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Perfectionism and Maintenance

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My natural inclination to be a perfectionist is making maintenance stressful.

I'm told it's normal for a woman's weight to fluctuate with hormones, sodium intake, etc. Having lost and gained 20 pounds and 33 pounds in the past, I am petrified that I will gain back the 90+ pounds I've lost this time. I know this time I did it the "right" way - good nutrition, reducing and tracking food intake, and adding in lots of exercise - but still, the fear is there.

Every time the scale goes up, I panic, thinking this is the beginning of the end. I know that I can expect up to a 5 lb jump for PMS and a 2 lb jump for sodium but still, it makes me panic and go back to 1300 calories until the number comes down. This cycle means I'm still losing weight, albeit slowly.

This drive to be perfect has kept me from increasing my calories to where the doctor and Sparkpeople say I should be. It's stressing me out and causing friction with my loved ones. I'd love to be more relaxed and let myself have a cookie now and then.

How much did the scale vary while you were finding your maintenance calorie range?
How do I let go of the idea that my weight should be at the magic number every day?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    The best confidence booster in maintenance is time and I found the first year to mentally be the toughest in terms of feeling afraid of regain. Even after more than two years on maintenance, my weight is still all over the place in any given week (I can fluctuate by at least five pounds), but I generally seem to come back to pretty much the same number unless I've overdone it over the holidays or while I'm on vacation. My best advice for you is to stick to what you know works for you and if you find that you're a bit out of whack, make small, gradual changes until you feel like you're back in your comfort zone. Little tweaks are often all that are necessary in maintenance and once you understand your body's natural rhythms and your cycles of motivation (I find it easier to stay on track certain times of year than others and have accepted that my average weight will be a bit up or down at those times of year as a result), it gets easier to ride out your jumps without panicking.
    1509 days ago
  • MALAMI518
    I am in the same position that you are right now. I'm interested to read the other answers that you get to help me figure this out.

    I hope that you get it all figured out for you, too!
    1537 days ago
    Wow, your story sounds so familiar to me. I have gained and lost a few times and I have lost about 90 pounds this go round. I am terrified of gaining. My original goal weight was 145, which I reached in September. Now I am down to about 132. I also continued to lose, albeit slowly. But I don't need to lose anymore and so now what I am doing is adding calories. I weigh myself daily and I have an app that records TRENDS. I use the trend line to decide how I should eat. If the trend line goes above 132, then I cut back on the calories for seven days. If at that point the trend line is back where I want it be, I increase the calories again. This might not be the best way to do it but as I am learning how to maintain, I find that this has helped me not be so scared and gain confidence that what I am doing is working. I still have to track each day and I still need to weigh in because if I don't, the accountability isn't there and I start making bad food choices. I am not sure if any of this helps you but I AM sure that you can do this - just take the steps to add the calories and if you find yourself gaining, just cut back for a few days.
    1544 days ago
    I'm a man and this fact might temper the usefulness of my comments. But when I have reached my goal weight in the past, I have worried less about small fluctuations (3-5 lbs) over several days of time, and more about large fluctuations (5+ lbs) over weeks of time. If I know that my nutrition and exercise habits are healthy, then weight becomes one measure that helps me ensure that I am living a healthy life. I don't live or die by the scale.

    And furthermore, wow, is this awesome or what? You're talking about maintenance which means that you've really achieved something! That super-inspires me today, so thanks for sharing and for giving me some needed motivation to keep pressing on in my life and journey toward health!
    1545 days ago
    It is normal to be nervous in the early stages
    of maintenance. I remember how daunting
    the idea seemed to me. I had never been
    successful at actually maintaining a weight
    after a significant loss, so I had good reason
    to be nervous.

    I was determined this time to succeed and
    with the help of Spark, I am now nearly four
    years in maintenance. Over time, you start
    to trust yourself.

    One challenge is learn how much you can eat
    while maintaining. At first, as you have found
    you might be eating to little and still be losing.
    Keep close track and over time how much
    your can eat will be clarified.

    My calorie goals are set as a weekly average.
    My calories will vary from day to day. I eat more
    on the weekend and lighter during the week. I
    plan ahead for holidays when I know I will eat more.
    When I overeat, I simply go back to what I know
    works. It consistency over time that helped
    us lose the weigh and it will be consistency
    over time that keeps us in maintenance.

    You have the option of only weighing once
    a week or even once a month. Pick a time
    of the month, when you know your weight
    will not be affected by PMS or sodium.

    I always weigh on Fridays as I know that
    normally I will eat less during the week
    and not be as affected by water weight.
    This minimizes the scale stress. And
    yes I trust myself to keep to my goals.

    My clothes are a great feedback system.
    They gently tell me if my weight is up
    or down. That is enough stress to keep
    me motivated. emoticon
    1545 days ago
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