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First maintenance ticker turn

Thursday, May 02, 2013

My ticker used to go to 20, but when I got to 20 yesterday, the target turned to 40. I was telling my husband, and he congratulated me, but when I said it will be 104 before it predicts continued success, he looked at me like I was crazy.

Though as it happens, I've been digging into the research again and it appears that 5-6 months is when many people start to regain. I hadn't seen this before because I had been focusing on the National Weight Control Registry, which is a self-selected population that has made it to the 1 year mark at minimum (and their findings are that 2 years or more of maintenance is the best predictor of continued successful maintenance). The theory is that the costs of continued maintenance come to outweigh the benefits. (Jeffrey et al. 2004)

What are the costs of continued maintenance? Some are literal costs. In the study I just mentioned, participants were encouraged to use shakes and prepared meals in weight loss and maintenance. From my own experience, our food budget doubled during the bout with Body for Life when I was 31. There is a cost in other finite resources like time to work out and prepare healthful meals. And then there's the psychological costs of cognitive restraint and dietary vigilance, of avoiding situations that encourage overeating and reduced variety.

I've heard it described as a life sentence in dieting jail. But you could also see marriage as a life sentence in monogamy jail. How many years of marriage does it take to feel like there is certitude in the arrangement? Certainly more than 2. In some cases, the duration of the marriage seems to be a risk in itself, as with midlife crises and empty nest syndrome.

On the benefit side of the weight maintenance equation, I guess there's always cheating death. In theory, that should be enough to overcome any cost. Though if we had a clear view on the equivalence of self-gratification and dire health consequences, would we have been overweight to begin with?

Then there are the day to day benefits of weight loss and management: being able to wear flattering clothes, being able to participate in active pursuits, and compliments from others. These were never a big deal for me, as in, I didn't tend to get them, but they do slow down after a time as people get used to your new weight.

I think the key is to keep in mind how things used to be. Maybe people don't compliment you anymore, but they don't look at you with that mild awkwardness of deliberate acceptance in spite of your weight. Maybe your goal weight does not make you the statuesque beauty you had hoped for, but you don't have to wear elastic pants. Maybe you can't run a marathon, but watching those who do makes you feel inspired instead of guilty.

Jeffrey et al. 2004, The Weight Loss experience, a descriptive analysis

This got me to the article via my public library.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Love your blogs. Great info.
    1874 days ago
    I love your blogs! Everything has a cost. I guess my lack of focus on a goal may serve me well. It's all about the lifestyle for me -- I'm not chasing a number. Since I've dropped a couple of pounds already since the weather is nicer, I suspect I'll see a slight seasonal fluctuation in my weight over time.
    1874 days ago
  • MKELLY72
    This is a take I hadn't thought about before--thanks for sharing this! I love reading new information on the subject, because, even if I feel it's difficult, I feel like having the knowledge in my back pocket is empowering!
    1874 days ago
    In just a few months, I will have maintained
    my weight-loss for three years. During this
    time, I have have severe challenges and
    yet stayed on course.

    I have lost weight many times. This is the first
    time I have maintained the loss. I give Spark a
    lot of the credit. It gives me a place track what I
    eat. It gives me wisdom (such as yours) and it
    gives me daily inspirations. Spark is my rudder
    and my gratitude for what I have accomplished
    is my sail. They both keep me on this wonderful

    To me the pain of gain is greater than the effort
    to maintain. The longer we are in maintenance
    the more I understand the motivation to stay
    on course comes from the internal benefits.

    These inter rewards are enough for me. I love
    being thin! emoticon

    1875 days ago
    I learn a lot from your posts about maintenance. You really get me thinking about the fundamental issue for me: a lifetime slim, eating sanely and in control.
    1875 days ago
  • TANYA602
    I haven't been brave enough to change my ticker to maintenance yet. I was going to do it after the 5% Challenge, but for some reason scared myself off since I hadn't lost the weight I wanted. This weekend I have to update some things on my SP page and I am going to see how tomorrow's weigh in goes, and HOPEFULLY change to maintenance. I am truly so happy for you - that the ticker has made this turn - and that you have continued to read and learn about this next stage in our journey. I love learning from you!
    1875 days ago
    wow, it funny cuz it seems that when you are trying losing weight, the goal is all you see, you never think about the 'after'. Since I never have made it to goal, I dont know what maintenance feels like, but I imagine it to be as hard a losing. I have lost considerable weight before, to where I was getting compliments ect, and always got complacent and gained it back eventually.
    1875 days ago
    Interesting info! I'm at about 7 months now, so looking forward to hitting the one year mark in the fall.
    1875 days ago
    emoticon post!! emoticon
    1875 days ago
    Fantastic post! Not at maintainence yet but quite aware it's going to be work all the way. Appreciate the research you did for this article.
    1875 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    Excellant post. You nailed it right on the head. We think we are Done Done Done because we hit the goal; but in fact is just beginning. There are no guards to let down- so it seems. emoticon
    1875 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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