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What I've Lost in Pounds I've Acquired in Wisdom

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Part of my daily routine often involves cruising the blogs and SparkPages of my fellow maintainers on the 'At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance' team, where I'm one of the leaders. In addition to keeping an eye out for blogs that I can recommend to the other members of the team, I really enjoy reading the about the thoughts and experiences of other people who are finding their way in maintenance. One of the things that I've come to realize is that many maintainers seem to possess a common trait: wisdom. Wisdom that comes from experience. Wisdom that comes from opening yourself up to the idea of going through a process of experimentation in finding what works and what doesn't. Wisdom that comes from learning from past failures and not repeating them.

Wisdom isn't something that's innate and that we're born with, but something we develop over time. If you take a good look at the people who are successfully maintaining, there aren't too many real young'uns among our ranks. Although I don't think that means that successful maintenance isn't possible if you're under a certain age, I do think it underscores the value of our development of wisdom in this process. I certainly don't think the 16, 21 or 28-year-old version of myself ever fully understood what it meant to truly live a healthy lifestyle. I had always thought of weight loss in terms of dieting and for me, dieting meant something that was temporary. My resulting regains shouldn't have been surprising, yet I was somehow always shocked when I found myself back at square one.

For the first time ever, I've really internalized and put into practice the concepts of true moderation, of staying vigilant without becoming obsessive and of finding and achieving a balanced and realistic approach when it comes to eating and exercise. One of the most important lessons I've learned in my nine months of maintenance has been the realization that my habits have actually changed very little from my weight loss days. I still weigh, measure and track the majority of my food. I still hit the gym regularly. I'm still active here on SparkPeople. I still take time to enjoy life's special occasions and some of the food that goes along with them. Basically, my sane approach to weight loss translated into a sane approach to maintenance.

Although I've lost a lot of weight (90+ pounds), I've gained so much--good health, confidence, a sense of real achievement and empowerment. And I owe all that, in large part, to the wisdom I've acquired along the way.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm on a bad streak these days... It seems I can't really control what I eat... It's always motivating to read your blog... It give me food for thought... Thank you so much for sharing!

    1953 days ago
    in my book, you are one of the young 'uns, and you are so much wiser than i was at your age - it took me decades to get off of that merry go round of weight gain and loss. i wish i had been as wise as you 30 years ago!
    1958 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Great blog, Tina. You have acquired wisdom in weight loss and maintenance. I am the same way. I am doing what I did when I lost...tracking, planning, exercising, sparking. It is a wayof live that we continue. You are doing a wonderful job of keeping those 90 pounds off as well as being an excellent leader. I also receive much information and support from the At Goal and Maintenance Team.

    1959 days ago
  • -RUBIES-
    You're a "wise" woman Tina! Great blog!
    1959 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Great blog! You have put into words my way of approaching this lifestyle exactly. I wish that I had learned this sooner but in my youth I was too impatient and wanted instant results. I also thought that I couldn't lose weight on anything above 1000 cals a day so I used to get SO hungry and fed up!

    I have tried to explain this lifestyle approach to friends of mine who ask me how I lost the weight but they seem unconvinced when I tell them that I haven't given up chocolate, wine or salty snacks or indeed anything I really enjoy! I just hope that they check out SP one day!
    1959 days ago
    Since the development of wisdom is dependent on having knowledge, I'd say they're lacking both, HANSBRINK. That is, they haven't sought out information that outlines a healthy approach to shedding pounds in a reasonable way (knowledge). Because they've never acquired that knowledge, they haven't been able to use it to develop a sensible plan that works for them, which comes from a combination of knowledge, practical experience, trial and error and learning from your past mistakes (wisdom).
    1960 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/12/2012 2:32:36 PM
  • TGILBERT1364
    I hope to one day acquire the wisdom to be a maintainer as you have done!
    1960 days ago
    To paraphrase the Cracker Jack commercial: "When it comes to weight loss, some kids never grow up."

    Case in point...
    A set of friends wanted to loose weight after a 10 day cruise. They went on restricted calorie diets (700 cals/day) and no exercise. This diet was recommended by a friend who had successfully dropped some weight. Of the friends, the husband dropped 10 pounds, but went back to his old habits and gained 12 back. The wife dropped about 5, became discouraged when the scale on her weekly weigh-ins moved on 1/4 pound, and gave up.

    They are in their 50's and (I assume) would know better. Guess not. I don't think they are lacking in wisdom. Maybe knowledge?
    1960 days ago
    1960 days ago
  • MARTY728
    Excellent blog! Thanks for sharing your wisdom! emoticon
    1960 days ago
  • GABY1948
    GREAT blog! Thanks
    1960 days ago
    1960 days ago
    The age of the successful maintainers in our team is something I had thought about, too. And their success is a result of their wisdom which derives from their many attempts and mistakes and failures. I guess it's a process that most of us have to go through.
    Making mistakes and learning by them isn't something that should scare us. It's the most infallible tool for acquiring wisdom.
    Thank you for another great blog!
    1960 days ago
  • DALID414
    I think learning along the way helps make the changes stick.
    The biggest lesson that's sticking this time is paying attention to portion size. They've gotten pretty outrageous (take out and dining out).
    1960 days ago
    You are so so wise! You are able to articulate so many of my thoughts and feelings. Thanks for another great blog!
    1960 days ago
    Sane approach - I like that!
    1960 days ago
    Great post and great observations! I have successfully lost a good amount of weight a couple of times before. I also gained it all back because I 'dieted' my way down and didn't change the way I thought or behaved once I was OFF the diet. This time, I came at losing weight from the perspective of changing my lifestyle; now that I'm in maintenance mode, I have continued the changed lifestyle that I developed while losing weight. Makes a big difference, doesn't it?
    1960 days ago
    Great blog: I "liked"it! And: I suggest (you are too modest) that you recommend it to AGAM: TM, yeah!!

    Makes me feel so good that my wrinkliness and agedness have at least one advantage: the wisdom to maintain weight loss. Just think how stunning we would have been if we'd figured this out at, say, 18. Or even 22!

    My theory about that: women are socialized to spend so much time caring for others, especially during the kid raising years, that we literally don't have enough time to eat healthy and to exercise. And it DOES take some time!
    1960 days ago
    As always, thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!
    1960 days ago
    A nice blog. Well done.
    1960 days ago
    Congratulations on a fulfilled life!
    1960 days ago
    I want the good feelings associated with success at weight loss too. I will keep on sparking!
    1960 days ago
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