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Maintenance: reassessment and iteration

Friday, August 01, 2014

It has been two years since I hit my maintenance weight and range. I haven't had a problem losing weight in the past, my problem has always been finding it again.

I believe that this has been the longest I have been in maintenance after losing weight, and I credit SP with the tools, community, sparkfriends, and groups (like the at goal and maintaining group) for helping me be successful.

As an engineer, I tend to come at problems in a certain way. Whether deliberately or not, I tend to apply an engineering design process to tackle challenges and problems. It starts with defining the problem, a design and analysis phase where you generate potential solutions, a decision making phase, and implementation. The process doesn't stop there, it is iterative, relying on assessment to drive improvement. (This usually continues until you run out of time and/or money) SP helps with the data collection and analysis, but it is up to me to assess progress and iterate to improve.

Over the month of July, my weight (which is the most conspicuous indicator) has drifted up a few pounds above my maintenance range. While this is concerning and will result in some adjustments to get back on track, it is not a cause for panic.

One of the valuable lessons from maintenance has been that weight is one of many indicators. While July was not great weight-wise, I had a good fitness month logging road miles and road biking miles, and getting in fitness minutes. I ran in two races including a very solid performance in a 5 miler (only 1:20 off my 5mi PR) plus a hilly and challenging trail run. Then at the end of the month, I had my annual check up. My blood pressure was lower than it has been in years, my cholesterol numbers were improved and in the healthy range and other risk factors were low.

While I know that illness or injury can strike at any time, I know that maintaining a healthy weight and fitness is helping me stack the odds in my favor. August will be my month to refocus on healthy eating with minor adjustments (primarily to portion size and to limiting evening snacks) and I will be back on track.
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