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Maintenance Adjustments

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

A bit over two years ago, as a newbie maintainer, I wrote a blog about maintenance not being steady state:

This week, it's time to re-read that blog and check what's changed in the past two years.

One week ago, I weighed in at a relatively high weight in a narrow range. I went out that noon and ran 4.6 miles at tempo, with the unexpected result of aggravating an old foot injury that held up just fine running a half marathon two weeks earlier.

When I realized I couldn't run for a few days, I cut my calorie range down to taper level. That wasn't far enough. A couple pounds came on quickly, and I cut the calorie range again. That seemed like enough till I found my walking limit the hard way on Monday, and set the foot back again.

Then I had a social eating event Tuesday evening. I dealt with it pretty well, with my estimate coming in within range for the day, but still logged a 2-year high weight Wednesday morning. So the calorie range got cut again, back to the level it had been in PT. This morning I was rewarded with a weight back down about Tuesday's level, above my tight range but really not too bad. However, I've been on an extended stretch of not getting 10K steps a day, let along running.

This is Day 7 of no running. That's disappointing and frustrating, but I need to deal with it.

So I do what I can. Roll out the exercises the PT had me do last year, or as close to them as I can at home without the PT's equipment. Gentle calf raises, now two-legged with no weight as opposed to one-legged with 20 lbs. before injury. Do some dumbbell squats to keep the quads from atrophying. Keep up with my routine push ups and pull ups. Remember to work the hip abductors and hip adductors, so they're strong enough when the foot lets me run again. Get out on a bike when I can, which requires more time and better weather than just going out to run.

All that still leaves me with much less exercise than I used to have. So the other side of the equation has to adjust to what I can do. I've been this road before, and I can do it. But it's not automatic. I have to pay attention.

Adjusting how much I eat is always hard. It's hard to eat more when I'm in a routine of eating a set amount, even when the scale is telling me I need to eat more to maintain. It's even harder to adjust downward after becoming accustomed to a training level diet. In what I've come to think of as normal circumstances, I adjust the range by 100 calories at a time, no more frequently than once a week.

Right now, circumstances aren't normal. I've adjusted the range downward three times this week, by a total of 500 calories per day. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough. The answer may depend on how much the foot lets me do.

This morning, the bad foot was better than yesterday, but not as good as Monday morning. However, I did not aggravate it today. The lawn needs mowing. Walking through Walmart to buy bananas convinced me I'm not up to mowing the lawn today. It will just have to grow and wait for the next dry day. Hopefully by then, the foot will be well enough to let me push a mower around and be frustrated by an awful spring mowing session.

I think I can see why so many people who lose the weight gain it back. Life Happens. When Life Happens, the routine that maintained the weight sometimes doesn't work any more. I have to figure out a new routine that will work for my current reality. Like many people, I'm not terribly fond of having to re-learn how to do something I already know how to do.

But this is important. I want to maintain that weight, so that I don't have to shop for new, fatter clothes. I want to maintain that weight, so that I have the best chance of avoiding the atherosclerosis and stroke that run in my family. I want to maintain that weight, so that when the foot lets me run again I can train for a marathon . . . even if it turns out not to be the marathon I've been pointing at for a few weeks.

Yes, injury is discouraging. At times I want to just quit, curl up in bed with a book and not worry about anything. But there are other things I want to do, and they require me to be healthy and recover from the injury. Along the way, maintaining the weight will be important to support my health and recovery. So I make adjustments, because it's worth it.

Maintenance is not steady state. It requires adjustments from time to time. And once in a while, when Life Happens, the adjustments are more severe and more sudden than they have been in a while. Well, that's life. I need to deal with it, make what adjustments I know I need, and monitor the results to see if I need to make further adjustments.

And I don't want to let a 3 pound blip up become a 10 pound trend up. That is not acceptable for my health, my self-esteem, or my ability to do what I want to do. So I make the maintenance adjustments, and may even write another blog or two about the food side. Because blogs are for motivation, rumination, and working on things that aren't easy enough to be routine. Right now, the maintenance adjustments to nutrition are blog fodder.

This can be done. I can do it. Writing about it helps.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hope your foot is feeling better. Not being able to run is so hard to deal with. You are truly inspirational because life happens to everyone. Such a thoughtful way to take on this new challenge. Best wishes.
    1436 days ago
    Great Blog! Thank you for sharing your struggles and realizing you are worth it! Like you said, life does happen! emoticon
    1445 days ago
    Struggling with keeping at goal and your blog really resonates. There needs to be a program for adjusting to life circumstances. Thanks for the blog
    1450 days ago
    I L-O-V-E this blog and relate to it far too well. Thank you for sharing!
    1450 days ago
    Arrived here from another blog. I really really needed both blogs. Great words. Helped spark the fight in me. Thank you.
    1450 days ago
    You're inspiring others by this and your focus on whats needed here in your life right now.
    emoticon Good job!!

    1453 days ago
    I always follow your blog with curiosity. I enjoy your straightforward style, and you captured so well the "obvious things", which are not so obvious. :-)

    What are your thoughts, what type of exercise do you plan to involve now?

    I noticed a similar pattern: as my life changes, different types of exercise fit my life.

    It's good to be aware of it that my "golden-balance" can need an update from time to time.

    I would welcome some pictures now and then! :-)
    1453 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts, they really touched home! Looking forward to more blogs about this bump in the road until you return to your healthy weight and your exercise routines -- I hear your confidence that you will!
    1453 days ago
    I think you and I must be sole mates. After two long years between my self imposed tight range, I am three lbs over the high end in just three weeks. I'm trying to get my act together.

    Good luck to you as we get on with what we know we must do.
    1456 days ago
    1456 days ago
    emoticon blog and boy, can I relate! I hope that foot heals fast and you are out doing what you like.
    1456 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your story. I would like to see you write more about how you maintained your weight while recovering from an injury.
    1456 days ago
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful blog. I am in the process of working to take off the pounds I put on last year through an extended time of "life happenings" full of transitions and a lot of stress. To read about your approach and the adjustments you're making are very motivational and helpful to my situation. Basically, when things happen, look for the things you are able to keep doing and/or need to adjust. I will remember that and your example as I continue to work back to my maintenance range.
    emoticon emoticon
    1457 days ago
  • MALAMI518
    I worry a lot about my ability to maintain through "life happens" events. I'm so new at this. Thanks for the blog that I will keep in mind when life happens so that I can remember to keep myself on track with different adjustments.
    1457 days ago
  • BABARR67
    Man, do I feel guilty about not getting out and exercising out of laziness. I am so sorry to hear that your foot is bothering you and you are unable to exercise as you wish. I got 'busy' with other stuff in my life and just let it go to the wayside resulting in a 10 lb gain. Not insurmountable, but not healthy either. I am working on it right now. Thanks for the reminder that when exercise declines, calories need to as well.
    1457 days ago
    Great blog! I think we've all been there, when life gets in the way and interferes with our maintenance plan. Adjusting and adapting are always part of the plan.
    Keep up the great work!
    1457 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That is a great blog. Maintenance is not a steady state and you have no choice but to make adjustments. It is hard to cut back down on calories when you are quite used to eating at a certain level. You are showing strength and determination. I hope your foot heals soon.
    1457 days ago
    I've been at goal for over 4 decades, and have stayed by weighing every morning and adjusting the day accordingly. I know how upsetting two pounds is, I don't even want to experience 10 pounds. I hope you have the patience to let your foot heal so you can get back to "normal". Though "normal" will change as the years go by.
    1457 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your introspection at a time when you're dealing with what life has brought. Best wishes for fast and full healing.
    1457 days ago
    Great blog!
    1457 days ago
  • SUNSHINE20113
    I've been struggling with similar "life happens" adjustments. I've been at the top of my weight range for about two months now, and have just slipped down into the middle of my range again. You're right about it being hard to re-learn something that we already know. That's what I'm realising. The old pattern I had isn't working anymore, so I have to change in order to stay maintaining. It's not easy, but you'll work through it.
    1457 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon emoticon
    Great advice for people suffering a set back! Way to work your program to find a way to maintain that works for you! Hope you heal fast and are back at it!
    1457 days ago
    Oh this blog is JUST what I needed today, after shoulder surgery yesterday. THANKS
    1457 days ago
  • THOMS1
    It's very hard to find a happy medium when you have an injury. I have been through this also and it doesn't get any easier. We just have to keep trying to get it right. emoticon
    1457 days ago
    emoticon on finding ways to exercise while your foot is healing. I had a tibia fracture several weeks back and I was still running on it because for a long time I didn't know it was a fracture, but I thought it was just my leg hurting because it was how I was made, but once I realized I had the injury, I had to stop all plyometric exercises altogether until it was healed. I was at a point where I needed the higher intensity, but my injury wouldn't allow it. Eventually I even quit my job at the daycare for a desk job because I felt like going up and downstairs and carrying cots around wasn't helping matters.
    Now I am back to running, but not like I was before because I realize this is what lead to the injury in the first place, but we are strong and we carry on!
    You should be so proud of yourself and what you have accomplished! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1457 days ago
    Very good blog. You've got it right. Life happens and maintenance is not a steady state; we must adjust. So hope that foot heals quickly and that you are back to the fun and joy of running, along with the joy and fun of eating more food!! -Marsha
    1457 days ago
    Very good blog! I feel for you when it comes to "running interrupted". I can let myself get pretty cranky when I can't run. People tell me "You don't have to run. You can do other things." But, I actually have come to enjoy running and what it does for me. I hope that you are on the mend and tying up those running shoes soon.
    You are a shining example of a man in maintenance and I appreciate your thoughts and actions!
    1457 days ago
    Thank you for the very informative blog! emoticon

    1457 days ago
    Paying attention will carry you through until you can run again.
    1457 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    You will heal and be back at it but for now you have a plan in place. Great job on figuring out what you have to do during this time. Thanks for giving UK's all some food for thought so that we know what to do if it happens to us! Keep on doing your best!
    1457 days ago
    writing is awesome.
    1457 days ago
    Great blog! I'm still early in maintenance and trying to make those adjustments to determine what works. From your blog, looks like I'll need the experience making adjustments because those skills will come in handy for when "life happens". It's inspiring to see how well you cope and how conscientious you are in holding on to your great success. Best wishes for a speedy recovery! - jan
    1457 days ago
  • CHRISC1971
    I really like that someone else is (was?) having the same problems I am, and is willing to write about it. Great read, thanks!
    1460 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    Awesome Blog. You Can Do It. Keep Pushing Forward. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Safe Memorial Day Weekend. Take Care.
    1462 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Great blog! Maintenance has been really quite difficult for me at times and right now I have gained nearly 7lbs over my goal weight which is beginning to get to me!!! So thank you for this reminder and advice. emoticon
    1462 days ago
    Life certainly does have the good, the bad and the downright ugly to throw our way sometimes, so it's up to us to adjust, because the situations aren't going to change!

    You are soooooo right that maintenance is not static! Just as life isn't. So, yup . . . have to become friends with change! Easy? Not on your life. But it's worthwhile.

    Great blog. Thank you.
    1462 days ago
    lovely post thanks
    1463 days ago
    Not being able to exercise is one of my greatest fears at this point. Your determination and motivation is inspiring to me. I wish you a fast and speedy recovery so that you can get back out on your runs - and I have to say, I love how you have continued to find ways to stay strong during this down time.
    1463 days ago
    How great to be so aware! I'll be in France in August, not working out like I do here for 2 weeks, and will have to do the same adjusting. I may ask you for tips then!
    1463 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    Great job dealing with a challenging situation!
    The "boat on a lake" blog was helpful even before I reached maintenance, and this one has great helpful potential, too.

    1463 days ago
    Excellent blog, Kevin. I think most of us who have been maintaining for a while have come across situations like yours and have had to figure out how to battle through just when we thought we had worked everything out. I love how detailed your adjustment plans are and think that everyone should see this blog even if they have not yet encountered a sidelining injury or other traumatic event that changes their game. I think adaptability is a key component in this process and there's no doubt in my mind that you'll make it through this rough patch and get back to where you feel best and healthiest.
    1463 days ago
    You are my#1 Scientific & Practical Thinker Spark Friend!

    1463 days ago
    just what i needed to read. life does indeed happen, and unlike your 3 pound blip, in just a few months, i've managed the 10 lb trend up. sigh. but reading what you wrote here reminds me of what i have to do - and that i'm not alone. emoticon
    1463 days ago
    The learning and adjusting phase never ends. You need to do this because of injury and a decrease in your steps and for me it's because of aging.
    Good attitude all around. You will find your path out of the weeds.
    1463 days ago
    Terrific blog, so pragmatic and no self-pity. You're making the adjustments you need to make . . . it's tough but worth it.
    1463 days ago
    I'm also trying to find the right calorie range. I lost 2 of the pounds that I gained when I was sidelined. Another 3 to return to where I was when I was on a roll and losing a pound per week. I'll get there. It's tough to reduce calories when you get used to being able to eat a lot.
    1463 days ago
    emoticon Writing about it helps. Even the painful ugly stuff. Writing about it helps...

    Healing vibes sent your way, for that pesky foot!
    1463 days ago
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