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Shining the Spotlight on Maintenance

Thursday, August 30, 2012

As some of you may know, I've been doing some work with the 'At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance' team recently. Although we're a relatively small team compared to the size of the SparkPeople community as a whole, our members are showing that long-term maintenance is possible--that we can overcome the horribly daunting statistics that say 95% of people who lose weight will regain it. What we've seen is that although there are myriad resources and support groups for people who are trying to lose weight, there are shockingly few for those who are trying to maintain their losses.

As someone who has been among the 95% many times in the past, I personally believe this is a real gap in the weight loss support community and something that needs to be addressed. How can we lead millions of people on a journey to better health with tons of support along the way, then tell them they're totally on their own and have to figure things out for themselves once they reach their goals? I think we have to collectively do and expect better than that and that's why I'm so proud of what I've seen and been able to be a part of on the 'At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance' team.

The members and leaders of our team have been working to build a space that addresses the needs and unique difficulties of our maintainers with discussions on a broad range of topics and links to maintenance-oriented research and articles. Although our members use a variety of strategies to maintain their losses, we're finding that the support we receive from each other can be an invaluable tool in staying motivated and helping us get back on track when we slip.

We hope that other people on SparkPeople will find our team and use it as a resource to help them with the many changes that go along with transitioning to and living with maintenance. In an effort to make our team more visible and accessible to all people, we've been highlighting blogs written by our members that deal with some of the challenges associated with maintenance.

This week, we're focusing on a recent blog written by ONEKIDSMOM. Like many of us, ONEKIDSMOM has struggled with many ups and downs over the course of her life. She's maintained long term in the past only to relapse and regain. This time, she has maintained a 75-pound loss for just over two years, the point when the statistical odds of regain drop to 50%, and she is more than 100 pounds below her lifetime highest weight. She approaches maintenance 'one day at a time' and hopes to stick with her healthier habits for the rest of her life.

In this blog, she focuses on her identity as a maintainer, her fears, and how she works to overcome them and why ongoing support has been so vital to her success:


We encourage you to read this blog and if you agree that its message is useful, please 'like' it so that it can become more visible to other people here at SparkPeople. If you are interested in reading more blogs like this, please send me a message and I will add you to my contact list. We typically highlight a different maintainer's blog every one to two weeks. If you're at or near goal, or just want to plan ahead, please visit our team thread to get a glimpse of what we've been talking about recently and to see exactly what we have to offer:


Hope to see you all there!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    As a person who still has 9 pounds to goal, I appreciate being invited to join this team. I really feel that I will be one of the 5 percernt because I live a very different lifestyle from the one I lived 4 years ago. My weight loss was slow and I never really went on a "DIET". I realize that I will never be able to stop being vigilant about food because I really like food and I really like to eat. I need to always be aware of how much I eat. Thanks for sharing!
    2064 days ago
    I completely agree with the seeming lack of support for people trying to maintain. That is a scary time I think because no one wants to gain the weight back after working so hard to lose it. I will definitely be joining your team as soon as I hit maintenance mode. I'm so glad ya'll decided to put it together! Keep up the great work with it!
    2064 days ago
    I have recently joined the team of maintainers and am also just a few pounds over my original goal. Though I could settle for this weight and I no longer groan when I see myself in the mirror, I wouldn't be opposed to losing the last few pounds. The team has a very positive outward focus, and I'm proud to be a member.

    2064 days ago
    I am never sure whether I'm in maintenance or not! I've maintained my original loss for 2 years, and I've been within the "normal" BMI range that whole time. But I still am 3 pounds short of my actual "goal" weight, and probably 10 pounds from where I'd really look my best.

    I've been trying for 2 years to lose the last few pounds but really just maintaining, which leads me to be unsure how much lower of a weight I can sustain. I'm just not willing to eat 1200 calories a day and I'm not sure I could sustain my running and fitness with less food. It IS all very tricky! I'm glad you are working to promote healthy maintenance and provide resources to help us beat the statistics.
    2065 days ago
    I agree with you for the most part, Claire. Although I definitely have made a lot of lifestyle changes, what I've done as part of that lifestyle has changed a lot over the past two and a half years. There have been times when I've let myself enjoy life a bit too much and got too lax. That's when I've had to force myself to buckle down and reevaluate what I was doing so the scale would start moving again. I've also done brief periods of very intense exercise and super-clean eating to kick start more weight loss or to get ready for an event that I want to look my best at. My lifestyle plan has had lots of ups and downs and, although I've always strived for balance, I've also made a lot of sacrifices to get to and stay at goal. I also think there are additional changes that need to happen when you shift from a weight loss mentality to a weight maintenance mentality--you don't necessarily just keep on doing what you were doing before. Part of that has to do with habits. Many people do need to make adjustments to their nutrition and/or exercise once they reach goal--I'm comfortable with my exercise levels, so I'm eating an average of about 400 more calories a day on maintenance than I did most of the time when I was losing. Continuing to find motivation is another big issue I (and I think many other maintainers) face. What do you do to motivate yourself when you don't have the rush of seeing lower numbers on the scale, buying smaller sizes, the compliments on your progress stop and you don't have cute badges you can add to your SparkPage to boast about how long you've maintained?
    2065 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/30/2012 4:14:48 PM
    Thank you very much for telling us about this blog. I found it very good and 'Liked' it.
    I am wondering whether the 5% would be a different number if people weren't 'dieting' so much. I think when you change your lifestyle with no hurry to lose the weight, it isn't seen as a temporary fix. You know you are in there for the very long term... and also it is manageable for the long term, when a diet isn't. I think this is why you are so successful at maintening this time... but of course I could be wrong... Just a thought. :)
    2065 days ago
  • SUSIEQ911
    Well said!

    I'm only about 2 months into maintenance and I'm glad I joined the team recently. There is a wealth of knowledge and information there and a lot of people who have experienced the same things I have been.

    I hope we catch on with the powers that be with SP!

    2065 days ago
    Great description, TinaJane, and thanks for being such a proactive team lead! You made several good points, but the strongest ones for me are that the maintenance journey is just as personal as the weight loss journey (one size does not fit all), and support is just as important to maintaining a weight loss as it is to someone still losing. Thanks for posting, and I look forward to many new faces on At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance.
    2065 days ago
    as a new member of the team, i'd like to encourage those who are close to goal to come on over now - i wish that i had started focusing on these things a couple of lbs/months ago. i too thought i couldn't be there until i *reached* goal, but it is transitioning that is important here - not just getting there, but what to do to stay there.

    thank you, tina, and the other leaders for doing a great job to make sure that more of us do not become statistical casualties.
    2065 days ago
    I will definitely be signing up with this team when I'm closer to goal. I think for now, it would be bad for me, as I'm getting real impatient lately and need to be focusing less on the scale and more on other things (as focus on the scale is making me do stupid things right now). I need to not think about maintenance yet lest I get more impatient adn do more stupid things!
    2065 days ago
    I am hoping to shift to maintenance later this year. Hopefully I'll lose these last few pounds at which point I'll definitely be looking for tips on how to keep it off instead of the constant yo yo effect. Thanks for sharing.
    2065 days ago
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