Talking about Maintenance, TODAY.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lots and lots of folks have been sending me kind words about the segment in which I appeared on the TODAY show this week. Thank you!!!


And wow, I’m very happy if anything I’ve ever done or said has helped anyone else on their own journey. I’ve been (and continue to be) inspired by plenty of other people, both here on Spark People and on other sites. I’m not very good at keeping track of friends on websites, but I do try to answer comments and emails, etc. There have been a lot of these lately (thank you, again!) and please don’t be offended if it takes a little time to respond or if I somehow miss replying to you! If you have a question, feel free to shoot me a private Spark Mail (or two) and I’ll do my best to help.

There was fun involved, and it went very fast. Everyone was friendly, professional, and efficient. They run a well-oiled machine.

I enjoyed comparing notes with Joy Bauer on our favorite ways to buy and store almonds, grape versus cherry tomatoes, etc. She is very down-to-earth and accessible. I think she genuinely enjoys her job.

After I changed into the clothes I wore on set we had to duck around the corner at one point so Hoda and Kathie Lee wouldn’t see me before my “reveal.”

We took pictures on the set (Joy's idea), and even snuck onto the main TODAY set downstairs and tested out the couch.

Although it is very nice hearing kind things, and it was interesting and fun to see the show from behind the scenes and meet new people, that isn’t the reason I agreed to go on TV.

I did it because I spend what feels like a lot of time complaining that maintenance doesn’t get enough attention, compared with weight loss. And so when I was given an opportunity to make the issues of maintenance more visible in the media, it seemed like I should either step up and make a difference (even if only a small 4-minute one) or shut up.

Having been there myself, I know first-hand how awful it feels to fail at maintenance. And I’m not alone. The statistics on regain are appalling. I’ve heard from several people in the last few days who say they are also on a mission to get the weight off - AGAIN. There is a lot of pain out there, and people are suffering physically as well as mentally. Not because they can’t GET the weight off, but rather because they can’t KEEP it off.

Because he understands my perspective, Spark People head of media relations Bruce Corwin (THESLOWESTLOSER) kindly submitted my information to the Joy Fit Club, which is pretty good about acknowledging maintenance. People are only eligible if they’ve kept off 100+ lbs for at least a year. And since Joy is interested in maintenance too, she and her producers were happy to go along with a maintenance theme.

If you watch some past segments, you can see that they have focused on maintenance before:


Jan. 5, 2012: Strategies for Avoiding Weight Regain


April 23, 2012: Meet Joy's Weight Loss Superstars
Starting at 2:55 see three Joy Fit Club maintainers affirm that it's work but it's worth it...


June 29, 2012: Best Diets for Revving Up Your Metabolism
Discussion about the recent study about macronutrient ratios and weight regain.

An interesting interaction occurred off camera; separately with both Hoda and Joy; they were saying the sincere nice things to me that they probably always say to guests. Which struck me as ironic, so I said,

"Hold on. You guys are inspiration, to ME. Because as hard as it may be for me to keep this shape, it's nothing compared with what you guys have to do, in order to be camera-ready every single day on national television. So when I start to feel sorry for myself I think about all of you women in the media, and I remember there are others who have to be much more vigilant about their size and appearance."

They seemed surprised and touched that someone was thinking about their perspective. I thought about how mean and nasty the tabloids can be, and was glad they could hear that some people out here appreciate their own work at maintenance. And it’s really true. The closer you get to goal, and the lower you get your % body fat, the more difficult it is to stay that way. Those last few “vanity pounds” are the hardest I’ve ever tackled. Seriously.

If you’ve read my blog posts before, you probably know how disheartening the statistics on maintenance in general are. Depending on how you define maintenance, 80%-95% of people who reach their weight goals fail to stay there.

Here are three blog posts about the subject:

Wondering how to define “weight maintenance?” Researchers do too.

Familiar faces from Biggest Loser illustrate how wildly maintenance definitions vary

Weight Maintenance Definitions, Revisited


So, what can we DO about this??? Are we all simply doomed to fail?

I don’t think so. I think if we learn from the research and keep ourselves focused, we can raise EVERYONE’S ability to beat the odds (and in doing so, change the odds, themselves).

Fortunately for us there is scientific research going on in the field of weight maintenance. For example, studies gather and summarize data from folks in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR, www.nwcr.ws ) to tell us what works for most people. In short, we can learn from what works for those few who DO succeed at maintenance! Here’s a blog post about that:

Strength in Numbers: Predictors and Behaviors of Maintenance

(If YOU have kept off 30 lbs for at least a year, please consider joining the NWCR because the more high quality data we have, the better off all of us will be)

Here’s the bottom line, the “secret” to successful maintenance, as far as I’ve been able to figure out:

1) Frequent monitoring (checking how your jeans fit or weighing yourself, tracking athletic benchmarks, etc.)

2) Immediate correction (eating less, moving more - or eating more, moving less depending on the direction of the trend)

If you want details (and the devil is generally in the details), you can read about them in the link above. Some might surprise you.

There are places to go for help with implementing those behaviors. One of my favorites is the At Goal and Maintaining team, right here on Spark People.

We celebrate maintenance anniversaries and have a Hall of Fame where you can see who here is maintaining successfully and read all about what they do on their Spark Pages. You can ask for their advice and help, either directly, or through the team message boards. Here is a blog post about our own successful maintainers right here on SparkPeople.com:

Rockstars of Maintenance

We have periodic maintenance challenges, where we see who can keep their weight inside a +/- 3% range around a target.

The Team also has tons of links to information about maintenance research and other sites that focus on maintenance.

A couple highlights:

A site run by our own RUSSLANE (and also a Joy Fit Club member) that focuses specifically on accomplishing and celebrating maintenance.


Barbara Berkeley’s site, related to her 2008 book of the same name.

So, yeah. There ARE resources out there for maintainers. Could they be improved? Sure. For example, I’d love it if the Maintenance Hall of Fame could somehow be built into the SparkPeople.com framework so we wouldn’t have to manage it ourselves by hand on Google Documents. But the picture is far from bleak, as long as you’re willing to hunt down the resources and then actually USE them.

No matter where you are in your journey, whether you’re taking your first steps away from morbid obesity or whether you’re at goal and working to change your ratio of fat to muscle, there are people here to help.

And once you get to goal, please come join the At Goal and Maintaining Team. We’re waiting for you!


Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD12911945
    Seeing you on the Joy Fit Club was what brought me to SP. I had not heard of it before. Glad to have found your page. My plan is to be able, possible a year from now, to say you changed my life. emoticon

    3099 days ago
    I am going to register for the NWCR now, since i have maintained a 30 lb loss for over 3 years.
    I am adding you as a friend so i can come back and check out all of these resources you have here emoticon
    I also have to say.....how AWESOME you are......
    and i Will see you at the At Goal and Maintaining Team in the future!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3118 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/16/2012 5:16:17 PM
    I'm just coming across this. You did and look great! Congrats on your success with maintenance.
    3119 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5573306
    I have read quite a few of your blogs and I am always impressived by the wealth of information you provide. I wish Sparkpeople would hire you, so you can be the resident Maintaining Expert; I think you would be a perfect fit for that. I still have a long way to go, but I am glad I haven't gained back any of the weight I have lost, albeit for water weight issues lol.

    Keep sparking and spreading the encouraging news emoticon
    3120 days ago
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I reached my goal weight just last week and I feel so nervous about maintaining properly. Hearing you talk about it made me realize I have to apply all the same principles I did to lose the weight. Accountability, self-displine and education - simple, right? :-) I don't want to back track but I have to make sure my body is getting enough food as well. Thanks so much for the inspiration. Pat
    3121 days ago
    Thanks for being such a great motivator! Even if we never meet face-to-face, it's good to know you've got my back (and many others), and I've got yours (and many others). Together we are a FORCE!
    3121 days ago
    You ROCK! I am so sorry I missed the Today Show when you appeared. I have been so busy with work and OT but had I known I would have DVR'd it.
    3122 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12019534
    3122 days ago
    Loved watching you! I don't know why there's the perception that we're 'discouraging' to those who are trying to lose weight and struggling. I think the 428 comments on the page with your video clearly demonstrate the opposite!
    3123 days ago
    I can't believe I missed this and didn't even record it. I suck. You, however, are awesome!
    3135 days ago
    Congratulations on your appearance on the Today show! Very very very cool! I am so going to watch everyone of these segments that you have linked. This is perfect timing for me because I think I am finally ready to call it done. Although.... in a lot of ways I have been maintaining already, but more information is such a useful thing.

    Thank you for kind of pioneering this area for spark people. I kind of think of you as the maintenance guru of spark people because I know you've always rallied for them to do more in this area. I know you've done your research. They could not have picked a better person.
    3138 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/28/2012 11:18:56 AM
  • no profile photo CD2403740
    Great blog and so relevant to the 97% of us who fight to maintain. Thank you.
    3138 days ago
    Wonderful post. I will be bookmarking for future references. I'm just starting to realize the challenge that maintenance really is. Thank you for sharing.
    3139 days ago
    Yup you are amazing!!
    3139 days ago
    We've exchanged views on maintenance before on one of my blogs and I was so glad to watch your video on Sparkteam's blog. You deserve lots of congratulations not just on your success, but also on the way you keep inspiring and helping people. I really loved what you said at the show: "It was different this time because I had gained it all back the last time and I knew how easy it was for it to happen!" Unfortunately most of us have to go through this disappointing regaining period to realize how important maintenance is. You're doing a great job on reminding people the importance of a lifetime alertness. I'd really like to help with this. I'll make sure to join your wonderful team but if there's anything else I could do please let me know!
    Congratulations again!
    3139 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Loved seeing you on the show! So proud of you. You looked amazing ;-)! Great blog! Totally agree. Vanity pounds are hard to lose. Thank you for sharing all this info! emoticon emoticon
    3139 days ago
    Great blog!!! Agree with Watermellen that this is one to bookmark so I can return to it again and again as I work through the resources you've pulled together.

    Also agree with DDORN that I wish they would have given you MORE time! My biggest complaint about those shows is they can hardly STAND not to talk over each other. Why have a guest on the show if they aren't going to let her talk?

    It was so kind of you to compliment Hoda and Joy on their own weight management.

    Congratulations on your accomplishment and your determination to keep the weight off. I'm not there yet either but you've inspired me to move with a little more purpose to get there! YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    3139 days ago
    This is a great blog that I will return to again and again to work through all of the maintenance resources you've compiled.

    Maintenance is so much more challenging than weight loss . . . and this is the kind of info AND inspiration which helps most!
    3139 days ago
    Congrats on the appearance on TV, you looked great! I am slowly approaching my goal weight, so I have been thinking a lot about maintenance. I don't want to reach my goal and go "Now what?" That seems like a good way to regain the weight. I really appreciated all the resources you packed into this blog.
    3141 days ago
    I'm not at the maintenance stage yet, but I'm very nervous about it when I do get to it. Thanks for all of the helpful tips and sites!
    3141 days ago
    Wow, great resources--can't wait to check them out. And congratulations again!
    3141 days ago
    Terrific re-cap Angela. Maintenance is a tremendous challenge and a real test of our abilities to go the distance with the improvements we've made in our lives.

    While I thought you were SUPER on the Today show, my only fault is that they didn't / couldn't / wouldn't give you even MORE time to share your wisdom! I hear you regarding the "well-oiled machine" that these shows are. I found it fascinating to see everything in motion for the Dr. Oz show when I was on it and even thought of the "warm up" guy who was responsible for yucking it up with the audience, cracking jokes and telling us when to crank up the applause and informing us of each of the steps as they occurred in the taping of the show, letting us the surprise guest was Richard Simmons, etc. My thought was: could you imagine waking up every working day knowing you've got to head into the studios all bright-eyed and cheery and whoop up yet another audience? Whew! :-)


    ps..."pros and cons of grape versus cherry tomatoes"...? You've piqued my curiousity...!
    3141 days ago
    You are a maintenance pioneer and I appreciate it.
    3141 days ago
    Great blog. You looked great on TODAY, so athletic. Congrats big time.
    3141 days ago
    I absolutely loved you putting the spotlight on maintaining weight on the show! We're never going to get a handle on obesity without being able to keep it off.

    While I'm not at my goal weight, I have lost 30lbs and kept it off for 4 years. I'll look at NWCR. Thanks!

    I have data about keeping my weight at a target range that I was planning on posting in August after my monthly assessment. You might find it interesting.

    BTW: Congrats again on your segment! We're all so proud of you!
    3141 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/25/2012 7:57:59 AM
  • no profile photo CD301320
    3141 days ago
    You look amazing! Congratulations on your maintenance, and thank you for being such a motivation! Lots of great information here.
    3141 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    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.