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A Change in Perspective: Preparing for Maintenance

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Friday, February 28, 2014

One of our members of "At Goal and Maintaining" SparkTeam recently expressed worries about relapse and "obsessing" over food. This got me thinking about some of the changes in my thinking since 2014 began.

I once upon a teensy sliver of time reached my goal of 200 only a few years ago in 2010 and am clawing my way back to goal again (SHEESH but the pounds are getting stubborn, but I'm MORE stubborn!) but with a different attitude this time around that I think will pull me through toward greater success in maintenance this time around.

NELLJONES response summed it up to a "T" in her response, basically normalizing what can seem obsessive to others, what once seemed obsessive to ME: the care and precision in tracking our food which is necessary for folks like us to achieve and maintain healthy weight truly is "normal" within the context of own unique realities. It's not "whacked" or a "pre-occupation" or "obsessive" or whatever derogatory label one wants to give it.

It's our reality: we MUST follow these steps if we are going to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Research continues to bear this out, thank you to the wonderful folks at the National Weight Control Registry who continue to support, pull together and highlight such efforts:


Our fears can be so rooted in our perceptions. If we can shift our "lens" and realize that for folks who have been obese; the steps we must take to achieve and maintain our weight are normal, evidence-based practices; we can pull the plug from viewing ourselves as "weird" or in some way negative and instead champion our efforts by patting ourselves on the back as one of the rare 5% who can successfully lose the weight and keep it off!


PS: NELLJONES' comment in the message thread which resonated: "Food is more than eating. It's deciding what I will cook, making the shopping lists and where I will acquire the ingredients, noting what has to be done in advance (meat out of freezer, soak beans, etc), then the hands on prep and cooking. Eating is just the last piece of it. It's become a hobby like any other hobby. No one questions obsessive quilters or coin collectors."
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • NEWNANCY2012
    emoticon emoticon
    2483 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    I struggle with the "achievable" vs "maintainable" weight loss goal. Your blog motivates me and reminds me of the tools available and which I must use in a faithful and deliberate manner. Time for me to "embrace" it. Thanks, Don, for blog; thanks teammates for comments!
    2496 days ago
    I recently heard someone at work describe me as "that woman in the office on the fourth floor who drinks weird green gunge all the time"! (my lunchtime green smoothie...)

    Tracking and measuring what I eat is the only method I have ever found that helps keep me from re-gaining weight. I am addicted to cake, cookies and sweets, so tracking will be my reality long-term if I want to keep in reasonable shape - if someone finds that obsessive - well, that is their problem - it does´nt bother me! emoticon
    2497 days ago
    You are on the money with this blog! Sometimes I go through a spurt where I track all the time just to keep myself in check and accountable, and then I go for a week without tracking. But, the lifestyle is still the same. Meal planning and grocery shopping along with exercise are requirements for my chosen lifestyle. It is my choice. They can call us obsessive or gym rats or anything else, but I feel good and I am healthy. That is most important! Thanks for the great blog!
    2498 days ago
  • no profile photo PREACHERLADY565
    A wise Salvation Army officer once shared this with me:

    A person's perspective becomes their reality

    2498 days ago
    Great perspective on this! Thx
    2500 days ago
    Awesome blog and so true. For a long time I thought I was obsessed with logging my food and exercise. (Some family members think I still am.) This blog summed it up so nicely.

    We aren't weird or "over the top." We are doing what we need to do in order to maintain a way of life that we have chosen for ourselves. HEALTH! We can't do much without it!

    Thanks for this! I needed it!
    2500 days ago
  • THOMS1
    I totally agree with your blog. We have to keep tracking, exercising and planning. It's just a way of life now and I see it as normal. I too have trouble with gaining and losing and when I stick to my plan, track and keep up with my exercise I keep near my goal. It's all about our choices. emoticon for this blog. emoticon
    2500 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Congrats on all of your success!! Best of luck on your continued journey!!!
    All the best to you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2501 days ago
    2501 days ago
    Well said and oh so true! The health I've achieved through tracking is worth way more than any amount of time spent doing it!! emoticon emoticon
    2501 days ago
  • SCRAPPER1124
    Love this Blog great perspective. It definitely described my type A personality with weight loss. emoticon
    2501 days ago
    Great Blog! Thank you for your wonderful insight. Yes we will always have to weigh, measure, record, track, eat and exercise on this healthy lifestyle. It can be fun, enjoyable, and shared with others. Linda from bean town
    2502 days ago
    very insightful blog and very helpful comments!
    thanks, all!!
    2502 days ago
    emoticon and thank Nell for helping me feel normal. I recognize that I may never be able to eat intuitively, and I recognize the easy way of the old habits lurks constantly like the little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear. Reality and normality for me MOST likely will involve measuring and tracking for as long as I want to maintain (and that better be forever). I really like Nell's summation that eating is just the last part of the food process. I, too, love food. I love to browse recipes, plan meals, shop for the best ingredients, chop all my veggies manually (because it is relaxing to me), cook, and EAT.
    2502 days ago
    Enjoyed this blog!! Great words of WISDOM!!
    2502 days ago
    yes. yes yes yes. This is who we are - people who have to make more conscious decisions about our food. At this point, I feel weird if I'm NOT making these choices deliberately. Maybe because I'm still fearful, but also because it just feels comforting.

    And wow - what a journey you've been on. It's obvious to me your best trait is your willingness to come back and try again - you are such a winner!
    2502 days ago
    don, not only is this a truly outstanding, eloquent, inspiring blog, but i just love that you publicly credited nell, who hit the ball out of the park with bases loaded on this one. your feedback is always insightful and uplifting. emoticon
    2502 days ago
  • DSJB9999
    Fantastic blog, I too love eating but we have to make good choices about what we do eat.

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    2502 days ago
    This is such a great blog for many of us who often feel "weird" while trying to figure out the maintenance secrets. I'd say it's a relief blog!
    Both you and NELLJONES carry lots of wisdom on the subject and we are more than thankful that you share it with us!
    2502 days ago
    Great Blog!!!! For those of us with past poor health choices, we must become obsessive in a good way. I am a recovering alcoholic. I would not think of missing my AA meetings, skipping my prayer and meditation, or not working with my sponsor. It is the same with my weight maintenance of 7 years (I lost 60 pounds). I must be vigilant to stay on track and not slip into old habits. I'm 23 years in recovery from smoking. I'm obsessive about that for sure! It goes for exercise as well. I track my miles, my minutes, and remain consistent. I apply the same vigilance to my mental health through meditation and prayer daily. The list could go on for us all.
    Cheers to us all on Sparkpeople for seeking daily self improvement through healthy living. It is a wonderful journey with no end!
    2502 days ago
    Great blog! I totally agree on the food perspective. It is essential to me to go through the whole process of the planning, buying, prepping, modifying, cooking, etc, in order to know what's going in my body and know The choices are good ones that will keep me on track. When I don't do this, and take shortcuts instead, I feel it right away. This has been essential in maintaining.

    Thanks for sharing.
    2502 days ago
    I definitely "like" this blog!!
    2502 days ago
    Oh Yeah! If I fail to plan I plan to fail! I always have to plan my meals just like was said I have to have to have to! Then I need to log my nutrition! I have gained off and on in the past 3 years max 15 lbs. I have also taken it off through my due diligence. I used to worry about gaining all my weight back but realized I don't want to so I am willing to take the steps I know will work! Proper diet and exercise. Oh don't get me wrong, I do indulge but get right back on track.

    Very good blog!
    2502 days ago
    emoticon blog! For me it was about learning that this is a lifestyle change and that means for a lifetime, not just until the pounds come off! Also, it meant not restricting myself but allowing myself to eat foods I love once in a while and if I did "fall of the wagon" so to speak, that I wasn't a failure!
    emoticon on your success! I truly loved your blog! You are an inspiration to those out there that are trying to maintain their weight loss! I wish you great success in the future and my hope is that you will always share your wonderful achievements with others! emoticon
    2502 days ago
    It takes some of us (including me!) several trips down in weight before we understand that we cannot act like those who have never been heavy. Being willing to do what it takes for your own health, regardless of how others view you, is one sign you'll be in that 5%.
    2502 days ago
    Great blog...thanks for sharing your insight.
    2502 days ago
    Congratulations on your success. You've earned it.
    2502 days ago
    Awesome info! Thanks for Sparking! My "maintainence" has been similar to yours just on a smaller scale. I have learned sooo much from you and so many Sparkers that maintainence can be a tricky but doable thing. We have to do what ever it takes for how ever long it takes and often that changes in the process! Keep up your rhythm... emoticon
    2506 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5127867
    I'm still waiting until the day food is a pill I take several times a day and I don't have to waste so much time thinking about it
    2508 days ago
    Thank you, Don, for your comment to my blog and your clarity about tracking and the clear necessity for it. Yes - obsessive to some but essential for me.
    2511 days ago
    Very good point. I know you will make it back to goal - you are a very determined individual.
    2512 days ago
    Excellent perspective as always. I was recently preparing a weight management test for the Cardiac rehab staff at our facility. This involved article review and I had chosen an ADA article. One of the key points in the evidence is that weight loss and maintenance does not happen with increased activity alone-dietary management is an even more critical piece of the puzzle than activity. Always good to have the evidence to reinforce the habit. I am a self identified OCD sort, so tracking fits my preferences. I also find it fascinating to explore the distribution of nutrients in daily intake and look for opportunities to improve my choices as they relate to potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium-it is a challenge to create balance-one I enjoy working on!
    2512 days ago
    DogLady13 sent me over here to read your post, and I'm so glad she did. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I agree 100%. It's nice to consider that tracking (which is the only thing that works for me) is normal in our reality.
    2513 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4274730
    Very true. Nobody questions an alcoholic having to go to AA for the rest of his/her life to be able to maintain. For some of us, continuing to be mindful of what goes in our body will be the only way to maintain.
    2513 days ago
    Love this reflective and informative blog, Don. OUTSTANDING! And I also enjoyed everyone's comments. Thanks for bringing us along on this journey.
    2514 days ago
    Thanks so much, Don, for your contributions to the At Goal and Maintaining Plus Team. Thanks for your contributions to SparkPeople. Love your perspective and your openness. We all benefit when we share such observations and experiences. -Marsha
    2514 days ago
    I have no doubt that you will stay in that 5 % who keep their weight off. Tracking is a good obsession as evidenced by the successful maintainers at the registry. I also find that as time goes on the pounds do not go down as quickly!

    Great blog.
    2514 days ago
  • BECCA315
    I'm nowhere near maintenence, but thanks for the input. Becca
    2514 days ago
    I love the quote that food is about more than eating. Agreed! Thank you for your thoughtful words here today.
    2514 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2514 days ago
    Yep, this seems to be what I need to do. Track and control my eating. I can choose to resent it, accept it, or embrace it.

    So far, 4 years after reaching goal I'm accepting. Maybe someday I'll attain Jedi Master Maintainer status like Nell and be able to embrace it.

    2514 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Great blog!

    "We are who we are and do what we must do.
    The steps I must take are for me, and not for you.
    Through trial and error we learn what works.
    You might find what I do strange, but you do strange things too.
    Everyone's needs are different.
    It all about living a good life and doing what we must do. "

    Ok my feeble attempt at writing what was in my head. Great subject and wonderful comments. Thanks for being you.
    2514 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2514 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    Something I am beginning to understand this time around, and I think it will make all the difference!
    2514 days ago
    A few years ago the New York Times ran a long article in the Sunday magazine about obesity and weight loss. One of the more provocative themes was that for many people to keep their goal weight they had to track every calorie in and every calorie out. At the time I thought it was crazy but now I know it is true at least for me and my husband.
    2514 days ago
    Well said!
    2514 days ago
    fabulous perspective.
    It gives me insight as to why I have 'stalled' for so long.
    I clicked 'like' in hopes it becomes a 'featured blog'.
    2514 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14291083
    Thank you for this enormously helpful blog. I was startled to read on the link that maintainers do an average of an hour of exercise a day. I thought an average of half an hour was a decent minimum. I'll be re-thinking that!
    2514 days ago
    Addiction to the approval of others -- the most insidious addiction of all. And truly I DO NOT CARE if people think I'm obsessive about planning and tracking my food, eating pretty much the same soups and salads day after day, or refusing to base my entire social life around eating on other people's terms. This is what I need to do to be healthy, and I'm intending to do it for the rest of my life. I can be and am quiet and unobtrusive and non-obsessive about it, so long as nobody else feels the need to draw attention to it, tell me it's unnecessary or pressure me to eat what I don't want.
    2514 days ago
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