''Now I'm Healthy and Happy''

Heather (VEGGIEHEATHER) lost 111 pounds and now says that she’s happy and healthy! Find out how she has kept it off for over a year!
Heather, Before and After!
What were some of the challenges you faced when you started to maintain your weight loss?

At first, it was hard to stop losing weight, which is why I lost about five more pounds than I had planned to. Eventually I gained them back and try to stay within a five-pound weight range. It was also difficult mentally to stop losing weight after I had been losing steadily for months. It took a while for me to adjust to not having to lose and to feel okay with it.

What strategies help you keep the weight off?

I weigh myself daily. For me, this works and keeps me honest. I understand my body and know its ups and downs, so that's not what I take note of. I look for trends instead. So if I am gaining, I try to pinpoint what I might be doing differently to cause that. I also take photos to keep track of my progress, because sometimes it's hard to notice changes simply by looking in the mirror.

Do you feel like the SparkPeople Community helped you lose the weight and keep it off long-term?

Yes! The Message Boards were a HUGE part of my success. I met a group of very special people and we still have a small, private SparkTeam to motivate and encourage each other on a daily basis. Having a group of people that you can relate to and feel comfortable talking with about anything is an invaluable tool that SparkPeople offers.

Which SparkPeople tools do you use to help you maintain?

I still use the trackers (Nutrition and Fitness) almost daily, but used them faithfully while losing weight too. When I can't log online, I still do it on paper. I also read the new SparkPeople articles that interest me.

What advice would you give to someone who's working to maintain their weight loss?

It can actually be quite stressful to suddenly stop losing weight, depending on how much you had to lose. For a few weeks, not seeing a loss on the scale was disappointing to me, even though I knew I didn't have to lose more weight. It was just something that had become the norm. Keep tracking! Stay on top of your caloric intake and how much exercise you are actually getting. It's easy to let old habits slip back into your life if you are being less aware.