Not Gonna Relax -- Gonna Beat the Odds

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

I've had a few interesting comments made to me recently.
1. "Oh, come on, it's the holidays. You can relax a little now."
2. "So? What's the problem? " (At a buffet meal, when asked why I passed on eating the flank steak and I said because it was covered in creamy sauce)
3. "I'm going to drop off a piece of a dessert I made. You can eat it or throw it out. "

The first two comments, I simply looked at the persons with my best "Seriously?" expression and the subject was dropped. With the friend who told me she was bringing by a dessert for me, I asked her "Why would you do that? It's just going to make me feel bad." When she asked what I meant, I explained I would feel bad throwing out her dessert that I no doubt would want to eat and I'd feel worse if I ate it. She immediately said, "Ok. I won't bring it over, then. "

I have a lot of support from the people in my life, but not always a lot of understanding of the odds I face. They figure since I am now at my goal range, I can go back to eating "normally." They don't get that normal eating isn't my strong suit. Or the strong suit of lots of us, for that matter. And they really don't get how much the odds are against me to maintain my weight loss. When I tell them the most optimistic percentage I've seen that people can maintain their weight loss is 20%, they are astonished. When I tell them I've seen that percentage cited as low as 5%, they gasp.

And gasp they should. Whether my chances are 20% or 5%, those aren't great odds, so I am very grateful for all the knowledge and information I have gained here at SP from members and articles. For example, there has been a lot of discussion about the study on behaviors of successful maintainers. I'm doing my best to copy as many of those behaviors as I can. Behaviors like:
-Tracking food daily
- Burning a minimum of 2000 calories per week in exercise
- Weighing daily
- Keeping eating out to a minimum

You know what behavior isn't on that list? Relaxing! So, no I'm not going to relax this holiday season, eat like the average, clueless American and gain weight that I fought so hard to lose. Those last 10 lbs were killers to get rid of and I want them to stay gone. And no, I'm not going to make stupid choices like the flank steak with the mystery sauce. I was already stuck at an all day work retreat. There was no point in making myself more miserable by wondering how many calories I just consumed.

These are such early days for my maintenance. I reached my original goal September 1st and then decided to lose a bit more which I accomplished at the end of October. I'm still figuring out what my calorie range is! I'm not saying I am stressing about maintaining this weight. I'm not. I love being at this weight and how good I feel. I'm just being very careful as I add more calories. I know this is going to be a lifetime effort.

I'm thinking of maintaining as a new hobby or maybe a second job. One I am passionate about and that brings me amazing benefits like increased fitness, improved health and some really cute clothes.

Not something I am going to take for granted or get lazy about. So don't mind me if I don't relax about eating, exercising or my weight. I am beyond happy with my decisions and the results they bring.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    All the best for your new hobby and second job!


    2028 days ago
    I am so grateful to the AG&M/TTM team for shining the light on your excellent blog! I missed this one because we were out of town that weekend walking a half marathon.

    I can't tell you how important joining this team has been for me, even though I am 15 pounds away from my goal. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE you speak of -- one who thought she could go back to eating "normally" (aka mindlessly). Thank you for helping me to prepare for the hard work that is ahead and will continue throughout my life. I can do it, and it IS worth it!

    Thank you for "telling it how it is."
    2028 days ago
    Really great blog WILLOWBROOK5!

    I had to smirk when I read "So, no I'm not going to relax this holiday season, eat like the average, clueless American and gain weight that I fought so hard to lose." because that is so true! Most people and I was too, are "CLUELESS" about how many calories we are consuming. I also think that some of our friends may not like the new us as it makes them have to think about changing too. It's easier to stay the same, but not healthy, so BRAVO to you for sticking to your guns!
    2028 days ago
    Great blog! I like your idea about maintenance being your hobby. I'm close to my goal and looking at maintaining and figuring out what all that means, so I will be joining you in that hobby too!
    Way to go with staying focused!
    2028 days ago
  • -RUBIES-
    Woo-Hoo for you! I am right there with you. Relax on my hard fought results... are you kidding me! I've been there and done that yo-yo thing and now that I know how to maintain... there is no relaxing here. It could easily be the start of weight gain (it was very hard for me to type those last few words). lol!

    Staying focused and committed is key.
    2028 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/29/2012 1:14:37 PM
    What a great blog! You really helped me this AM. and FITFOODIE806 really got it right when she said Maintenance is so very hard and not as rewarding as weight loss. My fitness club is running a Maintain and don't gain challenge. Wow I thought somebody who really gets it until I read the part about "and the more you lose the more prizes you get" My doctor has told not to lose anymore. I've been in mantenance since 3/22/12 and it is so hard! No one has mentioned my new weight to me in a really long time and while I'm thrilled to look and feel this way for me, it sure would be nice if somebody still notice.
    2028 days ago
  • _LINDA
    I have been maintaining for close to two years now, and still get comments, you aren't still trying to lose are you? You are way too thin -that is a corker -I am smack in the middle of the BMI range for me. My problem is very skinny arms -with artificial elbows, I am not allowed to lift heavy weights and so lost bone and muscle mass with my weight in the upper body which looks really thin, but my lower body is actually quite curvey and I still have a 'pot' I can't get rid of. But it is a full time job and I have never stopped tracking all my food and fitness. I rarely eat out so that is not a problem so much. But you do have to pay attention. Its all too easy to get weight creep. So much harder to take it back off.
    All the best with your maintaining/losing! You got your head in the right place to be a successful 5 %!
    2028 days ago
    Amazing insights from you, Willowbrook, and from all the responders...and just what I needed right now. I hit the 6-month maintenance mark a couple of weeks ago and patted myself on the back for maintaining longer than I ever have in my yo-yo past. However, I've read some of the stories from successful Sparkers who regained and had to start over, even after maintaining for a year or more, so I know I can't let up. Since I already have a full-time job that I am less than passionate about and a part-time one (unaffectionately known as "The Commute From Hell"), I'll agree with Brooklyn_Born that maintenance will be my hobby.

    Thank you for posting your wisdom, and I hope you will continue to share your insights.
    2028 days ago
  • MKELLY72
    You said, "Those last 10 lbs were killers to get rid of and I want them to stay gone." This is what runs through my own mind all the time, but there are times when I allow myself to "relax" a bit, and every time (almost) I am disappointed in myself for allowing one or two of the last ten to creep back, and I have to shake them, AGAIN!

    I really like this:
    "I'm thinking of maintaining as a new hobby or maybe a second job. One I am passionate about and that brings me amazing benefits like increased fitness, improved health and some really cute clothes. "

    I hadn't put it to words, but that describes perfectly how I regard maintenance too. I worry sometimes that I obsess about it, because food and activity NEVER leave my mind....but thinking of it in terms of a hobby or second job makes it feel less "disorder-ish"

    And... KARRENLYNN- "If I were a recovering alcoholic, nobody would be forcing me to drink, why should I be forced to take food home or made to feel bad if I don't?" Well said! Those words have almost come out of my mouth in defense to situations like that too-maybe I won't hold back next time, and with the holidays upon us, there will no doubt be a "next time" soon enough.

    2029 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/29/2012 10:10:09 AM
    Sounds like you're motivated to me!! Once you have that you have it all.

    Carry on Willow,carry on!! : )
    2029 days ago
    You are so smart and 100% right. It does take time and effort - like a second job. Almost no one in my life -- other than my SparkFriends -- understand what it takes to maintain. As I go toward my 4th year of living at a normal weight after 50+ years of obesity, I am grateful that I am willing to do the work. Thanks for saying it so well!
    2029 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2029 days ago
    Great blog! Especially liked in the last paragraph when you said:

    "Not something I am going to take for granted or get lazy about"

    when I gained my weight back in the past, this is exactly what happened.
    2029 days ago
    emoticon blog...nice eye opener for a maintainer...I am a new maintainer.
    I have to say that my biggest goal in maintaining will be to RELAX mentally, and ENJOY this lifestyle that I have adopted. For me that is so key - to LOVE these healthy habits I have formed. I never want to resort back to old habits because I LOVE my new life....and I have made it MY lifestyle. Time will tell, but I don't ever want to stress numbers again......I just want to be mindful of how I live and make Progress.

    Thank you for emoticon ...:::lighting the way, Laura
    2029 days ago
    I like the "not gonna relax" attitude. I am determined to beat the odds also but have been struggling with being above my maintenance range for the past few months after a 105 lb loss. Reading blogs like yours helps boost my determination to stay in control and get back there. I have been able to put on the brakes, then gain a couple, then lose a couple. In the past, I would have just continued the upward trend - so thankful for SparkPeople.
    Thanks for sharing.
    2029 days ago
    Nice blog. I get frustrated with a couple of fitness center staff who tell my I'm too skinny when I'm barely in the middle of the normal BMI range. I just got back from visiting relatives we hadn't seen in almost ten years. The first comments were about how healthy I looked and how they hardly recognized me - we looked at some pictures from our last visit and I could really see why. Then they proceeded to bring me treat after treat telling me that I need to eat more and blaming my wife for not properly taking care of me. Unfortunately, I gave in a little but I did much better than I would have in the past.
    2029 days ago
    Awesome blog! Maintenance is so very hard and not as rewarding as weight loss. And people don't seem to understand. You sound like you're doing an incredible job of dealing with outings and friends. Keep it up! And relax over the holidays in other ways!!!
    2029 days ago
    I agree, too. It has taken me years to arrive at a weight that I prefer and that I think I might have a chance at maintaining. Now I'm trying to tell if I really can maintain it. After all this time, I'm still trying to figure things out! It really IS a second job!

    However, like Moby, people have finally stopped asking Bill, "Is Sue all right?" forcing food on me, and commenting on how I could stand to put on a few pounds. They know that they'll get "that look" from me. Not to mention that obesity is now all over the news, that maybe now it's becoming "in to be thin," and that I've outlived some of the people who used to harass me about being too scrawny!

    You go, girl!!
    2029 days ago
    While my experience was not a precise mirror of yours, it kind of rhymed. "You're too thin." "You're not still trying to lose weight, are you?" "You've lost too much weight." "You need to eat more than that!" "Aren't you going to take another (brownie/cookie/slice of cake)?"

    For the first month or two, I struggled with answers. Then I came up with, "Nothing tastes as good as being able to run a 7 minute mile feels." Later, nothing tasted as good as being able to do pullups felt. I couldn't run a 7 minute mile or do pullups when I was overweight.

    Fortunately, it gets better. With more than a year of maintenance under my belt, people I see regularly have stopped commenting that I look too thin. This morning I weighed in 5.4 pounds below my one year ago weight, and I'm looking forward to having that year over year delta fluctuate around zero. That should happen along about next April or May.

    Yes, it took me over half a year from hitting my initial goal to find where my weight settled in. It's taking me longer to get comfortable with the idea that maintenace means sometimes the weight needs to move *up* a little. Key word, "little."
    2029 days ago
    What a great blog! I'm glad it's highlighted by the team, as many people can benefit from your insight now that the holidays are here.
    I've heard comments like these from people, too. "Shouldn't you be eating more now?" "What, you're still on a diet?" But no matter how hard I try to explain they usually don't seem to get it...
    The odds are definitely not in our favor but we're surely determined to beat them! And as you so wisely pointed out, relaxing is not part of our strategies!
    2029 days ago
  • DSJB9999
    emoticon for sharing.

    2029 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    You have actually expressed one of the reasons the odds are against us in maintaining. Sometimes I wish that all those people at the gym who congratulated me on my weight loss would come up to me and say "congratulations on maintaining your weight loss." I'm grateful for this team for that pat on the back. But as you so eloquently said, it really is up to us to take care of ourselves: make those good choices and celebrate with pride for our accomplishment. Great job!!
    2029 days ago
    it really is a second job, isn't it! great blog for heading into the holiday season!

    2029 days ago
    Ha, I guess I am NOT the only one! Thanks for sharing and well done!
    2029 days ago
    I can relate. I had a couple we used to hang out with alot. She loved to throw parties and cooked for 100 people even if there were only 25 or 50 people there. Food was great, but she always insisted we make a big plate to take home. I would politely and then firmly decline. I was made to feel by them and others that I was the "child" if I didn't just except the food and take it with, even if I didn't eat it and just threw it out.

    If I were a recovering alcoholic, nobody would be forcing me to drink, why should I be forced to take food home or made to feel bad if I don't?

    Your right, reaching your goal weight doesn't mean you can just go back to the habits that made you unhealthy in the first place. And your new habits are now "normal"!

    Have a great and healthy Thanksgiving!

    Karen emoticon emoticon
    2038 days ago
    I like the idea of maintenance as a hobby. A hobby is something you want to do and this is something we want to do. I'm glad you have support even if they don't always understand. Hang in there!
    2038 days ago
    Great blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2038 days ago
    Absolutely awesome! This blog was exactly what I needed! Thank you.
    2038 days ago
    Boy, do I feel where you're coming from as well! With this being the first time I've actually managed to successfully maintain my losses, it's been shocking to see just how little I can "relax" and still maintain. It's really not that many extra calories at all and I know people who maintain at the lower end of their ranges sometimes find that they can't really add any extra calories without gaining. That's why the habits we develop as we're losing can be so helpful to us as we enter maintenance. If you look at the changes you make as being permanent and ones that you need to live with forever, you'll have a much easier time with keeping things that way and successfully keeping the weight off.

    I can also really relate to your comment about having a lot of support from friends and family but not necessarily a lot of understanding of what you're up against. I can't tell you how many comments I've got along the lines of "so you've reached your goal, now you can stop 'dieting', right?" by many well-meaning but uninformed friends and family.

    Stay strong and make choices you feel comfortable with this holiday season. I know you'll do great!
    2038 days ago
    The key is: normal eating isn't what you were doing before! When people say something like that, I respond with: "What makes you think I'm on a diet? I'm eating the best way I know how to be healthy. That IS normal for me now. If I choose to eat something outside the boundaries that I have set, then it'll be because I want to, not because someone else thinks I should!"

    Granted, for me, I was larger because I loved food, not because I was a binger or had troubles like that. So I don't have a lot of problems when I have a night like Saturday: cheese, wine, chocolate -- it all balances out in the end!
    2039 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I had to laugh at your comment that "relaxing" was not on the list! It does feel like a second job. You need to work on it daily.

    I also like your insight that people who support you may not always understand what we are dealing with, trying to stay in that top 5 percent.

    This was a great inspirational blog for the holidays as we are all going to face it.

    2039 days ago
    Boy I agree with you. Maintaining since Sept 15 and finding it okay, but easing up on what I eat is surely not part of my plan either. I do think every time we stand up for our choices we get stronger and clearer though. I am almost eager to br challenged so I can learn to say no with grace and yes to my own goals. Love this post! emoticon
    2039 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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