have a bit of a fitness competition? Training for a particular event might help motivate you. Or even signing up for classes (rock climbing?). Eh, just some ideas.
    2216 days ago
  • PEANUT883
    I've never thought about maintenance like that. I really hope you find something to challenge yourself. Just remember that you accomplished something amazing and even if you aren't getting complimented everyday, you are still an inspiration to so many (especially me) on SparkPeople!
    2216 days ago
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