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Get off the merry-go-round

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Monday, August 20, 2012


GOING4HEALTHY, a member of the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance (AG&M+TM) team recently described what used to be her annual loss and regain cycle:

- Dec 31: begin weight loss
- March: achieve goal weight
- Sept: lose all motivation
- Oct, Nov: pack the pounds on
- Dec 31: let the games begin...again!

How many of us can relate to this? I sure can. My own Gain-Loss-Regain experiences haven’t always been annual in nature, but I’ve definitely experienced what she describes, in terms of waxing and waning motivation. And we’re not alone, because 80-95% of people who reach goal weight don’t manage to stay there, either.

Not only does this yo-yo take a toll on us physically, but as GOING4HEALTHY said, even *thinking* about this cycle can be exhausting.

So, how and when do you get off?

One option is to simply give up and get off at the top of the cycle. I’ve done that. Where I landed wasn’t pretty. Or healthy. Life was easier in the sense that I didn’t bother much with thinking about what or how much food I ate, or what kinds of physical activity I did.

Life was harder in a bunch of other ways, like trying to find chairs that wouldn’t collapse and without arms, asking for seat belt extenders on airplanes, the pain of arthritis and plantar fasciitis, etc. I lived there for about 15 years.

Another option is to get off at the bottom of the cycle. I’ve done that too. It’s actually kind of hard to get off at the very bottom, because there’s usually a little bounce ~3 lbs when I go from a deficit into maintenance. Down here, I definitely have to stay on top of my food and exercise to avoid sliding back onto the ride. On the other hand there are lots of cool things I can do here, that I can’t do at the other end.

And then you can also get off in the middle somewhere, either on your way back down or on your way back up, where you might not need to be so vigilant about your food and exercise, but yet life can also be somewhat manageable.

All of these options are choices. None of them are a failure, as long as you’re DECIDING that’s where you want to be. If you find you are NOT where you want to be, then you need to get back on, and choose your stop. And then get off and work to stay there, if it is a stop that requires work.

You don’t have to do this alone. Most of us have been through this, ourselves. In fact, 80-95% of us are STILL going through it.

The remaining 5-20% of us who are NOT going through this anymore are a minority, but we’re right here on SparkPeople.com, and we want to help.

The AG&M+TM team has lots of people who understand what this cycle is like, and we also understand what we’ve needed to do to break it.

- It requires wrapping your mind around maintenance, well before you reach your goal. The ride isn’t going to stop for you, so you have to plan where you’re going to jump off and how, without hurting yourself.

- You will be dizzy and need to sit down and wait a bit for the world to stop spinning.

- Then you will need to start taking the first wobbly steps you planned for staying at your desired place.

We can help you with all of that.

And we can help you (as we routinely help each other) to stay focused and engaged so that all of us are less likely to slide back onto that exhausting ride. And if we start slipping, everyone reaches their hands out to help pull us back onto solid ground.

Come see us.

And bring your friends. We may be a minority here on SparkPeople.com, but what we have to offer is huge. We can offer our help and experience with the one thing that ALL of the weight loss folks here aspire to - a way to get off and stay off the merry-go-round.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    2512 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. Your words are so helpful, even if I don't always respond to them in words. emoticon
    2532 days ago
    Holiday time = emoticon
    That's what it is to me! emoticon
    2533 days ago
    2534 days ago
  • no profile photo EMILYDOODLE
    thanks for the blog! very true, very hard to stay on maintenance. alot of exercise and most of the time eating the right foods!
    2535 days ago
    I am almost there! the maintenance thing....and am starting now to get my mind around it - and planning treats for the extra calories I will be allowed and how I will (in my mind at least) keep on exercising at the gym
    2536 days ago
    A lot of truth in this, thanks for sharing!
    2536 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Great blog and so helpful! I have only been maintaining for just under 2 months so it's early days for me yet. My real test will be around Xmas. I will definitely need the support of this wonderful group around that time! emoticon = emoticon = emoticon
    2537 days ago
  • 11TERRY20
    New to the team, here. I am so impressed. You put it so succinctly.

    2537 days ago
    Anja, I appreciate so much all you do to support those of us trying to maintain a weight loss. I like all your stats and knowledge. Whenever I need to know something, I always know who to ask. I also appreciated all your suggestions about my upcoming trip to NYC for the Today show. I'm going to be using many of them, starting with getting the name and cell phone number of a contact person at my local NBC affiliate where I am going next week to record the voice-over. (Emily from Today Show sent it to me.) Like you, Omaha is at least an hour from my home, and I sure don't want to have to make the trip twice since it involves taking time off from work, etc. You looked so good when you were on the show, I know I can never be that attractive, but I'm sure going to try!! Thanks again for your help in maintenance and NYC!!!
    2538 days ago
    The bottom of the cycle is where I want to STAY this time, and what is helping me is all the support from other maintainers like you.
    2538 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Great blog!
    2539 days ago
    Great blog! It certainly is NEVER OVER! This is a lifelong comittment and we are in it for the long haul! You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing with us.
    2539 days ago
    I threw away my YO YO and know that way of keeping fit doesn't work in the long tun, plus very unhealthy. When i lost 200 lbs in less than 2 years. Some thought it was only temporary. But 17 months later I am holding and have no intention of ever again being obese. Plus it's too late in my life, I'm almost 71 to keep starting over.
    Life is too good, life is what it should be, am living my life at the pace and activity I always expected too. Although for 14 obese , disabled years I thought I had lost my way.
    When you embark on any weight loss program its got a start, but in a sense there is no end. You might stop losing, but the habits that you set in place the same rules that enabled you to lose have to be applied to maintain that weight.
    I still track, I exercise everyday. I raised my calories, but if my7 activity level goes down I adjust calories to balance it all out.
    Being successful is be aware at all times.
    Whats more important to you, ?? Health and fitness, or food?
    For me it's a no brainer. I choose my healthy, active, fit looking good life.
    I hope all can achieve the success I have.
    Be strong, stay positive,
    Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2539 days ago
    Great blog. So motivating!
    2539 days ago
    You are so right! Keep up the good work!
    2539 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2539 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Great discussion of a problem area for just about everyone! You make such a great team leader because you have been through everything big time. You can give out sage advice so that maybe, just maybe, we can avoid the same pitfalls and just relax and enjoy our maintenance minus the yo yo.
    Thank you for this!! Amazing job on how far you have come too! If you can do it, no one else should have any excuse not to do it as well!
    2539 days ago
    Great blog! I, too, am really happy to have found this team because I have a mini-merry-go-round of my own. It's only about 8 pounds up and down, but I'm just about at the bottom of that range now and will need to learn again how to stay there. I suspect the "how" changes from year to year, but I know this team and its leader can help me figure it out once and for all!
    2539 days ago
    WOW....what a GREAT blog! I, for one, am off the merry-go-round! Maintenance may be another type of ride all together - maybe a gentle roller coaster (of motivation/effort and results), but hopefully as I go along the ride will smooth out even more to something more akin to a train cruising along with just an occasional jostle. Thank you so much for all you do for this team and Spark. You're devotion and efforts are appreciated and admirable.
    2539 days ago
    Great blog and great team! Wish I had found it a year ago when I hit my goal weight. It would have made this year a lot easier!
    2539 days ago
    Great blog. I am staying off that merry go round. Having the support of AGM & TM members is so helpful to maintenance.

    Great job on getting out of the yo-yo pattern and leading a healthy life!
    2539 days ago
    You did an awesome job of describing the feelings that accompany the yoyo cycle - one I went through many times (TOO many!) before making it to maintenance. Maintenance still isn't easy for me but its so much more rewarding than the old cycle. Not to mention the joy of still fitting in the clothes I wore a year ago!! emoticon
    2539 days ago
    It is a great team! Thanks for all you are doing to grow and highlight this powerful team. I have no doubt that there will be more maintainers on SP because of you and the efforts of those you have motivated. Thanks for this great blog! Congrats on all your travels and physical feats. Impressive!!
    2539 days ago
  • MIRAGE727
    As always, a stellar blog! Anja, you have been a major factor in my maintenance on this journey! Thank you for the motivation, the inspiration, and guidance!
    2539 days ago
    Well written and very true!!
    2539 days ago
    2539 days ago
    Great blog. I am so pleased I've found the team- so supportive
    2539 days ago
    Great read! Thank you ma'am!
    2539 days ago
    These dates are the exact cycle I was on (take or give a year here and there) - and for 40+ years I didn't even recognize that is what the problem was!
    2594 days ago
    Fantastic! I can so relate to this....
    2605 days ago
    Thanks for writing this blog, and I enjoyed the video from your TV appearance! I would have liked it if they would have had you explain your tips yourself. :)
    2615 days ago
  • NAVYMOM133
    Excellent blog that came at a very good time!! At Goal and Maintaining is a fantastic team and you are a daily inspiration.

    Thank you!!
    2615 days ago
    Excellent! So many of us have been on that merry-go-round and it's high time we got off and stayed off.
    2617 days ago
    Thanks for this post! Here is my unfortunate mind set, I have to get up early every day and workout/eat healthy then once I reach my goal I can stop and go back to eating fast food and sitting on the couch.... Yeah not going to be too successful. I need to learn to change my mindset and think about lifestyle change. Not temporary lifestyle change. Logically I get it, but someplace in the back of my mind I think okay I just have to do this healthy thing for a while.... Guess I need to look at it like a 12 step program, one day at a time. A lifetime is a bit overwhelming but, just for today I will eat right and move more. Going to check out your team now! again thanks for sharing.
    2617 days ago
    = You will be dizzy and need to sit down and wait a bit for the world to stop spinning. =

    That line right there really made a lot of sense. Weight loss takes time, quite a lot of time. And "getting off" is a big change in mindset and routine, a gap of time and energy without a focus. Is it any wonder it is dizzying?
    2618 days ago
    I "liked" it too! Great stuff 4A, thanks for being so great at summarizing all the ins and outs, and ups and downs we go through. I will say, although I have technically been "maintaining" for a long time, it's gotten easier on SparkPeople, as I am thinking about my healthy habits more, and continue to grow and learn how to make it easier to maintain them. It's always about choice, you choose what to eat, you choose to move or not to move and how you move, be it walking, running, biking or kayaking! You choose what weight is comfortable for you, and you can change that too if you find you were wrong on your first (or second, or third) guess.
    2618 days ago
    Wow! Powerful blog!! I "liked" this one for sure!!
    2618 days ago
    Maintenance is crucial and oh-so-TOUGH! Thx for pulling together such wisdom & expertise!

    2618 days ago
    I was 10 pounds from my goal weight and stayed that way for a year. I have now slowly put on another 5 pounds over the last few months. I am not where I want to be, but I could stay here. Its a lot better than being 270 pounds. I have the choice. I have the resources. (AG&M+TM)

    I choose to keep working toward goal. I have established healthy habits in food and exercise. They are comfortable now. I can do this! I refuse to get back on the Merry go Round!
    2618 days ago
    Thank you for writting this blog. At the moment i dont belong to any teams but i will check out this team. I thought maybie i was getting a bit ahead of myself by thinking of maintenance at such an early stage of my loss but i wanted to do someting diffrent from past times of loosing. In the past maintenance never really entered my mind so much i was too excited about the loosing and as soon as i hit goal i almost instantly have gained fast and fearce. Ive been reading more and more how difficult maintenance can be so i really want to get an idea what to prepare for. And also learning from the people who have been there done that during loss and maintenance.

    2618 days ago
    that merry go round totally describes me, except off by a few months - i'm active through the fall, and work piles on in the winter, and the resolution comes about 3 months later as the days get longer that now it's time to do something about it. and as usual, i did something about it and with SP succeeded better than ever before. and it is so wonderful to know there is a place for maintainers - and to realize that the merry go round can stop, the weight does not have to come back on like it has so many times before. this AG&M+TM may be the most supportive team yet!
    2619 days ago
    This team is Great! And the leaders are so helpful! I am one who has maintained for 3.5 years, but remembers the past (when I had kept the weight off for years, and then under stress, I went back to my old habits and regained all the lost pounds). I am learning to stay healthy rather than being on the Merry Go Round!
    2619 days ago
    Am I allowed to join the team? (I just did anyway)... I ask because I've had a lot of maintenance questions, especially the past two years, and I've seen glimpses of the *kind* of struggles I might face, and ways around them.

    2619 days ago
    Since I've been on Spark I've lost the same 25 pounds TWICE. I'm a really slow loser so it's discouraging to go through all that effort for naught.

    I really appreciate the name change and the WARM welcome to the team. I'm definitely wrapping my brain around the idea of maintaining, no matter what the number is. Even maintaining at my current weight would be a success over what happened last year!

    Thank you for giving me a new perspective. I definitely will be joining the team as I transition into maintenance!

    2619 days ago
    Wow, I have my name in lights! emoticon

    Yea, I'm sure glad I finally got off that "merry go round", as it was very draining. Not only physically, but mentally, also. Plus, I was always so very embarrassed about my continual failure, in keeping the weight OFF.

    Just happy I discovered *my* answer to what was preventing me from being the success I knew I could be.

    We ALL have the ability to do the same. emoticon
    2619 days ago
    I'm glad I've found the team. After I reached maintenance I suddenly didn't have many peers. :-)
    2619 days ago
    Thanks for your words. I needed to hear them. I am trying to prepare myself mentally for maintenance. It is actually a little scary, but I can't wait. I will have to check out the team.
    2619 days ago
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